An Interview with Rhoda Jordan – By Duane L. Martin

Rhoda JordanFirst off, let’s start off by having you introduce yourself and give everyone some background info on yourself.

Well, I’m originally from the city of San Jose, CA. After graduating
high school, I went to the East Coast for college, and I could hardly
wait to get out. I was so excited about starting my acting career. By
the time I got to college, I had done a bunch of plays, voice-over
work, and modeling on the side. So I truly felt ready for Los Angeles
and couldn’t wait to get back to California. Truth is, though, nothing
really prepares you for L.A. I’ve lived here five years now, and I
still see it as one big jungle. It’s like, the second I got here, I was
bombarded with all kinds of offers…you know, false hopes,
half-promises, projects that go nowhere…And as you go on, you’re able
to detect quickly what’s real and what’s not…So once I was able to
develop that "talent," I fought hard and started building a body of
work. For the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a
bunch of indie films, mostly horror and sci-fi.

The first film you appeared in was called Death Factory back in
2002. What experience did you have acting-wise before that role? Was
that the first film role you tried for, or had you auditioned for other movies before that?

Before Death Factory, I was doing some theater, some short films here
and there. Death Factory was a welcome relief actually. I had just come
off this horrible experience, working on this awful play that just
completely bombed. And once that nightmare ended, I was pretty much
down, thinking, what am I gonna do next? It’s always disheartening to
have invested so much time and energy into something that you’re not
really into at all. And then it’s even more disheartening when that
something turns out to be a disappointment in the end! So I was just
wondering what I was going to do next, and then I went and auditioned
for Death Factory, and I think it was almost decided there on the spot
that I would get the role of Leticia. I think it was after Brad Sykes
and David Sterling heard me scream! They were like, "Yeah, let’s cast
this girl." I had auditioned for many roles before Death Factory but I
had never gotten such a quick and positive response…Needless to say,
I did the movie, and I had a good time shooting it.

You’ve been in eight films now. Which of those films has been the
biggest learning experience for you and which one are you the most
proud of?

You know, if I really thought about it, I’ve probably learned something
from every single one of those films. I’m constantly trying to out do
myself, to show versatility at every corner. It’s exciting for me as an
actress to always try and change things up. But the biggest learning
experience through everything was probably working on the set of the
DMX movie, Never Die Alone. It was definitely amazing…I got to work
with some real pros. I saw firsthand the precision and all the clarity
that they had to demonstrate to keep things moving smoothly. Not just
talent-wise, but crew-wise. Everybody was efficient, professional, and
that’s something that you don’t get to see enough of these days. I
would have to say that Never Die Alone definitely qualifies as
something I’m proud of as well, because I got to use my singing skills
in the movie. I play a jazz lounge singer, and it was really an
experience to bring the two worlds together–the acting and singing.

Have you ever planned to audition for a film and decided against
it after reading through the script and deciding it was poorly written
or would hurt your career?

Actually, there was a case where something just like that happened. But
it actually went a little further than a first audition…My manager
had gotten me this audition about 2 years ago to host a popular show on
Playboy. She told me that there was no nudity involved initially, so I thought, okay, I can do this. Long story short, I ended
up wowing them at the audition. They then called me back a second time,
because it was down to me and one other girl. After that second
audition, the producer called me personally, telling me that they
really wanted me for the host. I was thrilled and ready to
accept–…until he told me that they wanted to see me doing full
nudity on the show. There was a moment where part of me just really
wanted to take it. The pay was great, and not only that, but they were
going to fly me around to several exotic locations! Who would want to
turn that down? Well…Apparently, I did…In the end, there was no way
I could do it. Full nudity, hosting a show on the Playboy channel? I
might as well just give up on any hopes of a serious acting career! I
mean, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with nudity. I have done
some topless stuff in a couple of films…But when you’re out in the
open on the Playboy channel like that, you’ve pretty much gone down an
entirely different avenue that will end up just sucking you into
something that
you never wanted in the first place.

