What's in a name? For Ella Joyce, the answer is easy: success.
"Three years ago I was in a rut," explains the actress, who plays Eleanor on the new Fox TV series "Roc."
"So I meditated in prayer and decided on a name. Ella was my great-grandmother's name, and my mom is Joyce." Since the name change, says the former Cherron Hoye, "the work hasn't stopped coming. I think a lot of it has to do with having confidence in myself. It's like, if you can control your name, you can control your life."
"Roc's" producers sought Joyce out earlier this year, when she was at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in the Yale Rep production of August Wilson's "Two Trains Running."
"I juggled the audition between performances," says Joyce, who sweated out an unspectacular career in New York for a decade before landing the hit stage show "Don't Get God Started."
"But I didn't jump at the chance--I was a bit of a theater snob." It wasn't till Fox mentioned the talent involved (writer Stan Daniels, director James Burrows and actor Charles Dutton) and sent a helicopter to ferry Joyce to her screen test, that she began to warm to the idea.
Now, with "Roc" solidly on the Fox lineup ("First we got word they picked up the pilot," she exults, "then they wanted seven episodes, then the rest of the 13--then another 13!"), the Chicago native is looking forward to the spring release of "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot," starring Sylvester Stallone and JoBeth Williams.
"I play a tough precinct cop; it's a relatively few number of scenes," Joyce says. "But they're scenes with Stallone nonetheless."