She is the new spokesperson for Operation Blankets of Love, which is based in Granada Hills, Calif. The grassroots group started out by bringing blankets to animal shelters, which often have cold — and sometimes wet — floors. This small investment has had big payoffs. The warmth and comfort of the blankets make animals more playful, which in turn makes them more adoptable, Ross says. And that can mean the difference between life and death for these animals, she explains.
Ross is such an animal advocate that she has turned to the power of documentary to spread her message. She is currently in the midst of producing a documentary following individual stories of why pet owners have had to leave their pets at shelters. Some of the stories turn out well for the animals, and unfortunately, some won’t, she says.
Documentaries, while much cheaper to produce than feature films, are often costly. But Ross says they can be done on a shoestring budget. Ross worked on a documentary that cost $10,000. As with any product, genuine passion sells, and Ross’ passion attracted other investors who believed in her cause and who wanted to contribute their time. Fundraising for the project started with something any kid can do – a lemonade stand, which Ross, a single mother, and her child set up. Ross says the cost to produce her documentary will exceed $10,000 but is keeping the price down through soliciting volunteerism. Once the documentary is complete, she will seek funding for a strong release to give it some legs, she says.
Ross will be starring opposite Nicholas Cage in the upcoming feature “Drive Angry,” which will be released on February 11 nationwide. Ross describes the movie as a surreal journey that Nicholas Cage’s character goes on in which she plays a character with a hard life and “strange” values. The film leans on action and violence, she says. It was shot in 3D, and Ross reveals that “I did full frontal nudity for the first time in my career, which actually I’ve been not only kind of against but have passed on.” She took on this role because, with the tendency to get typecast as the girl-next-door, she tries to take on character roles that are as far from her own experiences as possible and get into their minds and souls. But full frontal nudity wasn’t easy for her and required a martini before shooting and workouts of 3 to 4 hours a day.