Lewis can currently be seen as Pam Deluca in the comedy ½ New Year, about a tight knit group of friends letting loose once a year at their annual Half New Year Party. Last year, things took an unexpected turn. Now, one year later, the group has not been the same. Unable to keep up the lies they've told and the relationships they may have outgrown, this family they chose may be on its last legs. The film won the Audience Choice Award at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival and its distributed by Comedy Dynamics. It is available now on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.
Question: Can you tell us about ½ New Year?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: 1/2 New Year is an indie film with heart about a group of young people in their 20s who come to Hollywood, not necessarily for the entertainment industry but to live the life… Live their best life… Live their dreams… Live that excitement that we all grow up watching in movies, and yet, it is not always that simple. And it's not always that glamorous or fun, and we see how these relationships and people are glued together. I think the tagline sums it up best: "friends are the family you get to choose", and that is the tagline for a reason. So, it's about a group of friends that goes through the ups and downs of young life in Hollywood, and they learn that all you really have is love and friendship. I play Pam DeLuca… Reed DeLuca (Drew McAnany) the star's big sister, and the film displays how sometimes we have family out here that is far away from our biological family, and it's what we go through and the support we need to get from the worst of times to the best of times. It's very 80s throwback and I think that's what I love so much about it. The film released in the USA on all TV On Demand and has just been released on Amazon Prime.
Question: What inspired you about the film ½ New Year?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: ½ New Year is one of those precious gems of an indie film project that took years to create from inception through distribution. I met our star, writer, and producer, Drew McAnany (Reed DeLuca), in Hollywood over 10 years ago. Drew originally started out hosting in LA, and he was working at E! Entertainment when he interviewed me on the Red Carpet. He asked me about Philly, and we quickly bonded during that meeting, so he really became like a little brother to me. Like so many young actors in Hollywood, Drew was fighting to get a break for himself as an actor, so he created ½ New Year as a vehicle for himself to star in. He also wrote the role of his big sister, Pam DeLuca (from Philly), for me to act in. We had worked through a few years of table reads and different directors and producers, then Georgia Menides jumped onboard and helped re-write the script, then became the producer who made this happen. Along with producer Zach Block, they hired Tom Morash as our director to creatively guide this project.
Question: How would you describe your character, Pam DeLuca?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: I am honored and grateful to have had Pam DeLuca written specifically for me. I think that is something every actor and actress wants in their careers. Pam is in her 30s, and a bit older than her brother Reed and his friends. They are Italian from South Philly, so they argue, but are very close. Pam is part of the gang, but she is like the "mother hen" to them. Her journey is about protecting her brother and giving guiding advice to the girls they hang out with, including the gorgeous leads, played by Bo Youngblood, Shanley Caswell and Rebecca Vinagro. She also likes to have flings with Reed's young, handsome buddies, including Marty (played by Jermain Alverez Martin). Pam is an on-screen example of what we go through in "Hollywood" life… she is single and all about her career, she loves to party and doesn't want to grow up!
Question: Are you similar to the role of Pam DeLuca in any way?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: Oh yes! I am similar to Pam DeLuca in many ways. Pam IS me, but a lot more over-the-top (laughs)! In fact, many would say she is a caricature of me and my Italian girlfriends in Philly in our teens… the "big hair", makeup, "off the shoulder" shirts… Yup! She is sassy, mouthy, smart, loves to have fun and makes no apologies for it. She is a prime example of someone in Hollywood who doesn't get caught up in tradition, like myself in real life, who isn't one of those women who is like, "I need to be married by 30. I need to have two kids by 35. I need to… need to… need to," and she is just living that youthful, fun LA lifestyle. Yet, she's really responsible with her job and so on and so forth, and able to give wise advice to those who need it.
Question: What was the best part about being on set for ½ New Year?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: The best part was working with this exceptional cast and crew, with so much heart and art! I had a blast working on every single scene I was in! I can honestly say that…With all my scenes with Drew, playing brother and sister and really being in the moment. Drew and I, in real life, have a very clear younger brother/older sister dynamic, and it really translated on screen. Also, my scenes with Jermaine, I loved every one of them. Jermaine was such an open young actor to work with. We rehearsed a lot. He was so open to doing that, which really helps you fine-tune the moments and the beats, and we got to do that. We were able to have it all on lock by the time the camera shot. I do want to shout out to the readers, to make sure you do not fast-forward and to make sure you watch my favorite scenes which are: the bathroom scene (with Reed, Pam and Marty) and also a laundry room scene with Marty and Pam… hilarious! But, I also love the moments with the girls and everyone, and it was really truly one of the most memorable films I have ever worked on. A true labor of love for us all!
Question: Do you usually celebrate 1/2 New Year with a party?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: Only when Drew has his ½ New Year bashes! And, from what he tells me, we will be having an "epic" ½ New Year bash for 2020!!! So, you know all your Australian readers are welcome to join us… book those flights now (laughs)! And, if you cannot make it, just remember to make your ½ New Year resolutions on the eve of June 30, 2020!
