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April 16, 2007

Glossary to DRIVE Characters

Here's a peek into the database to help you acquaint yourself with the characters. FYI, fox has a fancy flash-based site at where you can see the prettified version of all this info, and also watch short 30-second vignettes that give a little background on each of the characters. If you've got some time and patience, I recommend watching the videos.

Alextully Alex Tully (played by Nathan FIllion)
HEIGHT: 6'2"
OCCUPATION: Landscaper
INCOME: $48,000
EDUCATION: B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Nebraska
AGE: 35

Alex Tully chose landscaping because working with soil and plants struck him as a simple, contemplative profession. He created a serene life for himself and his adoring wife, Kathryn, which all came to a screeching halt when Kathryn suddenly went missing. Desperate to get her back, Alex was coerced into the race. He doesn't know where Kathryn is, who has her, or whether she's been harmed. But he does know that if wants to see her alive again, he must win the race.

It is becoming clear that the Norman Rockwell life Alex created for himself and Kathryn belies a darker past. Who is Alex Tully? What has he done? And what is he capable of doing?

Corinnawiles Corinna Wiles (played by Kristin Lehman)
HEIGHT: Unknown
INCOME: Unknown

Corinna Wiles remains a mystery, and that's how she likes to keep it. She seems to know more about the race than anyone. For a while, she observed the race contestants. She sized them up and even seemed to consider who would make a worthy teammate.

Intelligent and beautiful, Corinna has held down a string of unfulfilling jobs. While looking at her resume might lead to the conclusion that she was unable to focus, the truth is she was all too focused on only one thing -- the race. Corinna's lifelong obsession has been to uncover the secrets behind the race. Is she also obsessed with bringing the race down?

Wendypatrakas Wendy Patrakas (played by Melanie Lynskey)
HEIGHT: 5'8"
OCCUPATION: Full-time mother
INCOME: More than $100,000 (based on her husband's income)
EDUCATION: B.A., Kenyon College, with a degree in education
AGE: 29

Wendy is just the kind of homespun, loving mother who fills our nation's suburbs. She loves children, and before she was married she taught kindergarten at Walhalla Country Day.

Her high school yearbook says it all: "I want to get married, but mostly so that I can have kids. Lots and lots of kids. A whole house full." Wendy did marry. Three years after graduating from college, she married attorney Richard Patrakas.

Sadly, getting to know Richard meant Wendy learned a lot of bad things about the world. He is not a kind man, and theirs is not a relationship of warmth. So unkind is he, in fact, that Wendy is on the run from Richard. Needless to say, he's disturbed that she left with their newborn son. Before she left, some who know Wendy wondered about her increasing skittish behavior. Some even wondered whether Richard was abusing her physically.

Although the circumstances remain unclear, Wendy must win this race for the sake of her newborn son.

Winstonsalazar_2 Winston Salazar (played by Kevin Alejandro)
HEIGHT: 6'0"
EDUCATION: Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School, Miami, Florida
AGE: 25

Winston Salazar grew up in the Hialeah neighborhood of Miami. His mother raised him by herself, working several jobs to support the household. In high school, Winston showed promise as a student, demonstrating above-average aptitude in science and English.

When Winston was twelve, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She succumbed to the disease ten months later. Winston spent several years in the foster care system but ran away the morning of his high school graduation. He landed in the Greater Baltimore area and soon amassed a rap sheet with offenses ranging from burglary to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (auto theft). In 2006, Winston was convicted of armed robbery.

Winston was granted early parole from Brockridge Correctional Facility due to intervention by a high-level, anonymous party. This furlough was arranged specifically to allow Winston to participate in The Race.

Seansalazar Sean Salazar (played by J.D. Pardo)
HEIGHT: 5'11"
EDUCATION: Graduate, Paladin-Wells Academy, Boca Raton, Florida
AGE: 18

Sean Salazar is the son of Boca Raton businessman and political hopeful Fernando Salazar. While Sean garnered several academic awards in high school for debate, creative writing, and computer science, his record (expunged from view by the general public) also notes a number of disciplinary problems ranging from cutting class to grade hacking to being among a group of students who dissembled the principal's car and reassembled it on the roof of a local fast food restaurant.

Despite these offenses, Sean graduated in the top 5% of his class, and was accepted for admission into Harvard University. Admissions records show that Sean recently moved to defer admission. The deferment was reversed by his father, who called the school directly.

Sean has not been seen at any of his father's campaign events in the last two months, and there is speculation in the press that the relationship is strained.

Roblaird Rob Laird (played by Riley Smith)
HEIGHT: 6'0"
INCOME: $24,000, plus additional housing and living expenses
OCCUPATION: US Army, Specialist, E-4
EDUCATION: High school diploma
AGE: 28

In his Army Field Artillery Regiment, Rob serves his country with a sense of mission and purpose. He has already deployed twice to Iraq and is currently back home on leave.

There are three things Rob Laird loves deeply: his God, his country, and his wife, Ellie. Although the notion has never been tested, there is nothing Rob wouldn't do for Ellie. In fact, the whole reason he's in this race is because Ellie thought it would bring them closer as a couple. Rob, who's always felt guilty because he was in the army when they got married and they were cheated out of a honeymoon, was happy to comply. In addition, he's away from home for long periods, and he knows she worries herself sick waiting for him to come home in one piece, and not in a body bag. So this is one way of making it up to her.

If determination and loyalty were the keys to winning, Rob would be a front runner. Will they be enough to help him win, though?

