Interview with 2023 BAFTA Nominated Actress Danielle Bisutti
Chatting with Danielle Bisutti made us discover what the word multitasking means. When you are born with a true love for Art, like her, your life will necessarily be dedicated to it. Actress, first in theater and then in cinema and TV, singer and head of a production agency. Danielle was recently nominated for a BAFTA for her portrayal of the Norse Goddess ‘Freya’ in Sony PlayStation’s most successful video game ‘God of War’. And, needless to say, she really fell in love with this character! In this interview you will discover many things about her, from her beginnings to her hobbies and her passion for body care.
You started in theater and then moved on to cinema and many acclaimed TV series. How would you describe the theatrical and cinematic experience? What do you like about both of them?
I would describe the theatrical and cinematic experience as the most honest expression of my humanity. I got my start in theater doing plays and skits from elementary to high school. Eventually, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in musical theater and acting from California State University at Fullerton. The first lead role I booked in a musical was Rizzo in Grease, at 15-years-old, and that was a game changer.
Every summer, all the teenagers from opposing high schools, Royal High School and Simi High, gathered at a non-profit organization called S.A.V.E. Theater where we workshopped and performed in plays and musicals. The bonds that were forged during this experience yielded some of the closest friendships I still have today. And that’s the power of theater. On a film set, a bond also takes place. However, in comparison, I haven’t experienced that same deep bond that I do in theater.
I think perhaps because a theatre play can run a lot longer than the time it takes to shoot a movie. And the nature of theater is that you do the same show repeatedly, but each time you unveil new layers and nuances within your character. Typically, as one actor reveals deeper truths, so do your cast mates. You spend so much time with one another, you become like family. A “Show Family.” There’s nothing more bonding than a theater experience, in my opinion.
A similar bond is created on a long withstanding television series. What I love most about both theatre and film is that I’ve been blessed to do them for a living. And with each play, TV show, or movie, I learn more about myself, more about humanity through the characters I portray.
You were recently nominated for a BAFTA for your portrayal of the Norse goddess ‘Freya’ in Sony PlayStation’s top grossing video game ‘God of War’. Are you a gamer too? Interested in video games?
It would be utterly blasphemous, to bonafide gamers everywhere, if I were to call myself a gamer. The main problem is, I am not very adept with the latest video game controllers. As I’ve mentioned in several interviews, my video gaming prowess peaked around Super Mario Brothers Nintendo 1.0 circa 1985. I’m incredible with a joystick, and I can hold my own in any arcade. Ms. Pac-Man being the apex of my video gaming talents. I’ve always been interested and fascinated by video games. Even more so in recent years since I’ve been honored enough to bring Sony Santa Monica Studios, Norse Goddess “Freya” to life, in their critically acclaimed, AAA best-selling BAFTA award winning, game of the year, God of War.
To be a fixture in that franchise for the past 10 years has been one of the biggest honors and blessings in my life. My goal is to learn how to play God of War very soon. In fact, many of my Twitter fans and Discord community have been campaigning for me to get on Twitch just so I can learn how to play it. I’m no Jiminy Cricket but I think their wish just might come true.
Many remember you in your role in Nickelodeon’s True Jackson VP. Do you have any special memories from the shoot? Any funny anecdote?
It’s very difficult to choose just one funny anecdote that happened on True Jackson V.P. Shenanigans happened on a daily basis on the set of our multi-camera comedy. Playing Amanda Cantwell was not only special because it was my first series regular role, but also because she was the constant foil to True. The writers were always doing crazy things to me: dunking me in a pit of balls, thousands of colorful balls dropping on top of my head, spraying me with blue colored water from a super soaker, cans tethered to ropes smacking me in the head, throwing a big slab of meat in my face, ripping my dress off in an episode called “Prototype” where Amanda modeled a dress not fully sewn together yet. Come to think of it, those writers had a jolly time pushing the comedic slapstick agenda with my character on our ‘family-friendly’ show. And I took it like a champ. It was comedy after all.
I milked it any time I could do a pratfall or run into a door or window as I was walking into my office, backwards and in heels. (a la an uncoordinated Ginger Rogers.) Anytime I could tap into the secret vulnerable awkwardness underneath Amanda’s regal, austere, fashion forward presentational self, it was pure gold. I think it was through revealing her vulnerability that made her such a lovable, unforgettable character.
Is there a particular director you hope to work with in the future? Or an actor/actress you’re hoping to find on set?
