Q'Orianka Kilcher

Actress
Often when an actor or actress makes a sudden appearance on the Hollywood stage, they're immediately proclaimed to be an overnight success. The reality is usually the opposite-they have toiled in thankless parts for ... Read more »
Born: 02/10/1990 in Germany

Filmography

Actor (12)

Blaze You Out 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Got the Facts on Milk? 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Birthday Boys 2013 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Power of Few 2013 (Movie)

Alexa (Actor)

Firelight 2011 - 2012 (TV Show)

Actor

Longmire 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Princess Kaiulani 2010 (Movie)

Princess Kaiulani (Actor)

Sons of Anarchy 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

The People Speak 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)

Actor

The New World 2005 (Movie)

Pocahontas (Actor)

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2000 (Movie)

Little Choir Member (Actor)

Neverland (Movie)

(Actor)

Biography

Often when an actor or actress makes a sudden appearance on the Hollywood stage, they're immediately proclaimed to be an overnight success. The reality is usually the opposite-they have toiled in thankless parts for many years. But for actress Q'Orianka (kor-e-ahn-ka) Kilcher, her sudden rise indeed occurred virtually overnight.

With only one small role in a major motion picture under her belt, Kilcher was unexpectedly cast in the lead role of legendary Native American princess, Pocahontas, in Terrence Malick's ambitious "New World" (2005). After a casting call that used 13 casting directors worldwide auditioning over 800 actresses, Kilcher, who was right under the noses in Los Angeles, eventually got the part. Though wary of her young age-she was only 14 at the time of auditions-the filmmakers were impressed with Kilcher's maturity and discipline atop her considerable skills-qualities that will have assured the actress a considerable future in Hollywood.

Part Quechua/Hunchipaire Indian and part Swiss, Kilcher was born in Germany and raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. She moved to the states with her mom and two older brothers when she was about five. Kilcher caught the acting bug around the same age-she sat in on her mom's acting classes and quickly fell in love with memorizing everyone's lines. She also was interested in singing, and even competed on the Ed McMahon version of "Star Search" (Syndicated, 1983-1995) but did not score a victory.

Kilcher then began singing alongside other street performers on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica until the family's music and sound equipment was stolen from their van. The Los Angeles Times ran a front page story that attracted the attention of an agent at William Morris, who in turn offered to help the 9-year-old get auditions for films. A year later, Kilcher landed her first feature role in the hyperkinetic "Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000), Ron Howard's leaden attempt to channel Terry Gilliam, minus the humor and charm. Her role as a Little Choir Member went virtually unnoticed.

Following her brief big screen debut, Kilcher continued to go on auditions, mainly for older characters-a daunting challenge because the competition were usually older actresses vying for a younger part. She auditioned for Steven Spielberg's miniseries, "Into the West" (TNT, 2005), but failed to get the part. The casting director saw Kilcher's headshot on a table and thought she looked like an Indian Julia Roberts. Kilcher was suggested for Malick's upcoming epic, "The New World." After a grueling string of 15-20 auditions, Kilcher landed the part that changed her life and made her an overnight sensation. Her performance as the famed Native American princess who falls in love with British explorer John Smith (Colin Farrell) after saving him from execution earned the young actress critical kudos and the bright glare of the spotlight. And much like her stunning performance, Kilcher handled the adulation will grace, skill and gravitas. On the heels of her success, she began entertaining numerous offers and even expressed interest in action films because she was studying wushu kung fu.

EDUCATION

Musicians Institute of Hollywood

attended on scholarship

Milestones

2005

At the age of 14, was cast as the legendary Pocahontas in Terrence Malick's "The New World" opposite Colin Farrell as John Smith

2000

Professional acting debut, playing a wee Who in the town of Whoville in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

Raised in Honolulu

Moved to Los Angeles with family to pursue a music career

Bonus Trivia

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A descendant from South American Huachipaeri and Quechua tribes

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Name translates to "golden eagle" in Quechua

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"He was always watching out for me. Since I was little, I was a perfectionist, and Colin taught me acting wasn't about being perfect…. An actor should never take themselves too seriously. It took a burden off my shoulders." Still, she says, playing Pocahontas was an emotional roller coaster for her. "I was so lost," she says. "I would go from totally distraught to bouncing around the woods very happy. Luckily, Colin was there to guide me."---Kilcher, on working with Colin Farrell to Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2005.

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Kilcher was arrested at the White House on June 1, 2010, for tying herself to a fence while her mother Saskia poured a black substance over her body. Both women reportedly told officials they were objecting to an upcoming visit from Alan Garcia, president of Peru. She was charged with disorderly conduct, her mother with defacing government property, and ordered to appear in Washington, D.C., Superior Court on June 9.

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