is 11-years-old, is a full-time student, actress, singer and Princess
of the Haida tribe. The Queen Charlotte Island, First Nations prodigy
has sung for dignitaries, danced in Haida ceremonies and performed
as a nightclubsinger in Vancouvers famed Rossinis restaurant,
a favorite of jazz aficionados. She performed in Brisbane, Australia
before coming home to Canada to rouse the audience to a standing
ovation at the Leo Awards for Film and TV in Vancouver. Carsen enjoys
horseback riding, soccer, and skating. She speaks French, Haida
and learned Mohican for her role in Peter Pan.
barely five feet tall, but something about Carsen Gray made her
stand out from the thousands of girls who wanted to star in the
new Hollywood movie Peter Pan. Carsen is 12 years old, and she plays
the Mohican girl, Tiger Lily. And true to fairy tale form, Carsen
was discovered after singing jazz onstage in Vancouver. That's a
story in itself. Carsen is a member of the Haida First Nation, and
she lives in the community of Skidegate on the Queen Charlotte Islands,
or Haida Gwaii. Even though people in Skidegate are excited about
Carsen's success, they still haven't been able to see the movie
because Skidegate doesn't have a movie theatre.
year old Carsen Gray has put in the work for her lucky break. The
Queen Charlotte Island, First Nations prodigy has sung for dignitaries,
danced in Haida ceremonies and performed as a night club singer
in Vancouver's famed Rossini's restaurant, a fave of Jazz aficionados.
In fact it was when Carsen was headlining at Rossini's that local
talent agents at CTM International saw her and scooped her up. Carsen
is only eleven but she has pipes like Aretha or Etta James and the
star presence that goes with the voice. What neither her agents,
nor young Carsen knew, was that she would soon be working on a major
motion picture on another continent.
Hogan (Muriel's Wedding) was helming a live action version of Peter
Pan in his native Australia. Legendary casting director Matt Casella
has discovered Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake
to name but a few
He was hired to find the young cast for
Peter Pan but found himself at his wits end. He had literally searched
the world, auditioned 5000 little actors, and still he could not
find Tiger Lily.
agents at CTM International finagled her a coveted spot to see Mr.
Casella when he arrived in Vancouver for just two days casting.
They worked with Carsen, coaching her through the daunting process
of auditioning and got her ready to meet the man who had discovered
was cool as a cucumber. She knew she was Tiger Lily. When she finished
her audition Mr. Casella called in her agent and told her that he
was calling Carsen back and that he would fight for her to get the
part. It is a big gamble for a production to take on a a little
girl with absolutely no on set experience for a show of this caliber.
went for her callback. This time she sang for the casting director
Haida. He loved it. Afterward he reiterated his promise to fight
for Carsen, and he said she had the same god given vocal talent
Christina Aguilera possesses.
enough Carsen was called to meet the producer, Patrick McCormick
(Donnie Brasco) and director PJ Hogan. She and her mum had to get
passports quick-like and fly to Australia where production had begun.
McCormick was a fan of Carsen from the moment he met her. He was
bowled over by her poise and great manners (Carsen's mum is a believer
in and enforcer of please and thank you). When she acted for PJ
Hogan it was a fate accompli. She was Tiger Lily. She flew home
to prepare for a three month stint in a foreign land.
working on Peter Pan, Carsen has been up for several other feature
films, including the new J. Lo flick -- which would be a natural
for her. Two singer/dancer/actors in one film. Carsen would doubtless
have a much smaller posse than J. Lo - her mum. "