BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Actress Mariana Klaveno grew up acting in the fields of her family’s Endicott wheat farm, but the former “True Blood” star initially kept her career aspirations to herself.
“I was one of those strange 5-year-olds, wandering around my parents’ pasture thinking, this is what I want to do,” she said. “I remember making up stories and playing out on my own or watching half a movie and then acting out the rest with stuffed animals. I don’t know where it came from. Everyone else in my family is more practical, and I was kind of embarrassed about admitting that’s what I wanted to do but I was very fortunate to be blessed with a family that has been completely supportive the whole way.”
Klaveno said that’s even true when she’s cast in roles that might be difficult for a parent to watch, whether it’s her vampire character Lorena on “True Blood” or her new role as a U.S. presidential candidate’s mistress in “Full Circle,” a series that returns for its third season at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Audience Network, Channel 239 on DirecTV.
Each season, “Full Circle” tells a new story with a new cast and new characters. For the show’s third outing, each of the 10 half-hour episodes explores the mystery surrounding a philandering Democrat, former Wisconsin governor Davis Faulkner (Dougray Scott), and the threat of a scandal that erupts when a call girl he previously had a relationship with, Angela (Klaveno), is found beaten in his Miami hotel room.
“Did he really do it? Is he lying? Did someone set him up?” Klaveno said, teasing the show’s plot.
“Full Circle” is always set in a fairly enclosed location – the hotel lobby, rooms and hallways – allowing for long, dialogue-filled scenes.
“It really feels like a play turned into a television show,” Klaveno said. “For actors, it’s such a gift to have these long scenes. Normally, your scenes are just four to five pages long; these were 14- to 15-page scenes. … It’s scenes with one actor against another actor; it’s really a joy to sink your teeth into that kind of material instead of it being this truncated thing.”
Actor Christopher Gorham (“Covert Affairs”) plays opposite Klaveno as a secret service agent who wants to keep Angela as far from the candidate as possible.
“She’s a wonderful actress, incredibly talented and refreshingly not at all crazy, which is saying a lot,” he said. “She has some of the most vulnerable scenes in the series and she was a real trooper about them and did a fantastic job. I have a ton of respect for her.”
In addition to “Full Circle,” Klaveno has a role in the upcoming independent feature “478” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“There is a plane crash and I am someone connected to the airport,” Klaveno said, noting she shares all her scenes with Schwarzenegger. “It was pretty surreal. I’ve gotten to have scenes with stars before but that was the biggest star. You don’t get more famous than Arnold Schwarzenegger. I was more nervous in the first take of that scene than I think I’ve been in a long time. … He was a complete professional, very relaxed, very cool and quite lovely as a scene partner.”
Klaveno participated in a few student productions during her years at St. John/Endicott High School (class of 1998), but she said she mostly kept her acting aspirations to herself.
“It was a very private thing for me,” she said. “Maybe I tortured some of my classmates a little more, but I was just much more private with it.”
Klaveno said her family wanted her to get a college education, which she did. She’s a 2002 graduate of the University of Washington’s theater program.
“I got a degree in drama, which isn’t really worth too much these days, but they were good sports about that,” Klaveno said, grinning. “My parents encouraged me and were supportive of me and not every actor has that behind them.”
Klaveno, who is married to Los Angeles attorney Luis Patino, admits she may have to give her parents a heads-up on the content of “Full Circle.”
“There’s some sexy scenes just by the nature of who my character is, but I don’t think it’s anything worse than ‘True Blood,’ ” she said, laughing. “With ‘True Blood,’ I warned them so much beforehand that when they saw it they shrugged. They were good sports. I was more worried than they were.”
Her parents, Patrick and Daryl Kleweno – Mariana changed the spelling of her German surname for her work as an actress to help with pronunciation (“sometimes I question that move because people still can’t pronounce it, so maybe I didn’t do myself any favors by changing it”) – are selling their property in Endicott with plans to move to the Seattle area, where several of their children live.
“I do always feel nostalgic for those places and sights and smells,” she said of Eastern Washington. “I have so much love for that area and it feels like home to me. With my parents moving, it’s going to be much more emotional than I would have thought to maybe not visit that part of the state as much as I used to. Just like anybody’s home, it shapes you and I feel like it gave me a gift I couldn’t have gotten from anywhere else. And to be here now and pursue acting, it’s such a crazy dream. Growing up there gave me feet planted squarely on the ground, and I’m forever indebted to have grown up there for that.”
Klaveno planned a late-summer trip back to Eastern Washington, where she also returned to in 2013 to film a role in the indie film “West of Redemption,” which was based in Spokane but filmed largely in Cheney and Fairfield.
“It felt like I was coming full circle in a way to come back home, but as my professional self, as an actor,” she said. “That was really a special, satisfying experience for me.”
Freelance writer Rob Owen: RobOwenTV@gmail.com or on Facebook and Twitter as RobOwenTV.
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