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Cardozo student aims high with ‘One Life to Live’

Felipe Dieppa, a 15-year-old sophomore from Richmond Hill, recently landed a role on three episodes of ABC's daytime soap "One Life to Live." But Dieppa is no stranger to show biz - the Cardozo student started acting professionally at age 4."I told my mom I wanted to do it and she took me seriously," he said during an interview in the school's library this week.For the past 11 years, Dieppa has had a professional manager from JMM Talent, a Manhattan-based talent agency for children. In that time, he has done commercials, a role on Nickelodeon's "Dora the Explorer" and "Blue's Clues." He is also a features reporter on the nationally syndicated "Teen Kids News" and has done walk-on parts on soap operas.Because television scripts are held under lock-and-key, Dieppa could not reveal much about his role. He described his character simply as "a 15-year-old Spanish kid." But he said he hopes his three-episode deal for "One Life to Live," the first part of which is set to air Feb. 10, will lead to a regular role on the show.But his true ambition, he said, is to be behind the scenes. Dieppa hopes to one day write feature-length screen plays, and he just finished writing a script in his favorite genre: film noir.He said his as-yet-untitled screen play, set in a shadowy version of modern-day Manhattan, is about a group of characters who, sometimes unwittingly, get in one another's way."It's about everyone having an agenda," he said.Dieppa knows his cinema. At the slightest prompting, he can trace the history of the dark detective genre made famous by silver-screen stars like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall from its roots in German Expressionism, a stripped-down psychological style developed by German filmmakers after World War I."They would like paint shadows onto the walls because they didn't have the lighting," he said.Dieppa is not shopping his script just yet. He said he plans to continue polishing it and wants to try to sell it when he is in college, he hopes at a top film school like NYU.For now, though, the teen balances his acting with schoolwork and the social life of any high school student. His work sometimes requires him to miss school-two days a week when he was on "Dora the Explorer"---but he said many of his teachers are understanding."Most of my work comes in a little late," he said.And despite occasionally missing a birthday party because he has to go to an audition, Dieppa said he is "blessed with my friends" and that his parents support his acting career."They're worried about the grades, as any parent should be," he added.Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 188.

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