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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

B- Movie Actress Feature Spotlight: Samantha Mathis


Current Net Worth: $4 million 

Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York on May 12, 1970, actress Samantha Mathis is the daughter of the actress, Bibi Besch (Dr Carol Marcus of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan). 

At 12 years old, Mathis decided that she wanted to pursue acting. She began appearing in TV shows and adverts at the age of 16 as a professional actress. In 1990, Mathis appeared in her first feature film as Christian Slater's onscreen love interest in Pump Up The Volume. Its release led to a then-aspiring Mathis being pegged as the next Wynona Ryder, with her performance turning quite a few heads for the right reasons and impressing audiences and critics. Slater and Mathis would later team up for voice-over work on Don Bluth's animated environmental fest, 1992's Ferngully: The Last Rainforest as fairies, Crysta and Pips alongside Robin Williams as Batty Koda, as well as sharing an onscreen partnership in the 1996 John Woo action thriller, Broken Arrow, opposite John Travolta. 

A year later, Mathis co-starred with The Simpsons' Julie Kavner in Nora Ephron's drama, This Is My Life, based on a book. She played the daughter of Kavner's Dottie. The film grossed over $2 million domestically in the U.S - yet it also garnered Mathis a nomination in ''best young actress starring in a motion picture'' during 1993. 

She starred in A Thing Called Love alongside Sandra Bullock and River Phoenix, yet whereas Bullock has gone onto become a major Hollywood actress spearheading numerous rom-coms that have attained millions at the box office, Mathis's career went in the complete opposite direction.

This continued with made-for-TV movies and small parts on TV shows. Mathis came to prominence and her big break came in the much-maligned live-action flop, Super Mario Bros as Daisy opposite Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo's Mario & Luigi, which was savaged by critics and some fans of the Super Mario video games on its initial release and it has since gone on to become a cult movie. After taking a year out to avoid the furore and loathing the film received, Mathis returned to the big screen in British rom-com, Jack and Sarah, penned by Only Fools & Horses writer, John Sullivan. It was a two-tier lead cast in Samantha Mathis and Brit actor, Richard E. Grant, where she played the love interest and nanny to widower Jack. This was then followed by Broken Arrow with Mathis playing a park ranger. The film grossed over $150 million worldwide. 

And whilst Mathis may have had her moments, these have been very few. So far she has 21 movie credits to her name- & at one point, Mathis was considered for the role of Tinkerbell in Steven Spielberg's Peter Pan movie, Hook. It eventually went to Julia Roberts.


''There aren't a lot of roles written for women who are strong-willed'' - Samantha Mathis 

Thinking back over the roles she has attained and the ones she could have landed, it's a bit of a pity that she never really broke out as a major Hollywood A-lister. She's been in so-called big-name mainstream films, well sort of, in Super Mario Bros, Broken Arrow, American Psycho with Christian Bale and in the disappointing The Punisher, where she reunited with John Travolta, based on the Marvel Comics property in 2004. And yet, the problem was those roles never really stretched her capabilities, nor challenged her as an actress, despite how convincing she can be. I do wonder, however, that had she snagged the Tinkerbell part in Hook, whether or not that film had propelled Mathis onto bigger roles and in helping her land more mainstream movies. 

Her career was marred by personal setbacks and again, it's unfortunate that these have hampered Samantha Mathis's progress: the first being the much-publicized death of actor, River Phoenix over a drug overdose in 1993, followed by the passing of her mother in 1996. 

Her performance in This Is My Life really should have carved out more dramatic films, but also more commercial box office hits & bigger roles, which Mathis hasn't had more of under her belt and nowadays, she is seen in independent and straight-to-DVD films. 


Personally speaking, she is a decent and very capable actress, but she doesn't really have enough credible films and worthy performances to fully stand out and on occasions, and it's not very often either, that she is miscast in movies. Luckily, the terrible Super Mario Bros didn't completely spell the end of Samantha Mathis's career.




Notable Favourites: This is My Life, Jack and Sarah, A Thing Called Love, Pump Up The Volume

Notable Non- Favourites: The Punisher, Broken Arrow, Super Mario Bros


Sources:

Samantha Mathis - Wikipedia

Samantha Mathis Bio - Heightline.com  

Samantha Mathis biography - Tribute.ca

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