A Biography (download Carrie’s Electronic Press Kit)
With her bubbly persona and drive to perform, CARRIE PRESTON has landed roles in everything from stage to the big screen to a starring role as Arlene Fowler, the red-headed sassy waitress in the Golden Globe nominated HBO series TRUE BLOOD, which ran for 7 seasons. She had recurring roles on two hit CBS shows: the scatterbrained, genius lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni on THE GOOD WIFE, for which she won an Emmy Award, and her real life husband’s (Michael Emerson) love interest, Grace, on PERSON OF INTEREST. And she was the star of the recent NBC sitcom CROWDED. Her latest projects include GRACE AND FRANKIE with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin; WHEN WE RISE, the ABC mini-series about the gay rights movement; TO THE BONE with Keanu Reeves and Lily Collins and DAISY WINTERS with Brooke Shields.
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, where her mother was an artist and art therapist while her dad was a geo-technical engineer, a young Carrie Preston discovered her true calling in life lay in performing arts. At the age of 12, she became the impresario of her own front-yard theater company as producer, writer, casting director, costumer, director – and of course, actress. Preston later obtained a BFA from the University of Evansville followed with an acting diploma from the prestigious Juilliard School.
Preston’s breakout was her Outer Critics Award nominated turn as “Miranda” in George C. Woolf’s Broadway production of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST with Patrick Stewart. Following that, she made her auspicious big screen debut as one of the two sexy, Southern bridesmaid sisters in the Julia Roberts blockbuster MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING. Her film work boasts scene-stealing turns in DUPLICITY with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen; Woody Allen’s VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; the Oscar nominated TRANSAMERICA, playing Felicity Huffman’s sister; Alan Ball’s TOWELHEAD opposite Aaron Eckhart, VIRGINIA with Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris, the indie darling SIRONIA, the Daisy 3 Pictures’ (her production company) film READY? OK!, and the critically acclaimed THAT EVENING SUN, with Hal Holbrook. Some other film credits include playing the 50’s housewife Sally, struggling with her Rock Hudson-esque husband in STRAIGHT-JACKET; the lead in the indie festival hit LOVELY BY SURPRISE; MERCURY RISING with Bruce Willis; FOR RICHER OR POORER with Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley; GUINEVERE with Stephen Rea and Sarah Polley; WOMAN WANTED with Holly Hunter and Keifer Sutherland; STEPFORD WIVES with Nicole Kidman; and Robert Redford’s THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE. She most recently stunned audiences in her harrowing turn as a feckless single mother in A BAG OF HAMMERS. Set to begin festival rounds are plum roles in the indie gems VINO VERITAS and BLUE POTATO.
On television, she was a series regular on the sitcom EMERIL, starring the chef Emeril Lagasse. Guest appearances include Felicity Huffman’s sister (again) on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES; PRIVATE PRACTICE; LOST(playing her husband’s mother in a flashback); ROYAL PAINS; LAW AND ORDER: SVU; NUMBERS; THE INSIDE; the series finale of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT; WONDER FALLS; playing two killers and one victim on 3 different episodes of LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT; SEX AND THE CITY with Sarah Jessica Parker; SPIN CITY, with Michael J. Fox; UNION SQUARE; SIGNIFICANT OTHERS; and TRINITY.
A crucial role playing “Ophelia” in the 1994 production of HAMLET at Alabama Shakespeare Festival is where Carrie met her husband, Emmy Award winning Michael Emerson, who was playing Guildenstern in the production. Her theater work is extensive:
Broadway: FESTEN with Jeremy Sisto and Julianna Margulies and THE RIVALS with Brian Murray and Emily Bergl.
Off-Broadway: ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA at the Public Theater (cross dressing as Octavius Caesar to Vanessa Redgrave’s Cleopatra) CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN with Shirley Knight ; John Guare’s CHAUCER IN ROME, with Jon Tenney (Lincoln Center) BOYS AND GIRLS with Malcolm Gets and FREEDOMLAND (Playwrights Horizons); the stage version of STRAIGHT-JACKET (Playhouse 91); THE LIBERTINE (Theatre Row).
She has performed regionally at theaters such as The Guthrie, where she played “Honey” opposite Patrick Stewart and Mercedes Ruehl in WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINA WOOLF?; Williamstown, where she played opposite Bebe Neuwirth and Roger Rees in TAMING OF THE SHREW; Baltimore Center Stage, where she originated the lead role in Warren Leight’s NO FOREIGNERS BEYOND THIS POINT; The Long Wharf, where she played Mia Farrow’s daughter in James Lapine’s FRAN’S BED; and the McCarter theater’s acclaimed production of HAMLET, acting with her husband Michael Emerson. She has also performed in countless Shakespeare plays in festivals in Georgia, Alabama, Utah and California.
Carrie is also a director and producer with her production company, Daisy 3 Pictures. Her directorial debut was the feature film 29th AND GAY, written by and starring James Vasquez, which was released on DVD by TLA Releasing. She also directed the short film FEET OF CLAY by David Caudle, which made the festival rounds. James Vasquez’s READY? OK!, which she starred in and executive produced, played more than 50 festivals, both domestic and international. Carrie won Best Actress at Film Out San Diego, where the film had its world premiere. READY? OK! was released on DVD by Wolfe video and recently made its cable TV debut on Logo. Both feature films are available at Netflix, on iTunes, on Amazon and at local video stores.
Their third feature THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID was written by Kellie Overbey and directed by Carrie. It stars Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis, Alia Shawkat, Kellie Overbey and Kate Rigg. It had its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where it was acquired by Phase 4 Films. It played numerous festivals in 2012 including Sarasota Film Festival, Outfest, USA Film Festival, Soho International Film Festival, San Francisco Women’s Film Festival and Provincetown International Film Festival. At the 2012 Nashville Film Festival it won Best Film by a Woman Director (Carrie Preston) and Best Actress (Alia Shawkat) At the Film Out San Diego 2012, it won Best Screenplay (Kellie Overbey) and the Audience Award for Best Supporting Actress (Marcia DeBonis) It had a theatrical run in the fall of 2012 and is currently available on all digital and DVD platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Redbox, Walmart, Blockbuster and more. It was also acquired by Showtime.
The latest film Carrie directed, a comedy concert film starring Kate Rigg called “Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Good Time Fun Fun Show.”, had its world premiere at the Soho International Film Festival and will be available for streaming later in the year. Carrie also directs the web series DARWIN, which can be seen at darwintheseries.com.
Carrie and Michael travel back and forth between Los Angeles and New York with their dog Chumley.