Actress Tracey Birdsall has walked away with the highly-coveted Female Action Performer Of The Year at AOF festival for her performance as Sienna in Rogue Warrior : Robot Fighter. “Rogue Warrior” was a favorite of AOFF – one of the world’s most celebrated independent film festivals – where it cleaned up in many of the categories it was nominated. Tracey now gives us the scoop on her exciting roles and accomplishments.
Splats of Blood: It seems like an exciting time for you right now! You’re working on a lot of different films and have been nominated for a few different awards at the Action on Film Festival this year for your performance as Sienna in Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter (2016). How does it all feel?
Tracey Birdsall: It’s wonderful to get recognized for your work, and also to have your film recognized for so many of it’s elements with the awards. Having won the Female Action Performer of the Year award was really pretty amazing, as it encompassed so many elements – an overall acting award with the action elements – and the competition was fierce. Sienna was a very multi-faceted character and so much hard work went into creating her. I don’t get a lot of time to stop and think about it however, because we are hard at work already into the next one! I took it all in at the premiere, and then I took it all in again at the Awards Ceremony… I spent the following day recovering in my pajamas – and then it’s back to creating!
Splats of Blood: Speaking of Rogue Warrior, it’s a major, action-packed blockbuster type sci-fi film. What was it like working in that kind of environment compared to a smaller scale production like Who’s Jenna…? Which do you prefer?
Tracey Birdsall: Doing a comedy such as Who’s Jenna…? – it’s like a dance. Comedy has twists and turns and it’s all set to beats and it’s really quite enjoyable. Since I did the films back-to-back, a lot of my efforts in creating them (the two different characters) went into making them as different from each other as possible – that allows me to switch characters without any overlap.
Rogue Warrior was intense…! Prepping for that film and then shooting it took every bit of my imagination (sci-fi), my emotions (character-driven journey to say the least), my physicality (extreme physical endurance), everything. It used almost every tool in my toolkit and was completely exhausting and challenging. That said, I’ve never had more fun in my life! Actors love to be challenged as a whole, but this was a new level – and it went on for the most part of a year…
Splats of Blood: What kind of characters are you drawn to when you read a script?
Tracey Birdsall: I’m drawn to huge arcs, characters that I haven’t experienced before, things that will make me grow as an actress. Since my acting style has morphed into a birthing process (living the life of an individual I create), and my prep process is extreme, I have to live that life for a reason – see them as multi-dimensional journeys that I would want to live for a long time. If a role isn’t fun or challenging and I’m not interested in living it (and having their memories become my own), then it wouldn’t be a good use of my time. I absolutely love strong female characters that aren’t the token normal chick. I need to live lives in flavors and full color.
Splats of Blood: Do you see any similarities between yourself and Rogue Warrior’s Sienna? Any differences?
Tracey Birdsall: It’s funny you ask that as that was the first question I was asked at the Premiere’s Q&A! I don’t think that Sienna and I have any similarities at all except that we do look a lot alike… Although I know her inside and out, and her memories live inside me (scary thought), she’s a very complicated being – you’ll have to see the movie to get what I mean. No person has a tougher life than Sienna… That said, I truly loved creating her and living her life.
Splats of Blood: How has it been collaborating with director Neil Johnson on so many projects? How has your relationship developed since the first time you worked together?
Tracey Birdsall: Neil Johnson and I were in touch years before we were friends or collaborators. He asked me at one point to do a voiceover role for a spaceship computer and he knew I would do it as I’m into sci-fi/robotics, etc. That was a blast for me. I did it again for his following film and we discussed then working on a collaborative project. As rare as it is to discuss collaborating in this industry and having it come to fruition, it did and we made At the Edge of Time (currently in post behind Rogue Warrior although it was shot first). Next, he wanted to take advantage of my work ethics and talents (he saw how hard I prepare for my roles) – thus after hundreds of discussions, Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter came into being. When an actor who gives all that she has to a role such as myself – teams up with a Director that gives a film all that he has – it’s like magic. Rogue Warrior, it’s reviews and feedback – have been a true testament of that. It’s the best film either of us has ever made.
Splats of Blood: You’re in the process of filming The Time War currently, a sci-fi Nazi film involving a time-traveling Hitler. There hasn’t been much released about the film yet, but that description alone is pretty interesting. How has it been working on that project? Is it as fun as it sounds?
The Time War is a complicated film, and we have good reasons for keeping it under wraps to a degree. Most of the plot points and some of the casting was kept under wraps on Rogue Warrior until several months before the Premiere. Even a lot of the cast members weren’t aware of the additional scenes and directions the film would go. What happens is that when the audience is prepared to see something really cool, and then instead it sees something truly epic with layers and layers… then everyone is amazed. It’s truly special. Yes, it’s that much fun 🙂
Splats of Blood: Who’s Jenna…? is a comedy you have coming out this year where the male lead’s best friend mistakes you for Jenna Jameson, a pretty famous adult film star. I am curious about how you approached this role in relation to a lot of the diversity discussions happening in Hollywood right now. How has it been as a woman in an industry dominated by men, specifically when tackling roles that might, at least on the surface, seem to focus a lot on the character’s appearance?
Tracey Birdsall: Since it’s the character’s appearance we are talking about – then I’m able to separate from that. They aren’t saying what I look like as a human being, because that wouldn’t be about acting. We all know that adult film stars don’t necessarily look any different than women who choose not to go that direction, it’s just that they do as a profession something that someone like myself would never do. My character in Who’s Jenna…? was an intelligent, independent woman who made partner in her law firm. If what I look like helped land me that part, then God Bless America! I try not to think about diversity issues… I prefer to just work as hard as I can and be the best me that I can be. I have nothing to complain about…
Splats of Blood:It’s clear things are going great for you and I’m sure audiences want to see more. What can fans look forward to, anything exciting on the horizon or something new you’re planning on trying?
Tracey Birdsall: As soon as Rogue Warrior is released and At the Edge of Time, we are in the development stages of a television series called The Gods of War – which is picking up in the future where Rogue Warrior left off. It’s looking pretty good… as so much of the press pointed out after the Premiere how they weren’t ready for the movie to be over… They wanted to continue on the journey. That’s exactly what we were hoping for! We also need to finish up production on The Time War