Vivian Schilling (born 1968) is an American novelist, screenwriter, actress and independent filmmaker.
Born and raised in Kansas, Schilling studied at The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and also under Stella Adler before embarking upon careers in literature and film. Most recently, Schilling completed work for Paris-based Eurocine Films as the writer, producer and director of the English adaptation of Toys in the Attic, based on the stop-motion, animated feature by Czech director Jiri Barta.
Schilling has written two novels: Quietus (Penguin-Putnam) and Sacred Prey (St. Martin's Press). The novels take place in a supernatural setting and center on themes of immortality, existentialism and religious conflict.
Schilling has acted in a variety of leading roles in independent films since 1986, including Savage Land and the Polish film Niemcy, a World War II drama based on the stage play by Leon Kruczkowski. In Niemcy Schilling portrays heroine Ruth Sonnenbruch, a German nightclub singer who comes to the aid of a Jewish refugee. In 2006 she portrayed feminist and author Gertrude Atherton (b. 1857–1948) opposite Campbell Scott's Ambrose Bierce (b. 1842–1915?) in the film anthology Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories. In 2012, Schilling provided the voice of Buttercup in Toys in the Attic alongside co-stars Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack and Cary Elwes.
As an early filmmaker, Schilling wrote and starred in Soultaker, a 1991 theatrical release which went on to win the 1992 Saturn Award as the first-ever feature title designated as Best Genre video. The film was later featured in an episode of the parody commentary series Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Toys in the Attic was released theatrically in September 2012 and received top accolades from The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today and The New York Post among others, as well as major animation publications, Animation Magazine. After a hiatus to work on the film, Schilling is currently completing her third novel. She divides her time between Fayetteville, Arkansas and Los Angeles, California.