Marley Eve Shelton (born April 12, 1974) is an American film and television actress. Since Shelton made her professional acting debut in 1991, she has starred in a variety of film genres, including several commercial and studio features, indie and art house films.
Shelton officially started her professional acting career in 1991 with a brief appearance in the drama Grand Canyon, which was followed by roles in motion pictures such as The Sandlot (1993), Nixon (1995), Warriors of Virtue, and Trojan War (1997). She had a supporting part in Pleasantville (1998) and starred in the black comedy Sugar & Spice and the horror film Valentine in 2001; later, she found recognition after appearing in the neo-noir thriller Sin City (2005) and the double feature Grindhouse (2007). Other notable movies include Never Been Kissed (1999), Bubble Boy (2001), Don't Come Knocking (2005), American Dreamz (2006) and W. (2008).
Shelton portrayed the main character in the CBS television show Eleventh Hour, which ran for one season from 2008 to 2009. She then focused on smaller-scale and independent projects such as (Untitled) (2009), Elektra Luxx (2010), and The Mighty Macs (2011), before appearing in the slasher sequel Scream 4 (2011). She had a part in the indie drama Decoding Annie Parker (2014) and returned to television in the short-lived Lifetime show The Lottery. She recently filmed Solace, slated to be released theatrically in late 2015.
Shelton was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Carol (née Stromme), a teacher and former singer, and Christopher Shelton, a director and producer. She is the second of four children; her sisters are Koren, Erin and Samantha Shelton (who is also an actress and a musician). She grew up in the residential neighborhood of Eagle Rock, where she attended Eagle Rock High School. Shelton attended University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in Film and Theatre. She studied with acting coach Larry Moss and also with Robert Carnegie, while supporting her career through mainly small parts in film and television in the early 1990s. Despite this, Shelton dropped out when she was cast in a leading role in the adventure film Warriors of Virtue.
1990–1997: Early acting roles
She made her on-screen debut as Roberto's girlfriend at camp in Grand Canyon. She subsequently appeared in 1992's television movie Up to No Good playing Denise Harmon, and had several guest-appearances in episodes of shows such as Family Matters, Camp Wilder and Crossroads. Shelton found her profile raised significantly when she appeared in the 1993 film The Sandlot, playing the lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn. The movie received mixed feedback from critics and writers and, budgeted at $7 million, proved to be a moderate box office success with a worldwide gross of over $33 million. The movie has since become a cult favorite. In 1994, she had a supporting part in Hercules in the Underworld, the fourth made-for-television movie in the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The following year, she was cast in a minor role, as former President Nixon's adult daughter Tricia Nixon Cox, in Oliver Stone's acclaimed film Nixon, and guest-appeared in the television series Cybill episode "The Big Sleep-Over". Shelton next co-starred alongside Lynda Carter in When Friendship Kills (1996), a made-for-television film about anorexia nervosa among teens. She appeared opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt in the romantic comedy Trojan War (1997), a box office bomb. Shelton landed a role in 1997's fantasy film Warriors of Virtue, as Princess Elysia. The movie was not screened from critics and failed at the box office. James Berardinelli gave the film a negative review, however, stated that her character is "the only one in the film that we develop any real interest in, and the script, apparently unable to deal with a personality having the potential to display more than one dimension, discards her perfunctorily and inelegantly".
1998–2007: Breakthrough and mainstream films
Her first major role came in 1998 with the fantasy comedy Pleasantville, in which she portrayed Margaret, the love interest of Tobey Maguire's character. Though the movie was not a commercial success, it received an extremely positive reaction from film critics. This role was followed by a number of other appearances in films aimed at a teenage audience, including her role as a member of a snobby high school clique in 1999's Never Been Kissed and The Bachelor. Never Been Kissed was a romantic comedy co-starring Drew Barrymore and David Arquette that opened to favorable reviews while it was also a commercial success with a $84 million gross on a production budget of $25 million. The Bachelor was another comedy in which Renee Zellweger co-starred. The movie received mainly negative reviews and grossed $36 million, well below its budget $51 million. Despite the unfavorable reaction, Shelton received praise from critic Dustin Putman who wrote in his review that she "gives the only likable supporting performance". She also played one of the lead characters alongside Dennis Hopper in the independent drama Lured Innocence, and was cast by her father in the short Protect-O-Man, a black comedy released in 1999 about "an agoraphobic whose disorder is augmented by a stalker on the prowl in her neighborhood", as described by Cinema Review.
