Shannyn Sossamon's story could inspire thousands of wannabe actresses to buy a few turntables: casting director Francine Maisler discovered the 20-year-old actress spinning records at a posh Hollywood party and cast the Angelina Jolie lookalike in A Knight's Tale, which Sony hoped would be a huge summer hit. While A Knight's Tale performed somewhat respectably at the box office, it failed to set the world on fire. But it did establish Sossaman and co-star Heath Ledger as up-and-coming young actors. The Hawaii-born and Nevada-raised Sossaman moved to Los Angeles when she was 15 to study dance, which she considers a lifelong passion. She and a friend were DJing Gwyneth and Jack Paltrow's joint birthday party when Maisler noticed her, contacting her soon after the party about auditioning for the movie. Sossaman next appeared in 40 Days and 40 Nights alongside Josh Hartnett, another actor who saw his star rise in 2001 thanks to a summer blockbuster. She followed that up with the Bret Easton Ellis adaptation The Rules of Attraction. She continued to work steadily in a variety of projects including Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Wristcutters: A Love Story, One Missed Call, and Road to Nowhere.
Biography by Stephanie M. Kuenn
- Was discovered by a casting director while DJing at a 1999 birthday party for actor Gwyneth Paltrow.
- Big-screen breakthrough came opposite Heath Ledger in the genre-bending medieval hit A Knight's Tale (2001).
- Reunited with Ledger and Tale director Brian Helgeland for supernatural thriller The Order, a 2003 box-office disappointment.
- Moved into TV work in 2007, landing regular roles on the FX drama Dirt and the CBS supernatural series Moonlight.
- Appeared in music videos for the Goo Goo Dolls and Mick Jagger.
- Featured in a commercial for GAP, as well as alongside George Clooney in a commercial for Martini vermouth.
- Played drums in a rock band called Warpaint.