Shot on digital video over a period of five years, ELLIE PARKER takes an unfiltered look at the Hollywood people rarely see. An insider's story in many ways, the film should appeal to actors and film-industry people for the way it pokes fun at the entertainment profession. Naomi Watts (MULLHOLLAND DRIVE, 21 GRAMS) throws herself fully into the role of Ellie Parker, an eager young Australian actress trying to break into Hollywood. Often transparent and rarely likeable, Ellie is an all too-realistic example of many striving actors. Changing clothes, applying makeup, and experimenting with various dialects in her car while on the way from one audition to the next, Ellie eagerly transforms herself at a moment's notice for the chance of getting a role. When Ellie finds out that her loser boyfriend (Mark Pellegrino) is cheating on her, she seeks solace in her best friend and fellow actress, Sam (Rebecca Rigg), and an equally hapless new love interest, Chris (Scott Coffey). Through chaotic and unrewarding auditions, hilarious acting exercises, therapy sessions, and messy one-night-stands, Ellie makes misguided but funny attempts to find herself in as dramatic a way as possible. While viewers might like to think of this perversely self-conscious, self-consumed, and shallow character as an anomaly, the film suggests that people like her are, unfortunately, a dime a dozen in Los Angeles. While meant to be funny throughout, ELLIE PARKER is also sad in that Ellie's real life feels even less genuine than her acting. First conceived as a 16-minute short, the film grew into a feature-length project with Watts as producer, and actor Scott Coffey as director. The two worked together on MULLHOLLAND DRIVE, and let that film's main character (also a striving actress)--along with Watts's own experiences--inform their story.
Theatrical Release: NOVEMBER 11, 2005
"Watts, whose memorable audition scene in MULHOLLAND DRIVE launched her into stardom, makes a glorious mess of herself playing her karmic opposite." - 11/25/2005 Entertainment Weekly, p.80
"Naomi Watts, in the title role, delivers a small, brave, acting tour de force." - 11/18/2005 New York Times, p.162
4 stars out of 5 -- "ELLIE PARKER makes for an entertaining comedy about life on the fringes of Tinseltown." - 06/01/2006 Total Film, p.44
"A sharp exposé of the bilious undercurrents running beneath Hollywood's candy-coloured surface, ELLIE PARKER is a fizzy and hugely entertaining debut." - 08/01/2006 Sight and Sound, p.71