Melonie Diaz was born in New York City and raised with her elder sister on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. At a young age, she became interested in acting—attending the Henry Street Settlement and the Professional Performing Arts School. After graduation, Diaz went on to NYU, specifically its Tisch School of the Arts. While completing her degree in Film Production, Diaz took a number of acting gigs, mostly off Broadway work, to continue to hone her craft.

Melonie Diaz Biography

 

Like many young actors, one of her first roles was in an episode of Law & Order, playing Bettina in the episode “Ill-Conceived.” She also received a major supporting role in the 2002 film Raising Victor Vargas, which was shown to acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival.

Diaz’s breakout role is considered the 2005 film Lords of Dogtown, written by Stacy Peralta and directed by Catherine Hardwicke. It is a biographical film covering the story of the Z-Boys, a group of influential skateboarders from Santa Monica, California. Diaz played Blanca, opposite stars Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch and John Robinson.

Diaz continued to work in the indie market, having prominent roles in the critically adored A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints starring Robert Downey, Jr., Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, Chazz Palminteri, Eric Roberts, Dianne West and Shia LaBeouf. The film is based on Dito Montiel’s book of the same name. Not long after she was cast as Anna in 2007’s Itty Bitty Titty Committee, her first credit as a starring lead.

While Diaz mostly takes on dramatic roles, she did appear in comedies such as Hamlet 2, Assassination of a High School President (with Bruce Willis), Be Kind Rewind (with Danny Glover, Mos Def, Mia Farrow, Sigourney Weaver and Jack Black) and She Wants Me, where she starred opposite Josh Gad, Hillary Duff and Charlie Sheen. Most recently, she filmed The Cobbler starring Adam Sandler.

In 2013, Diaz played opposite Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station which tells the true story of the shooting death of Oscar Grant (III) in 2009. The film went on to receive the Grand Jury prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film received much notice, especially in the wake of the verdict of the George Zimmerman case, which found the defendant given a not guilty sentence for killing Trayvon Martin.

Melonie Diaz Interview

We spoke with Melonie Diaz while she was promoting the release of Fruitvale Station. It was a role that resonated with her. “I think there’s a problem with how we choose to judge each other,” Diaz told uInterview exclusively. “You know a couple weeks ago Forest Whittaker [producer on Fruitvale Station] was in a store and somebody thought he was stealing something. I think there’s a lot of kind of hatred and unkindness in the ways we choose to think about it each other. There’s a theme, and I’m not sure if it’s the that way we choose to raise our children or it’s the people we’re choosing to be our jurors. I don’t have the answer to that but I’m obviously incredibly furious about it.”

Watch Melonie Diaz’s full uInterview video:

Melonie Diaz News