Joji Yoshida
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Friday - April 16, 2005
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Jessica Shiarella

Once in a great while a talent comes along that jolts you like lightning. That happens to be a 14-year-old freshman at Le Jardin Academy in Kailua. Her name is Jessica Shiarella. This young actress was so good at a recent casting call I need to tell everyone about her. Jessica was featured in a recent music video by Steel Train shot at Windward Community College, directed by Kai Bovaird and produced by Hassan Davis of cause & f(x) pictures. Her favorite foods are pasta and chocolate chip cookies. She’s popular at school, and with her magnetic personality I can see why. Jessica starred as the queen of France in her school production of Musketeers in Ties. Her talent is well-rounded, as she dances hula with Halau Mohala ‘Ilima. Mapuana de Silva is her kumu hula, and Jessica recently performed at the Hawaii Theatre. She’s also an A student and earned the Jon Scott Kuehner Scholarship in 2004. I could write a novel about her if I had space here. Remember her face and name because you’ll definitely be seeing and hearing about her again …

Chances are you’re familiar with Dustin Geiger — remember him from the Oceanic TV spot where he plays the surfer? He starred as Jeff Patterson in the 2003 Hawaii International Film Festival pick Megan Hill Is Missing by George Russell and Kyle Kakuno. In the ABC series Lost pilot, Dustin was the stand-in for Matthew Fox. Dustin, a natural blonde, had to dye his hair dark to match Matthew’s hair color. Dustin is a UH grad with a BA degree in communications. He’s in a long line of Kaiser High alumni in the Hawaii film industry. He landed the leading role of Josh White in Almost Paradise, an upcoming film by Iolani graduate Marisa Wahl. Dustin was also the stunt double for North Shore actor Cory Sevier, doing all the surfing scenes. What’s next for Dustin? Practicing his moves for the next big break …

No more North Shore, but Amanda Righetti is doing just fine. She was great as the sultry Tessa Lewis in North Shore. Amanda is the only reason I tuned into the show every week. She’s gorgeous, but she had acting chops to back it up. Recently wrapped a supporting role in a TV movie, Romy and Michele: In the Beginning. Amanda made her film debut in 2002 in Angel Blade starring Margot Kidder and Marc Singer. She became a household name when she landed the role of Hailey Nichol in the hit Fox series The O.C. It was sad to see her leave the islands, but I’m sure she’ll be back. In the meantime, if you want to follow her rocketing career, check out her website at www.eyeofamanda.com

Photographer Sharon Cavin is an actor’s best friend. Why? Because she takes great headshots. Sharon actually started as an actress and appeared in Hawaii 5-0 with Jack Lord and Magnum, P.I. with Tom Selleck. Her experience in acting definitely translates into a winning image — now strictly shooting images of talented Hawaii actors and models. Sharon works as an agent at Kathy Muller Talent Agency. Ignited the careers of homegrown talent Tia Carrere, Kelly Hu, Kelly Preston and Amanda Schull before they went on to success in Hollywood. Sharon lensed the aforementioned young lady Jessica Shiarella, too. Sharon majored in fashion design at UH while pursuing acting. While working as a makeup artist she became interested in photography. Want to get some visibility or maybe get famous? Shoot me an e-mail, I’ll hook you up with Sharon …

‘To End All Wars’ cast members (from left) James Larson,
Dennis Ihara, James McCarthy and Joji Yoshida

Actor James Larson is a Stanford University graduate. When he’s not acting, he designs houses on Kauai. He even lives in a tree house he built from scratch a la Robinson Crusoe. James is a longtime Garden Isle resident, but spends a lot of time on Oahu when he’s working on a movie. Spends his spare time writing, playing music, horseback riding and even juggling. His last credit was 50 First Dates as a photo double. We agree that Adam Sandler is the most down-to-earth star we’ve worked with. During down time we saw Adam practicing his chip shot on the set. For some reason James works on all the war films here in the islands. The pilot for HBO’s Lessons Learned, Windtalkers with Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater, and To End All Wars with Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Carlyle. We worked with Kiefer and Robert in the sleepy plantation town of Koloa, Kauai. It was a great experience for James and myself as actors. James is probably in his tree house right now strumming his guitar, sipping on a mai tai …

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