Question: What inspired your passion for writing?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: I think a section right from my book Coaching From A Professed Hot Mess says it best: "Life can be crazy! So, in 2016, I chose to embrace my "crazy" and use my blessed and beautiful bedside table book to profess..."I am a HOT MESS!" Yup...I said it, rock it and OWN IT! Now, being an Actress, Life Coach and Dating Expert in the public eye, some may think I am really "crazy" sharing this with the world! I know some of you are thinking (and, judging!) that a Board Certified Life and Dating Coach, professional and working actress should not "air her dirty laundry." Well, I cannot tell you how good it feels to be self-aware enough to admit and embrace my "flaws." Along with my strengths, my "flaws" and weaknesses make me vulnerable, special and unique. I also believe that by sharing my HOT MESS quirks with you, it will support you in embracing your HOT MESS quirks, too! Let's break the 'rules' and stop chasing "perfection." It gets tiring trying to be "perfect" all the time, doesn't it? I have felt a great sense of joy and accomplishment writing this and I only hope that something I share on the pages to come, helps, supports or inspires you in some way. There is something valuable in these pages for everyone. You will find advice and tips for Life, Love, Female Empowerment, LGBT Support, Self-esteem, Body Image, Bullying, Ageism, Dating and Online Dating. If one thing I coach helps you, this was worth all the frustration. If you only read one chapter that speaks to you, this was worth it. If you keep this book on your bedside table to turn to when you need a tip or reminder, this was worth it. If you learn to love your body, no matter what number is on the scale, this was worth it. If you learn to face your fears, this was worth it. If you feel compelled to get back out there and date after a breakup or divorce, this was worth it. If you choose to try online dating, this was worth it. If you learn to honor yourself and your choices, no matter what (flaws and all!), this was worth it. And, last, but not least, if you accept coaching and advice from a professed HOT MESS, this was so worth it!"
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: "Typical"? I'm sorry, whatever do you mean? Did you mean "crazy"? Joking aside, there is nothing typical about this life. I work about 15 hours per day and that includes… social media, auditions, director and producer meetings, TV pitch meetings, production, filming, coaching, press, premieres, red carpet events, interviews, writing, expert interviews, charity meetings, charity events, philanthropic work, working with my acting and life coaches to stay "sane", and finally spending some time catching up with my husband before passing out!
Question: What's next for you?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: I am excited and grateful to share that I just wrapped filming two more incredible projects! We spent the month of December in Reno, Nevada filming the TV Pilot Stripped, written and directed by Marc Clebanoff, in honor of the late TV star, Kristoff St. John. A lil bite for the readers: Chris Cameron (Casper Van Dien) is a network TV titan who falls from grace when he vouches for the wrong friend. Now, on the other end of a two-year prison stint, Chris is back and ready to reclaim his place as the star of the hottest show on TV. The only problem is - he's become uninsurable and the networks won't touch him, forcing Chris and his sharkish power agent Neil (Frank Krueger) to start back at the beginning. With debts piled high, and under the influence of his unconventional publicist Jules (Brooke Lewis Bellas), Chris Cameron falls into moonlighting as a stripper at one of the most exclusive clubs in LA, as he navigates the trenches of life, love and the biz. The once Hollywood "Golden Boy" turned Hollywood "Bare Boy". This TV Pilot comedy, drama stars Casper Van Dien, Brooke Lewis Bellas, Frank Krueger and S. E. Perry, with a stellar supporting cast that includes Louis Mandylor, Jennifer Wenger, Dat Phan, Jessica Morris, Larry Hankin, Gary W. O'Neal, and Suze Lanier-Bramlett.
The other project I just wrapped is another fabulous indie film gem The Second Age of Aquarius, written by Staci Layne Wilson and Darren Gordon Smith and directed by Staci Layne Wilson. A lil bite: Ever wonder what it would be like to bring your favorite dead rock star back to life? Alberta certainly has. Since she was a kid, she's dreamed of a world where ultimate 60s rock icon Russell Aquarius was still alive and writing songs just for her. Now a successful computer programmer, she takes her fandom and wishful thinking a step further and makes a Russell Aquarius avatar. Her loneliness and a freak power outage give her more than she bargains for when sparks fly not just in her computer, but also in reality when Russell's avatar comes to life. This comedy, sci-fi film stars Christina Jacqueline Calph as Alberta Stevens and Michael Ursu as Russell Aquarius, and features Brooke Lewis Bellas, Keeshan Giles, Martin Olsen, Nancy Long, Richard Trejo, and Jeffrey Henderson.
Question: Can you share your socials, with us?
Brooke Lewis Bellas: @brookelewisla
Facebook Fan Page
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photographer: Birdie Thompson
Hair & Makeup: Allison Noelle