Brazilian born actress Priscila Zortea tries to take versatile roles to constantly improve her craft. Playing the character of the devil is definitely a role unlike herself.
Zortea recently starred in the film Like Lightning from Heaven, which is headed to the Women’s Only Entertainment Film Festival next month. It is a fun film about a possible visit the devil made on Earth to manipulate those around her. Zortea plays the character of Lily, which is the devil character in this fiction. Lily likes to create some trouble everywhere she goes, she likes to see people sin and she encourages them to do that, no matter what "that" is.
“She's very confident, seductive and sure she'll get anything she wants to, but as we see on the film sometimes she can still be fooled. I don't think I'm like her by any means although this was possibly my favorite character to play. I love her playfulness and sarcasm,” said Zortea. ““I love to learn more about myself while exploring a new character.”
The film was shot in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park, and was Zortea’s first time shooting in the city often coined as “Hollywood North.” It was directed by Laura Carnet, and featured actors Tyler Burrows and Amy Harkness.
“I absolutely loved the entire team. Laura is probably the best director I've worked with, she's extremely thorough in what she does, she pays attention to detail and communicates to her actors. We actually rehearsed the film and I don't remember ever doing that in such a meticulous way, we performed it for her a day before the shoot as if it was a play and she talked to everybody about their objectives and why their characters were doing that. I really loved the entire experience,” said Zortea.
Carnet agrees that they made a great team, describing working with Zortea as a great pleasure. Zortea, who has an extensive background in dance and danced professionally with the rock band KISS’s dance team LA KISS, brought everything she had to the character.
“Working with Priscilla was a great pleasure. She completely understood her character and gives Lily a human dimension. She brings her sensitivity to the character and uses previous experiences in dance to enhance the way the character moves and interacts with the others.
She also completely trusts her team and helps everyone to improve their skills on set. She is committed to the story and has a lot of creativity that she put into her acting skills,” Carnet described. “Priscila knows how to captivate the audience. She is very feminine and charming. Her acting is very refreshing and she can easily find a voice for her character. Priscila trusts her instincts, but she follows direction very well, which is a plus.”
Zortea’s dance beginnings give her an edge to each performance. She has been dancing since the age of three, but feels that always helped her with her acting and feeling comfortable on stage.
“As I was growing up, I used to just act around the house, pretending I was some of my favorite TV characters, I used to feel very inspired by a soap opera called Eramos Seis about a family of six children, and by the time I was 10 or 11 there was a TV show about orphan girls called Chiquititas that I used to love so much and it was also a musical. They had songs and danced to it and it soon became my favorite thing and I was dancing and singing around the house,” she said.
Chiquititas went on to be Zortea’s first audition ever, and since that time she has gone on to relocate from the small town of Casca, Brazil to Los Angeles. She has acted in commercials, on stage plays in New York City, and was recently in her first feature film A Journey to a Journey.
“I love to tell stories. I think acting is the finest art form that requires you to be real and reproduce human behavior in such a refined way that people don't know that story didn't happen in real life,” she said.
Zortea aims to work on American television, as a series regular, in a show that has powerful roles for women and accepting all kinds of people including foreigners like herself.
“Pursuing an acting career in Brazil is hard because there aren't many opportunities, and pursuing an acting career abroad is hard because you're an immigrant who has to deal with not only the difficulties of being a working actor but also the difficulties of being an immigrant and that includes immigration laws, unions rules about who can or can't join then, and finding roles that don't discriminate you for having an accent that's not Standard American,” she described.
Despite the challenges that come with following her dream, Zortea knows it's worth it.
“My goal is the same of every artist I believe,” she concluded. “To make a living doing what I love.”