Laura 'next big thing' at the movie party
By BOB THOMPSON
Soon, Hollywood movie mavens will be telling Laura Harris they love her. That's the West Coast word.
At last year's film festival, Jerry Maguire co-star Renee Zellweger was in denial over predictions of her star rising.
In '97, it seems to be Harris's turn.
The Vancouver actress is featured in Gary Burns's Kitchen Party, a Perspective Canada entry showing Monday night, and co-stars in Suicide Kings, a Special Presentation, screening on the weekend.
Add to the non-festival list a major motion picture she just completed with Andy Garcia called The Scalper.
By all reports, Harris steals some scenes in The Scalper the way Zellweger did in Jerry Maguire, but her coming attraction is news to her.
"I think I'm pretty oblivious," says the 20-year-old by phone from her Vancouver home before heading here today. "I have lived and worked in obscurity, and happily."
The amazing thing about Harris is that she has been working as an actor for 15 of those 20 years.
She started as a kid in CBC Radio dramas, and by 14 focused on movies, including such obscure low-budget films as Habitat and Skyscraper.
Her experience is in sharp contrast to her youthful looks in Kitchen Party, the warped Burns take on a teenage parents-not-at-home soiree.
"I was trying to play 16," says Harris, just a little tongue-in-cheek.
In the dark Peter O'Fallon comedy, Suicide Kings, starring Christopher Walken, Denis Leary and Henry Thomas, Harris portrays a preppy kidnap victim with convincing aplomb, although she doesn't have much screen time,
The Scalper, which will be released theatrically next year, is definitely the most complicated of the roles. "More substantial and more of a challenge," she admits.
"It's a light romantic comedy," Harris informs, "and a true story."
Garcia is the head a New York gang of ticket scalpers. He's in love with Andie MacDowell's lovely ingenue.
"And I'm like a chick in the gang, and a tomboy, and oh yeah, I'm eight months pregnant," Harris says.
"I'm absolutely in love with Andy Garcia's gang leader, but I realize he's not going to choose me, he's going to choose Andie MacDowell."
So it's a comedy.
"It's a romantic comedy," a chuckling Harris confirms. "But I guess I'm the serious sub-plot."
In a breakthrough role -- maybe. No matter to Harris, apparently.
"I'm already doing what I want to do," she says of acting.
Next year at this time, however, she'll probably have more people aware of her -- with more 'call backs' to prove it.