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Catching up with Lisa Wu Hartwell, former ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ cast member

Lisa Wu Hartwell rehearses "Stripped" with Dorsey Levens, who plays a former NFL player struggling to adjust to life after the fame and fortune. Hartwell plays Brooklyn, the resentful wife. This was shot at Whole World Theatre on July 23, four days before the play's debut at the Ferst Center. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Lisa Wu Hartwell rehearses "Stripped" with Dorsey Levens, who plays a former NFL player struggling to adjust to life after the fame and fortune. Hartwell plays Brooklyn, the resentful wife. This was shot at Whole World Theatre on July 23, four days before the play's debut at the Ferst Center. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Some folks with short memories may already be saying “Lisa Who?”

But Lisa Wu Hartwell, who quit “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” after season two, is moving on, pursuing a genuine acting career.

Reality TV got her name out there, but she felt she had to walk away from the shenanigans season three so directors and producers of scripted programs would take her more seriously.

Hartwell just finished a month-long shoot in Philadelphia on a murder/mystery film with actor/writer/director Charles Dutton called “Must Be the Music.”

She is starring in an upcoming play at Ferst Center on the Georgia Tech campus called “Stripped.” It debuts July 27 and runs through July 31.  She plays the wife of a former NFL player struggling with life after the big time. She also happens to be married to Ed Hartwell, an ex-NFLer himself who makes a cameo appearance via video.

Hartwell works opposite Dorsey Levens, another former NFL player who played professionally from 1994 to 2006. Levens, a Georgia Tech graduate, produced the play.

During rehearsals last Saturday at Whole World Theatre, Hartwell showed off her “angry side,” a resentful wife of the fictional Jayden Dorsey. They argue a lot.

Hartwell always seemed to have her head on her shoulders on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” save for a moment where she threatened to flip Kim Zolciak over a couch for allegedly spreading lies about her and her children during a season one reunion show. (Hartwell was once married to R&B Keith Sweat, who never showed up on camera on the show.)

As we all know, being sane does not help you on a show like  “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” A little bit of crazy goes a long way.

When the producers wanted her to orchestrate things a bit too much in her “real” life season three, she bolted. She did make a few cameo appearances this past season (where the producers were kind enough to remind viewers who she was via captions). She will not be back at all for season four, not even in the background of a random party. Kim wanted her at her baby shower, Hartwell said, but she passed.

Soon, Hartwell said she’ll be doing a film with director Bill Duke (”Sister Act 2″) in Los Angeles.  Otherwise, she regularly auditions for parts and even ran into Sheree Whitfield at one point at a casting call.

Here’s my interview with her at Whole World Theatre Saturday.

IF YOU GO

“Stripped,”

26 comments Add your comment

RoHo Fan

July 24th, 2011
10:58 am

Vote for Rodney Ho as the best blogger for Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta 2011!! You can vote here: http://posting.clatl.com/atlanta/Survey?survey=3283373

Joseph Washington

July 24th, 2011
11:59 am

The gum chewing was very distracting and unattractive. Please spit out your gum before your next interview, Lisa.

Les Fonza

July 24th, 2011
12:49 pm

“Good interview”, Mr. Ho. I wondered what happened to Lisa as I followed the ‘Atlanta housewife’s’ show. Good Luck to Lisa. I love the fact she is sooo down to earth, she’ll make a good Actress!

Stephanie

July 24th, 2011
1:31 pm

Much love to Lisa!! Running into Sheree at an audition made me laugh…Sheree acting? She can’t even “play” real!! Horrible!! Go Lisa!!

Pelvis Messley

July 24th, 2011
1:59 pm

I liked Lisa on “Housewives,” but it was odd when she went off on Kim during the season one reunion. It seemed to come out of nowhere, with no basis in “reality.”

Ted

July 24th, 2011
2:27 pm

Who cares..Reality TV is one of the worst things to ever happen to television. Must we keep hearing about the show in general?

This is an example of people who have gained notoriety for doing absolutely nothing, although they’re mentioned in this article:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/they-re-rich-and-famous-and-in-foreclosure-4.aspx

omgwtflolbbq

July 24th, 2011
2:47 pm

Peachy

July 24th, 2011
2:59 pm

Who is the mystery interviewer?

RHOA Fan

July 24th, 2011
3:30 pm

Thanks for the update. Someone told me that Lisa and Ed had split. Glad to read they’re still together.

[...] up with Lisa Wu Hartwell, former ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ cast member by Rodney Ho Lisa Wu Hartwell rehearses "Stripped" with Dorsey Levens, who plays a former NFL player [...]

WTF?

July 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

Am I supposed to be impressed with all this crap?

HAHA

July 24th, 2011
4:22 pm

Good for you Lisa. I hope you go far!

Carrie, Charlotte & Samantha

July 24th, 2011
4:29 pm

^^

We just coodn’t take our eyes off of that paint colour.

It’s too cute! It was like stawberry meets fuchsia for the first time…”halo, how are you?”

Anyways – between the background noise and the paint colour – we coodn’t focus on the interview.

But we’re sure it was good.
^^

Drug counselor

July 24th, 2011
11:30 pm

I wish she would have entered drug rehab first and then did the play…. Lisa, you can’t overcome your problem at house…..

Drug counselor

July 24th, 2011
11:34 pm

Joseph, she can’t spit out the gum, the gum stops her mouth from moving like Bobby Brown mouth…Do you remember how Britney Spears use to chew gum in her early days? It stops, the mouth from moving and twitching…She so on drugs…

pebblebeach

July 25th, 2011
6:35 am

Much love Lisa and good luck with your acting career…I will be in the audience on Friday night…

RJ's Wife

July 25th, 2011
8:07 am

GOOD LUCK to you LISA! Have a great day/week all :-)

Orlando

July 25th, 2011
8:24 am

Rodney, are you loosing your hair? what’s up with the hats???

mike scott

July 25th, 2011
11:22 am

i wish i had two of those hats one to…. in and the other to cover it up.

truthpaste

July 25th, 2011
1:08 pm

I actually liked Lisa.

Pago Flyer

July 25th, 2011
7:14 pm

Is it just us, or are those “Doritos” commercials gross. Dumb white boys, though, pretty funny

midwesterner

July 27th, 2011
5:15 am

what hoppened to her “CLOSET FREAK” clothing line??? her designer days were short lived, eh?

1baddman

July 27th, 2011
4:37 pm

must be a slow day in the news dept.

SAWB

July 31st, 2011
10:48 pm

Wuuuu you know you are a loser if your claim to fame is being a former Housewife of Atlanta. At least the Hood Rat of Hood Rats NeNe is “keepin it real”. Maybe Lisa can play Rashad’s Low Life Grandmother in the “The ATL II”.

Tina Eastern

August 5th, 2011
12:05 am

Hi Lisa, so glad to see you bounce back. Yo go girl!!!. God bless you and your family. You deserve all this and more. Housewives was the stepping you needed to get your name out there. Hope the blessings keep coming your way.

Lisa - Clone of Whitfield

August 11th, 2011
8:14 am

Ok, so I guess Lisa is getting her career ideas from Sheree…because when Sheree started her clothing Line, so did Lisa, and Sheree wants to be an actress (UGGHHHH! Although she is HORRIBLE at it), now Lisa wants to be an actress? I just hope Lisa can ACT. So Lisa what’s next or should I ask Sheree?