Bea Hutcheson-Santos has wanted to be an actor since she was five years old. Back then, she put on plays in her living room for her family. Now, she has a much wider audience.
Santos – she goes by Bea Santos professionally – has only been acting professionally for two years but in that short time she has amassed an impressive list of film and television appearances.
With a small amount of effort, local audiences will be able to see her most recently released film, Coconut Hero, during its limited run at Toronto’s Carleton Cinema from March 18-31.
The feature is a German-Canadian co-production – the director, writer and two producers are German, while most of the actors and the other two producers are Canadian. The film’s script won the Tankred Dorst screenplay at the 2011 Munich Film Fest and was selected for the Berlinale Co-Production Market in 2012. It was filmed in August and September 2014 in Sault Ste. Marie and premiered at the Munich Film Festival in 2015.
Santos plays Miranda, the love interest to the film’s main character, Mike Tyson. (Not the boxer, a different one, reads the poster.) It’s a coming-of-age story in which the misfit Mike wants nothing more than to die and goes to great lengths to make it happen. Until he meets Miranda. (Watch the Coconut Hero trailer at the end of this story.)
“Santos, in what could have been another manic pixie dream girl role, brings an earthy groundedness to Miranda that ensures she feels real, not a romanticized version of a young woman…”
Boyd van Hoeij in The Hollywood Reporter on Santos’s role as Miranda in Coconut Hero
Landing the role was a funny story, says Santos. “I was working on a horror film doing night shoots – so you start at midnight and finish at 8am and sleep during the day. My agent called and said, ‘You have this big audition tomorrow,’ and I said, ‘I need to sleep,’ and he said, ‘No, you don’t!’ So I had to learn the script overnight while we were shooting and then I slept for just an hour. I showed up (at the audition) and I had fake blood on my hands because it stains, and I don’t remember it at all because I was so tired.” No matter – she got the part and several weeks later was in Sault Ste. Marie for filming.
Since then Santos has been acting in a few film shorts and auditioning for other parts. She’s currently working on a new feature in Thornbury, near Collingwood. “It’s called Darker Than Night and it’s about a blind girl in these extraordinary, horrific circumstances. I play the blind girl.”
Santos came by her love of acting through her family – her paternal grandmother directed community theatre in Huntsville through the Anglican church, her father, Drew Hutcheson, has acted in local productions, and two of her aunts are actors. Santos continued to act when she went to McGill, where she studied literature and art history. “I love Montreal and I would have stayed there if I could have acted professionally, but they don’t really have an industry there. So I moved to Toronto at 22 and I got an agent.”
When filming for Darker Than Night wraps next week, Santos will be back to auditioning for future roles. “The life of an actor is really weird. You do a job and when you finish, the next day you are unemployed. Nothing happens for a really long time and then everything happens at once.”
And her fans in Huntsville will be watching to see what happens next.