Get to know Danielle Bisutti as HOLR has an in-depth conversation with the talented actress, producer, director, and singer-songwriter.
Danielle Bisutti can do it all as a multi-talented (and Emmy Award-winning!) actress, producer, director, and singer-songwriter. Best known for her role on True Jackson VP (in which she starred alongside Keke Palmer), Danielle was most recently nominated for a BAFTA for her performance as The Norse Goddess “Freya” in Sony Playstation’s “God of War.”
Check out our full conversation with Danielle below and get to know the actress-turned-girl boss. Danielle breaks it all down as we chat through everything from her life, to her awards, to how she is the head of Perfect Timing Productions.
As an Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, director and singer-songwriter tell us about how you got your start in the industry.
I was born into a big American Italian family of artists, many of whom made a successful career in the Entertainment Industry. My Father’s side – The Grecos – moved 11 brothers and sisters down from Tacoma, Washington to Los Angeles when my Great Aunt Helen Greco’s singing talents were discovered by Bing Crosby. After her job with Crosby, she later was hired to sing on “The Spike Jones Show,” with Comedian-Musician Spike Jones who later became her husband.
My Mother’s side – The Ferrares – moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Los Angeles when my Aunt Cristina Ferrare was discovered at 17 years old for her beauty, modeling, and acting abilities.
So, you could say it’s in my blood, my destiny.
My father, Richard Bisutti, was a child actor in some of the biggest musicals and movies alongside Frank Sinatra, Gwen Verdin, Hayley Mills (Damn Yankees, Pollyanna), and my mother, Diana, a model, writer, painter, singer-songwriter, and musician. Even though I begged my father to let me audition for commercials, TV, and films when I was a kid, he really felt it was important for me to stay in school and experience a normal childhood. However, he and my mother were always supportive of my talents and dreams and not only encouraged me to audition for every single play or musical at school, but they never missed a show! After a well-rounded high school experience doing plays, musicals, singing in the Madrigal choir, playing basketball, volleyball, leadership, and speech and debate, I decided to go to college to garner a proper education in Theater Arts. I attended California State University at Fullerton and graduated in four years with my bachelor’s in arts with a double emphasis in acting and musical theater. I was at a crossroads where many of my alumni decided to hoof it out in New York with goals of being on Broadway. I opted to pound the pavement in Los Angeles and follow in my family’s footsteps pursuing a career in TV film and music. I still have a desire to be on Broadway one day and believe wholeheartedly it will happen in perfect timing.
At 21 years old I moved in with my Aunt Cristina Ferrare and Uncle Tony Thomopoulos who lived in a Bel Air mansion off Stone Canyon and shacked up in her guest house over the garage. I then did what any young actress pursuing a career in acting would do, I got a job in a restaurant. Crustacean
I also did what any hopeful actress would do to get a real hands-on education about what it was like to be on set. I then became an extra, or as we respectfully call it today, a background artist. Thankfully, my dad’s Greco cousin, Alan DiGoia, was a cameraman on Picket Fences and Ally McBeal, and his brother, Doug DiGoia, was a cameraman on Friends, so obtaining the three vouchers making me SAG-ELIGIBLE was a bit of an easier road for me. Italians keep it in the family. In 1999, I paid my dues and became a legitimate SAG actress. Even though I had a rich diverse education in the theater, learning a myriad of acting methods from all the great acting teachers ranging from Stanislavsky to Stella Adler, Strasberg to Meisner, I knew it was important to continue learning my craft with a focus on cold reading and audition techniques, which were not the primary area of focus at Theater school. I studied with Eric Kline at Tony Barr’s film actors’ workshop, Shari Shaw Acting Studio, and on occasion would pop into Larry Moss and Leslie Kahn classes. That coupled with countless casting director workshops – some from AIA Actor’s Studio where I also learned how to get my first headshots and build a resume. I went onto Actor’s Access and Backstage West to audition for student films and low-budget projects to get my feet wet. After acting in several indie projects, one day, when I was 23 years old, I booked my first official co-star on Dharma & Greg. I had one line. It was cut from the broadcast but my outraged expression in the scene remained. I knew then and there: kid you didn’t stay in the picture but you’re going to make it no matter what.
