Shiri is most famous for her most recent role as "Liz Parker" on WB's series "Roswell". The daughter of Jerry & Dina Appleby, Shiri Appleby has been acting since the age of 4, landing jobs in several commercials for Cheerios, M&Ms and Taco Bell. Her first television job was on the soap "Santa Barbara". Next came various roles on "thirtysomething", "Bronx Zoo" and "Doogie Howser, M.D.". She made her film-debut in the low budget sequel, Curse II: The Bite. I Love You to Death came next and Shiri finally started to get secure work as an actress. For the next four years she worked steadily in television movies and made various television appearances. When she entered high school she took a small break and took part in Yearbook, Student Council and was a cheerleader. In 1997 she graduated from Calabasas High School, where she was voted 'Most Spirited' by her class. Roles on "7th Heaven" and "City Guys" followed and then Shiri enrolled into the University of Southern California where she planned on taking a break from acting and studying English. However, her plans gave way when she landed the role as Liz Parker on the WB Hit "Roswell". It was then that she gave her education a break and decided to try acting full-time. With the success of Roswell, Shiri rose to fan-magazine fame and was seen everywhere through the show's success. With small roles in past films such as The Other Sister, in 2002, after Roswell ended, Shiri landed the lead role as Amy Miller, the trusting girlfriend of Jesse Bradford, in the suspenseful teen-film Swimfan. Shiri was born on December 7, 1978, in Los Angeles, California. Shiri lives in Calabasas near L.A and says that on the weekend she enjoys driving up to Santa Barbara to go shopping and hang out on the beach there. If you're at the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market, keep an eye out for Shiri. She says that she likes to get up early on Sunday and go to the farmers market to buy flowers and cheese. Although she admits she is not athletic, in the past she says she has also enjoyed riding a bike along the beach at Santa Monica.
Shiri Appleby: Another Heart-of-Gold Girl
Pretty, doe-eyed brunette Shiri Appleby won our hearts as Liz Parker, the human teen in love with an alien in the t.v. series "Roswell". Whether it's a t.v. movie or an indie film, the actress seems to perfectly fit the role of wholesome girlfriend. She plays Amy, another heart-of-gold gal, in the new teen thriller Swimfan. When we talked with Shiri we found her to be really appreciative of her fans and discovered that she has a feisty, frisky side that she can't wait to display.
AGW: Why are brunettes always persecuted in movies?
Shiri: I don't know. They think that brunettes are sweeter, nicer girls, but we have little dangerous sides as well, I guess. I would love to play something like that. It would be nice in contrast to the other characters I've played, which are definitely more sweet and innocent kinds of girls.
AGW: Are you looking forward to doing a role where you don't have to cry?
Shiri: Yeah, because I don't cry that much in my personal life, which is really nice, thankfully. I think it would be nice not to play a victim quite so much, but I'm not really complaining about that because there's something really great about being seen as the love interest also.
AGW: What's the hardest thing you've had to do for a role?
Shiri: I think the hardest part is just the endurance during the day. It's not hard to be a team player, but the endurance of just being awake and being alive and being up all the time is what gets tiring after awhile, like after 18 hours at 6 o'clock in the morning.
AGW: What would be your dark side? Like would you run with scissors?
Shiri: (Laughs) I go in the pool after I eat. Things of that nature, yeah.
AGW: If a girl came on to your boyfriend in real life, like Madison [Erika Christensen] does in this film, what would you do?
Shiri: I was actually in the position that Amy was, when I was in high school. I did get cheated on and the slap that happens in the movie is actually taken from real life events in my own life. When you're feeling the emotions of being in love for the very first time, and then you feel betrayal, you don't necessarily know what to think, and so that was the first thing I came up with. When John Polson [director] and Jesse [Bradford] and I were sitting around in rehearsals talking about it, I told him about that experience, and so John said, 'Well, in this moment, why don't you slap Jesse?', and he had no problem with it, so that's what happened.
AGW: Did Jesse expect it?
