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'Hollywood Dreams' exaggeration of herself

Mason City Globe Gazette
Mary Pieper
Sunday, January 2, 2005

Tanna Frederick didn't have a problem relating to the character she plays in her latest file, "Hollywood Dreams."

Margie Chizek is a young woman from Mason City who goes to Hollywood hoping for a career in the movies - just like Frederick.

"It's an exaggeration of myself and my own neurosis," said Frederick, who came back to Mason City shortly before Christmas for two weeks of well-earned rest after shooting was completed on the romantic comedy in Los Angeles. "It's a relief to be able to laugh at yourself."

But the character and the actress are not exactly one and the same. Frederick, the daughter of David and Nancy Frederick of Mason City, said she likes to think she is "more grounded" than Margie.

"Hollywood Dreams" explores what drives people to leave home and seek fame, according to Frederick, who helped director Henry Jaglom develop the script

The character of Margie is obsessed with old movies, which led to script references to another Mason City native Meredith Willson and "The Music Man."

In "Hollywood Dreams," Margie talks a lot about her Grandmother Chizek, who is based on Frederick's real-life grandmother, Marge Frederick, who used to dream of becoming a singer in Minneapolis. When her granddaughter was acting in plays at Stebens Children's Theatre and Mason City High School, "she was always there," Frederick said.

While Frederick's character's first name is derived from her paternal grandmother, the last name is taken from her maternal grandmother, Irene Chizek.

In a telephone interview with the Globe Gazette, Jaglom said he knew Frederick would be good in the part, "but I had no idea she would be this sensational."

Her transitions between comic scenes and dramatic, emotional ones are seamless, according to Jaglom.

He said the character of Margie always was going to be a girl from Iowa coming to Hollywood, but once Frederick was cast, the focus of the film shifted to Margie's reaction to Hollywood because of what Frederick brought to the part.

When shooting a film, crew members usually go about their business and don't pay much attention to the actors' performances, according to Jaglom. That all changed when it came to Frederick.

"They stopped each time and watched her," he said.

The producers and other directors who visited the set also paid attention.

"There was a huge buzz in this town about her," he said.

Jaglom called "Hollywood Dreams" the most exciting film he has ever been involved in. Part of it is the story itself, which reminds him of "the dream of movies." But part of it is Frederick.

"The cameras just love her," he said.

The movie won't open until December 2005, but Jaglom already is thinking about a follow-up. He wants to make a movie called "Iowa Nights" that follows Frederick's character back to her home state. Jaglom wants to film it in Iowa.

Jaglom said he also would love to have a premiere showing of "Hollywood Dreams" in Mason City. Having grown up in New York City and spent most of his adult life in Los Angeles, he wants to see what Christmastime in the Heartland looks like.

Frederick also would love to see the movie premiere in her hometown.

"Mason City means the world to me," she said.

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