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Local teen finds success in Hollywood
Ceres homeschooled teen Leah Bateman has big role in 2014 movie Little Savages
Born and raised in Turlock, 18-year-old Leah Bateman recently starred in the feature film Little Savages which will be released in 2014. She was homeschooled through the Connecting Waters office in Ceres. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

While the competitiveness of Hollywood may drive away many young actors and actresses, those who do not give up trying might just find their way to stardom.

For 18-year-old Leah Bateman, a Turlock native, the road to Hollywood has not been a short or easy one, but rather a journey that she has never given up on.

"I started acting in local theaters when I was about 12 years old," said Bateman, who recently starred in the episode "Black Cadillac" on Showtime's popular series "Ray Donovan." "Being part of Modesto's YES Company when I was younger was such a great experience; they were just amazing. After that, I began going down to Los Angeles for auditions, and when I was 15 I got my first agent."

Still living in Turlock while being homeschooled through the Connecting Waters' Ceres the time, Bateman recalled spending hours on end driving back and forth to Los Angeles with her parents, Tim and Jonelle, attempting to land any acting gigs she could get.

"After spending more than 10 hours in a car to go to 15 minute auditions all the time, I decided I needed a break," said Bateman, who made the commute for a couple years. "But then last year, my parents and I decided that we were just going to do it and move down to L.A."

Coming from a family with nine children, however, the whole family couldn't make the move permanently.

"With my family and siblings being in Turlock, I currently move back and forth between home and Los Angeles," said Bateman. "Right now I'm down in L.A., and have been here for a while, but we're just renting little places so that I'm closer for auditions."

And being closer for auditions has allowed Hollywood to welcome Leah with open arms.

"The move has made my options tenfold what they were before," said Bateman. "Since I've been down here I've been able to star in commercials, be a guest star on television shows, star in different short films here and there, and even be part of a feature film."

Bateman will star alongside Leigh-Allyn Baker and Jamie Kennedy in the upcoming film "Little Savages," which is currently in post-production and in the works with Disney.

"They're talking about it being made into three different movies," said Bateman. "It was so much fun being a part of the film that I'd definitely want to be a part of it if it continues on."

Additionally, Bateman recently starred in an episode of TNT's hit show "Rizzoli & Isles," a Tempur-pedic commercial, a Samsung phone commercial, and is also hoping to move forward with pursuing a singing career.

"Even with all the recent stuff I've been doing, I'm really just thankful for my family for being my biggest supporters out here," said Bateman. "It's easy to talk about everything you've accomplished, but it's been a long journey and I appreciate everything my mom and dad have done for me over the years."

Bateman's parents couldn't be any prouder or more excited for their daughter as she continues on her journey in Hollywood.

"She's a great kid. I'm very proud of her, not only because of the things that she's doing, but because of the person that she is," said Leah's mother, Jonelle Bateman. "She is always humble and kind to people, that's what is important at the end of the day. Not success or accomplishments, but who you are and how you treat other people."