“The moment I saw Vanesa walk into the audition room it seemed a given that I would hire her for the lead role of Lexi. The very energy of the room changed and she commanded everyone’s attention. You know that ‘thing’ that makes you not be able to take your eyes off of a big star when they enter a scene on camera? Well, I can’t help but imagine that everyday life is like that for her. She’s luminous…literally, it feels like the light follows her around the room. You’d suspect someone like that to be difficult but she was incredibly flexible in following direction… and so organic. It was obvious to the whole production that her performance in the film was going to receive a lot of attention, which it did and it was a main reason for the success we achieved.” These are the words of writer/director/producer Raul Phoenix about actress Vanesa Dimitrova who starred in his award-winning film Honest Lies. This comedy/romance won nine awards in total from festivals such as the Eurasia International Film Festival, Festigious Film Festival, LA Shorts Awards, Los Angeles Film Awards, and others. As Phoenix states in his previous comments, the cast and their chemistry became a focus of critics and public alike. The diversity of the cast as well as their talent was a unique aspect of Honest Lies. The charismatic Bulgarian born Dimitrova is credited with some of the comedic high points in the story, proving that her prior dramatic roles are just one facet of her ability.
Honest Lies is a film about relationships, the trouble we get into, and how one man tries to get out of an uncomfortable predicament. Jason does the unimaginable behind his girlfriend Jazmine’s back and has to justify it…or backpedal at the least. Another of the couples dealing with problems in this film is Lexi (Dimitrova) and her husband Alex (played by Hakop Mkhsian). When Lexi picks up a gender-bending gigolo off the streets one night, it’s yet another reminder that romance can be a difficult and confusing place. Vanesa relates, “Lexi was a lot of fun to play. She is energetic, funny and could be described as a tease. One could say the role was provocative but because the movie is essentially a comedy, it worked out great. Most of her reactions to anything are exaggerated and over-done for the sake of the genre. That was a lot of fun for me though.” The story is non-formulaic in its presentation. It’s no surprise that this is the case as Tommy Wiseau was connected with the making of this film. The writer, producer, director, and star of the cult classic The Room upon which the Oscar nominated The Disaster Artist (starring James and Dave Franco) has a counter-establishment method whose influence can be felt in Honest Lies.
Doing great work is considered the best advertisement and this surely rings true for Vanesa as she is currently involved in a new Drama titled James the Second. Famed casting director Nancy Foy noticed Dimitrova and pitched her for the production. Nominated for three Primetime Emmys for her work on The Late Shift, The Rat Pack, and James Dean (as well as films like Jurassic Park III, Jumanji, Ladder 49, and October Sky), Foy’s ability in recognizing talent is Hollywood fact. Her championing of Vanesa for the role of Kristen in James the Second was instantly vetting. The story centers around a teenage boy who suffers from a rare disorder which prevents him from feeling. His single mother accompanies James through these daunting physical and emotional changes. Producer/director Max Amini proclaims, “Vanesa exhibits an astonishing amount of range. She is an amazingly talented and present actor and even a great singer. Of course, her spot on Russian accent is a great contribution to the role and I’m very excited to have her as Kristen.”
For every dreamer like Vanesa who attains their goal, there are hundreds more who never even attempted it. Dimitrova concedes that this was nearly her story as well. Growing up in Bourgas, a small city on the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria, a career as an actress seemed more like adolescent fantasy than a real possibility to her. Pursuing a more “safe” path, Vanesa studied Politics and International Relations at a prestigious university in London before committing herself to one sincere attempt at her truly desired vocation. Her ascending success as of the past few years seems serendipitous as she states, “I am thrilled to see the positive changes lately and I truly enjoyed watching movies such as Wonder Woman, Girls Trip, Atomic Blonde, Red Sparrow, Tully, The Spy Who Dumped Me, Crazy Rich Asians and so many more which revolve around strong powerful magnetic central female characters. I am amazed by these incredible women and the changes they brought to the industry. It gives me so much hope that we are moving towards a more positive evolved direction. I am so honored and humbled to be a part of this transformational time.”