Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton

November 29, 2008 by  

Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton Photo Credit: HBO / John P. Johnson

Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton Photo Credit: HBO / John P. Johnson

 Sookie’s best friend
            Classically trained actress, Rutina Wesley, always brings a passion and intelligence to her work whether it is on the stage or behind the camera. She has been likened by some to a young Angela Bassett, an actress with true range who can make an audience both laugh and cry at the same time.

            Currently, Rutina is co-starring on the upcoming HBO series “True Blood,” based on Charlaine Harris’ popular “Southern Vampire” novels. The show is produced by Academy Award winner, Alan Ball, and tells the story of vampires living amongst humans buying synthetic blood and living in the American South. Rutina plays the role of Tara, best friend to Anna Paquin’s Sookie Stackhouse.

            Rutina, a native of Las Vegas, made her film debut starring as the lead in the Paramount Vantage/MTV Films, “How She Move,” from British director Ian Rashid and produced by Canada’s Sienna Films. She played the lead role of Raya Green, a young girl who returns home to the inner city after the traumatizing death of her sister and her dismissal from an elite private school her family can no longer afford. She hopes her talent as a step dancer can win her enough money to escape back to the suburban private school life. Through her friends, Raya realizes that the secret to her future happiness lies not in escaping her past but embracing it. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (World Competition) and received high praise with numerous publications singling out Rutina’s performance. The Hollywood Reporter said, “Young Wesley displays an intense charisma and powerful moves in the central role…”

            In the short amount of time following her graduation from Juillard, Rutina has amassed some high quality credits for her resume. She was a part of the pre-Broadway workshop of the Tony nominated musical “The Color Purple” and starred in “In Darfur” at New York’s esteemed Public Theatre. Rutina made her Broadway debut playing a role in the high profile production of “The Vertical Hour,” by acclaimed playwright David Hare, co-starring Two time Academy Award Nominee Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy. The show was directed by critically-acclaimed director, Sam Mendes and produced by Scott Rudin and Robert Fox.

            Rutina received her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville and prior to that she attended the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts. She also attended the prestigious Juilliard School (Drama Division, Group 34). In addition to her studies at Juilliard, Rutina also spent a summer studying Shakespeare at the well-known and well-respected Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While in the program, she was able to tackle the highly sought after role of Juliet in a production of “Romeo and Juliet” directed by Nona Sheppard.

            She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and New York. Rutina is represented by Endeavor Talent Agency and managed by Inspire Entertainment, LLC…