I had the chance to chat with Tracey Birdsall (who is super fun, btw!) about her upcoming films ROGUE WARRIOR ROBOT FIGHTER and THE TIME WAR (both of which I’m excited about), as well as how cool it is to be an ass-kicking actress (literally) and how much fun it is to do what you love. Check out her AMAZING answers to my AMAZING questions below!
ML: Tracey, you’ve been working in the sci-fi and horror arena for awhile now with films such as DOOMSDAY, DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON and STARSHIP RISING. What is about these genres draws you to them?
TB: I would have to say that sci-fi is my very favorite genre! I was friends with the Director and Producer of Dawn of the Crescent Moon, which was dipping my foot into the horror genre again! That said, I’ve been a sci-fi geek my whole life so when I got the opportunity to delve into it, I jumped in with both feet and did the very best work that I could possibly muster to ensure that I would get the opportunity again – which worked!I love what I do, I love sci-fi, it’s really a little piece of heaven to work in your favorite genre.
ML: Your next film coming out later this year is ROGUE WARRIOR ROBOT FIGHTER (which looks absolutely amazeballs, fyi) about Earth and other worlds being overthrown by AI. It’s been described as a cross between FURY ROAD and STAR WARS but does it have any similarities to TERMINATOR? Is the war between robots/humans similar (or is it more like in the book “Robopacalypse”) perhaps or is RWRF totally off the cuff?
TB: Now if I answered that question I would spoil the movie for you!!! I would say that it does have some Terminator elements, but it’s going to surprise you as it is totally off the cuff! The character journey in this film will take everyone by surprise as it’s layered pretty deeply. It exhausted me, that’s for sure!
ML: From the trailer I watched, it seems like there are an array of types of robots (one AI says they’re a “pleasure bot”), so what all different kinds of robots are there are in the film?
TB: When the worlds get to a point in time such as this, there are ALL kinds of robotics. If you think about it, robots exist even in our current times – just about everywhere. We don’t think of them as robots; moreover, phones, self-driving cars, computers, etc. The Director integrated this thought by having there be no limit to the types of robots: physical, CG, and yes, human.
ML: Is RWRF strictly action/sci-fi or will there be maybe some romance mixed in there (human and AI as star-crossed lovers?!?) or tragedy, etc?
TB: All of the above and much much more…
ML: How did you get the role in RWRF?
TB: I had worked with Director Neil Johnson before, and he observed what lengths I go to when preparing for a role. He was looking forward to making a film where he could push my boundaries, physicality, emotions and my talents to every extreme. Believe it or not, he gets told “no” a lot by other actors, it’s astounding! I’ve witnessed actors deny to run, get dirty, or even get fake blood in their hair – which is not how you further a career. In my mind, when you are doing a role, you ARE that character… so why give the character limits? So I think he had fun with that!
ML: Tell us about your character in RWRF.
TB: Sienna has such a journey in Rogue Warrior… It still stumps me how one character can be up against all of the odds that she’s up against whilst undergoing so many self-realizations. I think the “how” and the “why” have to do with the prior question, but discovery doesn’t always lead to acceptance. She’s literally a complete badass yet all of her vulnerabilities get exposed – to the extreme.
ML: What’s your favorite thing about this movie?
TB: My favorite thing about making it was being pushed to such extremes – it grew me as an actress and I realized new limits in my physicality. My favorite thing about watching it is that aside from it being beautifully shot, it’s one of the most character-driven sci-fi’s I’ve ever seen – whilst still having all of the elements (special effects, making you think about possibilities, etc.) that I enjoy. I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it and I love it!
ML: You’re trained in martial arts and do all your own stunts – something that’s rare for an actress. How does it feel to be able to kick-ass and take names?
TB: It feels amazing! It was quite painful at times as I did get hurt (par for the course) but it was worth it! I can’t imagine just being the character and bringing someone else in to have all the fun 🙂
ML: Next up, you’ll be filming THE TIME WAR about Hitler traveling back in time and rewriting history which sounds absolutely intriguing. What can you tell us about THE TIME WAR?
TB: It’s actually well into production but we’ve been keeping it on the down-low! It’s insanely amazing! The whole concept of time travel makes the complex storylines possible. It’s a dream project for any actor… We’ve very carefully said very little as this story has never been told before. As became his shooting style with Rogue Warrior, Director Neil Johnson is constantly adding in more epic-ness as he goes. He’s actually in London prepping for some shots we’re going to be doing over there. That’s about all I can say!
ML: What’s the best piece of advice you would give for aspiring actors or others hoping to work in the film industry?
TB: If there’s anything else you want to do – do that. If this is all you can imagine doing then work on it full-time, pour your heart and soul into it, train in various methods until you find what works for you, prepare for your auditions like you’re preparing to shoot it (fully committed), treat it like it’s a full-time job until it is a full-time job because this is the hardest f*&cking job on the planet if you do it right. Live your roles fully, as nobody wants to watch someone act, they want to go on a journey with you… It sounds terrible but bottling up emotions also helps because you have places to tap into when you need them.
ML: Anything else you want to tell us about that wasn’t covered?
TB: I telepathically transmitted this interview at warp speed…