Shiri: Yeah, he expected it. We had to do it so many times. I felt so bad. The stunt guys were there, so I learned how to slap him but it wasn't looking as real, so I finally just had to let him have it once. They teach you, so that he could move with me because, God forbid, we should pop blood vessels and stuff. So, I learned how to slap somebody.
AGW: You have to stay underwater for a while in this film. How was that done?
Shiri: I learned how to scuba dive, so I was underwater for about half an hour at a time. I had scuba guys near me that would bring the air in to me. As soon as I started feeling like I was running out of air, I would just shake my shoulders and in they would fly. They had a loud speaker underwater so that the A.D. could say, 'They're pulling focus right now. The camera's moving to you. Jesse's swimming in', so I knew what was happening. The very first time I went down, I couldn't hear anything. I had no senses and I felt completely lost. I panicked and swam back up to the top.
AGW: Aside from the pool scene, what was the most challenging scene in this movie for you?
Shiri: I also had to learn how to ride a motorcycle. That was me the whole time. Yeah, I do all my own stunts. (Laughs) Yeah, me, Tom Cruise, Jackie Chan. It's very exciting. I'd never done it before, so it was really fun, especially when we finally got to shoot it. I had just practiced up and down the block, in front of the production office, and so I got miles of just being able to go and it was really fun.
AGW: Do you have one at home now?
Shiri: No. I want a Vespa. So, tell them I want one. A pink one.
AGW: Can you still relate to your teen characters?
Shiri: Sure. Like experiencing love for the first time and experiencing what it's like to be completely enamored with somebody and wanting to do everything to be in a relationship, or what it was like to have your heart broken for the first time. I don't necessarily know if you forget what those things feel like, so to call upon those emotions is rather easy, I think.
AGW: With "Roswell" over, what are you up to now?
Shiri: I've been taking some classes at UCLA, and I've kind of just been enjoying the summer. I think it's been my first three months off in three years, so it's been nice to remember what it's like to go out and pay attention to relationships and friends in my life. I haven't seen Erika and Jesse this much since we made the movie, and we became really good friends, so it's nice to hang out with them again. I'm really proud of the film and it's my first big movie that's coming out, so hopefully it will help me make the transition to film.
AGW: What were you studying at UCLA?
Shiri: I was taking a writing class and a photography class, and I'm also studying acting with Jeffrey Tambor. I'm kind of just taking classes of things that I've been interested in. I've been writing a little bit.
AGW: What sort of things do you write?
Shiri: I was taking this class called 'Find Your Unique Voice,' and I thought it was just going to be writing essays, and it actually turned out to be a class where you write scenes and then we would go to a theater and actors would get on a stage and act out your scenes. I didn't realize how connected you are to the words and, if somebody didn't say it exactly the way I had interpreted it when I wrote it, it stung a little bit, so then I felt bad for all the writers whose scenes I've ever butchered.
AGW: How many times since 'Roswell' started have you been asked whether or not you believe in aliens?
Shiri: Billions. And my answer is, basically, that I think that we would be ignorant to think there is not another life form out there, but yet, I haven't met them, so I don't really know. There's my stock answer. (Laughs)
AGW: Where did you like to hang out in New York?
Shiri: I loved spending a lot of time in the parks. I was a really big fan of Union Square Park, or just walking around or going out at night. New York is just so great for people watching. In the summertime, it was beautiful. There was so much stuff happening.
AGW: What in your life, besides acting, is a natural high for you?
Shiri: Hanging out with my friends because I haven't done much of that in the past three years. And, I'm a really big traveler. I've been traveling quite a bit. I went to China last month, and London. I just like to travel. I've been backpacking a few times.
AGW: Have you seen any of your fan supported websites?
