Northwestern grad in new movie


Tammy Bevan wanted to yell in a crowded movie theater, but settled instead for piracy, pointing her phone at the screen and snapping a picture during the credits.

It’s just that hard to contain her excitement when her sister is in a movie the caliber of “Silver Linings Playbook.”

“I almost screamed out, ‘There’s my sister,’ ” Bevan, a Springfield resident, said. “I thought for sure I was going to say something.”

Bevan’s sister, fellow Northwestern High School alumna Cheryl Williams, has a small role as Jennifer Lawrence’s mother in the Oscar-nominated romantic dramedy showing nationwide.

“I’ve seen it a couple of times already,” said Bevan, a local insurance agent. “I would recommend it even if she wasn’t in it.”

For Williams, an award-winning stage actress and adjunct acting professor in Philadelphia, the movie also starring Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro marks her mainstream film debut.

“It was amazing to do scenes with Bradley Cooper. And you’re sharing moments with Jennifer Lawrence, and you’re doing a scene with DeNiro, even though most of that scene was cut,” Williams said. “I never felt less than or different than them.

“We’re all actors and we’re up there doing our thing.”

Williams doesn’t have many lines, but she gets a good amount of screen time.

“It’s a sweet little role,” she said.

Williams, who graduated from Northwestern in 1974 and Antioch College in 1983, got the part after the film’s casting director contacted her agent about using seven to eight Philadelphia actors.

In Philly, where she teaches acting at Temple University, Williams won one of the city’s prestigious Barrymore Awards in 2010 for outstanding leading actress in a play for her role in “The Breath of Life.” While still in Ohio, Williams appeared in the original cast of “Blue Jacket,” the now-closed outdoor drama in Xenia, for three years in the early 1980s.

Now that she’s appeared in a big, mainstream movie, Williams would like to do more film work.

“I would like to do more now that I got a taste for it. I’ve been a theater gal all my life,” she said. “Now I’ve got the bug. Here I am in my mid-50s.

“Maybe I’m just having a mid- to later-life crisis.”

For a film debut, she could have done worse than “Silver Linings Playbook” — the movie is up for eight Academy Awards on Sunday night, including best picture, best director, best actor and best actress.

Lawrence already has won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role.

“I felt very connected to her. It was nice to be able to go off in the corner and just talk with her. Just person to person stuff,” Williams said. “She deserves everything. She’s great, and I hope she wins the Oscar.”


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