Your upcoming film Save Yourself
- in a few words, what is it
about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?
is about 5
strong woman in the film industry on a road trip to LA to premier their
horror movie at film festival. Along the way Crystal goes missing and they
are faced with a mad scientist. They are having a blast until every woman’s worst nightmare becomes a reality. The
character I play is Sasha. She is an edgy but chill fun rocker chic, who just wants to have a
good time. She has a past of struggle and pain and found her way through
rock music to become who she is today. However like any human in a
horrific situation, she must turn on her survival instincts when survival
is the only option.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life?
To bring Sasha to life, I
worked closely with director Ryan Andrews [Ryan M. Andrews
interview - click here] to make sure we had the same
vision on what we would create for the role. He gave me a list of music to
listen to from the Butcher Babies to Taylor Momsen and then I couldn’t
help but throw Rob Zombie into the mix. As Sasha was a rocker chic, I also
had to create how she would talk, walk, react, move, etc. As the character
is very different from my own personality, I practiced method acting for
this role and embodied Sasha 2-3 weeks prior to shooting and stayed in character until we wrapped principle
photography. She was a lot of fun and a total wild card. The behind the
scenes videos should be a hoot! Hah
Tianna with Ryan M. Andrews
did you get hooked up with the project in the first place?
I was actually the reader in
the audition room the day of auditions. Ryan Andrews then asked me to come
in for callbacks but on the other side of the camera and had me read for
Sasha and Dawn. That week Ryan and one of the executive producers Pino
Halili also attended the screening of a movie that I’m the lead in
Break directed by Tricia Lee
Lee interview - click here] at The Blood In The Snow
Film Festival. After all that I was unexpectedly offered the role of Sasha
Tobin in the film.
can you tell us about Save Yourself's director Ryan
M. Andrews [Ryan M. Andrews
interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?
Working alongside Ryan
Andrews was amazing. A typical word to use but I honestly mean it. We are
both artists and love to create art organically but with dedicated
preparation to make that happen. Prior to shooting we met for coffee and
went over the script and my character several times. I wanted to give
Sasha the life she deserved as much as he did and that’s why we
artistically clicked. On set Ryan would look at me, give me a nod and I
knew it meant ‘do your thing, I trust you.’ We had a mutual trust that
is needed with a director and actor and is truly a gift to have on set. He
was such a standup talented professional to work with and I honestly feel
blessed to have had the opportunity to create this movie with him and the
team. Ryan is a director of horror and lives and breathes it, and that to
me says it all. He is not only in the industry for the right reasons but
in the genre that is true to his heart.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The shoot was a blast! Maybe
it was because I was in character all the time but I honestly had so much
fun! Hah, when you are able to do what you absolutely love with a team of
driven passionate professionals, it is an ideal work atmosphere to have.
The cast and crew were so hardworking and dedicated and such a pleasure to
work with. Going in to an all female cast, I didn’t know what to expect,
as this was a first for me. Ryan arranged pre-production bonding time to
build the chemistry with the five females with distinct character
personalities. I was so grateful for this as we went into the first day of
shooting with a bond and chemistry. The 5 of us also mostly lived together
while shooting which was ideal to keep that going throughout the shoot.
The DP Michael Davidson and first AD Charles Smith were so amazing to work
with. To know that the DP and first AD truly have your back on set is such
a gift to have. They are so talented and it was an honour to work with
With Save Yourself
being a horror movie, is that a genre you can
at all relate to, and why (not)?
believe can be or is affected by the horror genre. Whether by a movie or
in real life. By this I mean that some horror films are very much
relatable or can in fact happen or have happened. Those films that focus
more on real life horror I can most relate to. Anything
from home invasion style horror like The Strangers to something like
Kiss The Girls.
an actor it is important for me to relate to the subject no matter what
the context is. However that being said, surreal horror or creature
features can be relatable as the human brain is sometimes scared of the
unknown in life. If not I can use the ‘substitution technique’ and
replace the thing in the movie that I am to be scared of with something
that I am scared of in real life. With Save Yourself, being
kidnapped is a common fear among women. Things happen in this movie that
would absolutely be some of the worst things that I could possibly think
of that could happen to a person. There is one scene in particular with
Chris (Ry Barrett) and I that is extremely vulnerable and disturbing and
it was not hard for my characters layers to break down in that moment due
to the fact that it happens to women in the world daily and is a repulsive
horrific crime. Save Yourself
is absolutely a real life horror style
film with a bit of movie magic twist. It is well researched but has the
undertone of ‘what if this was possible’ which is very unique. It may
sound cliché but I can tell you now, Ryan Andrews breaks that and gives
you something very exclusive.
Speaking of horror, you
have recently also starred in Clean
Break - so a few words about that one and your character?
available on iTunes and VOD. Very excited about that as I put my heart,
sweat, blood and tears into this role. The movie is about a woman Tracy
that wants the picket fence stereotypical Stepford Wife lifestyle. She has
a burning desire inside of her that is so strong and with a complex past
of pain and sociopathic tendencies, she will go to any distance to make
sure that happens.
much fun was it to play a crazy bitch like Tracy, and how much of yourself
can we find in Tracy, actually?
When I first read for Clean
Break, I wanted the role so bad as I never expected an audition for such a
complex sociopathic character so soon in my film career. I knew if I dug
into my training, studied and got coaching on the side that I could bring
her to life in a somewhat likeable sociopathic way. I’ve never been the
girl who has pictured the perfect picket fence life or even my wedding day
for that matter, so this was definitely a stretch for me. But how I could
relate to the character was the desire to want something so bad and use
the acting technique of substitution. Would I kill someone to get it? No.
