Shannyn Sossamon

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Shannyn Sossamon
Shannyn Sossamon.jpg
Sossamon at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International.
Born Shannon Marie Kahololani Sossamon
(1978-10-03) October 3, 1978 (age 36)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California
Occupation Actress, dancer, model, musician
Years active 1997–present
Partner(s) Dallas Clayton (2002–2004)
Children Two

Shannon Marie Kahololani Sossamon, popularly known as Shannyn Sossamon (born October 3, 1978), is an American actress and musician. After graduating from high school, she moved to Los Angeles to persue a career in dance; instead, she started working as a model mainly for television commercials. Her first major film role was in A Knight's Tale (2001), a box office success that brought Sossamon much more recognition. It was followed by appeareances in comedies such as 40 Days and 40 Nights and The Rules of Attraction (both 2002). She did further film work in the features The Order (2003), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and The Holiday (2006).

Sossamon was cast in the indie comedy Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), where her performance was critically acclaimed, and later appeared in the lead role in the supernatural thriller One Missed Call (2008), another box office success, for which she received a Teen Choice Award nomination. She had the starring part on the CBS supernatural drama, Moonlight, that run for one season from 2008 to 2009. She has focused on smaller scale projects, appearing in a number of independent films, including Life Is Hot in Cracktown (2009), Road to Nowhere (2010), The Day (2011) and The End of Love (2012). She has also landed recurring roles on television, as in the first season of the HBO comedy How to Make It in America (2008–2009) and in the ABC drama Mistresses (2013).

As a musician, she provided vocals and drums to Warpaint from 2004 to 2008, when she left the group to focus more on acting. Sossamon's sole recording with the band is the 2009 EP, Exquisite Corpse.

Early life[edit]

Sossamon was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of Sherry Sossamon, a nurse, and Todd Lindberg. After a divorce, her mother married Randy Goldstein.[1] She is of Hawaiian, French, Dutch, Irish, Filipino, and German descent.[2] The y in her first name was an adolescent alteration in 1995. Sossamon grew up in Reno, Nevada, and attended Galena High School there. The day after her high school graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in dance.[3] After moving to Los Angeles, Sossamon began to work as a DJ, booking gigs in local clubs and performance venues.


Early work[edit]

At the beginning of her career, Sossamon modeled for various companies including Sassy Magazine, Unionbay Clothing, American Eagle Outfitters, and Planned Parenthood. She also appeared in two television commercials for Gap and starred in music videos for artists such as Daft Punk, The Goo Goo Dolls, Cher, Mick Jagger, DJ Quik, and Korn.and lead actress in video for rock group 9xdead . In 1997, she appeared as a fashion model, a girl and a trophy presenter in several Mr. Show episodes. In 1999, Sossamon was discovered by casting director Francine Maisler, while assisting a fellow DJ at Gwyneth Paltrow's brother's birthday party.


After going through several auditions, Sossamon beat Kate Hudson for the lead female role in the 2001 film A Knight's Tale opposite Heath Ledger. The film received mixed reviews [4] but managed to nearly break even at the box office, with global revenues of $117,487,473, on a budget of $65,000,000.[5] A Knight's Tale earned the actress a Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Female Performance as well as two Teen Choice Awards nominations and four MTV Movie Awards nominations, including "Best Breakthrough Performance".

In 2002, she starred in Miramax Films' romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights, alongside Josh Hartnett. The film received mixed reviews from critics but was considered a box office success after earning a worldwide total of $95,146,283.[6] Sossamon was nominated for Teen Choice Award for "Choice Film Chemistry", which was shared with co-star Hartnett. That same year, Sossamon played a lead role in Roger Avary's dark satirical ensemble The Rules of Attraction, an adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis book of the same name. The film included scenes of suicide, heavy drug use, and sexual content. The film received extremely mixed reviews from critics; most either loving it or hating it. Rolling Stone called the film "a perverse and sickly delightful treat,"[7] while Richard Roeper stated that he "hated this movie."[8] Despite the mixed critical reception, the film is considered a cult hit. The film grossed $11,819,244 worldwide, almost tripling its budget.[9]

Sossamon and Heath Ledger were cast together again and starred in the supernatural thriller The Order. The film was released in late 2003. It was received very poorly by critics and flopped at the box office.[10] After shooting the unsuccessful movie, she became pregnant and decided that it was a good time to take a short break from acting.

