Daily updates from the first annual AFI DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Target, founding sponsor Victory Park, March 22 to April 1, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Actor's Corner: Leyla Milani, WRESTLEMANIAC


Jesse Baget's WRESTLEMANIAC (screening Friday 3/30 at 12:00PM and Saturday 3/31 at 9:45PM) lets you know immediately that it intends to scare you, gross you out, be in-your-face inappropriate and make you laugh. And educational? Well, you just might learn a little something about the Dirty Sanchez and Mexican Wrestling too.

Leyla Milani plays one of the cast members of a low budget soft core porn film that stumble on to the stomping grounds of a murderous psychopathic wrestler. And her tools for survival include a few talents not usually placed at the top of an adult starlet's resume.

Like her character, Milani is also quite the driven multi-talent, moving from acting roles to modeling/hosting (Deal or No Deal) to designing her own line of jeans.

Q: Were you a fan of horror films before you were cast in WRESTLEMANIAC?

A: Growing up, I can't say I was really a fan. Actually, up until WRESTLEMANIAC I was pretty afraid to see them. I don't know - something about the heart-stopping sound-effects and not knowing what's going to pop on the screen at any time. It just was never an enjoyable thing for me to watch. However, starring in WRESTLEMANIAC and taking on the bad guy definitely gave me the courage not only be able to watch horror films but now to enjoy them too.

Q: When no one was looking, did you ever try on one of the Mexican wrestling masks?

A: Don't tell anyone. But yes I tried all of them, but with my big hair it didn't look too good so I put them back like a good girl!

Q: For you, what is harder as an actress - get the laugh or convincingly act like you are frightened?

A: Probably frightened because you really have to dig deep to find that source of your fear. I think getting the laugh is easier for me because I'm just so comfortable and free when playing comedy roles. In my case, my source of fear was being wet in the freezing cold (mid-November), late at night (most of my scenes were at night) up in Valencia, CA! That was probably my source of fear and agony. But after seeing the final product, it was well worth it!

Q: If the two of us are on a road rip and the car breaks down, are you going to be more help getting the car started again or getting some guy to pick us up and give us a ride into town?

A: My character, Dallas, is quite the mechanic. I think I learned a thing or two about fixing cars from that scene alone. But realistically, I think Leyla would be better at finding someone else to fix the problem.

Q: What is the most money you have had in your case on Deal or No Deal? And did you have to use an armed escort to make it out of the studio that day?

A: Well, the top amount usually is $1 million. However, during our premier week early in the year the top amount was something like $3 million or $4 million and I ended up having it in my case. The contestant's heart was broken. But what can I say it's a game show. Luckily, no armed escorts were necessary.

Q: You were also a finalist in the WWE Raw Diva search. What is it with you and wrestling all the time? Can't you just be reasonable and talk things out once and awhile?

A: Well, wrestlers try to "talk it out" every once but that usually ends up turning into a good round of smack-talking followed by a full on battle in the ring. So the answer to your question: No! We gotta get right down physical to prove a point. Speaking of wrestling I can be seen in a series of commercials for (RAW-FANNATION) currently airing on the USA networks.

Q: You have your own line of jeans - Leyla Jeans Couture - which one can find at Forever 21 stores. Did you start the line because you wanted to start your own business or because you couldn't find jeans that flattered your assets well enough?

A: Flattered my assets. That's funny. Actually, that was exactly why I launched my own line, because I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and had always had a challenge finding the right fit. Leyla Jeans Couture is actually on hold for the time being as I'm focusing solely on my acting/hosting and briefcase handling career.

Q: Just between us, in real life - could you take Rey Misterio’s mask in a fair fight?

A: With my female charms - yes any day!

Milani will appear at the film's opening night screening on Friday, March 30th.

By John Wildman, Staff Writer