Fun Days With George
Young actress plays daughter of film
heartthrob in The Ides of March.
Special to the Jewish News
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alia Akiva, a 9-year-old liv-
ing in Ann Arbor, this month
appears in a feature film star-
ring George Clooney and a TV series
starring Thomas Jane, but she only will
be allowed to see one of the two pro-
Her mom, social worker Rachel Akiva,
has talked with her about the aspects
of the film, The Ides of March, that have
given it an "R" rating. She does not think
it's time yet for the talk about sexual ele-
ments in the HBO series, Hung.
"It was really cool being in the
movie says Talia, a fourth-grader at
Eberwhite Elementary School hoping
for a long-term acting career. "I didn't
really know about George Clooney
before I started the film, but my mom
told me how famous he is."
Clooney directed the movie, with
scenes filmed in Michigan and Ohio. He
plays Gov. Mike Morris, a presidential
candidate faced with scandal; Ryan
Gosling (Stephen Myers) is the press
secretary who gets a crash course on
dirty politics during his stint on the
campaign trail. Also starring are Marisa
Tomei (as New York Times reporter Ida
Horowicz), Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Evan Rachel Wood and Paul Giamatti.
Talia, who portrays Clooney's daugh-
ter Beth, does not have any lines to
speak but will be seen in three scenes
and the trailer.
Her character stays at Clooney's side
while he's giving a speech, plays tic-
tac-toe with two of the actresses in the
film and takes to a backstage setting for
one of the Clooney character's speaking
"George Clooney told me to stand in
certain places and look cute,' says Talia,
who auditioned by playing school and
pretending to sleep. "We did some of
that more than 10 times."
Hung, which launches its third season
on Oct. 2, follows a divorced high school
coach struggling through personal set-
backs whose physical endowments help
him make ends meet. Talia's appearance
is in a flashback scene with actress Rhea
Perlman. The episode, airing Oct. 30 and
titled "We're Golden or Crooks and Big
Beaver:' was shot in Detroit's Riverside
Talia, also an extra for a circus scene
in the film Oz: The Great and Powerful,
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Talia Akiva with George Clooney on the
set of The Ides of March
now filming in the Detroit area, began
acting as a 4-year-old in drama camp.
"It's fun being different people says
the young actress, in rehearsal for the
title role in Oliver as staged by Ann
Arbor's Young People's Theater, where
she has taken drama classes. "It's fun
making new friends with each show."
Local productions that have featured
Talia include To Kill a Mockingbird, Peter
Pan and Annie. Enjoying singing and
dancing, Talia is in the Ann Arbor Youth
Chorale and the choir of Temple Beth
Emeth, where she takes Hebrew classes.
When Talia played Gretl in a produc-
tion of The Sound of Music, an actor
suggested she get an agent. She audi-
tioned, and the agent has helped place
her in professional roles.
Talia's mom and dad, Tom, a
University of Michigan educational
researcher, tell their middle daughter
she can take on acting as long as school
assignments come first.
"As long as acting is fun for her, she
can keep doing it," says Rachel Akiva,
who stays on set while her daughter
works and got advice from George
Clooney and Ryan Gosling.
"Both men told me stories about child
actors. They said she'll be fine as long as
she's enjoying what she's doing and the
experience is about her.
"I also spent a lot of time with local
people working in the film industry, and
they are concerned their jobs will be
taken away with state budget cuts. They
need this work." ❑
The Ides of March opens Friday,
Oct. 7. Hung returns to HBO 10 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 2.
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