Shiri: Oh, yeah. When you're working in a concrete box with people and you're hanging out and making friends, you never realize that people are affected or care about what you're doing. So then, you go on the Internet and you can see all these people that dedicate so much of their time to you. It's very flattering, but it's so overwhelming and definitely a little shocking. Sci Fi fans are really, really strong and very vocal about their commitment to the shows. In our case, if it wasn't for the fan support, I don't necessarily know if 'Roswell' would have made it as long as it did. I felt really fortunate that the people were so supportive.
AGW: Do you ever respond to anything on those websites?
Shiri: Yes. I've gone on a few times at Crashdown just to say, 'Thank you,' because I don't know a group of fans [who were that dedicated]. They kept the show on another year at The WB and then they got another network (UPN) to pick up the show. You want to just say, 'Thank you so much,' because without them, you wouldn't have a job and you wouldn't be doing what you love every day.
AGW: Are you musical at all?
Shiri: I bought a guitar while we were shooting Swimfan and I was like, 'Oh, Jesse can teach me how to play guitar'. He's really good and I just really suck. I've got it at home so when guys come over, they play it, otherwise it's like a hat rack. I'm not very musically talented.
AGW: Who would you really like to work with?
Shiri: Cameron Crowe. I think he's fantastic. I really love Mary Louise Parker and Billy Crudup.
AGW: How does Jesse Bradford compare to some of the other co-stars you've had?
Shiri: Kissing wise, he's great. They're all great. [laughs]. We got along really well. In the film, we've already been together for awhile, so we just wanted to be really comfortable together and he was really great. He's a really fun, nice guy, really outgoing.
AGW: Jesse's character cheats on you. Why?
Shiri: I think Ben cheats because I think the stability of being young and having a relationship so serious for so long has probably worn on him. Amy wants to go to college together and she's really looking at this for the long haul, so when something new and exciting comes along, I think it's kind of refreshing.
AGW: Do you think the strong support that you receive from your family helps keep you grounded?
Shiri: When you have a family who are watching what you're doing and letting you know when things are getting a little out of control or they're there to hold your hand through things, it's really nice. At the end of the day, you know it's going to end and you want to enjoy it while you can, but not allow it to really affect you.
Shiri Appleby Talks About "Swimfan"
In director John Polson's thriller "Swimfan," Shiri Appleby plays Ben Cronin's (played by Jesse Bradford) all-American girlfriend, Amy. Coming off three years of playing Liz Parker on the television series "Roswell," Appleby says the character of Amy appealed to her because of her openness and incredible honesty. She also looked forward to the physical challenges the role required.
"We had admired Shiri's work on 'Roswell' and thought she'd be the perfect complement to Erika [Christensen] - and complete the story's love triangle," says director Polson, adding, "Shiri has the strength necessary to make us believe she could stand up to Madison, who's a formidable force of nature."
If a girl came on to your boyfriend in real life, like Madison does in this film, what would you do?
I was actually in the position that Amy was, when I was in high school. I did get cheated on and the slap that happens in the movie is actually taken from real life events in my own life. That's kind of how I reacted to it because when you're feeling the emotions of being in love for the very first time, and then you feel betrayal, you don't necessarily know what to think, and so that was the first thing I came up with. When John Polson and Jesse [Bradford] and I were sitting around in rehearsals talking about it, I told him about that experience, and John said, "Well, in this moment, why don't you slap Jesse?," and he had no problem with it, so that's what happened.
Did Jesse expect it?
Yeah, he expected it. We had to do it so many times. I felt so bad. The stunt guys were there, so I learned how to slap him, stunt wise, but it wasn't looking as real, so I finally just had to let him have it once. They teach you, so your hand's not really coming altogether at one force, and so that he could move with me because, God forbid, we should pop blood vessels and stuff. So, I learned how to slap somebody.
Why are brunettes always persecuted in movies?
I don't know. They think that brunettes are sweeter, nicer girls, but we have little dangerous sides as well, I guess.
Are you likely to show yours?
Definitely. Not quite to the degree that Madison shows her, but at some point, yeah, to some degree.
Would you ever play a character like that?
I would love to play something like that, definitely. It would be nice in contrast to the other characters I've played, which are definitely more 'sweet and innocent' kinds of girls.
