Crime show role gives former local girl her big break
Aspiring actress Jennifer Marshall finally got the big television role she’d been looking for. But she wasn’t quite prepared for the nightmares.
Marshall, a 29-year-old former Carbondale resident and Roaring Fork High School graduate, plays Cheryl Centobie, the terrorized wife of murderer Mario Centobie in the FBI: Criminal Pursuit episode “Flesh & Blood,” airing tonight on Discovery ID Channel.
From the first take, it was an on-the-job learning experience that should prove valuable as more acting roles come along.
“No sooner had I arrived on the set and met Dave Meadows, who plays Mario Centobie, when we were directed to go out to his car to film a pretend rape scene, where I had to scream, cry and try to get away,” Marshall described.
“That takes some getting used to, and you can’t be a shy person to act a scene like that,” she said.
What she was totally unprepared for was the waking up in a cold sweat for several nights in a row afterwards.
“Consciously, you know it’s fake,” Marshall said. “But subconsciously you’ve still experienced that trauma. It was really scary.”
And it could just be the role that opens the door to a Hollywood acting career.
Marshall is a 1998 graduate of Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, where she was involved in musical theater, show choir and cheerleading, and she also played for the Lady Rams basketball team. After a five-year career in the U.S. Navy, she has been professionally acting for seven years, primarily on the East Coast.
She currently resides in Virginia Beach, with her husband and his two teenage daughters. They plan to move to California later this year, although those plans were postponed when her husband, a 23-year career Navy man, was called to duty related to the current military action in Libya. The two met while on board the USS Roosevelt.
“We still plan to make the move, hopefully by the end of this year,” Marshall said. “There are acting opportunities here in Virginia, but you have to commute a lot. I’d like to move to a bigger market where I wouldn’t have that.”
Marshall’s other acting credits have included roles on “A Haunting,” “Wicked Attraction” and “The Cole Conspiracy” on the History Channel, a documentary about the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000.
“That was really touching, because I was in the Navy when that happened,” she said.
Marshall was also a featured extra in the movie “Evan Almighty,” and has filmed more than 20 commercials, including national spots for AMC Theatres, the Christian Broadcasting Network and Troy University.
Last October, she had the opportunity to audition for “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth installment of the Twilight series.Marshall had been doing some other filming for Discovery at a studio in Hampton, Va., when the opportunity to audition for FBI: Criminal Pursuit came along.
“I went in for two auditions, and had to cry and scream and act really scared,” she said. “I really tried to put myself in that position, as if I were her.”
It’s a far cry from the musical theater she did in high school with the late Mary Holloran, including roles in “Gypsy” and “Little Mary Sunshine.”
“I always liked singing and dancing, and was involved with choir, but we didn’t have a lot of people [at Roaring Fork] so we often combined with Basalt students,” Marshall said. “[Holloran] took a gamble on a bunch of kids, and I was very appreciative of that.”
Marshall did some stage acting in the Navy, which is when she met up with a commercial producer. She entered a 16-week acting program for $400, and her post-Navy career was set.
“I’ve taken some other classes on and off since then,” Marshall said.While she has been involved with a variety of local theater groups, she said she prefers TV and film, “because they pay.”
“It just makes more sense as a professional actor to go in and shoot something for four hours and make $400,” she said.
She added that she’d eventually like to be involved in student and independent film projects.
Some of Marshall’s national acting credits can be found online at the Internet Movie Database under Jennifer L. Marshall.Tune in to watch the FBI: Criminal Pursuit episode at 8 p.m. and again at 11 p.m. tonight, Friday, April 8, on Discovery ID. The show also airs at 11 a.m. Saturday.Discovery ID can be found locally on Comcast Cable channel 271, DirectTV channel 285, and DISH Network channel 192.
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