News Column

'Man of Steel' Gets a Touch of Steel-town Passion

July 9, 2013

Kellie B. Gormly

Air Force Capt. Carrie Farris -- a character in "Man of Steel," the latest Superman incarnation -- would have made a good reporter, like Lois Lane, says the Pittsburgh actor who plays the officer.

Christina Ghubril Wren, a North Side native, says her tough Farris character perceives a lot about the world around her, says things out loud that most people are thinking, and asks questions that no one else is willing to ask. And though other members of her team see Superman as a sinister threat to be fought, Farris just senses, correctly, that Superman is one of the good guys.

"She's very intrigued by him and very interested," says Wren, a 2002 graduate of Perry High School. "Capt. Ferris is someone that ... actually has faith that Superman was good, that there was something about him that was to be trusted. ... She always had a sense that, 'I'm not sure we're doing the right thing.' "

"Man of Steel," which opened on June 14, adds to Wren's resume of acting credits, which includes Sophia in "Saudade?," and roles in shorts such as "Allo," "Static Shock Blackout" and "Coffeeshop Philosophers."

"It's a really fun, action-packed picture," Wren says about the new Superman film. Her Farris character is "a nice little addition to the team there."

Wren, who graduated in 2006 with a BFA degree in drama and pan- African studies from New York University, grew up in a house near Riverview Park. Many members of her family live here, including her parents, Saleem and Patti Ghubril. (Saleem Ghubril is the executive director of Pittsburgh Promise.) Wren's brother, Nate Ghubril, just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Wren comes back to Pittsburgh frequently to visit, and was here once a month last year during the filming of the first season of PBS KIDS' "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." She is a producer of the "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" cartoon spinoff. Wren and her husband, Demetrius Wren, live in Manhattan's Lower East Side and run a production company called "Two Kids With a Camera" that specializes in narrative and documentary storytelling. She also designs handmade jewelry for her Tea on Tuesdays line.

Christina Wren, who has met many Pittsburghers in the New York arts community, says the values of her hometown have helped shape her career and life.

"I think the work ethic is huge," she says. "Folks from Pittsburgh don't tend to have inflated egos or over-confidence. It's actually often a little under-confidence because folks aren't assuming that they are the best of the best. ... We're just people who are trying hard.

Wren says she got into acting for the experience, not with the intent of becoming famous.

"I never thought when I was growing up I would do this professionally," she says. "I just loved what I was doing.

She calls herself a "proud Pittsburgh girl."

"I just think Pittsburgh is an awesome place," Wren says. "So many great people come from Pittsburgh and have Pittsburgh pride everywhere they go."

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

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