Palo Verde grad turned actress knocks teeth out for role (accidentally)

Robert De Niro gained 30 pounds for “Raging Bull,” and Matthew McConaughey lost 40 pounds for “Dallas Buyers Club,” but whatever — Elle McLemore knocked out two front teeth for her new movie.

McLemore, a Palo Verde High School alum, costars in “At the Top of the Pyramid,” an upbeat cheerleader-angst dramedy about social hierarchy. (It was released in New York on Wednesday.)

McLemore broke her teeth in a jaw-dropping stunt:

“They had me stand up on this big ladder and fall into a trampoline — in a pit of foam. When I hit the pit, I over-rotated my body and hit my knee into my face,” she told me.


Oh, wait. There’s more sadness.

“They ended up using the double for that part,” she said. “All my own stunts were not used.” (Womp-womp.)

This was devastating, she said, but McLemore is a buoyant, upbeat talker, so she sounds more like an amused storyteller than a devastated actress.

“I had to get root canals,” she said. “I still have my natural teeth, but they have cracks in them, so I can’t bite into anything anymore.”

McLemore can see the bright side:

“My root is dead, so I don’t feel anything, and ice cream is great!”

She has fond memories of the last whole apple she could chomp on.

“I remember biting into this apple, and that was the last apple I ever had. I have this distant memory of it. I’m like, ‘I didn’t really enjoy that apple, and it was the last one,’” she told me, lost in memory, then laughed again.

“It’s the little things.”

McLemore was barely 18 when she filmed “At the Top Of the Pyramid” co-starring Dean Cain and Steve Guttenberg.

Now she’s 23, and the film is finally out after a five-year Hollywood shuffle.

“That means you’ve waited somewhere in the neighborhood of one-fifth of your life for this movie to come out,” I said.

“Wow,” she said. “That’s actually pretty scary when you put it like that.”

In the five years since her teeth trauma, she has portrayed a Holly, an Eva, and a Heather. She was Holly on the TV show “Army Wives,” Eva in “Bring It On: The Musical,” and Heather McNamara in “Heathers — The Musical.”

Right now, she’s in pre-production for “Redrum,” a Broadway-targeted musical parody of the horror classic, “The Shining.”

“It is hysterical. The writing is brilliant,” she said. “I play Danny, the little boy. It is so much fun.”

Fun fact: McLemore’s retired dancer/mother Gail VanDervoort played a wizard in “Caesars Magical Empire,” which I never saw. Her father Todd VanDervoort still does pyrotechnics for the Luxor’s “Tournament of Kings,” which I’ve seen three times (slightly inebriated?) and loved every time.

“I grew up with my parents doing weird things like being pyrotechnics and wizards,” she said. “I love Vegas so much.”

I asked her what it takes for a Vegas high school theater star to leave Las Vegas for Los Angeles and New York, to live that kind of stressful lifestyle.

She said her solid foundation with her family gave her the strength and thick skin to face audition rejections actors and actresses constantly face in show business.

Her advice to hopeful performers: Don’t change your personality to fit what you think casting people want — especially since people in show business can be open-minded to what kind of performers they’re looking for.

“If you go into anything with your foot down, being your true authentic self, and making everyone accept that, I think that’s kind of what it takes,” the effervescent young actress said.

“If not, you’ll get pushed around. And if you’re not believing in who you are, you’ll forget who you are. I think it’s just deciding who you are, sticking to that, and not letting anybody get in the way after that.

“That’s what’s worked for me. It’s being a weirdo, basically!” she said and laughed again at herself, the self-proclaimed weirdo who prefers ice cream to apples.

Contact Doug Elfman at He blogs at

Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
D. Michael Evola opened E-String to make New York style pizza
Shamrock Macarons at Morels at Palazzo
Zuma serves a sushi roll topped with 24-karat gold
La Cirque covers their quail and foie gras in real gold
Jean-Georges Steakhouse seves chocolate gold bars
3 ways you can eat gold in Las Vegas
Artist Kathleen Nathan On The Virtues Of Library Galleries
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s art galleries offers artists a more relaxed vibe for showing their work. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada SPCA Competes In Tournament Of Tails
The NSPCA and its mascot cat, Prince, are competing in an online voting challenge for a $5,000 grand prize.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Eureka's cocktail comes with a "buzz button" that will shock your taste buds
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed Deadline reports that New Line has purchased Chase and Lawrence Konner’s screenplay for their “Sopranos” prequel film. The working title for the prequel is “The Many Saints of Newark.” Chase created the HBO series, which ran for six seasons, and Konner served as a writer. “The Many Saints of Newark” is set during the 1960s riots in the New Jersey city between the African-American and Italian communities. Multiple characters from the series, albeit younger versions, are expected to star in the film. The Sopranos won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards during its run.
The Big Bounce America is coming to the Las Vegas Valley
The Big Bounce America. (Courtesy Big Bounce America)
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History According to The Hollywood Reporter, 26.5 million watched the Oscars, a 20 percent drop from last year. The 26.5 million viewers would be an all-time low for the Oscars. Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Last year, 32.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The previous low for viewership was 32 million viewers in 2008 when Jon Stewart was host. The Shape of Water picked up an award for Best Picture, while Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand won Best Actor and Actress, respectively.
March First Friday theme is “Think”
First Friday art, culture, music and food event takes place on the first Friday of every month in and around the studios and galleries of the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon)
Cirque’s One Night for One Drop gets ready for the big night
Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” performed a dress rehearsal for the annual benefit show. This year’s show at Mandalay Bay is based on the life of singer-songwriter Jewel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Kosher Experience provides kosher foods to Las Vegas families
2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas at The Smith Center
Ten touring productions are on The Smith Center’s 2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas season schedule. (The Smith Center)
Las Vegas bar serves French toast coated in Fruity Pebbles
A Las Vegas bar serves French toast kids (and adults) can only dream of! Born and Raised coats its Hendertucky Toast in Fruity Pebbles. First, the cereal is ground up in a food processor. Then, the batter is created with eggs, heavy cream, cinnamon and powdered sugar. The grill is coated with butter before dunking Texas toast in the batter, coating it in the cereal, and placing it on the grill. Once the toast is cooked on both sides, it's time for toppings. Hendertucky French toast is topped with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. It's finished with whiskey maple syrup. Would you try this?
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like