10 To Watch: Charlotte Sullivan
Agency: Creative Drive Artists (Toronto), Untitled Entertainment (L.A.)
Buzz: One of the lead characters on Rookie Blue, greenlit for a second season just weeks after its debut, she’s also up for her turn as Marilyn Monroe in History Channel’s The Kennedys
Charlotte Sullivan has come a long way from her first gig as an extra in a Liza Minelli music video way back when. The days of being “paid in pizza and coffee” are no longer now that this up-and-comer is working side-by-side with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
As if it’s not enough to be one of the main characters in Rookie Blue – which has been greenlit for a second season after just three weeks into its run – Sullivan has also been cast as blond bombshell Marilyn Monroe in History Channel’s upcoming mini-series The Kennedys, reportedly starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes.
“I don’t even know how to fully express how much I’m in love with [Monroe],” says the Toronto-based actress. “At the same time, I have to play a police officer, so it’s a totally complete opposite, even in terms of physicality.”
She adds that this duo of opposite roles proved to be an interesting challenge for her in a physical sense. “For my cop character, you have to be able to run and not look out of breath. So I don’t know what to do – I think it’d be strange if I was playing Marilyn and she was incredibly fit and solid, it’d feel really off. I’m trying not to work out too, too much!”
But the thrill of stepping into the role of the iconic actress is also intimidating, as Sullivan is well-aware of the high expectations for her portrayal. She’s combating that with extensive research – poring over her entire filmography. And, at press time, she’d just finished reading her eighth Marilyn book. “I think there have been a lot of caricatures of her, so I’m not putting on a voice with her. I’m not making her soft.”
Still, Sullivan hopes to convey her sweetness and draws on a behind-the scenes moment from the never-completed Monroe flick Something’s Got to Give (1962) for inspiration. “The director kept the camera rolling and just had it on her as a close-up. And the kids are getting the lines wrong and the director was getting angry. And there was this look on her face as she was encouraging the kids, saying ‘You can do it.’ It’s the sweetest thing, it made me tear up.”
“When I was on set, I would bring that video with me and keep replaying that part.”