Queen of Sundance
One of movie's emerging stars, Melonie Diaz was glorified queen of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival thanks to her performances in such films as Neil Abramson's “American Son,” Brett Simon's “Assassination of a High School President,” Michel Gondry's “Be Kind Rewind” and Andrew Fleming's “Hamlet 2.” Making her film debut in 2001's “Double Whammy,” the New York native who frequently be cast in the roles of unapologetically individualistic and aggressive young urban women first made an impact on the notable comedy “Raising Victor Vargas” (2002) and went on to earn an Independent Spirit nomination for her performance in the critical favorite “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” (2006).
Moviegoers should look forward for her impressive acting in Anthony Caldarella's upcoming thriller, “Identity” (2009).
Childhood and Family:
Melonie Diaz was born on April 25, 1984, in New York City, New York, to Puerto Rican parents. She has an older sister, and is very close to her family.
While attending the Henry Street Settlement, Melonie fell in love with acting, and subsequently enrolled at Manhattan's Professional Performing Arts School. After graduating, she majored in Film Production at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
Melonie Diaz began her film career in 2001 with a supporting role in director/writer Tom Dicillo's comedy “Double Whammy,” starring Denis Leary and Elizabeth Hurley. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2001. She went on to portray Kelly in the short “From an Objective Point of View” (2002), but she did not have her breakout role until director Peter Sollett tapped her to play Melonie on the well-received drama/comedy “Raising Victor Vargas” (also 2002). The film won a total of three awards and eight nominations, including five Independent Spirit nominations.
The following year, Diaz appeared in the pilot for the Oliver Platt short-lived series “Queens Supreme,” playing the daughter of Lazaro Perez. It was followed by a guest appearance in the NBC popular series “Law & Order.” She played Bettina in the episode “Ill-Conceived,” broadcast on December 3, 2003.
Returning to movies, Diaz took on the supporting role of Blanca on the critical favorite “Lords of Dogtown” (2005), helmed by Catherine Hardwicke and starring Emile Hirsch, Rebecca De Mornay, Heath Ledger and Johnny Knoxville. She next offered a memorable performance as Young Laurie on another critical darling, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” (2006). A coming of age drama directed and scripted by Dito Montiel, the film brought the actress a Best Supporting Female nomination at the 2007 Independent Spirit Awards, where Dito Montiel also received a nomination for Best First Screenplay and her costar, Channing Tatum, was nominated for Best Supporting Male.
After the success, Diaz landed her first starring role in the 2007 comedy/romance “Itty Bitty Titty Committee,” helmed by Jamie Babbi. The highly acclaimed indie saw the talented performer play Anna, a young and single lesbian whose life turns an unexpected corner when she joins a sub-rosa group of militant graffiti painters. Also in that same year, Diaz was cast along side Amber Heard, Alexa Vega and Leighton Meester for the Jess Manafort film “The Beautiful Ordinary,” about interracial relationship, and supported Rosa Arredondo and Luis Cruz on Alejandro Chomski's “Feel the Noise.”
Diaz's profile raised significantly in 2008 with six film projects under her belt. She first costarred with Nick Cannon and Jay Hernandez in Neil Abramson's “American Son,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008, and then starred as Veronica in Spencer Parsons' drama/romance, “I'll Come Running.” In the Brett Simon awesome comedy “Assassination of a High School President,” she acted along side Mischa Barton and Bruce Willis as a girl named Clara. The film was shown at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival twice (on January 17 and January 21). Diaz also gave an unforgettable performance as Alma in Michel Gondry's “Be Kind Rewind,” opposite Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover and Mia Farrow. The award-nominated comedy became her third vehicle at the Sundance Film Festival. She went on to act in Andrew Fleming's “Hamlet 2,” which screened at the Sundance on January 21, 2008, and Alfredo De Villa's “Nothing Like the Holidays,” opposite Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Pena and Freddy Rodriguez.
Diaz is scheduled to portray Mona on the 2009 drama/mystery “Identity,” directed by Anthony Caldarella and co-scripted by Caldarella and Glenn Taranto. Among her costars in the film are Jason Alexande, Andrew Fuller and Pam Grier.