Are you looking forward to doing a role where you don't have to cry?
Yeah, because I don't cry that much in my personal life, which is really nice, thankfully, except when I have to go shopping, and then I cry. (Laughs) I think it would be nice not to play a victim quite so much, but I'm not really complaining about that because there's something really great about being seen as the love interest also.
Is it hard for you to cry for the camera?
No, I've really mastered it. I could cry right here, right now. I can cry at the drop of a hat. It's so sick. But then, in my personal life, I'm like, "Don't look at me crying!"
How did you do that scene underwater while you were tied to the chair?
I learned how to scuba dive, so I was underwater for about half an hour at a time, a couple of times. I had scuba guys near me that would bring the air in to me, as soon as I started feeling like I was running out of air. I would just shake my shoulders and in they would fly, and I would sit down there for about half an hour. I lost all of my senses except for hearing because they had a loud speaker underwater so that the A.D. could say, "They're pulling focus right now. The camera's moving to you. Jesse's swimming in," so that I knew what was happening. The very first time I went down, I couldn't hear anything. I had no senses and I felt completely lost and I panicked and swam back up to the top. We decided this was the way I was going to feel safest underwater. It ended up working out.
How does Jesse Bradford compare to some of the other co-stars you've had?
Kissing-wise, he's great. They're all great (laughing). He's a really nice guy. We got along really well and we were really comfortable with each other, which I think is important. It was just important because, in the film, we've already been together for a while, so we just wanted to be really comfortable together, and he was really great. He's a really fun, nice guy. He's really outgoing.
Why do you think Ben cheats?
I think Ben cheats because he's stupid. I think Ben cheats because I think the stability of being young and having a relationship so serious for so long has probably worn on him. Amy wants to go to college together and she's really looking at this for the long haul, so when something new and exciting comes along, I think it's kind of refreshing.
Aside from drowning in the swimming pool, what was the most challenging scene in this movie for you, and why?
I also had to learn how to ride a motorcycle. That was me the whole time. Yeah, I do all my own stunts (laughing). Yeah, me, Tom Cruise, Jackie Chan... It's very exciting. I had to learn how to ride a motorcycle. It was fun, but I'd never done it before, so it was really fun, especially when we finally got to shoot it. I had just practiced up and down the block, in front of the production office, and so I got miles of just being able to go and it was really fun.
How many times since 'Roswell' started have you been asked whether or not you believe in aliens?
Billions. And my answer is, basically, that I think that we would be ignorant to think there is not another life form out there, but yet, I haven't met them, so I don't really know. There's my stock answer (laughing).
After 'Roswell,' are you going to try to avoid sci-fi roles now?
The sci-fi fans are really fantastic and very supportive, so I'm definitely not opposed to it. If a great script came my way, I would definitely be interested.
Sci-fi fans are especially devoted.
They're really, really strong and very vocal about their commitment to the shows. In our case, if it wasn't for the fan support, I don't necessarily know if "Roswell" would have made it as long as it had. I felt really fortunate that the people were so supportive.
Do you ever respond to anything on fan Web sites?
Oh, yeah. I've gone on a few times at Crashdown just to say, "Thank you," because I don't know a group of fans [who were that dedicated]. They kept the show on another year at The WB and then they got another network (UPN) to pick up the show. They went so above and beyond the call of duty, that you want to just say, "Thank you so much," because without them, you wouldn't have a job and you wouldn't be doing what you love every day.
Coming Up Next: Shiri Appleby
Playing a high school girl who falls in love with an alien would be stretch for most young actresses, but Roswell's Shiri Appleby, 20, has had her share of Twilight Zone acting moments.
A former child actress who grew up near Los Angeles, she has twice appeared in Xena: Warrior Princess, was in the pilot of the recent WB comedy Movie Stars, with Joey Travolta and Frank Stallone, and was a regular on Norman Lear's 1991 Sunday Dinner, which was based on the mistaken belief that Americans wanted a sitcom that addressed religious issues.
