Paris Benjamin is known for her great characterizations of strong women in her native France, so it didn't take long for the young actress make her mark with American filmmakers in a big way with two new films and more on the way.
"I've always been very driven and very much of a risk taker when it came to my career and being involved with great creative people as I have been here, is very much what any actor would want," said Benjamin, star of the film "The Flying Dutchman: The Legend," which she just completed.
Playing a character named Laura, who follows her former lover to a tropical island where she hopes to rekindle the romance, Benjamin is as driven as her character when it comes to her work. She didn't think twice when director Christian Lara told her she'd have to move to an island near Tahiti and live there for four weeks for 12-hour days and virtually no contact with the outside world.
"It was a great location with fabulous scenery, but you couldn't really enjoy it or take advantage of the gorgeous beaches very much because you have to work. But it was a great experience," she said.
"The director, Christian, was great. He was very knowledgeable and had a great vision for what he wanted to achieve and he transferred that to the actors and we all realized we wanted the same thing so he was fun to work with."
Starring opposite veteran actor Barry Primus of "Boston Legal," and "Arliss," Benjamin excelled in bringing the strength of her character to bear during their scenes. The chemistry between the two actors was a key element in the film's production, Benjamin said.
"Barry is a very talented actor and playing opposite him was really a great experience. We really complimented each other which made for some great scenes."
Her new film, "Folklore" sends Benjamin in an entirely new direction. She plays Annabelle, an android, in director/producer Justin Calen Chenn's science fiction comedy set for release in 2012.
"It was a fun shoot. I never played an android and working on a comedy is always fun." she said.
The fill tells the story of an android, a water nymph, a vampire, extra terrestrials and other assorted beings who are asked to talk about their lives by a government agency in a far-off future.
"I liked the idea of a science fiction comedy, but I also liked being a really strange character that has to explain herself even though she's really a robot. There's something really funny about that but also something very meaningful."
Born in Burgundy, France and of Moroccan descent, Benjamin began acting at age 5 when she began reading children's poetry and performing several characters in children's plays before an audience. By the time she was an adult she had studied in London, Paris and New York with legendary acting coach Jack Waltzer as well as at Stetson University's Drama School in Florida.
Despite having moved to the U.S., she would often be asked to return to France for roles there where her talents blossomed and became well known.
"I love working in France, but it's here where I wanted to work and it was as if somebody heard me because in these last few years, I've been working a lot in the U.S. and with some really great people," she said.
With credits in TV's "Grey's Anatomy," a slew of films including "Paranoia," "Wild Side" and many others including the 2007 film "Le Chambre Vide," Benjamin is just getting started.
Today, she's set to star in another American film this winter and is weighing her options on another independent film now in preproduction.