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Shining a light on Alex Russo's 'Lux in Tenebris'

Lux in Tenebris actress Alex Russo
Actor/writer/producer Alex Russo.
Photo courtesy
Here’s a secret about Alex Russo. As a kid growing up in Avon Lake, Ohio, you could pick any given Saturday and would likely find your friend Russo on the diamond, pitch or soccer field. 

“I played every sport in the book,” Russo says with a bit of a smile. “All of which I did not like. Acting was what I was always good at.”

That creative spark transcends Russo’s acting career. Just look at Russo’s latest film, Lux in Tenebris. Sure, she stars in one of the lead roles, Tedandra “Teddy” Kelleran. But look a little further and you’ll discover Russo both wrote the screenplay and serves as one of the feature film’s producers. 

The film, shooting in Northeast Ohio, is also produced by Bruno Tatalovic and Deborah Ochwat. Tatalovic directs.

Midwest Movie Maker spent a little time (via email) with Russo to learn more about her film career and the making of Lux in Tenebris.

Midwest Movie Maker (MMM): When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

Alex Russo (AR): The acting bug bit at a very young age. I had horrible self-esteem issues and did not like myself, so acting gave me a reason to be everyone else except me.

MMM: What were some of your first jobs and how has your career grown?

AR: I started taking private acting classes at 11 years old.  As a kid I did mostly theatre, bridal shows, fashion shows and a few local commercials.

'Lux' director Bruno Tatalovic at work.
MMM: You've been involved with a lot of local film - and that work just seems to be growing. Can you tell me some of the work you're doing now (outside of Lux) that's exciting and different?

AR: Right now I am not doing much outside of Lux.  Occasionally I will take on a small one or two day role here or there if I think the project is up to par, but I am trying to stay away from unpaid projects. Some projects never get finished for whatever reason, so I have to be careful what I take on. I have a full plate as it is.  (Editor’s note: Russo is cast in Robot/Girlfriend, a new film from Lunch Hour Films, now in pre-production).

MMM: Do you try to work along what we call the Midwest Movie Belt - Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh? What's the difference between each city and its film scene?

AR: Yes, I have worked in all three markets. There is not much difference.  From my experiences in the past three years of independent  projects I have encountered, Lux is the only film to become union.

MMM: Tell me about Lux. As screenwriter, how did you come up with the idea, what was your inspiration - and what's the film all about?

Actor Eric Roberts lends his talents to 'Lux.'
Photo courtesy
AR: A toy guitar started the idea...then two sisters who sang like sister was tall and bigger with pigtails, and the other sister was short and petite. Then on Father’s Day, I was really inspired to make the story about a father and his two daughters. The film is a hard-edged drama about two sisters drastically different in appearance and personality. The film takes you through a span of 20 years of their life. It’s a story revolving around love, pain, music and fatherhood.

MMM: How did you get the film from page to screen? What was the process for getting those wheels in motion?

AR: My director (Tatalovic) and I were planning to make another film called The Trickster, which was my first screenplay. He loved the story after reading it, and while we were planning on making The Trickster this summer, I was writing Lux and would give him bits and pieces of the story. Once I finished Lux, he read it with me and immediately said THIS was the one, without giving it any second thought.

MMM: Tell me about the production. Where are you at in the process, what's been a lot of fun, what's been a challenge?

AR: We are in the middle of filming. Everything has been fun, we've had some minor hiccups as with any production. I am very pleased thus far with our progress.

MMM: I saw Eric Roberts is making an appearance and Joe Estevez. How did those two get involved in the production?

AR: We always wanted a name actor or two in the film. We contacted both actors directly, and they showed interest.

MMM: What's one crazy  or inspiring story from the film so far that you'd like to share?

AR: There is a scene where Teddy is singing to her sister Annie in the bed. Teddy is crying and encouraging Annie to hang in there things will get Teddy is singing a ray of light comes out of nowhere from the window and onto Teddy's face, as if angels had placed the light there. The crew was amazed. You will see why this is so ironic when you watch the film.

MMM: When will folks be able to see the final product?

AR: Next year!

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