One of Hollywood's young rising talents, Kelli Garner has appeared in commercials, music videos, TV series, films as well as on stage since entering the show business in the late 1990s. First known for playing bad girl characters in the indie-drama “Bully,”Larry Clark's movie directorial debut, and in an episode of the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”(both 2001), the petite and bright-eyed beauty was shot to prominence with her role as Hollywood actress Faith Domergue on Martin Scorsese’s “Aviator” (2004), starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Since then, she has acted in such movies as Mike Mill's hit, “Thumbsucker” (2005), “Man of the House” (2005, with Tommy Lee Jones), “Dreamland” (2006, won a Method Fest Award), “Normal Adolescent Behavior” (2007) and “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007). Garner starred in the Off-Broadway production of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” at the Century Center for the Performing Arts in December 2005. Among the music videos she has starred in include N.E.R.D.'s “Provider” and Green Day's “Jesus of Suburbia.”
Moviegoers should not miss her impressive performance in the upcoming films “Red Velvet” (2008), “The Six Wives of Henry Lefay” (2008) and “G-Force” (2009).
Childhood and Family:
Kelli Brianne Garner was born in Bakersfield, California, on April 11, 1984. She grew up in the suburb of Thousand Oaks, and now is a resident of Calabasas, California. Before being spotted, young Kelli was interested in soccer and dreamed someday she would become a professional player.
In her leisure time, Kelli loves playing the guitar, writing songs and shopping.
Kelli Garner was discovered at age 14 on the dance floor at an actor friend's Bar Mitzvah, in which his manager asked about her own possible concern in acting. Although she was deeply fascinated with soccer, the girl later decided to sign with the manager. Soon afterwards, she was sent off on a commercial audition for Eggo Waffle and ended up winning the job. This experience paved the way for Garner's several other prestigious television spots.
Her first real acting job arrived in 1999 when she was hired by artist-video director Mike Mills to star in his short, “Architecture of Reassurance,” a suburban “Alice in Wonderland” story which was a Sundance Film Festival entry in 2000. The performance put the newcomer Garner under the radar of photographer-turned-film director Larry Clark, who cast Garner in her breakout screen role, as the drug-addicted teen Heather Swallers, on “Bully” (2001), Clark's feature film debut. The controversial docudrama launched Garner as an ardent young talent. In between these two films, Garner found herself reuniting with Mills for the 2000 music video “Everything but the Girl,” by Temperamental, and appearing in a Gregg Araki TV pilot for MTV called “This is How the World Ends” (2000), which was considered to expensive for the network to produce. She also portrayed chatty rumor-monger Kirstie on an episode of the popular horror series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (2001), a role that partly shaped her bad girl image. Garner's next TV gig was a two episodic part in the Fox comedy series “Grounded for Life,” playing Tracey during 2001-2002. She returned to films in the Philip Seymour Hoffman comedy flick “Love Liza” (2002), in which she appeared as a teen girl huffing gasoline smokes, and the sport-themed “Hometown Legend” (2002), starring Terry O'Quinn and Lacey Chabert. She also acted in the short films “Related” and “Outside” (both 2002) and in the rap supergroup N.E.R.D. music video for the song “Provider.”
In the beginning of 2004, Garner could be seen in the hit NBC series “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” playing another mean girl, Brittany O'Malley, on the 2004 episode of “Mean.” Later that same year, the young actress enjoyed widespread popularity with Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed, “The Aviator” (2004). There she portrayed the would-be teen starlet Faith Domergue, lover of the harassed Hollywood/aviation mogul Howard Hughes (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). The film subsequently transformed Garner from a somewhat-nameless actress to a rising figure on Hollywood cinema.
Next, Garner rejoined Mills for the director's feature directorial debut, “Thumbsucker”(2005), which became a darling at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. She portrayed the love interest of protagonist Justin Conn (played by Lou Taylor Pucci). Her burgeoning status was further established when she landed the starring role of Barb, opposite Tommy Lee Jones, in the action comedy “Man of the House” (2005). Still in 2005, she appeared in the independent film “London” (2005), starring Chris Evans and Jessica Biel, and starred in Green Day's video for its popular track, “Jesus of Suburbia.” She also ventured to stage with the off-Broadway production of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” in New York, from which her performance received good reviews.
In 2006, Garner scored a success with her award-winning performance as Calista on the drama film “Dreamland,” opposite Agnes Bruckner. Under the direction of Jason Matzner, Garner and Bruckner jointly netted a Method Fest for Best Actress. The film was screened at several film festivals, including the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and the 2006 Deauville Film Festival in France. She then played Samantha Hartley in the drama “Return to Rajapur” (2006), supported Amber Tamblyn and Ashton Holmes in “Normal Adolescent Behavior” (2007), a high school drama about a small circle of friends’ troubled mixing of sex and friendship, and teamed up with Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider and R.D. Reid in the Toronto-based film shoot of “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007).
The 23-year-old actress will star with Henry Thomas in the horror “Red Velvet” (2008), playing Linda. She is currently filming the action/adventure “G-Force” (2009), opposite Nicolas Cage, Steve Buscemi and Will Arnett, and has a project still-in-pre-production called “The Six Wives of Henry Lefay” (2008), a comedy directed and written by Howard Michael Gould and starring Tim Allen.
Method Fest: Best Actress, “Dreamland,” 2006 (shared with: Agnes Bruckner)
Method Fest: Rising Star, 2006 (shared with: Agnes Bruckner)