Fortune smiles on actress Michelle Krusiec of “Homewrecker”
PARK CITY, Utah–In her acting career, Michelle Krusiec has played an Eskimo, a lesbian, a sorority sister, a cuckolded housewife and a pregnant ex-girlfriend. But her real-life personal story may be as dramatic as anything she has played on screen.
Born in Taiwan to a poor, 16-year old mother, Krusiec was given up for adoption as a baby after a fortune teller convinced the superstitious mother that if she had a girl, her daughter would live overseas and when she reached 21 would travel the globe.
“The fortune teller messed with my mother’s brain,” Krusiec said, shaking her head. But the prediction was uncannily accurate. Krusiec was adopted by the sister of her biological father and raised in Virginia. She knew about her biological family, but didn’t know about the fortune teller’s specific predictions which came true.
“I didn’t know any of this until I was an adult,” she said.
After college, where she excelled in drama, Krusiec was hired as host of a travel show on the Discovery Channel and traveled around the world, visiting over 50 destinations from Ghana to Japan.
Krusiec was her this week at the Sundance Film Festival where she helped promote a new indie film called “Homewrecker,” directed by the brother team of Todd and Brad Barnes. The film also stars Anslem Richardson, Ana Reeder, Stephen Rannazzisi, Cesar De Leon and Mary Beth Peil. The Barnes brothers and Sophie Goodhart wrote the screenplay.
The story revolves around an ex-con locksmith on work release named Mike (Richardson), who is trying to focus on his house calls and reconcile with his ex-girlfriend, played by Krusiec. Things get twisted in this romantic comedy when Margo (Reeder), a live-wire kook, who is certain her boyfriend is cheating on her, bulldozes Mike into spying on the alleged cab.
Krusiec confessed that when the Barnes brothers first approached her about playing the ex-girlfriend, they didn’t have a completed script. “They had an outline and they had ideas about improvising things, which I loved,” she recalled. “The thing they said to me early on was that we need strong actors and, to me, that’s music to my ears.”
The actress was performing on the set of the hit TV series “Nip/Tuck” when she got the completed script, but was so busy filming the show’s huge finale that she asked her boyfriend to read the script and see what he thought?
She read the script and immediately took a red-eye to New York to begin a discussion with Brad Barnes before plunging into a 14-hour day of filming. The entire shoot lasted only 13 days.
“‘Homewrecker’ is about an ex-con who is on work release…and it’s a day on his job and he meets up with a crazy, extraordinary, unusual woman who is going through a crises and it’s about their developing relationship,” she explained. “I’m the ex-girlfriend–I’m not a home wrecker–who has been part of his past…You get a sense that they had a bit of a troubled past and that he’s still madly in love with her after three years of being in jail.”
Krusiec, who has appeared in such films as “Pumpkin” with Christina Ricci and “What Happens in Vegas” with Cameron Diaz, was nominated in 2005 for a Golden Horse best actress award–Asia’s equivalent of the Academy Awards–for her role as a closeted lesbian doctor in the romantic comedy “Saving Face.” She said the movie and nomination opened doors to her with a new fan base in Asia, where she is known on screen as Yang Ya-Hui.
This isn’t her first visit to Sundance. She came here with “Pumpkin.” “With Sundance, I’m always reminded it’s about directors and filmmakers and films and trying to get movies sold…but what I love is that…there’s a real strong connection with people here and it’s an unusual spirit that I don’t find anywhere else.
Krusiec has completed work on two other indie films: “Zoom Hunting,” in which she plays a cuckolded housewife, and “Shuffle,” where she plays a pregnant ex-girlfriend.
Her adopted father, who is of Polish-American descent, loves sci-fi films and keeps asking her when she’ll get cast in the next “Star Trek.”
That’s a question best asked of a fortune teller.