You most notably starred opposite Keke Palmer on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson VP. Talk to us about this series and how it impacted your career as an actress.
After many years of working my way from co-star roles to guest star roles to recurring roles on The O.C., Cold Case, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe, I finally nailed my first series regular role for Nickelodeon’s True Jackson V.P. I loved my time on TJVP but it was also a nerve-wreaking experience as it was my first series regular role, and a comedy at that, so the pressure to turn a joke and stay spontaneous was always looming. I am so grateful because it was on the famous stage 25 at Paramount Studios, the former home to Fraiser, Cheers, Bosom Buddies, and The Lucy Show, that I got to cut my teeth into comedy. I had to pinch myself every time I drove onto the lot.
Starring opposite of Keke Palmer was a hoot! At 14 years old she had more energy and “old soul” wisdom than just about anybody on that set! I’m so proud of the force of nature Keke has become in the industry and not the least bit surprised. Our talented cast of actors had such great chemistry and comedic timing, it was truly a joy to play in that sandbox with them. Our very talented writer’s room led by our show creator, Andy Gordon, all hailed from successful network and cable comedies. I felt so honored to deliver their jokes and speak their words as the complicated and misunderstood, Amanda Cantwell, who always served as the foil to True.
You were recently nominated for a BAFTA for your performance as The Norse Goddess “Freya” in Sony Playstation’s top-grossing video game “God of War.” Tell us more about this incredible achievement.
Playing Freya in the God of War franchise has unequivocally changed my life. Receiving my 2019 BAFTA nomination for “Best Performer” as Freya in God of War, 2018 was one of the greatest honors of my life.
I can honestly say that all roads in my life led me to Freya and have given me the experience needed to embody her story. In 2014, when my manager Susan Ferris at Bohemia Group sent me an audition for an “interactive video game,” I didn’t quite understand the scale of what was in store for me. A video game lover myself, I became a gaming pro in high school by playing Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers and Ms. Pac-man in the arcades but that’s where my journey ended. I was completely unaware of the level of artistic sophistication and evolution these games had undergone. God of War is a masterpiece. When I saw the cut scenes from the 2018 game I was brought to tears several times at the sheer beauty of it all: the lighting, the animation, the landscapes, the gameplay, the sound, Bear McCreary’s emotional, masterful score, and the most sophisticated writing in the pantheon of video games led by Cory Barlog, Matt Sophos and Richard Gaubert, creating such complex, in-depth characters whose journeys have galvanized a loyal fanbase heralding God of War as “The Game of a Generation.”
What an absolute gift to be a part of this top-tier multi-award-winning game of the year and BAFTA Best Game record-breaking video game. I am humbled and in a constant state of awe of it. This year the BAFTA’s have graciously added a category for “Best Supporting Role” in a game, allowing more opportunities for the impeccable level of talented actors bringing these beloved characters to life to be recognized for their work. When I saw that I was listed among the incredible nominees for “Best Performer in a Supporting Role” for my work as Freya in the 2022 sequel, God of War Ragnarök, I cried tears of joy and gratitude. And that is the pervasive feeling I have when I think of God of War and Freya, sheer gratitude.
You’re the head of Perfect Timing Productions. What can you tell us about this endeavor?