But Tracy would. I also had to dabble into my method acting training in
order to keep her mannerisms real as I define myself as more of a ‘bull
in a china shop’ type haha. I had to be smart however with this training
as the role was very intense and the brain is a powerful powerful tool
that you need to be careful with. I remember waking up while shooting the
film and jumping out of bed and looking for Tracy due to having nightmares
of ‘Tracy”. And yes that is the character I play in the film. Hahah,
it makes me laugh thinking back. But when I am given a role I dive in
fully and decide the tools I need as an actor to give the character the
life it deserves.
How did you get involved
with that movie, and what can you tell us about your director Tricia Lee
Lee interview - click here]?
I auditioned for the role of Tracy. It was the first
time I had met any of the cast and crew on this set. Tricia Lee gave me a
chance on this film, and that is an opportunity that every actor needs in
order to move forward in their career and Tricia did that for me. Tricia
Lee is a very hands-on director. She knows the character as well as the
actor should. So when she speaks to you, you’re both on the same page
with how the character feels and their wants, needs, desires, etc. I loved
working with Tricia and am lucky enough to now call her my friend. She
is so talented and has such an amazing vision and is a true joy to work
with! To have her as the director of my first lead in a feature film was
truly a blessing. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her next
A few words about
the shoot as such?
The shoot was a low budget feature, but you wouldn’t
have guessed it being on set as everyone was so professional. We had a
team of hungry young filmmakers wanting the best result and we were all
equally committed and on board. I got to work alongside Sean Kaufmann, who
plays Scott, my boyfriend in the movie. He is such a talented hard -orking
standup professional and I am lucky enough today to now call him one of my
best friends. Samy Osman who plays the womanizing Cam was so positive on
set and is such a nice guy. His commitment to the role along with the
other actors was admirable, and collaborating with them with such a crazy
role was a memorable experience I will never forget. I walked away from
this movie with friendships and bonds that are rare and I am so thankful
Any future projects you'd like to
Demolisher, directed by Gabriel Carrer that was shot this year is a
movie that I am very passionate about. Gabriel Carrer was at the Toronto
screening of Clean
Break at The Blood In The Snow
Film Festival, and
directly after the screening he offered me the role of Samantha in The
Demolisher. Samantha is an ex-cop who was severely beaten by a gang. In
result she suffers with an incomplete spinal injury thus having some
paralysis in her lower body and ends up in a wheelchair. The movie follows
Samantha’s husband Bruce’s (Ry Barrett) journey as he fights for
justice and vengeance. It’s a slow burn thriller which is a genre I am
Working with the Latefox Pictures team was an artistically intense amazing
experience. Ry Barrett and I improvised some of our scenes and I
couldn’t have asked for more freedom and space as an actor, working with
a set filled with talented artists. Ry Barrett is so talented and I was so
honoured to work with him for the first time on this script in particular.
We had an artistic mutual trust that gave a true vulnerable rawness when
The film has a European style flair and I cannot wait to see the end
result as the DP Martin Buzora has a unique style that is breathtaking to
look at. He looks at every shot as a picture of art and it was very
evident on set that this was true. I say this because when I wasn’t on
camera I was looking at the monitor in complete ‘awe’ and couldn’t
look away. I would stay hours and hours after shooting to just watch the
art in the making from every filmmaker and actor on that set.
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
I was as young as 3 years old when I knew I wanted to
be an actor. I started in theatre in my hometown when I was 7 and have
been involved in the industry ever since. I graduated from The University
of British Columbia with a BFA in Acting and have not once looked away
from my one passion and that is the art of acting. I have trained with
several respected artists in the industry and I have them all to thank for
their knowledge, thick skin and push.
would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
Over the years I have had
vast amount of training with different techniques. I believe being an
artist is like being an athlete and you constantly have to flex that
muscle. Right now my coach is Miriam Laurence who I absolutely love! I
went to her for coaching on The Demolisher and we used the technique
of ‘emotional connectivity’, ‘substitution’ and ‘secrets’ to
begin to bring Samantha to life. For each role I look at it, study it and
decide what the best approach will be for the script, production &
giving the role what it deserves and needs to come to life. To emotionally
interpret the character internally, then to create my own personal
relationship is something I hold true throughout.
Actresses (and indeed
actors) who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Charlize Theron is my number
one inspiration in acting and has been since I was young. When she was
typecast to only play ‘pretty’ roles and made the bold move to play
Aileen in Monster in 2003, that was the most inspiring role an actress has
ever mastered in my opinion. Any actor who is not scared to look
‘ugly’ (by this I mean unlike themselves physically and mentally) has
my upmost respect. Because acting is art, it is transforming, it is
surrendering to the role and giving it the life it needs to breathe.
Your favourite movies?
the top of my head I would have to say these films come to mind today in
no particular order: Monster
directed by Patty Jenkins, The
Fighter by David O. Russell, The
Descent by Neil Marshall, Enemy by Denis Villeneuve, Drive by Nicolas Refn,
Texas Chainsaw Massacre by Tobe Hooper,
Zero Dark Thirty by Kathryn Bigelow
and of course, films you really deplore?
I can’t say I deplore any
films as everyone has their own vision. I however prefer watching movies
with individuals who are artists and not in the industry just for the
‘fame’. Might sound harsh but you can really see the difference on
screen at times.
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I believe life is about
balance and giving back what we are given. When I am not filming I work
with Me To We as an International Trip Facilitator. This is truly my
other passion because not only is Me To We partnered with the charity
The Children, but my job is to inspire youth to be the change they want to
see in the world and bring it back home. I am so beyond passionate about
this job! It makes my heart shine! That and rescue animals and my family
and friends. Heh - the biggest soft spots in my heart!!
Thank YOU for the interview Michael! It’s been such a
pleasure speaking with you.