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MAR
16
6 YEARS

SXSW: Stars of Big Winner 'Natural Selection' Finally Get Their Break

Rachael Harris and Matt O'Leary, from the film which took home seven festival trophies, took the long road to success.

Natural Selection
sxsw

Keep banging your head against the wall and you’re liable to crack your skull. Or you just may break through it.

That’s the case of Rachael Harris and Matt O’Leary, who were honored Tuesday night at Austin’s SXSW film festival.   The duo were part of the film Natural Selection’s seven trophy sweep, which included the grand jury prize for narrative feature. The movie, from writer-director Robbie Pickering, follows a barren Christian housewife (Harris) who discovers her husband has been covertly donating sperm, setting her on a journey to find his biological son, who turns out to be a foul-mouthed ex-con (O’Leary).   Harris has been acting mostly in TV since 1993, making appearances in shows such as SeaQuest 2032, Star Trek: Voyager to Friends, Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place, Monk and Desperate Housewives. In fact, she didn’t land a regular series gig until the 2007 relationship comedy Notes from the Underbelly. She also kept a toe in the feature world, popping up in comedies such as Showtime and The Hangover. She next appears in Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.   O’Leary’s "breakthrough" has been 10 years in the making and involved the movie route. He made his feature debut in 2001's Domestic Disturbance, with John Travolta and Vince Vaughn, and also appeared in Bill Paxton's well-regarded directing debut Frailty that same year. Notwithstanding a couple of recurring gigs on police procedurals Law & Order: Criminal Intent and CSI, O’Leary kept himself mostly to movies, making appearances in the two Spy Kids movies, Brick with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Live Free and Die Hard among others. He will next be seen in HBO's Cinema Verite and Andrew Niccol’s Now.   The two took different paths to get to the same destination and showed that making persistent and consistent steps is sometimes better than the big flashy one.