With her bubbly persona and drive to perform, CARRIE PRESTON has landed roles in everything from stage to the big screen to a starring role as Arlene Fowler, the red-headed sassy waitress in the Golden Globe nominated HBO series TRUE BLOOD. Preston’s breakout Outer Critics Award nominated turn as “Miranda” in George C. Woolf’s Broadway production of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST with Patrick Stewart, led to roles in major television series such as LOST and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES along with scene-stealing turns in DUPLICITY with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen; Woody Allen’s VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; the Oscar nominated TRANSAMERICA, playing Felicity Huffman’s sister; Alan Ball’s TOWELHEAD opposite Aaron Eckhart, the Daisy 3 Pictures’ (her production company) film READY? OK!, and the critically acclaimed independent film, THAT EVENING SUN, with Hal Holbrook, which just completed its theatrical run.
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, where her mother was an artist and art therapist while her dad was a geo-technical engineer, a young Carrie Preston discovered her true calling in life lay in performing arts. At the age of 12, she became the impresario of her own front-yard theater company as producer, writer, casting director, costumer, director – and of course, actress. Preston later obtained a BFA from the University of Evansville followed with an acting diploma from the prestigious Juilliard School.
Carrie made an auspicious big screen debut as one of the two sexy, Southern bridesmaid sisters in the Julia Robert’s blockbuster MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING.
Some other film credits include playing the 50’s housewife Sally, struggling with her Rock Hudson-esque husband in STRAIGHT-JACKET; playing the lead in the indie festival hit LOVELY BY SURPRISE; MERCURY RISING with Bruce Willis ; FOR RICHER OR POORER with Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley; GUINEVERE with Stephen Rea and Sarah Polley; WOMAN WANTED with Holly Hunter and Keifer Sutherland; STEPFORD WIVES with Nicole Kidman; and Robert Redford’s THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE.
On television, she was a series regular on the sitcom EMERIL, starring the chef Emeril Lagasse. Guest appearances include Felicity Huffman’s sister (again) on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES; PRIVATE PRACTICE; LOST; NUMBERS; THE INSIDE; the series finale of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT; WONDER FALLS; playing two killers and one victim on LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT; SEX AND THE CITY with Sarah Jessica Parker; SPIN CITY, with Michael J. Fox; UNION SQUARE; SIGNIFICANT OTHERS; and TRINITY.
A crucial role playing “Ophelia” in HAMLET 15 years ago at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is where Carrie met her husband, Emmy Award winning Michael Emerson, who was playing Guildenstern in the production. Since then, the two have both starred in the movies STRAIGHT JACKET, GRACE & GLORIE, and THE JOURNEY. Keeping it in the family, Carrie played Michael’s mother in a flashback on his hit series LOST. Michael also had a role in the film 29TH AND GAY, which Preston produced and directed.
Broadway: FESTEN with Jeremy Sisto and Julianna Margulies and THE RIVALS with Brian Murray and Emily Bergl.
Off-Broadway: ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA at the Public Theater (cross dressing as Octavius Caesar to Vanessa Redgrave’s Cleopatra) CYCLING PAST THE MATTERHORN with Shirley Knight ; John Guare’s CHAUCER IN ROME, with Jon Tenney (Lincoln Center) BOYS AND GIRLS with Malcolm Gets and FREEDOMLAND (Playwrights Horizons); the stage version of STRAIGHT-JACKET (Playhouse 91); THE LIBERTINE (Theatre Row).
She has performed regionally at theaters such as The Guthrie, where she played “Honey” opposite Patrick Stewart and Mercedes Ruehl in WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINA WOOLF?; Williamstown, where she played opposite Bebe Neuwirth and Roger Rees in TAMING OF THE SHREW; Baltimore Center Stage, where she originated the lead role in Warren Leight’s NO FOREIGNERS BEYOND THIS POINT; The Long Wharf, where she played Mia Farrow’s daughter in James Lapine’s FRAN’S BED; and the McCarter theater’s acclaimed production of HAMLET, acting with her husband Michael Emerson. She has also performed in countless Shakespeare plays in festivals in Georgia, Alabama, Utah and California.
Carrie is also a director and producer with her production company, Daisy 3 Pictures. Her directorial debut was the feature film 29th AND GAY, written by and starring James Vasquez, which was released on DVD by TLA Releasing. She also directed the short film FEET OF CLAY by David Caudle, which made the festival rounds. James Vasquez’s READY? OK!, which she starred in and executive produced, played more than 50 festivals, both domestic and international. Carrie won Best Actress at Film Out San Diego, where the film had its world premiere. READY? OK! was released on DVD by Wolfe video and recently made its cable TV debut on Logo. Both feature films are available at Netflix, on iTunes, on Amazon and at local video stores.
Always up for the next challenge, Preston is still going strong as Arlene Fowler in the highly rated TRUE BLOOD, the HBO series from creator Alan Ball (mastermind of “Six Feet Under”), alongside an international muli/culti ensemble of actors, including Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin. She also has a recurring role on THE GOOD WIFE, playing the scatterbrained genius lawyer, Elsbeth Tascioni. Preston can be next seen on the big screen starring opposite Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris in Dustin Lance Black’s WHAT’S WRONG WITH VIRGINIA? Also on the horizon is her harrowing turn as a struggling single Mom in A BAG OF HAMMERS, with Rebecca Hall and Jason Ritter. Also in the can is the dark comedy indie film, VINO VERITAS. Carrie directed her second feature film, THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID, written by Kellie Overbey and starring Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis and Alia Shawkat.
Carrie and Michael travel back and forth between Los Angeles and New York with their dog Chumley.