Bliss: About The Cast

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CRAIG SHEFFER (Joseph) With a strong understated presence, Craig Sheffer has a quiet intensity that transcends the screen. A dedicated actor since his early 20s, Sheffer won the Best High School Actor Award in the state of Pennsylvania. Following high school, he was offered a starting position on the West Point college football team, and was scouted by the Baltimore Orioles, but chose to enter into the acting profession, and subsequently moved to New York.

Early auditions landed Sheffer a role in the off-Broadway play "Punchy," before co-starring in the award-winning Broadway production "Torch Song Trilogy." His performance on Broadway led to his feature film debut opposite Emilio Estevez in That Was Then, This Is Now. Subsequent roles included the John Hughes' comedy Some Kind of Wonderful; the father/son drama Split Decisions with Gene Hackman; and Robert Redford's critically-hailed film A River Runs Through It opposite Brad Pitt.

Other film credits include the hard-edged drama The Program opposite James Caan, and the generation-X comedy Sleep With Me with Meg Tilly and Eric Stoltz. He recently starred in Sony Pictures' first ever 3-D IMAX film Wings of Courage, directed by Academy Award-winner Jean Jacques Annaud. In 1993, Sheffer served as an executive producer of Sylvester Stallone's Demolition Man, before producing and starring in the independent film Instant Karma.

Sheffer will next be seen in the HBO telefilm Miss Evers' Boys opposite Laurence Fishburne, before starring with Harvey Keitel and Cameron Diaz in Head Above Water.

Sheffer has also written a novel and screenplays, and spends his free time writing poetry. His production company, Sheffer Films, is currently developing several projects, one of which he is attached to direct.

SHERYL LEE (Maria) In just a few short years since achieving international stardom for her performance as the enigmatic Laura Palmer in the television drama Twin Peaks and its theatrical prequel, Fire Walk With Me, Sheryl Lee has risen to the top rank of actresses working in independent films.

She received critical acclaim in 1994 for her performance as Astrid Kirchherr in Backbeat, the biographical film about the early days of the Beatles. Lee also starred in Homage, which premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, and she was the recipient of Women in Film's "Woman of the Year" Award that same year. Lee also appeared with Ellen Burstyn in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Follow the River before starring opposite Nick Nolte in Mother Night.

Lee stars in This World, and Then the Fireworks, which made its debut at 1997's Sundance Film Festival. This Easter, audiences will see her as Balthsheba in TNT's David directed by Robert Markowitz before she stars in Philip Haas' The Blood Oranges, which recently completed production in Mexico.

Lee's numerous stage credits include the title role, opposite Al Pacino, in "Salome" at The Circle in the Square Theatre in New York in 1993. Raised in Boulder, Colorado, Lee attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and the National Conservatory Theatre in Denver.

TERENCE STAMP (Baltazar Vincenza) has worked with some of the industry's most impressive filmmakers since his debut in 1962, and has established himself as one of the most versatile actors of all time.

Born in Bow, London, Stamp won the bi-annual scholarship to the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in 1958, awarded to students of outstanding ability and insufficient means.

In 1960, Stamp was discovered by Peter Ustinov and went on to star in his first performance as the title role in Melville's novella Billy Budd, which secured the actor an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 1965, he took the prize for Best Actor at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival for his role in John Fowles' first novel The Collector for legendary director William Wyler.

Stamp went on to work with some of the most acclaimed and controversial directors of the era in such films as Modesty Blaise (Joseph Losey), Poor Cow (Ken Loach), Blue (Silvio Narrizzano), Toby Dammit (Federico Fellini) and Theorum (Pier Paolo Passolini), before opting out of films for eight years.

Stamp returned to the silver screen in 1978 to star as the supervillain General Zod in Superman 1 and 2 (shot simultaneously) before portraying the first guru of G.I. Gurdjieff in Peter Brooks' Meetings With Remarkable Men. In 1985, he continued to re-establish himself among the world's best cinema actors with his portrayal of the super grass philosopher in Stephen Frears' The Hit for which he was honored with Paris' Grand Medaille de Vermeil.

Roles soon followed with Robert Redford in Legal Eagles, Michael Cimino's The Sicilian and Oliver Stone's Wall Street, before featuring in 1988's Young Guns. In 1992, Stamp went on to star in Spain's Prince of Shadows which broke box office records in Europe, and garnered him wide critical acclaim.

But it was Stamp's most recent performance as Bernadette the transsexual in The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert which earned him worldwide praise and numerous prizes at festivals across the world, including a Golden Globe Award nomination for best actor in a comedy.

Stamp will next be seen in Love Walked In opposite Aitana Sanchez Gijon, which made its debut at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.

SPALDING GRAY (Alfred), who portrays Alfred the marriage councilor, is a writer, actor and performer. He virtually created a new art form with his series of thirteen monologues that have been performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. These include the OBIE Award-winning "Swimming to Cambodia," which was based on his experiences starring in his first major motion picture, The Killing Fields. Other monologues include "Sex and Death to the Age 14," "Terrors of Pleasure," "Monster In A Box," "Booze, Cars and College Girls," "A Personal History of the American Theatre" and "India and After (America)."

Gray's monologues that have been made into motion pictures include Swimming to Cambodia, directed by Jonathan Demme, Monster In A Box, directed by Nick Broomfield and the upcoming Gray's Anatomy, directed by Steven Soderbergh, which is being released by Northern Arts. Terrors of Pleasure was televised on HBO.

Other films in which Gray has appeared include True Stories, Beaches, Twenty Bucks, King of the Hill, The Paper, Beyond Rangoon and Diabolique. Television appearances include the his recent recurring role on CBS' popular The Nanny, starring Fran Drescher; the PBS version of Our Town on Great Performances; The Image with Albert Finney on HBO; The Messenger and HBO's Zelda.

Gray began his career as an actor in regional and Off-Broadway theatre and in 1969 he joined the Wooster Group, a performance theater in SoHo. Notably, he has performed on Broadway in a revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" and Off-Broadway in Sam Shepard's "The Tooth of Crime."

Several collections of Gray's monologues as well as his first novel, Impossible Vacation, by Alfred Knopf have been published, including his current monologue "It's a Slippery Slope," which will be out by Ferrar, Straus & Giroux later this year.

Chicago-born actor CASEY SIEMASZKO (Tanner) has been in show business since the age of five, when he made his stage debut with The Koscuiszko Dancers, his father's folk-dance group.

In the 1980s, Siemaszko became a familiar juvenile film lead, appearing as the doomed high school student in Three O'Clock High and as Burt Reynolds' young partner in crime in Breakin' In. In 1985, he appeared in Back to the Future for director Robert Zemeckis, before being seen in Rob Reiner's Stand By Me and Mike Nichols' Biloxi Blues. In 1988, Siemaszko starred with Kiefer Sutherland and Emelio Estevez in Young Guns, before reprising his role in Back to the Future II.

Most recently, Siemaszko has appeared in John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich; Milk Money with Melanie Griffith and The Phantom for director Simon Wincer.

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