In 2004, Sossamon guest starred on the episode "Doubt" on the popular NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. It was her only acting appearance of the year.

Sossamon returned to film in 2005, by starring in the direct-to-video low-budget horror film Devour, alongside Jensen Ackles and William Sadler. She had small roles in the films Undiscovered and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The former was a box-office and critical failure, while the latter received critical praise but failed commercially, grossing only $13,105,837 compared to a budget of $15 million. She also appeared alongside Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, and Jude Law in Nancy Meyers's 2006 romantic comedy The Holiday.

In 2006, Sossamon was cast as the female lead in the independent film Wristcutters: A Love Story, which is based on an Etgar Keret short story. She played opposite Patrick Fugit, Tom Waits, and Will Arnett. Wristcutters revolved around two characters who fall in love in purgatory after committing suicide. It was shown at both The Sundance Film Festival and The Seattle International Film Festival Awards in 2006. It was nominated for several awards including Sundance's Grand Jury Prize, two Independent Spirit Awards, the Humanitas Prize.[citation needed] Her chemistry with co-star Fugit was praised by View London, commenting "Patrick Fugit and Shannyn Sossamon are both superb, generating a sweet chemistry and sparking off each other well. Sossamon, in particular, gives her best performance to date."[11]


Sossamon was next cast in Courteney Cox's drama series Dirt on FX. She starred as Kira Klay, a celebrity who, after realizing that she is pregnant, kills herself. She then appears in visions to a schizophrenic photographer. She appeared in five episodes in the first season.

She then starred in the horror film Catacombs alongside singer Pink. It was FEARnet and Lions Gate Entertainment's first film collaboration. It was first released in 2007 in several countries including Italy, Japan and Mexico, but it was not released in the United States until 2008. It was filmed in early 2005, but its release was delayed for more than two and a half years due to the death of one of the producers.[citation needed]

Sossamon signed on as a series regular on CBS's vampire drama Moonlight. The series began airing on September 28, 2007, and was watched by 8.54 million viewers. CBS ordered a 16-episode first season, but over the season, viewership decreased to around 7.5 million viewers. The series had a very large fan base, but despite fans' efforts, CBS canceled the series after the first season.

Sossamon starred as Beth Raymond in the horror remake One Missed Call. The film also stars Ed Burns, Ana Claudia Talancon, Azura Skye, Margaret Cho, and Ray Wise. The film was savaged by critics, but was considered a major box office success, grossing more than $42,000,000 worldwide. It was also considered a success on DVD and Blu-ray, generating sales of more than $25,000,000 since its release on April 22, 2008.[12] For her performance in the film, she received a Teen Choice Award nomination for "Choice Film Actress: Horror". The following year, she played as Concetta, a woman faced with the challenges of raising her sick child and supporting her husband in the 2009 drama film Life Is Hot in Cracktown, directed by Buddy Giovinazzo, and co-starring Kerry Washington, Victor Rasuk, Lara Flynn Boyle and Brandon Routh. She appeared in the thriller film The Heavy. The film was released on 16 April 2010 direct-to-video in the United States and received a limited theatrical release in the UK on the same day.

She costarred in the HBO television series How to Make It in America,[13] in which she plays the character of Gingy Wu. The series premiered in February 2010.[14] The romantic film Road to Nowhere – starring Sossamon[15] – opened at the 67th Venice International Film Festival.[16] Critics have praised Sossamon's performance in the film. She joined the cast of the independent apocalyptic horror film The Day.[17] The film also starred Ashley Bell, Dominic Monaghan, and Shawn Ashmore. In the film Sossamon plays, Shannon, a survivor in an apocalyptic world. She has received critical praise for the role. The film received a limited release.

