The re-launch of the cult television hit “Arrested Development” and the release of the hilarious teen comedy “The To-Do List” have heralded the full-fledged return of one of the more promising young actresses of this generation, Alia Shawkat.
Acting since the age of 9, the adorable freckled and exotic Shawkat (her father is of Kurdish descent) first made waves as young, wounded daughter of Iraqi resistance fighter, Amir (Cliff Curtis), in 1999’s esoteric Gulf War drama “Three Kings” (also starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg). Alia followed that auspicious start with her first breakthrough role as Hannah Rayburn, alongside fellow child starlet Mae Whitman, in the Fox Family sitcom “State of Grace”.
Alia’s comedic timing and natural sarcastic wit scored her the next big role of her career: that of Maeby Funke, the non-biological cousin of George Michael Bluth (Michael Cera) in Ron Howard’s highly praised, but poorly watched, absurdist comedy “Arrested Development”. I mention that she is the non-biological cousin of George Michael because their mutual attraction plays for several amusing and awkward scenes on the show. In addition, she has to shake her head in embarrassment at the antics of her father, Tobias (David Cross) and Lindsay (Portia de Rossi).
“Arrested Development” exited the airwaves in 2006; the victim of low ratings. But, after a very long campaign by fans and the show’s performers, it returned in 2013 as a Netflix series, with rumors of a feature film still being mentioned.
At the conclusion of “Arrested Development”‘s first run, Alia sort of disappeared off the radar for a period of time. She did have a few guest starring roles on a variety of tv shows over the next few years but, by and large, she wasn’t really registering. Fortunately for Alia’s acolytes, she did return to the wide-release market in 2009 when she starred alongside Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore in the rollerball comedy “Whip It.”
Now that Alia was now more fully back in the game, she next appeared in the 2010 biopic about the rebellious teen-girl rock band, “The Runaways”. She got roles in a several other movies in the ensuing years, including “Cedar Rapids” (with “Hangover” star, Ed Helms) and “That’s What She Said” (with Anne Heche).
With successful return of “Arrested Development” in 2013, Alia is also generating attention as Fiona, the (allegedly) sexually experienced best friend of Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) in this summer’s new teen comedy hit, “The To-Do List”. Alia’s razor-sharp attitude helps encourage Brandy to pursue her goal of getting ‘experienced’ by summer’s end. This film recalls some of the finer moments of the original “American Pie” movie and should help Alia continue to expand her fan base.
In the past few years, Alia has also started to show off her love of body art. At the premiere of “Whip It”, Alia was seen in a stunning orange dress and sporting a script tattoo on her left shoulder that reads ‘Mister Baby’. It’s a tribute to a character in the 1989 Jim Jarmusch film “Mystery Train”.
At present, she does not appear to have a Twitter account.