Somehow, she has emerged unscathed. Her real-life high school experiences sound anything but alienated: She cheerleaded, edited the yearbook and was part of the student government. "And I actually had normal jobs," she says. "One summer I worked as a hostess, and I was a camp counselor." But it wasn't for the money: "I wanted to have those experiences because all of my friends were having them." But how many of them have worked with Frank Stallone?
Meet Shiri Appleby
The 20-year-old actress from Calabasas stars in her first television series, WB's sci-fi drama "Roswell," which airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
Life's a Beach: I love to drive up to Santa Barbara and go shopping on State Street. It's really, really beautiful and there's a lot to do there. Start with breakfast in Malibu and then just spend the day driving up the coast and hanging out in Santa Barbara. And if you're in Santa Barbara, then you have to spend part of the day at the beach.
Shop Talk: I'm not really a shopaholic, but I do like to browse with my friends. There's a huge shopping center now in Calabasas, where my parents still live, called the Calabasas Commons. On Saturday, we might go there to eat lunch. And to shop, of course. Or maybe we'll go and see a movie. They have a really nice Barnes & Noble there. I love bookstores. I'm studying English at USC--although I'm taking a break now--and I read a wide variety of things. In fact, I just recently finished "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt and before that, I read the classic "Catcher in the Rye" for the first time.
Party Hardly: I'm really not much of a partyer. Well, for one, I'm only 20 years old, so there's a lot of places I can't even get into yet. But I actually had a really good weekend a couple of months ago when I went to the Derby, the old restaurant. It's a swing club now, so we went swing dancing. It's really fun. Someone told me the other day that there's a karaoke opening down the street from my home on the Westside, so I'll have to check that out. But I really don't go out all that much to clubs; I'd rather just hang out with my friends. If you want to know the truth, on Saturday nights I usually hang out and watch television at home.
Flower Child: On Sundays, well, you've got to sleep in until noon or 1 o'clock. No, really, I wake up early and go to the Hollywood Farmers Market and get some fresh flowers. And cheese. Then maybe take a hike. Or I've gone bike riding in Santa Monica, right on the beach. I do that once in a while, but I'm really not that athletic. Then I'll make dinner at home and go to bed early to get ready for the week ahead
Viewer alienation not a problem for teen drama ''Roswell''
High-school years are often filled with feelings of alienation, of not belonging, of almost like being from another planet. That's exactly what the creators of "Roswell" are banking on.
On the new WB drama, aliens walk the halls of a Roswell, New Mexico, high school. They carry backpacks and gossip. In fact, these aliens look better and talk smarter than any high-school students from any known galaxy.
It was some 30 or 40 miles northwest of Roswell that conspiracy buffs say an alien spacecraft crashed in July 1947.
Tales of coverups by the United States military have since proved as hardy as cacti in the desert terrain. Among the most persistent allegations is that the remains of downed aliens were taken to a facility called Hangar 18 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (then known as Wright Field) near Dayton, Ohio.
Originally, Army Air Corps personnel from the 509th Bomb Group are said to have referred to a crashed "flying disk." The term used shortly thereafter by the military was "weather balloon."
Washington for more than 50 years has been dogged by questions about the "Roswell incident." And the southwestern town today has a tourist industry thriving on the subject and centered around such installations as the International UFO Museum & Research Center.
The producers of the WB's new show -- David Nutter of "The X-Files" and Jason Katims of "My So-Called Life" -- have layered onto the basic idea a new concept: The alien ship delivered an incubator containing three alien teens.
It's those three kids who, in the pilot aired on October 6, found their cover blown when one of them revealed his identity to a friend, along with a power to adjust molecular structure and heal humans.
Says Jason Behr, who plays that alien teen, Max, says the show is "about a bunch of high-school students and their friends and how they relate to each other and how they deal with the whole dynamic of that relationship when it's taken an unexpected turn."
