For the first time in Kayleigh Shuler’s career she will play the lead on a film project.
With her parents in the industry, Shuler has devoted her career in performance. The athletic and musically talented actress has appeared on stage in titles including Speakeasy: John and Jane’s Adventures, Sesame Street Live!: Let’s Dance, A Christmas Carol, and others. On film she appeared in a supporting role in an NYU Tisch Student Film titled Breaking News before landing her gig in After Oil.
Discovering the webseries on Backstage.com, Shuler showed up to audition for the role only to find out she arrived on the wrong date, eventually discovering she input an incorrect date on her calendar. Disappointed, but not deterred, she emailed the director to see if there was anything she could do. The director granted her an opportunity to send in a video file that night. She did, and after getting the role the rest was history.
This drama webseries, co-directed by Jessica Naftaly and Shailyn Cotten, explores a world without oil where Briar Dunlap (Melina Brown) is trying to keep her family and town afloat in the fictional Pahokee, Pennsylvania. She’s later confronted by a group of corporate oil moguls that come to town and pose as a threat to Briar’s way of life and the town’s future.
In addition to the plot, what attracted Shuler to the role was playing character Sarah Hammond.
Hammond is described as a “country girl” living in a post-apocalyptic world who is tough, stubborn and strong willed.
“I was interested to find out why she’s like that,” Shuler said.
In the pilot someone will go missing and tension will rise keeping viewers on the edge of their seats, says Shuler.
“It’s so good,” she said.
As an actress who goes all in and never questions what she’s asked to do, Shuler says she’s enjoyed working with her co-lead Melina Brown who approaches going about her character the very same way.
In After Oil there’s an emotional scene between co-leads Shuler and Brown.
“I love becoming another person and sharing good stories,” Shuler said, “[and] to be connected with somebody in this other world.”
The premier screening of the pilot will be held the first weekend of May at Dusty Film and Animations Festival at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. For updates and specific times check Shuler’s website: kayleighshuler.com. To help fund this project this series has set up a GoFundMe page.
“It’s a really good project with really good people,” Shuler said.
By Gino Terrell