For now, most have only seen 16-year-old Sami Gayle co-starring as Tom Selleck's precocious but sensitive granddaughter in CBS' acclaimed drama Blue Bloods. However, the Weston, Florida-raised actress is on the cusp of a major breakout in films. Next year will see her sharing the screen in a sci-fi thriller with Paul Giamatti (The Congress) and an action flick with Nicolas Cage (Medallion). But her introduction on the big screen arrives in a much-anticipated independent film: Detachment.
The film's director Tony Kaye burst onto the indie scene in 1998 as the director of American History X, a film about a Neo-Nazi skinhead that helped make Edward Norton a star. Detachment is Kaye's first feature since, so naturally, anticipation is at a peak. Kaye found Gayle working on Broadway and cast her as a teenage prostitute in his long overdue follow-up.
Starring and co-produced by Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, the film
offers a grim look at the generational divide between today's youth and
the teachers trying to reach them. Speaking over the phone ahead of her
visit to the Miami Beach Cinematheque, where Gayle will introduce the
film and participate in a Q&A, Gayle says, "We're really trying to
promote the film and promote the message of the film, which we think is
very strong and socially relevant in today's society."
As can be
expected from Kaye, Detachment features some heavy subject matter: issues of sexuality, bullying, and abuse. The MPAA has not
rated the movie. However, Gayle thinks a more mature young audience can
handle the film. "I think that, ultimately, that's up to the parents,"
she notes, "but I think that the message the film gives of parental
guidance and about the effect that a teacher can have on a student's
life, as well as the flaws in the public education system and the good
things about the public education system -- I think it's good for kids to
Detachment marks Gayle's first experience in a feature
film. Shot two years ago, she still relies on many lessons she learned
working with Brody. "Every single day, Adrien said to me, going into a
scene, 'It has to be you and me against the world in this scene,' and
what he taught me is the importance of intimacy between the actors in a
scene ... I think Adrien is such a present actor that it was easy to
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portray the feelings that I had to portray in the film."
Gayle will introduce Detachment tonight at the Miami Beach Cinematheque at 8:45 p.m. The film will be followed by a Q&A session with Gayle. Tickets cost $8 to $10. Visit mbcinema.com.