Aleska Aleksa Palladino (Emily Whaley)

"I'm a New Yorker so I'm thrilled at all the open spaces in Mississippi."

After filming Manny & Lo at the tender age of 14 (she played Lo), Aleksa was ready to call it quits. She decided to take a part-time job at a local video store. When discussing it with her mother she was told "That's great, honey, maybe you can even recommend Manny & Lo to your customers." Fortunately mom's subtle push brought her back to acting. "Aleksa's beauty coupled with a wisdom seldom seen in 18-year-olds makes one stand up and take notice. Brimming with joy and intelligence, she was a wonder to behold and an inspiration to the cast and crew alike," observes Production Designer Pablo Mirabal. Her most recent works include The Cool Dry Place, Paramount Classics' The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, and Woody Allen's latest film, Celebrity.

As Emily, Griffith's cousin, Aleksa was radiant. "The writing attracted me," said Palladino. "It's so poetic and real. I play an amazing character."

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