Shalom Life | July 08, 2014

She's All That

Canadian actress Samantha Gutstadt chats with Shalom Life.

By: Christal Gardiola

Published: March 20th, 2010 in Culture » Film » Interviews

When Canadian Jewish actress Samantha Gutstadt is not busy shooting scenes, auditioning for roles, hosting the Sundance Film Festival or taping commercials, she is producing short films.

Her behind-the-scenes body of work includes Skate Date and Shiva. Gutstadt also has another one on the way called Marion’s Will, which she will co-produce with 18 to Life writer Skander Halim. But while she dabbles on many projects, Gutstadt said, “I’m an actor at heart. It’s my passion. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid.” At five years old, Gutstadt booked her first gig at a kid’s fashion show. Since then, she took classes and landed her first commercial at 19 years old for Bell Mobility. Gutstadt has also starred in TV ads for Kellogg's, General Mills, Toyota and Sprite.

Her resume also includes acting in various films, including Shark City, where Gutstadt worked with the late Corey Haim. The actress said she enjoyed working with Haim and describes him as “nice, gentle and sweet-natured.” The two kept in touch even after filming the movie. The night of his death, Gutstadt sent Haim a text message after a producer friend told her that Haim has a TV project under wraps. She congratulated him and extended an invitation to celebrate Passover. Haim never replied and Gutstadt woke up the next morning to hear the bad news. “He’s a great guy,” she said. “His career was taking off again and his life was cut short very tragically.”

Like Haim, Gutstadt is also from Toronto. She was raised in Richmond Hill and North York and grew up in a tight-knit Jewish community. Upon moving to Los Angeles, the actress admitted that it was difficult at first to stay connected with fellow Jews because people were more spread out. But after attending events, she eventually connected with the local Jewish community.

Not surprisingly, her religious background has influenced some of her ideas, most notably Shiva. The feature film is about a Jewish woman going to shivas in search for true love. Gutstadt shared it’s a true to life story that her step-grandfather witnessed when he was widowed. He encountered a woman who would bring casseroles to shivas and flirt with widowed men. Gutstadt immediately thought it could manifest into a great plot. She said, “I thought, ‘oh my God, there’s actually a woman wedding crasher. Only, she goes to shivas.’”

Gutstadt admits her Jewish background will always be a part of her work. “It’s like being part of a club. It’s the world that I know,” she said. “It’s always good to do work about a world that you know.” But she doesn’t want to limit herself to Jewish roles. She dreams of nabbing a lead role in a comedy movie or working alongside Ryan Gosling or Anthony Hopkins or playing a cop on TV or getting Marion’s Will off the ground. Either way, Gutstadt is staying true to her multi-tasking personality while working towards fulfilling her passion for acting.

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