A Romeo-and-Juliet tale
That unexpected turn comes when one of Max's fellow students, Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby) is shot while working at her father's diner, the Crashdown Cafe. Max heals her mortal wound with a touch of his hand, leaving behind a telltale silver handprint. Then he asks her not to reveal his secret.
A relationship blooms between the guy from outer space and the girl whom Appleby describes as "very smart, into science, biology -- and she somewhat has a crush on this guy."
All this, in spite of the strong disapproval of Max's two fellow stranded aliens, Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl) and Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr). They fear Max is putting them at risk by opening up to an Earthling girl.
"I saw me as he saw me," Appleby's character says in the show, describing the brief interaction. "And the amazing thing was, in his eyes, I was beautiful."
"It's kind of like a love story, it really is," says Behr. "But it's about two different people that shouldn't be together but want to."
In one of the pilot's most pointed scenes, a Roswell festival, crawling with people costumed as "aliens," sends a mock spaceship on a wire to crash and burn on the ground. The three alien teens look on, made outsiders in the crowd by the fact that they're seeing a tawdry replay of their violent arrival on Earth.
"Roswell's" premiere posted the WB's second-highest debut ever, indicating that these two previously unknown actors, Behr and Appleby, may soon be household names.
The sudden success feels alien to Behr, he says: "It's a weird feeling. I feel like I woke up in somebody else's bed."
Appleby actually did wake up in somebody else's bed. Although anxious to know whether "Roswell" would be picked up and what time it would air, she was crashing at a friend's house so she wouldn't feel like she was waiting for the phone to ring.
"So I woke up at 11:30," she says. "I'm like, 'I'm just going to check the machine; I know I don't have any messages, but I'm just going to check.' Checked, had three messages. They're like 'We've been picked up. Call for details.'"
She'd later find out that the WB had ordered 22 episodes of the show, not just 13, and that it had landed in the coveted Wednesday night slot (9 p.m. Eastern) following "Dawson's Creek."
"I didn't even know what to do," Appleby says. "It was unbelievable. It was like a dream come true."
Shiri Appleby: One on One
MM: Don't you think if your new TV show Roswell had been done a few decades ago, it would have been a sitcom, like My Favorite Martian?
Shiri: I never watched the show , so I don't know.
MM: Do you buy the premise of the show - a waiter having a crush on a being from another planet.
Shiri: I think it's kind of feasible. The boys are not like green Martians. They look and act like normal people, except they have theses powers that enable them to look into my soul.
MM: What kind of advice are you getting from people around you? "Don't get a swollen head"?
Shiri: I've been lucky. I've been doing this for a long time, so I've been able to know what I like and don't like about certain aspects of it. That way you can basically take it for what it's worth.
MM: A long time? What are you, fourteen or something?
Shiri: No, I'm twenty. [laughs]
MM: You're not exactly George Burns. You did start acting at four, however. So may child actors end up suffering a horrible fate, like practically everyone on Different Strokes. How did you avoid that?
Shiri: My parents. I never went to any of the Hollywood child parties. I had a really normal childhood except I acted. It was like, my brother played soccer, and I was on television sometimes..
MM: The mood of Roswell seems very X-Files. It's very somber, and people talk very quietly. It's not slow, but very deliberately paced.
Shiri: Most of the times we're talking slow and whispering because we're discussing things that have to do with the fact that they're aliens, and we don't want people to hear.
MM: Are your friends the same ones from before you were a TV actress?
Shiri: Yes. My two closest friends I've known since I was in first and second grade.
MM: And it doesn't throw the relationships off-balance that you happen to have your own series, and they work in the mines?
Shiri: Well, they're all going to college. So no, it doesn't. They've known me for so long and they've see me do like really ridiculous television and all kinds of crazy things. So this is kind of just Shiri being a little silly.
MM: Do you personally have a dark side, or is it all sweetness and light?
Shiri: There are a lot of different sides to me. I don't know if I'm always peaches-and-cream..
MM: Well, that's good to hear.