Shelton got her first starring role in the dark comedy Sugar & Spice, which premiered in early 2001. The motion picture was a commercial failure and drew average critical reactions. Her part, however, had a better reception from writers; while Brendan Kelly of Variety magazine found the actress "good" as "the ridiculously peppy but still smart Diane", Anthony Leong for Mediacircus.net noted the she was "likeable in her role, though a bit bland". Brian Orndorf, describing her role, wrote for Film Fodder: "The star who emerges from "Spice" unscathed is Marley Shelton. She achieves the unthinkable with this script by managing to create somewhat of a character for herself. A clear-eyed beauty, Shelton steals the film away from the sizable cast. She emerges as the only thing to recommend in the muddled and compromised "Sugar & Spice"." One week after the film opened, Valentine, another proyect co-starring Shelton, was released. In the slasher movie, Denise Richards and David Boreanaz also appeared. Valentine was largely panned and the cast generated mostly mixed reviews; Film Threat concluded that "porno actresses are smarter than this crew", but Mick LaSalle for San Francisco Chronicle felt that the lead actors were "vivid, and the characters they play are clearly delineated", while he pointed out Shelton for having a "nice gravity" portraying her role. It grossed $36 million worldwide, just recouping its production budget of $29 million. Her final film of 2001 was Bubble Boy, another dark comedy, where she appeared with Jake Gyllenhaal. Although the film was yet another box office bomb for Shelton and had a negative critical reception, the actress got positive notices from critics, with Robin Clifford for Reeling Reviews calling her performance "charming".
After focusing on studio and big-budget features, Shelton eventually appeared in a variety of independent films, starting with Just a Kiss, a dark comedy released in 2002 and co-starring Kyra Sedgwick and Marisa Tomei. It was followed by supporting parts in 2003's features Dallas 362 and Grand Theft Parsons and a starring role in the low-budget drama Moving Alan – directed by her father and in which her sister also appeared. She then made a brief appearance in the opening secuence of Frank Miller's graphic novel Sin City. The neo-noir thriller premiered to generally favorable reviews and was a major box office success with a worldwide gross of over $158 million. She also provided the voice for a guest appearance as Betsy in the American Dad! episode "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man". She was also originally cast in the role of Annabeth Schott on the television series, The West Wing, but the role was eventually played by Kristin Chenoweth, as a result of the part being aged a bit and submitted to a few changes. She appeared playing supporting characters in the 2006 films American Dreamz and The Last Kiss.
Shelton gained recognition for appearing in a lead role as Dr. Dakota Block in the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino-directed film Grindhouse, appearing in both of the film's segments as the same character (a cameo in Tarantino's segment, and a starring role in Rodriguez's). The double feature's ticket sales were significantly below box office analysts' expectations despite mostly positive critic reviews. In an interview with website Slice of SciFi, she admitted taking inspiration for her character from the actresses that usually starred in Alfred Hitchcock's movies: "I referenced the classic Hitchcock ice queen blonde, like Tippi Hedren, for the beginning just as a starting place, and then obviously she devolves as she evolve." Shelton stated she was drawn to appear in the movie because of her appreciation for suspense: "Personally as an actor I am obsessed with suspense and what creates it. I have studied suspense and I love the old Hitchcock films for that reason. I was really delighted to be in the hands of two masters of their craft, both Robert and Quentin, playing with the ideas of building suspense."
