By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo resident Juliet Reeves looks like a regular, stylish young mom as she plays in the yard with her 3-year-old son, Presley, and their cat, Cheese.
But, if you look up her resume on IMDB.com, you’ll see there’s more than what meets the eye.
Reeves is in the new movie, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” Her career includes parts in “The Expendables 2,” “CSI: Miami” and “Zombies, Zombies, Zombies.”
“I don’t tell anyone what I do,” she said. “When they do find out, they normally make a big deal and I’m a little embarrassed.”
She got a name for herself by acting in low-budget horror films. Her early films – such as “Automaton Transfusion” – were distributed by Dimension Films, which helped get her name out there.
Now, she’s auditioning for more serious projects like a movie based on the West Memphis 3, the three teens convicted of killing three boys in Memphis. The teens, called the West Memphis 3, were freed last year in a plea deal. She also has a survival film coming out where she’s in every scene.
“I can honestly say for a year acting has been my full-time job,” she said. “That’s amazing. … I live in Tupelo and I have more work than when I was in Hollywood.”
It didn’t happen overnight.
“I probably did 75 films parts for free before I got paid,” she said.
Reeves took the stage at a young age. She grew up in the carnival industry and her family traveled with the circus.
“When I was 4, I started performing,” she said. “I did the flying trapeze.”
She met her husband, David Leathers, when she was 16 at a fair in Northeast Mississippi. They wrote letters to each other, but nothing immediately came of it.
“At 18, I ran away from the circus and went to college,” said Reeves, who was valedictorian of her high school class.
She was more interested in writing than acting. She transitioned to film when a friend turned her short story into a film. She acted in it and at 25, she was hooked.
After that, she auditioned for whatever student film she could find.
Reeves also worked on her craft at acting schools in Florida and California. Now, she teaches acting classes in Memphis, along with traveling almost every week for filming or auditions.
“That’s why I have a tiny, non-gas guzzling car,” she said.
She was living and dating in West Hollywood before her journey to Mississippi. The guys she was seeing weren’t living up to the teenager she met years prior at a carnival.
“I never forgot the boy who wrote me letters and opened doors for me,” she said.
She looked Leathers up and they rekindled their relationship. The couple moved to Tupelo so they could be close to family after their son, Presley, was born.
At that point, she thought she was picking motherhood over acting.
“But Tupelo had a film scene,” she said.
She worked with director Michael Williams out of West Point and learned from him that “you could live in Tupelo and still work.”
She got an agent in New Orleans and has been busy with auditions and filming ever since.
Reeves said she’s still learning how to be a better actor and she’s enjoying every minute of it.
“I don’t aspire to be big and famous, but I want to work on my craft until the day I die,” she said. “I love it more every day.”