A native of San Antonio, Texas, Summer Glau is a classically trained ballerina who broke into acting in 2002 with a guest spot on Angel
(playing a ballerina). Her career has primarily been composed of active women
and damaged girls
in science fiction and fantasy series.
Her first role (the aforementioned Angel
guest spot) got a standing ovation from the cast and crew after recording her single scene of dialogue
, and critical reviews for her performance as River Tam
have been overwhelmingly positive. However, she has yet to get much mainstream recognition as her roles have largely been reserved to TV shows and films that failed to perform on the business end
her own wiki
Tropes commonly associated with Summer Glau.
- Brainy Brunette: Quite a few of Summer's characters have above-average intelligence, such as River, Bennett, Orwell, Skylar, and even Cameron.
- The Cast Showoff: Expect her to do a few ballet steps in any show she is in.
- Ceiling Cling: Done without any special effects.
- Dance Battler: Literally. She is a classically trained ballerina.
- Dawson Casting: Summer has frequently been cast as characters who are either teenagers or supposed to be teenagers. She is in her thirties, but can pull off the teenage appearance with almost unnerving ease.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Summer has tendonitis in her heels and arthritis in her toesnote , so shoes actually are painful for her to wear. She has said that boots, specifically cowboy boots, are more comfortable for her.
- Dyeing for Your Art:
I have a scar on my face from when I was shooting. I was at a shooting range and a shell flew back and burned my face, so [director] David Nutter let it show all through the pilot [of The Sarah Connor Chronicles], and if you watch you can see it all through the episode. I thought that was great because she is supposed to be human[-like].
— from IF Magazine
- Mean Character Nice Actor: Despite playing killer robots, psychopaths, and other assorted crazy characters, she is frequently described as one of the nicest people in Hollywood.
- Older Than They Look: She's 33, but you'd be forgiven for believing she was at best in her early 20s.
- Old Shame: Her first acting roles were in some commercials from the late 90s/early 00s. However, these commercials were for specific affiliates in Texas and California, promoting local businesses, thus it's very hard for anyone to find copies of these commercials. Summer has said herself, "This is a good thing."
- One of Us: Summer is a big fan of science fiction movies, and is also a DC Comics fan.
- Phrase Catcher: After an infamous incident of Summer screwing up her lines during the filming of Firefly, the other cast members - most notably Nathan Fillion - took to yelling her name as an expletive whenever anything went wrong. Nathan is rumored to have taken the tradition on to his succeeding shows including Drive and Castle.
- Waif-Fu: Her "River Tam beats up everyone" scenes from Serenity are almost as well-known as the movie itself. Despite her tiny frame, Summer Glau is pretty well-trained in multiple martial arts disciplines. When called on to convincingly beat up people several times her size (like in the aforementioned scene) she requires No Stunt Double.
- What Could Have Been:
Summer Glau appears in:
- "Waiting in the Wings," an episode of Angel where her one scene of dialogue got a standing ovation from the cast and crew.
- Firefly and Serenity, where she played River Tam, a crazy psychic waif on the run from the Alliance with her brother. Skyrocketed her into popularity among geekdoms everywhere.
- Victim of the Week Paige Pratt in the Cold Case episode "Love Conquers All"
- CSI: "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?"
- xkcd: She beats up everyone and beats both Randall Munroe and Nathan Fillion in an electric skateboard race
- Sci Fi Channel original movie Mammoth, which featured a mammoth corpse reanimated by aliens that sucked the life force out of those it encountered.
- The Unit
- The 4400, where she plays Tess Doerner, another crazy psychic waif. She does get better, though.
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Notable also for making a Terminator into a sympathetic character while still going on violent, shotgun happy-rampages. She also played Allison Young, a not-very crazy, very-not-psychic resistance fighter who nonetheless proved to be as tough as Sarah Connor in terms of sheer Determinator-ability.
- That one episode of The Big Bang Theory where she played herself.
- Dollhouse, playing a genius-level Doll programmer named Bennett Halverson who has ... issues.
- Deadly Honeymoon, which is apparently Very Loosely Based on a True Story.
- The Western Legend Of Hell's Gate playing a girl named Maggie Moon.
- NBC's superhero drama The Cape in which she plays a cyber-sleuth blogger reporter known as Orwell, who apparently becomes the title hero's sidekick and, like with River and Cameron, is more dangerous than her size implies.
- Appropriately-named horror/comedy movie Knights Of Badassdom. Presumably, they were working with a much less awesome title before Summer was cast.
- The voice of Supergirl in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies installment Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.
- Sleepover. She is credited as "Ticket girl".
- Chuck as one of the "Greta" agents. (Not surprisingly,◊ one of the more Ax-Crazy Gretas.)
- A silver 1979 Pontiac◊ Trans Am that she designed the interior of.
- Alphas (guest starring) as a Gadgeteer Genius named Skylar.
- Cameoed as a nurse on Grey's Anatomy.
- The Initiation of Sarah (2006), where she played Sarah's Muggle sister Lindsay.
- A Hallmark Special Help for the Holidays, where she plays an elf out to restore a family's Christmas spirit.
- Isabel Rochev in Arrow.
- Appears in the Crackle.com series Sequestered.