Tuesday 27 June 2017

Interview with Tracey Birdsall The star of Rogue Warrior : Robot Fighter

Tracey Birdsall has done it all, but it’s an independent science-fiction film that she’s really making her mark in. The star of Rogue Warrior : Robot Fighter tells us what interested her about making the transition into science-fiction, how she prepared herself to play a kick-ass action hero, and the appeal of working with British filmmaker Neil Johnson.

Is there any interesting story about how you got involved in Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter?

Actually meeting with Director Neil Johnson was an interesting time in my life. It was a moment in time, so much like thousands of others – you meet a director and sit down and discuss your careers. You speak of what’s important to you, what your approach and direction is, and you see if it’s a good fit – much like dating. The difference with Neil was that we were both so impressed by our love of our craft, our painstaking stop-at-nothing approach. The rest is history. The best… yet to come.

Has being in an action sci-fi movie been a goal of yours?

I’m not brave enough to make specific goals within a certain genre; moreover, I make career goals and strive to always make each project better than the last. I research the character both on the page and in my mind to see what I can make of it – if there’s any brilliance I can bring to it. That said, I’m kind of an action chick in real life. I like pushing myself physically to the extremes. It kind of makes sense for me to do sci-fi (my favorite genre) and action (my physical way and my other favorite genre). It was never planned that way, but I see how I got here. It all started with my tomboy nature… In many ways, doing Rogue Warrior demonstrated that my “child self” was okay – that growing up being a tomboy – can pay off. That was huge for me as the youngest of three sisters (and the only tomboy.)

How did you transform yourself, mentally and physically, to play the role of Sienna?

I put on about 10-15 pounds of muscle to play Sienna. I trained even harder, ate even more, strategically balanced my protein intake and physical output to get into optimal shape for the role. It was kind of tricky, as Sienna’s journey has a past that involves her more physical nature – so I had to take that into consideration when preparing her physically. She had to be not just capable of the action, but also very womanly – as the reveal would expose – I had to take everything that she was and everything that she would become – into consideration. Mentally? I had to just “let go.” Mentally Sienna was a bit of a mess. She didn’t realize her own reality as she had memory loss from an accident – which later exposes itself to be purposeful misinformation.

Though an entertaining movie, would you suggest there’s also a ‘message’ to the film?

It’s a film of persistence, defiance, strength and overcoming one’s own limits. It’s a film of female empowerment, lack of sexual identity and understanding, realization of one’s self, and acceptance of one’s vulnerabilities whether due to family, self-identity, or situational. There’s a message of persistence, undeniable self-worth, and the constant questioning of what would happen if? …Very much like real life.

What interested Neil Johnson in telling this story?

Neil has quite a curious mind! He delves deep into science and science fiction – oftentimes looking past what the viewer knowingly realizes he is viewing. He tells stories meant to be re-watched and appreciated at whole new levels. Rogue Warrior was a story that was morphed from a previous script he wrote – morphed to fit the current needs of society and the market… and also that of its characters.

What kind of research did you both do into A.I, if any? 

I grew up with a realization of Artificial Intelligence as my father worked both as the President of PowerCon (the largest Power Electronics Convention in the world at the time) and in consulting arenas involving the chips for the Stealth Bomber (amongst other things). Robotics was a part of my world long before computing was a “thing” for the public at large. My fascination with Artificial Intelligence (between this and being a sci-fi geek) made it where it was only natural for me to be not only interested in – but fascinated in – A.I. It was already an extreme awareness.

Are you going to stick to this genre? Or try something completely different next?

I was the lead in two comedies and two sci-fi films this year. I’m going to stick to doing amazing films with character-driven arcs - within all genres. Although sci-fi is my favourite, it’s important to work across the realms and genres in order to continue to stay relevant and grow within oneself. I’m a serious actor. I can’t get pigeonholed. I see relief in genre switching.

ROGUE WARRIOR : ROBOT FIGHTER is out now in theaters and on DVD August 15, 2017

Pre-Order now from Amazon at the following link
Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter (Opens in a new window)