The list of actors, directors, and show runners that I’d love to work with is so long, I fear it might be like reading an old-timey phone book. (Remember those?) But here I go… In the film space, I would start with the interstellar minds of Cristopher Nolan, Guillermo Del Toro, Boon Jung Ho and Jordan Peele. The Matrix’s Jennifer Todd and Suzanne Todd because I have a psychological thriller, fantasy, horror feature film project they would be the absolute best producers for. Dede Gardner because every film she produces at Plan B is poignant and societally shapeshifting.
Actress-Producer Reese Witherspoon because she is committed to uplifting female content creators, filmmakers, producers and actresses. Of the remaining league of feature film directors, writers, and producers that I’d love to work with are anything and everything within the Jon Favreau, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg universe. I grew up watching the comedies of Mel Brooks and Terry Gilliam, in particular Monty Python and Time Bandits, and it would be a living dream to work with them.
Alongside these named, is my desire to work with the revelatory Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Clint Eastwood, Jason Reitman, Sam Mendes, Matt Shakman, Alexander Payne, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Ava DuVernay, Ari Aster, Alfanso Cuarón, Jane Campion, Patty Jenkins, Elizabeth Banks, Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach, Damien Chazelle, Edgar Wright, Steven King, Christopher Guest, Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert.
I must also include all these sets of brilliant brothers: The Russo Brothers, The Cohen Brothers, The Duffer Brothers and The Duplass Brothers.
In the long form narrative of television, I am currently obsessed with Succession’s Jesse Armstrong and the Yellowstone universe of Taylor Sheridan. The realization of all my childhood dreams would be playing a character on the set of a George R.R. Martin series. Also thrilling would be bringing a character to life in the world of J.J. Abrahms, who had me at LOST, and Damon Lindelof, whose TV series The Leftovers I watched twice, something I never do.
I’ve always felt I’d be a great fit as a series regular inside a David E. Kelly, Michael Patrick King, Shonda Rhimes, Darren Starr, Greg Berlanti and Amy Sherman Palladino series; and the queenly, historical worlds of Emma Frost, Tony McNamara, Ronald D. Moore, Julian Fellows and Peter Morgan. Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez and Steven Levenson’s musical drama “Up Here has me so enchanted. I’m ready to work with Neil Druckman, whose TV adaptation of The Last of Us on HBO is crushing it. In the world of comedy, I simply adored recurring on Greg Daniels and Michael Schur Parks and Rec and would love to find my way into their hilarious orbit once more. In equal parts, I’d be chuffed to play in the sandbox of these hilarious comedic innovators: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Christopher Lloyd & Steve Levitan, Mitchell Hurwitz, Chuck Lorre, Mike White, and Ricky Gervais.
The ‘short’ list of actors I’d love to work with are Cate Blanchett, Jessica Chastain, Kate Winslet, Jodi Comer, Margot Robbie, Jamie Lee Curtis, Guy Pearce, Olivia Colman, Linda Cardellini, Bill Murray, Zach Galifianakis, Kathryn Hahn, Michelle Yeoh, Kristen Wiig, Joaquin Phoenix, Jim Carrey, Viola Davis, Justin Theroux, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, Daniel Day Lewis, Sandra Oh, Maggie Smith, Bruce Dern, Javier Bardem, Mahershala Ali, Tom Pelphrey, Jason Bateman, Steven Yeun, Glenn Close and Rose Byrne again, but this time I wouldn’t be slapping her, maybe we’d play sisters or friends at the very least. Recently, I was so moved by the film Big George Foreman and would love to work with the brilliant cast, Khris Davis, Sullivan Jones, Forest Whitaker, Jasmine Mathews and experience the direction of the talented George Tillman Jr.
In the video game space, I have been blessed to work with the absolute top tier, most talented game devs at Sony Santa Monica Studios led by the incomparable Cory Barlog. I thank God every day for this gift. From that mountain top, I have my sights set to work with the brilliant Sam Barlow of Half Mermaid whose art-house game “Immortality” literally blew my conscious and subconscious mind. I’d jump into anything Naughty Dog and Neil Druckman had for me; same goes for the incredibly talented Tom Keegan. I adore the storytellers at Guerrilla Games and the video games devs in the Marvel and D.C. Universe; and last but certainly not least, would be the absolute honor of embodying a character inside any creation from the video game auteur himself, Hideo Kojima.
To make sure we don’t miss anything, you are also the head of Perfect Timing Productions. How did you get into production? What prompted you to take this path?
