Your new movie Rogue
Warrior: Robot Fighter - in a few words, what is it about, and
what can you tell us about your character in it?
Warrior: Robot Fighter, artificial intelligence has taken over
the worlds - and there seems to be no end in sight - except for humanity.
There happens to be a bomb out there that can instantly fry an AI
positronic network, and my character sets out on her journey to find it
and to stop them. She puts together an unlikely team and sets out to
destroy the robots; however, along the way, she finds out that she’s not
exactly who she thinks she is…
It’s a very human story with a lot of
layers to my character and to her journey.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Tracey
Birdsall can we actually find in Sienna?
I always tell
everyone that we (Sienna and I) look a lot alike, but that’s about it.
Sienna is stronger than I am, more vulnerable than I am… I learned a lot
about myself along the way. I always set out to create my characters
(their flaws, their strengths, their purpose, their quirks - and their
intention) and then I bring that to life by simply believing that I am
them, and that their journey is my own. When directed by a director that I
trust (Neil Johnson [Neil Johnson interview -
click here] in this case), I never question the direction - I just
flow with it. It’s funny as doing an action film like this, you find
that your physical endurance level is way beyond what you had imagined! I
just… keep going… like working with a trainer in the gym where you
turn your own brain off.
How much fun is
it actually to play a badass robot fighter, and how did you prepare for
This was actually the most fun I had ever had in
a role, as I was living the life of a character I would have loved to have
watched growing up. I trained 5 days a week both in heavy weights and
fighting. I upped my proteins and my fats to put on extra muscle, and I
really tore through the calories. This film utilized every strength I
could muscle from physical to emotional to intellectual… and the
What drew you to the project in the first
place, and how did you end up on the production side of things as well?
And to what extent could you identify with the sci-fi theme of the movie?
Having grown up with a love for robotics and sci-fi, along with having
an intense love for the genre, every aspect of this project drew me in.
Knowing that I was going to be tortured by director Neil Johnson also was
a draw, as I love being pushed to extremes (and he pushes hard). As an
actor, we strive on bettering ourselves and being pushed to whole new
I wanted to help produce the project, as I wanted some creative
contribution and control. Having produced and distributed my first feature
in the late 1990’s, I had a lot to offer the project besides in
performance and skills. I really wanted to put the time into the casting
also, as I thrive on working with other talented actors - it’s like
magic. I wanted to work with other actors who brought a lot to the table,
and also who lived their roles. Most of the “producing” that I did was
in pre- and post-production. During filming I had to focus completely on my
character, her relationships, and her journey.
were the main challenges when producing Rogue
Warrior: Robot Fighter?
I would say that the main
challenge was in the extreme elements of working on location (high
heat/storms/wind storms), but that’s also what brought it to life. Also,
scaling the back of the mountains between takes (they were really high),
and the amount of shooting days that went into it. It’s funny as I only
think of challenges when we aren’t shooting or when we are preparing for
the next take… I never feel challenged when the camera is rolling.
With director Neil
Johnson [Neil Johnson interview -
click here], you've done quite a few movies over the years - so
how did you two first meet, what can you tell us about your previous (and
future) movies, and about your collaboration on Rogue
Warrior: Robot Fighter?
We were aware of each
others work for many years prior to working together. One day we had a
lunch meeting (during a time where I was winning a lot of awards), and we
discussed working together. We have a similar work ethic, drive, and
passion for what we do. It started off small, with me voicing a couple of
roles for him… and then I’ve led up his latest two projects. We really
work extremely well together, as we will both do whatever it takes to get
the perfect shot each time.
Do talk about the rest
of the key cast on Rogue
Warrior: Robot Fighter, and as a producer, did you have any hand
in the casting process?
I was pretty much in charge of
finding the actors - because I care so much about that part. Neil had as
much say in the final casting, but I found all of them and then we would
meet with them after reading them. Daz Crawford, William Kircher, Stephen
Manley, and Livvy Stubenrauch were all found through Actors Access after
auditioning thousands of actors. Marilyn Ghiglioti had been in a couple of
Neil’s films before and I just liked her so much that I wanted to work
with her. Tim McGrath was the only surprise in the cast as we were really
looking for someone ethnic. My manager suggested that we read him, and he
out-performed every other actor. Ashley Park [Ashley
Park interview - click here] I had known for over ten
years, and I just saw her as the perfect Rhianna. The director wanted to
make sure we looked at other actors - which we did - but we always came
back to Ashley. Each actor we worked with did an amazing job… but the
hardest role to fill was that of the voice of Hoagland. Almost 3,000
people auditioned for that voice role before we heard Tony Gibbons - who
brought the adorable little robot (who was already so real to me) to life
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
photography went without a hitch - except for a couple of crew problems.
Additional photography ended up being 80% of the finished project, so the
atmosphere was usually less crew - more intimate - and fewer actors at a
time. We worked long hard days in the making of this film, but nobody gave
up or visibly tired. Everyone really gave their all, and we will forever
projects you'd like to share?
The Time War will be the next
project to be released, and it’s epic! Nothing like Rogue
Warrior: Robot Fighter, The Time War is very very dark and twisted sci-fi. Time travel,
war battles, and lots of blood… I can’t even compare it to anything
I’ve ever seen. It’s genre would be sci-fi/horror/deep drama/action.
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Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
you’re wondering, a time travel film can be more difficult to film than
any other… When your character travels through time - and there are
different versions of her (all doing her own stunts) - you oftentimes wish
you had a twin! I feel like, in the last few years we’ve been working on
The Time War, that I’ve filmed a dozen movies… it’s really quite
Thank you! :)