2008–present: Indie film territory
Shelton had a brief appearance the biopic film about George W. Bush, W., directed by Oliver Stone. In October 2008, CBS's Eleventh Hour, based on the British TV series of the same name, premiered with Shelton appearing as FBI Special Agent Rachel Young of the executive protection detail. The show began airing to mixed reviews. However, Shelton received negative notes for her portrayal; while Robert Bianco wrote for USA Today that she has "no character to play at all, or at least none that stays consistent between the two episodes made available for review", Chicago Tribune remarked that her performance was "much less interesting" than co-star Rufus Sewell's and that whenever her character "opens her mouth, the show’s flaws come into sharp relief". The series was canceled after one season, on May 19, 2009, due to its inability to hold the CSI audience lead-in.
In 2009, Shelton had a minor role opposite Milla Jovovich and Timothy Olyphant in the psychological thriller A Perfect Getaway, a minor box office success. That year, Shelton landed the role of Madeleine Gray, a trendy New York art gallery owner in the independent comedy (Untitled). During an interview with Los Angeles Times, Shelton explained her role in the film: "There's a purity to her. As driven as she is to find the 'get,' the next hot commodity, she also has a pure passion for art." (Untitled) received a very limited release on three theaters in October 2009, going on to perform moderately well at the box office and to open to favorable reviews. Shelton's part drew largely positive reactions from writers; Stephen Holden wrote for The New York Times that she "gives a bright screwball performance that recalls the frisky young Diane Keaton", and Roger Ebert stated in his website that Shelton "has the confidence and presence of a born comedienne".
Women in Trouble was released theatrically the following month. In the film, Shelton portrayed the character of Cora, a flight attendant. The movie also was given a limited release and received mixed feedback from critics and audiences alike. Her part got favorable notes by Tyler Foster for DVD Talk who stated that Shelton makes a "brief impact" as her character, and the website Manilovefilms.com said that she, alongside co-star Adrianne Palicki "offer some solidly heartfelt performances". Shelton reprised her role in the sequel, called Elektra Luxx, which premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in early 2010. As its predecessor, the movie received mixed reviews and made little interest on its limited release.
On July 1, 2010, it was announced that Shelton was cast in the role of Deputy Judy Hicks in the Wes Craven film Scream 4, a role Lake Bell previously held. Some critics praised Shelton, include Matthew Turner for View London, who stated that she turned in an "enjoyably weird performance". The movie gained mostly positive reviews and although it was not as successful as its predecessors Scream 4 became a modest profit with a worldwide gross of $97 million over a budget of $40 million. The Mighty Macs, an indie comedy in which Shelton appeared with Carla Gugino, was released theatrically in October 2011, more than three years after it was filmed, due to the difficulties of finding a distributor. The movie had a mixed reaction but Shelton's performance received positive comments from a number of critics; Nell Minow, pointing out a specific scene in the movie, remarked that she "shows us how the sister’s faith supports her strength and integrity" She also had guest-roles in episodes of Harry's Law and Mad Men, in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Shelton had a supporting role in the independent drama Decoding Annie Parker, co-starring Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt, which tells the story of Annie Parker and the almost discovery of the cure for cancer. The film opened in selected theaters in May 2014, and simultaneously was released on video-on-demand. The movie gained mixed reviews but the cast was acclaimed. Shelton was cast as the lead character of Dr. Allison Lennon in the Lifetime TV series The Lottery. The show began airing on July 20, 2014, and premiered to 1.1 million viewers, what Deadline.com dubbed "OK" ratings. As a result of decline in viewership, Lifetime announced the cancelation of the series, after one season. She is set to appear with Anthony Hopkins in Solace, scheduled to be released in late 2015.
She dated actor Nicholas Brendon during her time in school. He was her prom date and bought Shelton 100 roses, wore a tux and drove a black convertible Mustang to impress her. She reportedly said later that he "totally did it right". While asked about her during a June 2014 talk with website Interviewly.com, Brendon described Shelton as "amazing, as she is today".
Shelton met film producer Beau Flynn on the set of Bubble Boy in 2000 and married him in July 2001. Their first daughter, West Flynn, was born on September 6, 2009. She later recalled in an interview that they had chosen the name much before their child was born: “My husband actually dreamed seven years ago that we had a daughter, and he was calling her West. I immediately said, 'If we ever have a daughter, we’re definitely naming her that'". Ruby Jeanne, their second daughter, was born on May 1, 2012. When she is not acting, Shelton enjoys travelling, and has visited countries throughout Asia, South America and Africa. She also practices a regimen of yoga and pilates.
