Woody Allen is a filmmaker who knows how to direct actors, and plenty of stars will go out of their way (and even take a substantial pay cut) to work with him. Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Michael Caine, Julia Roberts, Leonardo Di Caprio, Sean Penn, and John Cusack are just a few of the gifted performers who've appeared in Allen's movies.
And then there's Ali Fedotowsky.
If the name Ali Fedotowsky doesn't ring a bell, you haven't been watching enough reality TV. In 2010, Fedotowsky was one of the gals looking for love (or fifteen minutes of fame) on "The Bachelor: On The Wings Of Love," and later the same year, ABC had a handful of men try to win her hand on the spin-off series "The Bachelorette." Fedotowsky ended the show engaged to Roberto Martinez, though the couple broke up (shocking!) before they could make it to the altar.
Now Fedotowsky is making her acting debut, and she's starting out in the big time: she plays a small role in Woody Allen's new comedy "Blue Jasmine" opposite Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, and Louis C.K.
Watch the theatrical trailer for 'Blue Jasmine':
According to Patricia DiCerto, Allen casting director on "Blue Jasmine," Fedotowsky won the role through her TV work, though it wasn't her appearance on "The Bachelorette" that did the trick. Since her reality TV days, Fedotowsky has spun her celebrity into hosting gigs on "E! News" and "First Look." DiCerto says she spotted Ali on the latter show.
"She fit Woody’s vision of the character both physically and personality-wise," DiCerto told the Los Angeles Times. "I knew he would think she was perfect for the role."
In the movie, Blanchett stars as a woman whose life falls apart when she discovers her husband (played by Baldwin) is a con artist. Fedotowsky has one scene in the movie, playing the couple's personal trainer. While Ali says she enjoyed working with Baldwin and Blanchett, she didn’t mention her history in reality TV.
"I wanted them to think of me as a young actress who was getting her first little role," Fedotowsky said.
Fedotowsky isn't the first example of Allen's occasionally eccentric casting choices. Elsewhere in "Blue Jasmine," R-rated comedian Andrew Dice Clay, who hasn't been close to the A-List for the past two decades, plays swaggering lottery millionaire Augie in the film.
In Allen's past productions, Carla Bruni, the singer and model who went on to become the First Lady of France, took time off from her official duties to play a museum guide in "Midnight In Paris." When Allen was casting the role of a lounge singer having an unexpected career comeback in "Broadway Danny Rose," he chose Nick Apollo Forte, an unknown Connecticut lounge singer who delivered a hilarious performance and promptly returned to obscurity. And when Allen was looking for an actress to play a beautiful but manipulative tightrope walker for "Shadows and Fog," he mentioned he was looking for someone with a personality like Madonna … and got Madonna herself to play the tiny role.
Fedotowsky says she isn't planning on pursuing a career in movies after "Blue Jasmine." "I don’t think I’m going to be winning an Oscar any time soon," Fedotowsky laughed. "It’s still mind-boggling to me – I feel like I’m lying when I tell people that I have a cameo in a Woody Allen film. I’m going to get to buy the DVD and keep it forever."
It's anyone's guess if Fedotowsky was truly looking for love or just taking a shot at fame with her appearance on "The Bachelorette," but if the latter was the case, you've got to admit she succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. Let's hope she has better luck than Nick Apollo Forte.
SLIDESHOW - Blue Jasmine premiere