CHARACTER PROFILE: Melany Benheimer (Played by Julia Prager)
The third character in this CHARACTER PROFILE series (the others were Ezra and Henry) is Melany Benheimer played by Julia Prager. Melany is the 10 year old daughter of the family. Melany has been spoiled her whole life, and knows how to manipulate her parents to get what she wants. She follows their rules, and trusts their views on things – as long as it means she stays on their good side and continues to get praise and love from them. She has watched her alienated older brother Marc continually distance himself from the rest of the family, and as a result – he doesn’t get whatever he wants. Melany has made her decision – sacrifice exploration outside of the rules for comfort and love from her parents. Melany is really a product of her environment. She simply has made the environment start to work for her. She loves to mess with her brother Marc in whatever way she can. She knows how to push his buttons, and will go out of her way to find that reaction she’s looking for.
This character was based on a couple of people that I know well and was a character I was very excited to see come to life. Julia Prager was one of the first girls to audition for this role, and her natural delivery of the lines really impressed me. Julia is a young and extremely talented actor that pulls her performance from a very genuine place. She listened to feedback, asked questions to help herself understand the character, and was very determined throughout the whole film. I had never worked with a young child in a film, except for my previous film “Frank’s Mug” which had a very brief scene with a young girl in a non-speaking role. Working with Julia to help her understand her character was an really insightful process. Julia never seemed nervous, and her acting through the production just seemed to come naturally. Julia is only 8 years old, but wise beyond her years. I’m confident she will have a great career in acting as long as she remains interested in it, and I can’t wait to see her in future productions.
Julia answered a few questions about her character and her experience on “Nuclear Family“:
JULIA: The fact that I already have an older annoying brother who plays piano.
Q: How would you describe your character? Any similarities to yourself or someone you know that you found to draw on?
Q: What was your favorite moment on set?
JULIA: Hanging out with the other actors.
JULIA: I had so much fun! I hope for Nuclear Family 2!
Julia started acting at age 2 putting on puppet shows and dancing around the house. Since then she progressed and has become an actor at Julia Morgan’s Berkeley Playhouse theater. As well as a dancer at Genesis Dance school in San Francisco. She performs with Dancing with the Stars champions yearly at The Zellerbach Hall. Julia loves writing and reading. She appeared at various TV and commercial productions. She is an avid traveler. Russia, Thailand, Bali, Jamaica, Mexico, France and Italy are some of the places she has been!