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Michelle Renee

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Member Since: Jan, 2007

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Featured Book
Sri Lanka / Serendib - photography by Albert Russo
by Albert Russo

Photo book on Sri Lanka with short poems by Albert Russo, Eric Tessier,and from the Dhammapada (teachings of the Buddha), in English and French..  
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Dexter Actress Julie Benz to Star in Lifetime Movie Network's Held Hostage
Thursday, May 14, 2009  3:44:00 PM

by Michelle Renee

Acclaimed actress Julie Benz (Showtime's wildly popular serial-killer drama Dexter, Saw V, Rambo, Buffy) will star in a Lifetime Movie Network original movie, Held Hostage. Held Hostage is an incredible true mother/daughter story of terror, courage, resiliency and self-discovery premiering on Lifetime Movie Network in July 2009. Bruce McGill (W., Cinderella Man) and Canadian actress Natasha Calis (Impact, Christmas Caper) also joins the cast.

Ripped from the headlines, the film is based on the true story and book of the same title by Michelle Renee ( Benz plays Michelle Renee/Estey, an abused teenage runaway that escapes the streets and climbs the corporate ladder as a single mother to become one of the youngest bank executive's for one of the largest banks in the world. Benz's character is then kidnapped by three masked gunmen, held hostage for 14 hours and forced to rob a bank to save her only child's life while they are both wired to explode.

In the midst of the traumatic aftermath the tactical criminal defense team calls Michelle's role in the bank heist into question and reveals damaging information about her haunting past that could devastate the prosecution's case against her attackers. Completely dismantled and suffering with PTSD, Michelle realizes that to recover from this terrifying event in a positive way for her daughter and herself, she must embrace her past and heal her life…all of it.

"Julie Benz is outstanding in this smart and sensitively written dramatic role about my life." Shares Renee coming home from location in Vancouver, BC. As Creative Consultant and Associate Producer on the project, Michelle goes on to describe the journey she has traveled from homeless abused teen to business executive to survivor and international speaker/author with a movie about her life coming out in July. "It takes being passionately and tenaciously committed in the pursuit of your dream, vision, and purpose to see things through to fruition." And although she admits that she wanted to give up a thousand times but yet never gave into that temptation, she continues by adding her signature phrase, "Success takes believing in yourself and belieiving in living your dreamBIG life with gratitude always at the center."

Alongside Benz is Canadian actress Natasha Calis (Impact, Christmas Caper); the young star who celebrated her 10th birthday on the set of Held Hostage. Calis is playing the role of Michelle's only child and hostage survivor, Breea. This bright, young yet old-soul kind of natural talent is hard to find and Calis certainly brought to life the reality of what youth suffer after violent trauma and how the incredible bond between mother and daughter can heal anything.

Held Hostage also co-stars Bruce McGill. Known for his work on over 100 feature films, most recently the award winning film W. with Josh Brolin, McGill plays the hard hitting cop with a heart in Held Hostage who discovers more about himself as he witnesses Michelle and Breea's relationship, tenacious courage and strength. McGill will soon be filming opposite Sean Penn in another true and high profile story and working on an upcoming feature release with Jamie Foxx.

Held Hostage will be produced by Johnson Production Group and Held Hostage Productions, Inc. (Canada) for Lifetime Movie Network. Timothy Johnson (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Cold Case, Lovesick) will Executive Produce. Grant Harvey (Whistler, Confessions of a Go-Go Girl, Lovesick) will Direct the teleplay by Jim Kearns (John Q) and Maria Nation (The Two Mr. Kissels, Little Girl Lost) based on the book by Michelle Renee.

 More News about Michelle Renee
Be Your Kids Hero is The Powerful Message from Author Michelle Renee - 1/24/2007 1:01:00 PM

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