In 2012 Sossamon ventured into voice acting when she voiced the character Jade in the video game Hitman: Absolution.

Personal life[edit]

Sossamon continues to study acting, music and dance. She was the original drummer in the Los Angeles psychedelic band Warpaint, with her sister Jenny Lee Lindberg, but decided to leave the band to focus on acting.[citation needed] Her sole recording with the band is the 2009 EP, Exquisite Corpse.

She once dated children's book illustrator and author Dallas Clayton, with whom she has a son, Audio Science Clayton, born on May 29, 2003.[citation needed] In March 2012, she announced that she had given birth to her second son, Mortimer.[18]


Year Title Role Notes
2001 Knight's Tale, AA Knight's Tale Jocelyn Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Female Performance
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss shared with Heath Ledger
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Sequence shared with Heath Ledger
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Film Breakout Performance
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Film Chemistry shared with Heath Ledger
2002 40 Days and 40 Nights Erica Sutton Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Film Chemistry shared with Josh Hartnett
2002 Rules of Attraction, TheThe Rules of Attraction Lauren Hynde
2003 Wholey Moses Max Short film
2003 Order, TheThe Order Mara Sinclair
2005 Devour Marisol Direct-to-video
2005 Chasing Ghosts Taylor Spencer
2005 I Hate You Jo Short film
2005 Double, TheThe Double Melanie Short film
2005 Undiscovered Josie
2005 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Pink Hair Girl
2006 Wristcutters: A Love Story Mikal
2006 Holiday, TheThe Holiday Maggie
2007 Catacombs Victoria
2008 One Missed Call Beth Raymond Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Film Actress: Horror
2009 Life Is Hot in Cracktown Concetta
2010 Our Family Wedding Ashley McPhee
2010 Heavy, TheThe Heavy Claire
2010 Road to Nowhere Laurel Graham/Velma Duran
2011 Day, TheThe Day Shannon
2012 Hitman: Absolution Jade Nguyen Video game
2012 The End of Love Lydia
2013 Man Without a Head Hazel post-production
2015 Sinister 2 Courtney Filming
Year Title Role Notes
1997 Mr. Show Fashion Model / Girl / Trophy Presenter Episodes "Peanut Butter, Eggs, and Dice", "Oh, You Men" and "Flat Top Tony and the Purple Canoes"
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Myra Denning Episode "Doubt"
2007 Dirt Kira Klay 5 episodes
2007–2008 Moonlight Coraline 10 episodes
2010–2011 How to Make It in America Gingy Wu 8 episodes
2013 Mistresses Alex 8 episodes
2014 Over the Garden Wall Lorna (voice) Episode: "The Ringing of the Bell"
2015 Wayward Pines Theresa Burke 10 episodes


  1. ^ "Spin-Derella". 2002-04-01. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Mark (March 5, 2002). "Falling through the door of fame". The Age (Melbourne). 
  3. ^ "Shannyn Sossamon's 'Call' - Los Angeles Times". [dead link]
  4. ^ "A Knight's Tale". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  5. ^ "Knight's Tale Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-03-30. 
  6. ^ "40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  7. ^ "Rolling Stone Movies | Movie Reviews". Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  8. ^ "Under The Radar Magazine" interview[dead link]
  9. ^ "The Rules of Attraction (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  10. ^ "The Order (The Sin Eater)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  11. ^ "Wristcutters: A Love Story". View London. November 19, 2007. 
  12. ^ "One Missed Call (2008)". Box Office Mojo. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  13. ^ HBO. "Shannyn Sossamon in How to Make It in America". Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  14. ^ "HBO's "How To Make It In America" Premieres In February". Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Dominique Swain and Shannyn Sossamon Find the Road to Nowhere". Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  16. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (July 30, 2010). "Venice premieres are young, American". Variety. 
  17. ^ Bloody Disgusting. "Filming Begins on Action-Thriller 'The Day', Impressive Cast!". Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  18. ^ Schafer, Jenny (March 13, 2012). "Shannyn Sossamon Welcomes Second Child: Mortimer". 

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