Mischa Dani Goodman, a West Hartford native and Hall High School graduate, stars in the comedy film “Unbridaled,” which premieres June 12.
By Lisa S. Lenkiewicz
When Michelle Goodman was 10, she was an “unnamed orphan” in the children’s theater production “Annie” at the Mandell JCC in West Hartford. Fast forward two decades later, and Mischa Dani Goodman (as she’s now known professionally) is an actress living in Manhattan with commercials, movies, and two off-Broadway roles on her resume.
The West Hartford native is proud to announce her latest project – co-star, co-creator, producer and editor in a new comedy film, “Unbridaled.”
The comedy “WO-mance” is a short film (14 minutes, 35 seconds to be precise) about a bachelorette party gone wrong. According to the movie’s trailer, the film centers on a “buttoned-up bride and her party girl sister who find themselves lost in the woods on the wedding day.”
Mischa plays “Maxie”, the wild sister, and her best friend/creative partner Caitlin Simpson plays “Catherine”, the bride-to-be. Although the script isn’t autobiographical, Mischa says the characters they play are very true to who she and Caitlin are in real life.
“In general, Caitlin and I are polar opposites,” Mischa laughed in a phone interview. “I’m the loud – outspoken – American and I usually speak louder to make sure I’m heard. Caitlin, who is British, is more reserved.
Caitlin had to lose her accent for this role, but Mischa took on the boldest challenge: she appears naked in the film. “It’s very tasteful,” she explains, saying there’s no full frontal nudity and the accessories are cleverly placed to maintain the “R” rating. Still supportive, Caitlin chimes in, “Mischa is incredibly brave.”
“Unbridaled” was filmed over five days at Mischa’s parents’ wooded vacation home in West Stockbridge, MA. Her father is Dr. Joel Goodman, a longtime dentist in West Hartford, in practice with Mischa’s sister, Dr. Tamara Stein. His mother, Claudia Goodman, recently retired as a hygienist at CT Pediatric Dentistry in Bishops Corner.
Growing up, Mischa caught the acting bug performing in JCC plays and in the theater department at Hall High School, where drama teacher Sean Harris was her mentor and cheerleader. Additionally, she took jazz and tap lessons for years with “Miss Lisa” (Sussman) and was selected as a freshman to be a jazz dancer for Hall High School’s prestigious Pops ‘n Jazz show.
“I felt very loved and had a lot of opportunities that gave me confidence and trained me well,” Mischa said. “There were very strong people around me.”
After graduating from Hall High in 2008, she went to the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where she earned a BFA in acting and a minor in business. She then attended Michael Howard Studios, a two-year theater conservatory in New York City, where she first met Caitlin.
Mischa, now 31, appeared on stage at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, studied improvisation with the comedy sketch group Upright Citizens Brigade in Manhattan and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London where she studied Shakespeare.
“There was a time in college when I exclusively wanted to be a Shakespearean actress. But then I wanted to have money,” she joked.
She achieved commercial success as an actress, playing the role of “Pinkalicious” on the off-Broadway show of the same name. She also played “Nancy” in the off-Broadway production of “Fancy Nancy”.
In 2016, she wrote, produced, and starred in the TV movie “Gold on Bank Street,” playing Becca Gold, a banker who loses her Wall Street job and starts a weed cupcake business.
She and Caitlin brainstormed the script for “Unbridaled,” then hired LA screenwriter Thom Harp to polish the script. Creative millennials took a crowdfunding course to learn how to fundraise. They eventually raised $45,000 through a Kickstarter-like artist platform and also sought private funding.
As fashionistas (shopping at Bloomingdale’s is a favorite activity), Mischa and Caitlin were adamant about picking their own wardrobes for the film. Mischa remembers experimenting with hair and makeup until they found the perfect look.
Fleeing her apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood during the pandemic, Mischa edited the film at her home in West Hartford. She was thrilled to work not only with Thom Harp (a frequent FunnyorDie.com contributor and co-writer/producer of actor Rainn Wilson’s podcast, “Dark Air with Terry Carnation”), but also with director Chelsea Bryn Lockie. , whose credits include “Woe Is She,” an award-winning web series.
“Unbridaled” will premiere at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Calif., on June 12 as part of the annual “Dances With Films” independent film festival. Mischa and Caitlin then plan to go on the film festival circuit for a year.
“The world can be an extremely dark place,” Mischa said. “Now more than ever, we need to laugh. So, there’s never been a better time to craft a story about two townswoman sisters performing at a nudist retreat.
Fans can follow them on social media such as Instagram (@unbridaledfilm) and Facebook where viewers can see the film. Mischa’s Instagram handle/username is @mischadani and she can be found on Facebook under Mischa Dani Goodman.
The trailer can be viewed below.
Editor’s note: This story was updated from an earlier version.
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