The simplest answer as to how I got into production is ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ I garnered my writing talents from my great grandfather, Nonno Gino who was an Italian playwright and also my mother, Diana, who is a beautiful writer. Artistic talents were passed down a long ancestral line of Italian family members, many who have thriving careers in the entertainment industry. I never set out to be a producer or start a production company, but there was a moment in my career when I knew I wanted to do more than what was being offered to me, more than what I had access to. It became abundantly clear that there was a glass ceiling I had to break through in order to subvert losing job opportunities to actresses with “bigger names.” So, I began writing, building a team, and started producing my own content whether it be television, web-series, short or feature length film, music video, or animation. What matters most is that I continue to create and produce the stories I am passionate about telling. Stories that reveal the truth about our human experience, challenge our worldview, and perhaps elevate our capacity for change. And I must say, it has been one of the most fulfilling ventures that I ever set out to accomplish. My production company, Perfect Timing Productions, continues to grow with 2023 already shaping up to be a very busy season.
We have several projects we’ve been nurturing that are ready to go into production. Two feature films: a dystopian sci-fi, horror-thriller entitled, Osiris co-written with my partner Nickolas Dimondi. A psychological-thriller horror fantasy drama entitled, Wake Me; a darkly comedic web-series entitled, Damsels co-created with my partner Amber Henley who also co-stars with me. We aim to release Damsels on Perfect Timing Productions YouTube channel and possibly Amazon Prime sometime in the Fall.
Last November, in celebration of God of War Ragnarök’s release, we premiered Song of the Valkyrie, a Norse Mythology inspired fantasy music film set to a cover of Lana Del Rey’s song, “Video Games.” This epic music video is a love letter to the God of War fans, Sony Santa Monica Studios, and my beloved role as Freya. Although the narrative is not from GOW Ragnarök, the suggestions in it might be POSSIBLE SPOILERS so please watch accordingly.
As a singer-songwriter, I plan to release another creative cover song, music video to Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” with my female trio, BLOOM (Rachel Krishna Anderson and Michelle Elliott Rearick) and continue writing songs for the projects I am in as well as remain open to any other musical endeavors that present themselves. I will always be learning and always be creating.
All of my projects can be found on YouTube Channel and our website
I can be found on all social media platforms @DanielleBisutti
Do you also have some secret “beauty routine”? Or particular hobbies?
Beauty routines are a vital way to nourish the body, mind, and soul. As important as it is to apply good products to the outside of our body, the foundation of everything is in how we nourish and take care of ourselves on the inside. I absolutely adore and cherish my self-care rituals and routines that keep me balanced, joyful, youthful, and operating in optimal health. Ever since I stood their enamored, watching the nightly skincare routine of both of my luminous grandmothers, I have maintained a thorough skincare regimen every night (and morning) with the most high-end skincare products that nourish, hydrate, and restore my skin.
This nightly routine takes about 15 minutes and I relish every second of it. Physically, right now it’s about building and maintaining my strength, endurance, agility, and flexibility in my body. I achieve this by working with my trainer, lifting weights, any form of dance, ballet barre, pilates, and yoga. I still enjoy cardio in the form of a low-impact spin class, stairs, walks in nature, hikes, and riding a bike but, I have discovered that too intense cardio brings me into an anaerobic state causing the stress hormone cortisol to spike which causes the body to store and produce fat. Also, skimping out on meals or skipping meals has the opposite effect.
Instead of losing calories, the body goes into starvation mode and holds onto fat because it doesn’t know the next time it will get sustenance.
I realized that food serves best as fuel to my body and the cleaner, more organic I eat, the better my body operates and performs. I love teas and tonics as much as I love a glass of wine or whiskey. I practice sporadic juice fasting and also practice dry months without alcohol or caffeine so that my body’s energy and wind-down cycles are restored to their natural state. The older I get, the more I realize smaller meals throughout the day keep my metabolism engaged and burning, like adding kindling to a fire. The result is a lean, healthy, energized body functioning at its optimal capacity. It feels good to elevate my heart rate, break a nice little sweat, and get my circulation going.
At any age, mental health matters most. My tenants for good mental health are: Sleep. Exercise. Meditation. Prayer. Self-Care. Pause. Rest. Nature. Gratitude journaling. Massage. Energy work. Breath work. Aromatherapy. Therapy. Somatic therapy. Mindfulness. Becoming present to my surroundings. My belief in God, a higher power that connects us all. Charity work. Being of Service. Random Acts of kindness. Showing up for the people I love. Family-time. Fun with friends. Nurturing my relationships and personal time as much as I do my creative career. Letting go. Travel. Learning something new. Speaking the truth even when it’s scary, hard, uncomfortable, painful, and having the grace, courage, and maturity to listen to someone else’s truth. I may not agree, and that’s okay. But when I listen, show compassion, and do my best to understand, or even have empathy for someone else’s experience, perhaps these are the first steps to shapeshifting the current state of our world. It starts with me. It starts with each of us. It takes doing the confronting and challenging inner work. Then choosing to do it every single day.
