Hailed by Interview Magazine as one of the “14 to Be” emerging creative women back in October 2004, Independent Spirit Award nominee Elizabeth Reaser has proven to be one of the most promising onscreen talents of her generation thanks to memorable roles in the independent drama Sweet Land and the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. The Bloomfield, MI, native worked a series of odd jobs before graduating from high school and enrolling in Oakland University — eventually realizing that her only hope for escaping the Midwest and accomplishing her goal of becoming an actress was convincing her parents to let her study drama at Juilliard. Much to her surprise, Reaser’s parents were entirely supportive of her decision, and the aspiring actress was soon enrolled in one of the most prestigious drama programs in the country. In May 1999, Reaser graduated from Juilliard with her M.F.A. and went about the formidable task of procuring an agent.
A supporting role in the long-running daytime drama Guiding Light proved just the break Reaser needed to get her foot in the door, with stage roles in a La Jolla Playhouse revival of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth and a New York Classic Stage Company production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (in which she appeared opposite David Strathairn and Barbara Garrick) following in quick succession. Shortly thereafter, the rising star madeher London debut as the kept girlfriend of a Lower East Side addict in a critically acclaimed production of Adam Rapp’s intense play Blackbird.
Despite Reaser’s notable stage presence, however, it was her roles in film and television that truly served to solidify her career as an actress. One the heels of supporting roles in such high-profile releases as Thirteen Conversations About One Thing and Stay, Reaser scaled back to surprising effect with her Independent Spirit Award-nominated performance as a lovelorn immigrant in director Ali Selim’s 2005 period drama Sweet Land. Later that same year, Reaser shared the screen with Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone. Back on the small screen, a recurring role as a pregnant mother suffering from amnesia following an intense ferry accident in Grey’s Anatomy found Reaser anchoring one of the show’s most memorable storylines.