Ellielaird Ellie Laird (played by Mircea Monroe)
HEIGHT: 5'6"
INCOME: $21,500
OCCUPATION: Hotel front desk clerk
EDUCATION: One year of junior college
AGE: 27

Ellie Laird, nee Howe, was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. When she married her high school sweetheart, Rob Laird, she felt all her dreams had come true. That feeling lasted about six months. The marriage has not been easy. As an Army specialist, Rob is away for months at a time, and Ellie is left at home, managing the household and bills all by herself.

As a front desk clerk, Ellie gets to meet travelers from different places, which reassures her that yes, there is indeed a world outside Little Rock. This fits into her long-term plan of getting away.

Ellie has dreams. Dreams of a bigger life. The race will get her out of Arkansas and move her on to a more glamorous and fulfilling life.

Johntrimble John Trimble (played by Dylan Baker)
HEIGHT: 6'0"
INCOME: $93,000 a year
OCCUPATION: Astrophysicist
EDUCATION: B.A. Berkeley; M.S. MIT; Ph.D. Cal Tech
AGE: 47

At the Applied Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, John Trimble's goal was nothing less than understanding the physical processes that govern the universe. With a Ph.D. in submillimeter astronomy and a master's of science degree in gravitational physics, John was well on his way to cracking the secrets of the universe.

On the home front, however, he's- considerably less successful. While he is a responsible parent, John has little clue about how to understand his 17-year-old-daughter, Violet, and her universe.

John joined The Race after the worst kind of unexpected news. Even though it's his first time stepping away from the ivory tower of research and academia, the real world doesn't intimidate him. The prospect of truly getting to know his daughter? That scares him. What scares him even more, however, is he might never form a meaningful bond with her.

Violettrimble Violet Trimble (played by Emma Stone)
HEIGHT: 5'10"
INCOME: Allowance of $25 per week upon completion of chores, plus lunch money.
OCCUPATION: Junior at Los Ramblas High School
EDUCATION: Sometimes. When she's not distracted by boys.
AGE: 17

Violet Trimble would have you believe she's an average high school junior. In many ways, she is: She's preoccupied with boys and makeup and clothes. What Violet tries to hide is her uncanny intelligence. Her precociousness is easy to trace -- her father is a pre-eminent astrophysicist and her mother, who left when Violet was nine, excels at emotional manipulation.

One day, Violet's dad, John Trimble, picks her up from school. Only thing is, the trip doesn't end at their home, 3.6 miles away. It ends 2,887 miles away -- in Key West, Florida. John fails miserably at trying to keep the race a secret from Violet. When she learns about the race purse of $32 million, Violet is instantly converted into a race enthusiast.

Leighbarnthouse Leigh Barnthouse (played by Rochelle Aytes)
HEIGHT: 5'7"
INCOME: (ACTING) $2,200/(INVESTMENTS) $117,000
EUCATION: B.F.A., New York University
AGE: 32

Leigh's grandfather, Lionel Barnthouse, was one of the most influential (and, arguably, ruthless) men in the history of New Orleans, active in the politics, commerce, and culture of the city. After his death in 1995, and the subsequent battle for control of the family fortune, the family splintered and its political influence became nothing more than a historical footnote.

Leigh has followed an unusual path for a Barnthouse; uninterested in politics and business, she studied acting in New York and London and is currently pursuing a career in theater and film.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Leigh joined nurse Susan Chamblee and cocktail waitress Ivy Chitty in evacuating the patients of the flooded I.C.U. wing of Samaritan Hospital. The unlikely trio, strangers before that day, were hailed as heroes and were minor celebrities during 2005.

Considered a bit of a "lost soul" by her family, entering The Race is not exactly an unusual move for Leigh; she has studied Transcendental Meditation in India, worked as a Jagermeisterette at bars in Manhattan, is a Krav Maga expert, and once acted in an all-female production of "Hamlet."

Ivychitty Ivy Chitty (Taryn Manning)
Clever and resourceful, Ivy Chitty has 28 years of experience in taking care of herself and somehow always finds a way to land on her feet. Shortly after moving to New Orleans, she ended up in the spotlight as an unlikely Hurricane Katrina hero. Ivy enjoys being a minor celebrity and is determined to extend the ride for as long as she can. Her brash and outspoken nature sometimes clashes with the people around her, including her race teammates, Susan and Leigh, but Ivy's only concern is the finish line.

Susanchamblee Susan Chamblee (played by Michael Hyatt)
HEIGHT: 5'6"
INCOME: $42,000
EDUCATION: B.S.N., Dillard University.
AGE: 34

Growing up in New Orleans, Susan Chamblee excelled, despite difficult circumstances. A gifted student, Susan received high grades in school while both working as a waitress and helping raise her three younger siblings. After graduating with a nursing degree, she began her career at Samaritan Hospital, where she quickly rose through the ranks to become a supervisor.

During the days following Hurricane Katrina, Susan, together with two strangers, Ivy Chitty and Leigh Barnthouse, evacuated the patients of the hospital's I.C.U. when its wing began to flood. Several news outlets profiled the three as unlikely heroes, and for a brief period during 2005, the trio enjoyed a celebrity status.

Susan is still waiting to receive insurance and federal funds due to her before she can rebuild her home in the Uptown District of the city. As Samaritan Hospital remains closed, with its future still in doubt, Susan is working with a mobile city clinic, delivering health care to the poor.


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