What are your favorite kinds of roles and are there any kinds of roles that you would absolutely refuse to take no matter what?

I just love a great role that I can sink my teeth into. Something with
depth, something that has the ability to resonate with other people.
The majority of films I’ve done have been in the horror/sci-fi world,
so of course there is not a lot of depth in these characters that I’ve
played. So it is hard to come across great roles, but it’s not
impossible! In terms of roles that I would refuse, if I felt it was
something that I’ve done before, I probably won’t accept the role
again. Brad Sykes had asked me to star in one of his other films after
Death Factory, but I really felt like it was a lot of the same thing.
And there was no challenge in that. You know? Nothing was pulling me
toward it. Now, if it was an amazing character, whether or not I felt
I’ve done it before, I would definitely take it. Chances are, with an
amazing character, there is always new ground to explore. And that’s
important when you’re working as an actor.


What interests do you have outside of acting?

Well, I’m a singer as well. Right now, RRAG Records is producing my
first solo album, so we’ll see where that goes. As far as everything
else, I’m really into health and fitness. I love yoga, boxing,
hiking…you name it. I’m also a screenwriter, and for work, I do a lot
of editing, rewriting, and ghostwriting for various clients. I studied
screenwriting in school, so I would say that it’s my biggest
passion–after the acting, of course…I’m just fortunate enough to be
able to make a living with it right now. Incredibly fortunate.

Rhoda JordanWhat
do you think is your biggest strength as an actress? Basically, what do
you feel that you bring to the table that makes you special? (i.e.
attitude, ability, special talents, etc…)

Special? Well, let’s see…I would have to say–my drive. Without it, I
would be nowhere. It gets me through the door, it carries me through
the audition, keeps me sharp and focused during the shoot. I demand so
much from myself, that it’s exhausting at times. I have this drive that
is constantly spinning its wheels, looking for the next thing. It’s
very crazy sometimes, and I wish I could put a lot of this ambition to
rest when I’m just worn out…but I know I couldn’t breathe without it.

And how about your biggest weakness? Anything you feel like you need to work on?

Weaknesses? Oh, I’m always working on those! I would have to say that
my biggest weakness is using my head too much… I’m really trying to
get past all that, because it’s so limiting. The energy isn’t flowing.
It’s all locked up tight inside you, restricting everything you say and
do. Once in awhile, I’ll have a moment on-set where I’ll just start
thinking my way through a scene, and it’ll just kill all the momentum
for me. It’s the most terrible thing that could happen to you as an
actor! I think so anyway! I always do manage to find my way out of my
head. It does take some effort though, but I find a way. And that’s
really the best possible place you can be in as a performer…–that
place where everything is just completely natural and you’re at the
height of all your instincts. That’s what makes acting exhilarating.

Do you have any upcoming films or other projects you’re working on at the moment?

I just recently finished shooting the film Bad Penny, which was shot
and directed by Jesse Kerman…I had an emotionally-charged supporting
role in it, which I really don’t get to experience enough of. I play a
girl with amnesia, who keeps harassing her ex-boyfriend, because she
still thinks that they’re together (even though they broke up awhile
ago). There’s a lot going on in the film, and it’s more of a drama, but
it definitely draws from some different "horror" elements…

Also, right now, I am working on a couple different scripts. One is a
sci-fi script and one is a drama. I plan to be producing the sci-fi
flick later this year, so let’s all cross our fingers and hope that’s a
success!

If someone wants to contact you about a film role, how can they
get in touch with you? Also, do you have a website where people can
find out more about you?

Yes, anybody can contact me at my website http://www.rhodajordan.com.
It is going through some changes right now, but should be up shortly!
There is an email address on there, so anybody can drop me a line and
I’ll definitely get it.


Is there anything else you’d like to mention before we wrap this up?

Yes, go see Galaxy Hunter! I play a half-alien bounty hunter in it.
Also, Stacy Keach and Shelley Michelle star. It should be out on DVD
toward the end of May.