My desire to act and tell stories is indelibly etched into one of my earliest memories when I enrolled my family members, after watching The Wizard of Oz, to react to the movie, in short form, in our backyard. I, of course, was Dorothy with my stuffed animal Toto and my dad who played The Wicked Witch got a bucket of water poured over his head while crying “I’m melting I’m melting!” Like many kids of my generation, I loved writing and putting on plays and skits with my family and neighborhood friends so, so you could say at a young age I intuitively knew my path would lead me to not only be an actress, but to also write, direct, produce, dance, sing, and play instruments. I wanted to express life through a multifaceted prism of creativity. My twenty-five-year career as a working actress has certainly had its fair share of strides and stops, wins, and losses. Something revelatory happened when I finally understood that the “rejections” weren’t “personal,” it was a “just business” (as they say). I knew it was time to emancipate myself from the whims of a project that perhaps didn’t choose me for a myriad of reasons that were completely out of my control. I didn’t like the feeling of not being in control of my destiny, mainly because I had such an electrical currency of tireless creativity that needed an outlet. I knew the only way to break through that proverbial Hollywood glass ceiling was to liberate myself and make my own content. I have a bit of a rebellious streak thus taking “no” for an answer is not in my DNA. They also say necessity is the mother of invention and inventing always requires a certain amount of risk, but it’s a risk well worth taking. It was time. I named my production company after my corporation’s name: Perfect Timing Productions because I believe everything happens in God’s perfect timing. (Even when it pains me because I wanted it to happen much sooner. I love team building and collaborating with creative partners. Together, supporting one another in this creative collective, we get to tell the stories we want to tell. And that has also been one of my life’s biggest blessings.
What’s next for you and what are your future career goals?
What’s next in the acting realm is a film festival premiere for a film noir fantasy horror drama called, The Blue Rose executive produced by Jay Von Hoy and Tracie Lynn, and produced by Athena Pictures. The film was written and directed by George Baron who co-stars alongside Olivia Scott Welch (Fear Street, Lucky Hank). The Blue Rose follows two rookie detectives who set out to solve a homicide but end up in an alternate reality made up of their worst nightmares in which I play the enigmatic femme fatale, “Norma Steele.” Red lips, red nails, and secrets galore. I also wrote the theme song “The Blue Rose” which will be featured in the film score’s ouverture composed by Alexander Burke.
2023 is already shaping up to be a very busy season for my production company, Perfect Timing Productions. We have several projects we’ve been nurturing that are ready to go into production. Two feature films: a dystopian sci-fi horror thriller entitled; Osiris co-written with my partner Nickolas Dimondi. I will co-star and co-direct; A psychological thriller horror fantasy drama entitled, Wake Me; a darkly comedic web series entitled, Damsels co-created with my partner Amber Henley who also co-stars with me. We aim to release it on Perfect Timing Productions YouTube channel and possibly Amazon Prime sometime in the Fall.
Last November, in celebration of God of War Ragnarök’s release, we premiered Song of the Valkyrie, a Norse Mythology inspired fantasy music film set to a cover of Lana Del Rey’s song, “Video Games.” This epic music video is a love letter to the God of War fans, Sony Santa Monica Studios, and my beloved role as Freya. Although the narrative is not from GOW Ragnarök the suggestions in it might be *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* so please watch accordingly.
All of our projects can be found on our YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/@
My future career goals are to continue expanding my work as an actress in all mediums but in particular I‘d love to find a series regular role in a dynamic show on a streaming or cable platform. In 2020 my series regular role, “Hexela” in BYUtv’s family-friendly single-camera comedy Dwight in Shining Armor was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I felt so free to explore and get whacky playing a sassy mysterious medieval Witch acclimating to living in modern-day Middle America. I find it so rewarding to grow with my characters throughout their journey. As a newly burgeoning filmmaker I intend to continue creating projects that are meaningful to me with the intention of powerfully moving our audience whether it be by tears, laughter, or introspection. As a singer-songwriter, I plan to release another creative cover song music video to Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” with my female trio, BLOOM (Rachel Krishna Anderson and Michelle Elliott Rearick), and continue writing songs for the projects I am in as well remain open to any other musical endeavors that present themselves. I will always be learning and always be creating.
Published by HOLR Magazine.