Nothing Is Private
Actress Summer Bishil began her career with guest spots in TV series like “Just for Kicks,” “Days of Our Lives” and “Hannah Montana” before rising to fame as the teenaged Arab-American girl on Alan Ball's “Nothing Is Private” (2007), an adaptation of Alicia Erian's novel of the same name. The role brought her an Independent Spirit nomination. On playing the character in the film, she commented, “There were these long notes in the script of how it was supposed to be handled. That character was so complex and I worked on it so much. I didn't identify with her life, but I felt connected to her. I understand her solitude and loneliness and displacement.”
Bishil also had roles in the Disney Channel Original movie “Return to Halloweentown” (2006) and the Wayne Kramer directed drama “Crossing Over” (2009). She will play Sara in the upcoming film “Public Relations” (2009).
Bishil was named one of Variety's “Ten Actors to Watch” in 2007. The next year, she was selected as the “One to Watch” at the 10th Annual Young Hollywood Awards. In August 2008, she was featured in Vanity Fair's cover article, “Hollywood's New Wave: The Hottest Kids in Hollywood,” with other young celebrities.
Childhood and Family:
Summer Bishil was born on July 17, 1988, in Pasadena, California. The daughter of an American mother and a father who is a Saudi Arabian citizen, she left California at age 3 when her father, who is an international banker, was relocated to his native country, Saudi Arabia. After two years, the family moved to Bahrain. She was sent to the British School in Manama, Bahrain, where the active girl performed in many school productions.
After the events of 9/11, Summer and her family relocated back to Southern California. At the time, she was 14 years old. Upon her return, she completed an independent study program for high school. She recalled, “There were certain things that they didn't want to be around. The school had to close down for a few days after 9/11 for security reasons. There were people there with armed guards. My parents were like, 'It's time to go.'”
Summer, whose nicknames are Summi and Sum, currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. She is single.
Although raised primarily in the Middle East, young Summer Bishil developed a love for American movies and by the time she was 5 years old, knew she wanted to be an actress. After returning to America and finishing high school at home, she took an acting class and was discovered shortly after. A contestant in The Best New Talent Awards, she was signed by CED Talent Agency and GEM Entertainment after her impressive performance on the show.
In September 2005, Bishil appeared in an episode of the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” where she played a character named Stacey. In April 2006, she was featured in the brief-lived Nickelodeon show “Just for Kicks.” She also appeared in the network's sitcom “Drake & Josh,” which starred Drake Bell and Josh Peck, and Disney Channel's Emmy Award nominated sitcom “Hannah Montana” (both also 2006).
Still in 2006, Bishil made her television movie debut with “Return to Halloweentown,” a Disney Channel Original Movie that premiered on October 20. Cast as Aneesa, the family film gave her a chance to work with Sara Paxton, J. Paul Zimmerman, Judith Hoag, Lucas Grabeel, Keone Young, Debbie Reynolds, Kristy Wu and Leslie Wing, among others. It was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie.
Bishil's big breakthrough arrived in 2007 when she was hired to star as Jasira Maroun on “Nothing Is Private,” the feature directorial debut of Alan Ball of “Six Feet Under” fame. Despite the movie receiving mixed reviews, the young thespian was singled out for her impressive performance as a 13 year old Lebanese American girl attempting to steer through her adolescence. She received an Independent Spirit nomination for Best Female Lead. “Nothing Is Private” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2007 and was shown at various festivals throughout 2008, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Provincetown Film Festival and the Deauville American Film Festival. It was released theatrically in the U.S. on September 26, 2008.
Recently, Bishil costarred with Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Jim Sturgess, Cliff Curtis, Alice Braga, Alice Eve and Tammin Sursok in director/writer Wayne Kramer's “Crossing Over,” which is about illegal immigrants struggling to reach legal status in Los Angeles. The drama premiered in Bahrain on February 26, 2009, and was given a limited theatrical release in the U.S.
Bishil is set to play the lead in the upcoming comedy film “Public Relations” (2009) for first timer Gianna Sobol. Costars in the film include Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jessica Tuck, Melody Khazae, Merik Tadros, Jayson Blair, Corina Boettger and Sienna Farall.