Mia Serafino performs as Whisper with Jana Kramer and Brandon T. Jackson in the newly-released “Approaching Midnight.”
A former resident of Grosse Pointe Farms, Serafino said her movie roles began while attending Roosevelt University Chicago where she was majoring in performing arts.
“I came home the summer before my senior year,” she said.
A friend told her she should be a stand-in during the shoots in Grosse Pointe for “Real Steel,” in which Hugh Jackman stars.
“I stood in for Evangeline (Lilly). I was learning as a stand in,” she said.
To work on film with Jackman was a plus.
“Hugh Jackman has been a role model. He mentored me. I learned so much from him,” she said in a telephone interview.
When the film wrapped up its local shooting, Serafino returned to Roosevelt where she said she got an acting foundation.
“I wanted to be an actress,” she said. “I dressed up like Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz) when I was four.”
A long-time figure skater, Serafino stopped getting up at 5 a.m. to skate when she began performing in high school plays at University Liggett School. From the skating rink to school to play practice, she said, left her too tired to complete homework so the skating had to be eliminated from her schedule. She found her passion on the stage.
Though she earned a full ride to the University of Michigan after her 2007 ULS graduation, Serafino was chosen as one of 10 girls who auditioned to be accepted by Roosevelt.
“My parents were so supportive. They believed in me,” she said.
Serafino worked in Michigan on “Oz the Great and Powerful,” starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz, for eight months. She played an Emerald City citizen. It wrapped just before Christmas and Serafino’s move to California in January 2012.
Since then she has protrayed a young woman in “Saving Mr. Banks” with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks and was a secrretary in the film “Hitchcock.” In 2014, Serafino can be seen as Jimmy’s girlfriend in “Burkowski” and Georgette in “Secrets of a Psychopath.”
The latter just wrapped up filming in Texas and is a feature length horror film.
“A murderer holds girls hostage and she (her character) gets away,” is all she will say about the film. “I try to do everything. It’s good training. I would like to do different things and not do one thing. I care about the art.”
Though Serafino said she would like to do more comedies, if the occasion arose. And “I have been missing musical theater.”
In between films and auditions, Serafino enrolls in acting and dance classes to keep sharp in case she lands a part in a Shakespeare play, a musical or another film. Having gotten a taste of how flexible she must be in the acting world, Serafino gives this advice: Do believe in the work, don’t worry about the result, immerse yourself in great works and watch classic films
“Be an artist and don’t worry about reality (shows). You will find out what you really, really love. Know there will be obstacles, but you will be more fulfilled as you believe in your work,” Serafino said.
“Approaching Midnight” tells the story of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Wesley Kent who returns from the war and fights the threat of corruption and deception in his hometown. It is written and directed by Detroiter Sam Logan Khaleghi, who also portrays Kent.