Pasco native debuts in new teen comedy film (with movie trailer)

Herald staff writerFebruary 27, 2013 

A Pasco High graduate makes her film debut in the new teen comedy film 21 and Over, which opens Thursday at Fairchild Cinemas in Pasco.

Raquael Torres plays a sorority girl who beats up the film’s star with a golf club when she finds him in the girls’ bathroom.

The movie was written and directed by the same two guys — Jon Lucas and Scott Moore — who wrote the screenplay for the popular comedy, The Hangover I and II.

In true Lucas-Moore style, the film centers around a two guys who talk their straight-A buddy Jeff to celebrate his 21st birthday on the town. The night ends up being a night of overindulgence, humiliation and debauchery.

Torres plays one of the sorority sisters who discovers Jeff tied to a toilet in the girls’ bathroom, breaks down the door with a golf club and beats him up.

“I don’t want to give anything away about how all that transpires,” said Torres. “But the scene is really quite funny.”

She plans to attend the 10 p.m. premiere of the movie at the Pasco theater, which is across from the TRAC Center off Interstate 182 and Road 68. The film will continue to run at the theater through March. For show times and ticket prices, call 544-8500.

Though it’s a small role in the movie — her character doesn’t even have a name — she doesn’t balk at such a minor role as she’s just glad to get her foot in the door, she said.

Torres, whose parents are Rafael Torres and Katherine Garza, both of Pasco, moved to Hollywood after graduating from Pasco High in 2008. She supplements her acting income by working part time as a bartender on the Sunset Strip.

Her parents — dad is a mechanical designer and mom is a registered nurse at Lourdes Medical Center — tried to talk their daughter into getting an education before she took off for the bright lights of Hollywood, but their headstrong daughter had no intention of waiting.

“So we came to a compromise,” said her father. “I told her if she didn’t get her foot in the door making films by the time she was 21, then she would come home and finish her education. But she proved she was serious about acting and I understand her drive because she’s a lot like me.”

“Raquael might be headstrong, but she’s a good girl and very smart,” he said.

And making slap-stick-type movies about college kids gone wild doesn’t mean Raquael plans to live her life that way.

“I am a perfectionist,” she said. “When I want to do something, I want to do it right, so I put everything into it. And I have some rules I apply to myself in this business and one is that I won’t do any nudity, and there are plenty of those roles available.”

She was chosen for 21 and Over after one audition with the directors. “I had an interview for the role before I auditioned and was asked to tell something about myself,” she said. “I was kind of stumped so I just said I could belch like a guy so they had me do that.”

When she auditioned for Lucas and Moore, they hired her on the spot and made a point of telling her they loved her belching interview, she said with a laugh.

The acting bug grabbed Raquael in high school when she auditioned for every play and made an impression on her drama teacher Todd Westendorf, who said she showed the drive to reach for stardom back then.

“I started working with Raquael when she was a freshman at Pasco High School and she worked hard in her acting endeavors,” said the Chiawana High School drama teacher. “She was always excited to learn something new and audition for any show that we were producing. And, she took whatever role that was assigned to her and gave her all.” He added that she also seemed to know what she wanted as far as her future was concerned and proved her acting ability when the Pasco High drama company traveled to the High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2007.

“I really think it was that experience that gave Raquael that extra push to pursue her dream,” he said. “She went from hoping and wishing to actually preparing and doing. It is awesome to see her dreams start to come true.”

Westendorf also noted that she has always been gracious about giving her time to the Pasco School District’s drama department whenever she’s home to visit her family.

“Raquael has worked hard and sacrificed a lot and I am very proud of her. She takes the time to share her experiences with students,” he said.

Torres said she couldn’t have gone as far as she has without the love and support of her family, pointing out that the journey to stardom is a struggle filled with heartache sometimes.

“But I’m a happy-go-lucky person with a wonderful family, and that helps me get through the few rough spots that happen in this industry, but I’ll get there. I’m determined,” she said with a sly smile.

VIDEO: OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR '21 AND OVER'

Dori O’Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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