Holy Wood Acting Studio aiming to form actors with good character (Updated)

Hollywood Acting Studio Class CNA US Catholic News 1 20 11 Holy Wood Acting Studio students learning the fine art of acting

On March 28, a team of acting coaches and other entertainment industry professionals will partner with spiritual guides and leadership coaches, to begin a new kind of Hollywood venture – one that will form both onscreen and offscreen character.

On that day, following a Grand Opening event on March 25, Holy Wood Acting Studio says it will open its doors to actors aspiring “to play great roles in movies and in life.” The studio's base of operations, Culver City in West Los Angeles County, bills itself as “the Heart of Screenland,” and is the home of Sony Pictures Studios today.

In their effort to take back Hollywood, the founders of Holy Wood Acting Studio are starting by taking back the city's name – which derives originally from the “holy wood” of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

The cross many actors bear, according to Holy Wood CEO Carlos Espinosa, is a sense of emptiness that persists –or gets worse– even amid success and recognition. Behind some of the world's most recognized faces, he sees a kind of despair that reminds him of Christ's question in the Gospels: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?”

Espinosa has seen this offscreen lack of personal fulfillment play itself out in actors' real-life dramas of self-indulgence and misery. He believes these destructive tendencies may have a lot to do with the kinds of roles today's actors are expected to inhabit and portray – as they push fiction into the realm of outright deception, and present an exciting but often morally rootless vision of life.


In response, the talents behind Holy Wood are seeking to change both the entertainment business, and the broader culture.

The studio has already drafted the prominent acting coach Mark Atteberry, leadership coach Dr. Owen Phelps, personal growth specialist Dr. Ernesto Bolio, and fitness and nutrition coach Jeff Jordan. They will implement what Holy Wood calls the “Four Pillars” of success in acting – training in the art itself, primarily, but also leadership, personal and moral growth, and physical fitness.

Holy Wood is likely to be unique among acting studios in its incorporation of the theological teachings known to Catholics as the “Theology of the Body.” This approach to spirituality, developed by Pope John Paul II, emphasizes the individual dignity and complimentary roles of men and women, while showing how the drama of romantic love can only find fulfillment in marriage.

More information on Holy Wood Acting Studio can be found at

Updated Jan. 21, 11:17 Mountain time. Previous version incorrectly reported that Holy Wood Acting Studio was being supported by Eduardo Verastegui.

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