Tewksbury Mother-Daughter Featured In Pilot For Web Series
Independent filmmaker taps into the zombie genre for "Pretty Undead."
Renee Lawrie proudly describes herself as a wife, stay-at-home mom, volunteer and adopter of retired horses.
These days, the Tewksbury woman has added "aspiring actress" to her resume. She said she was bitten by the acting bug through her work as a volunteer at the T.H.E. Farm.
"How I started being interested in acting was being behind the scenes of Discovery Health's segment taped with Jeff Corwin from Animal Planet when they came to the Tewksbury Hospital Equestrian Farm," she said. "I'm actually a singer and musician but I've always wanted to act."
Lawrie has appeared in a new music video by Boston R&B artist Mykel, called "Hurts Like Hell" and recently earned a spot as an extra in the new Adam Sandler film, "Grownups 2."
But Lawrie's biggest role to date has been that of hard-edged Police Detective Kim Cooper in the pilot for a new Web series called "Pretty Undead." The project was written, directed and produced by Merrimack Valley independent filmmaker Seng Varipath.
"Seng is so talented. He did almost everything by himself," said Lawrie. "Going into it, I really didnt know what to expect but the finsihed product was amazing."
Varipath also produced the music video Lawrie appeared in.
Lawrie said she learned about the auditions for "Pretty Undead" through newenglandfilm.com. One video audition later and she had landed the role.
The plot for the web series, which was shot in New Hampshire, focuses on town sealing with a series of unexplained deaths and a group of teen girls who try to convice the powers that be that the murders are the work of zombies. Lawrie said the project spans the horror, drama and comedy genres.
"It's a drama but there are parts of it that are pretty funny," said Lawrie, whose husband, Dale, is a firefighter with the Tewksbury Fire Department and owns R&R Automotive.
Debuting on YouTube just last week, the pilot has already been seen by 3,000 viewers. If it continues to grow in popularity on YouTube and through its Facebook page, Lawrie said Varipath will likely push ahead with filming additional episodes.
"Pretty Undead" has provided Lawrie with a bonus -- the chance to work with her daughter Brooke Lavoie, a student at Tewksbury High School. Brooke plays "Stacey" one of the "mean girls" in her school and an antagonist of the quartet of heroines.
According to Lawrie, Brooke didn't pursue the role in "Pretty Undead" but was called into service when another actress dropped out of the project at the 11th hour.
"Brooke did a video audition for Seng and he said, 'that's just what I'm looking for,'" said Lawrie. "I think he liked her 'spitfire' attitude."
"Brooke had about three hours to learn her lines," added Lawrie, with a laugh. "But she did great. Now she's asking me to find her more roles."
"Pretty Undead" has another Tewksbury connection in the person of Amadeo Gallotto, who plays the town's first zombie. If Gallotto's name doesn't sound familiar, his face might. Gallotto portrayed a rather horrifying creature named "Junior" at the haunted house that used to be held every October on Livingston Street, across from the Tewksbury Parks and Recreation building.
Lawrie had shown Varipath a photo of Galato in full makeup and he was immediately recruited for the role. Sara Dennehy, Galato's fiance and a Tewksbury High grad, is also in the film as an extra.
While Lawrie isn't sure what the future hold, she knows she wants to give acting her best effort. She is scouring the industry web sites, looking for auditions and opportunities.
"If you have a dream, don't be afraid to go after what you want," she said.