A University of Mississippi alumna has a role in the eighth season premiere of the CBS drama “CSI: NY,” which airs Friday (Sept. 23).
Haley Strode, who earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre arts in 2007, co-stars in the crime drama, which flashes back to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York. While her appearance will be brief, the actress described the scene as intense. The show airs at 9 p.m. on CBS affiliates.
“As you can imagine, it is very heavy and emotional,” Strode said. “This was my first dramatic role since moving to L.A. three-and-a-half years ago, which is why it is such a milestone for me.”
The Kentucky native is enjoying a rush of success lately. She has lead roles in three independent films scheduled for release next year and a co-starring role in “Pack of Wolves,” a network pilot for the Disney Channel. She also narrated a film that was screened at the internationally acclaimed Sundance Film Festival.
“2011 has been an incredible year and I have been so blessed with work, I don’t know where to start,” Strode said. “I’ve done many commercials that have helped pay for my life, and have always been thankful for those. But the jobs on Comedy Central were the first that I can remember that changed my life.”
While performing sketch comedy on several different shows, including “Root of all Evil,” “Mind of Mencia” and a recurring role on “Important Things with Demetri Martin”, she landed her first supporting role in a feature film. In a case of art at least partially imitating life, Strode plays a naive girl from Kentucky in that film, “LAs Angeles.”
“The role was originally written for a girl from Ohio, but I opted to try it my way for the director and he loved it,” she said. “This was a very exciting moment for me, being that it was my first film.”
Strode returned to Oxford this summer to shoot “Bent Prism,” a feature film written and directed by Jim Shollenberger, retired chair and professor of theatre arts at UM. While filming, she received an offer to play Giovanni Ribisi’s wife in a 1940s drama titled “The Gangster Squad.” The cast also includes Oscar-winner Sean Penn and Oscar nominees Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Josh Brolin.
“Everyone has their own way, their own road to achieve what they want in this profession,” Strode said. “Mine has been, needless to say, incredibly interesting.”
Strode fondly recalls her days as a UM student and expressed gratitude for the Ole Miss experience.
“I had heard wonderful things about the theatre department, and I felt like Oxford was the perfect town to have the full ‘college experience’ in a town filled with tradition, school pride, unity and mostly Southern charm,” Strode said. “After starting school, I quickly realized I was in the right place. We had an incredible staff of professors that gave me my foundation as an actor and so much more.”
For more information about Haley Strode, visit Haley Strode’s Website. For more information about UM’s Department of Theatre Arts’ season, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/theatre_arts/omt/season/schedule.htmlor call 662-915-5816.