On April 30, 2010, Shelton was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. She was released the next day after posting a $5,000 bond. On May 21, 2010, Shelton pleaded no contest and was sentenced to two years probation and fined $240 plus penalties.
|1993||Sandlot, TheThe Sandlot||Wendy Peffercorn|
|1994||in the Underworld, HerculesHercules in the Underworld||Iole|
|1995||Nixon||Tricia Nixon Cox|
|1997||Warriors of Virtue||Elysia|
|Trojan War||Brooke Kingsley|
|1999||Never Been Kissed||Kristin|
|Bachelor, TheThe Bachelor||Natalie Arden|
|2000||Lured Innocence||Elsie Townsend|
|2001||Sugar & Spice||Diane Weston|
|On the Borderline||Nicky|
|2002||Just a Kiss||Rebecca||Limited theatrical release|
|2003||Moving Alan||Melissa Kennard||Limited theatrical release|
|Dallas 362||Amanda||Limited theatrical release|
|Grand Theft Parsons||Susie||Limited theatrical release|
|2004||Old Man and the Studio, TheThe Old Man and the Studio||Kaitlyn||Short film|
|2005||Don't Come Knocking||Starlet||Limited theatrical release|
|Sin City||The Customer|
|Jesus, Mary and Joey||Mary O'Callahan||Straight-to-video|
|Last Kiss, TheThe Last Kiss||Arianna|
|2007||Death Proof||Dr. Dakota Block|
|Planet Terror||Dr. Dakota Block|
|Fifth Patient, TheThe Fifth Patient||Helen||Straight-to-video|
|2009||Perfect Getaway, AA Perfect Getaway||Cleo|
|Women in Trouble||Cora||Limited theatrical release|
|(Untitled)||Madeleine Gray||Limited theatrical release|
|2010||Elektra Luxx||Cora||Limited theatrical release|
|2011||Scream 4||Deputy Judy Hicks|
|Mighty Macs, TheThe Mighty Macs||Sister Sunday||Limited theatrical release|
|2014||Mediation||Victoria Lindo||Short film|
|Decoding Annie Parker||Joan Parker||Limited theatrical release|
|1990||Family Man, TheThe Family Man||Heather||Episode: "Torn Between Two Brothers"|
|1992||Up to No Good||Denise Harmon||TV film|
|1992||Family Matters||Becky Sue||Episode: "Woman of the People"|
|Bodies of Evidence||Julie Belmont||Episode: "The Edge"|
|Camp Wilder||Jennifer||Episode: "Sophie's Birthday"|
|Crossroads||Katie Stahl||Episode: "Freedom of the Road"|
|Great Scott!||Allison||Episode: "Pyrrhic Lyric"|
|1993||Ambush in Waco: In the Line of Duty||Laura||TV film|
|Angel Falls||Brandi Dare||TV series|
|1994||Dead at 21||Keri Sullivan||Episode: "Love Minus Zero"|
|McKenna||Heather||Episode: "Splendor in the McKenna Grass"|
|Friend to Die For, AA Friend to Die For||Jamie Hall||TV film|
|Take Me Home Again||Lisa||TV film|
|1995||Cybill||Jan||Episode: "The Big Sleep-Over"|
|1996||When Friendship Kills||Jennifer Harnsberger||TV film|
|1998||Fantasy Island||Jane||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2004||Karen Sisco||Molly Lucas||Episode: "Dog Day Sisco"|
|2005||American Dad!||Betsy White (voice)||Episode: "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man"|
|Dark Shadows||Victoria Winters||Unsold TV pilot|
|2008–2009||Eleventh Hour||Rachel Young||Main role (18 episodes)|
|2011||Harry's Law||Tammy Benoit||Episode: "Bad to Worse"|
|2013||Mad Men||Kate||Episode: "To Have and to Hold"|
|2014||The Lottery||Dr. Alison Lennon||Lead role|