I aim to get 8-9 hours of sleep every night, to recharge my battery. If I don’t get that full cycle, I will take a nap. I operate on so many high functioning cylinders every single day with numerous creative projects and circle of family and friends that if I don’t get my rest, I am hurting the next day.
LATEST being primarily a fashion magazine, this question is always a must for us. Do you have any fashion brands that you particularly like, or that you think could represent you more?
Oh goodness, how does a self-proclaimed fashionista narrow this answer down? Being of Italian decent, my eye is always drawn to the great Italian couture designers, Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Dolce and Gabbana. In fact, my Nonna Renata Ferrare and Nonny Imperia Torinesi both worked for Gucci, so I have always felt destined to partner with them, perhaps in the near future.
Of course, I love the elegance and beauty of classic haute couture designers Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy; the clean lines and chic restraint of Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. When I think of my future wedding dress, I imagine Oscar de la Renta. I’m also equally enchanted by Monique Lhuillier, Galia Lahav, Marchesa and Vera Wang…it’s just ever since I was a little girl, Oscar captured my heart. I’m a woman who loves a dress and the iconic Halston, and Diane Von Furstenberg wear the crowns; for some creative edge I look to Balmain, Nassau, and 3.1 Philip Lim. For ready-to-wear my go-to’s are Karen Millen, All Saints, J-Crew, Banana Republic, Theory, Free People, Alice and Olivia, to name a few. For denim I love classic Levi’s for denim jackets along with Seven, Citizens of Humanity and J-Brand. For sporty wear I’m loving Puma, New Balance, Nike, Lululemon, Beyond Yoga and occasionally Target, in particular their “All in Motion,” “Future Collective,” and “Universal Thread” fashion lines.
As of late, I have been finding a lot of bold colors, cuts, and fashion statements at Express. In fact, I’ve worn Express to several of my PR events including the 2022 Game Awards and will wear them at the upcoming MCM Comic Con in London. Their fashion is getting a lot of love from my social media fan base. For the BAFTA’s in 2019, I wore a Jovani art deco black dress and loved it. This year at the BAFTA Games Awards I wore two dresses from Miami-based designer Ema Savahl for the nominee party and awards gala. Christian Louboutin is my favorite shoe designer and what I wore on the BAFTA Game Awards red carpet both in 2019 and 2023. So in summation: I feel Gucci and Louboutin are my couture representation and Express Clothing for accessible every day, ready-to-wear.
As the perfect eclectic person you are, you also sing! Received a Los Angeles Music Award for “Best Female Songwriter”. Your album “Glimmer” was nominated for AAA Album of the Year. What about music? Is it a future that you think you prefer or that you let it run hand in hand with everything else?
Music will always be my soul. It’s in me. It’s who I am. It is my second language. It is synonymous with my acting, my writing, my producing, and my directing. I’m either humming or singing a song if I’m not talking or being silent. I started writing songs as early as grammar school. I remember being utterly lost in math class, not knowing what the hell was going on because my right brain couldn’t comprehend what the left brain was so desperately trying to figure out. The song I penned that day was entitled, “Lost and Found.” Aptly named. At four years old, I started plunking out a Carole King song on my Nonna’s piano and that’s when my mom knew I had inherited both her and her mother’s musical talents. I have a catalog of songs up on iTunes and Spotify.
I’ve never been signed to a label, but that has always been a dream of mine. I am actively looking into getting a publishing deal and partner with a management team that can help place some of my songs in television and film. One of my favorite things to do is write songs inspired from movies that I am in and or from my character’s perspective. The right song or piece of music have served as a portal into the deep aspects of my character’s subconscious. I don’t have one particular genre that I write about. I just write whatever the muse inspires within me. I used to play out a lot with my band in my 20s and a little in my early 30s. It’s been a while since I played with a band on stage and sang my original music. I am known to belt out a few songs at karaoke or sing with a fun cover-bands, but it’s been a while since I’ve gotten my original music out there.
My most recent original song, The Blue Rose, was inspired by the enigmatic femme fatale character, “Norma Steele,” I play in an upcoming film noir, fantasy, horror-drama feature film entitled, The Blue Rose, executive produced by Jay Von Hoy (The Witch, The Lighthouse), and Tracie Lynn, and produced by Athena Pictures. The film was written and directed by the very talented George Baron who co-stars alongside Olivia Scott Welch (Fear Street, Lucky Hank). My song will be featured in the film score’s overture brilliantly composed by Alexander Burke. Music will always go hand-in-hand with everything I create and will be a part of me until my very last song.