Murder at Thick City
photo by Navis Oliver
Since we've last talked, you've been an amazingly busy actress - so
first and foremost, what keeps you going?
been really fortunate to be able to work with great filmmakers who inspire
me to constantly set new goals for myself.
I want to become the best actress that I can be and during the last
year I have been studying the Uta Hagen method with June Barfield and the
Strasberg method with Michael Sewell.
In January 2016, I will be studying acting at the prestigious South
Coast Repertory Theatre. My
husband and I have had season tickets to South Coast Repertory Theatre for
the last fifteen years, and it is one of the most highly regarded theatres
in the nation.
The play Murder
at Thick City - you just have to talk about that one!
the play Murder at Thick City inspired me to start taking acting
lessons again. I was with the
Friends & Artists Theatre Company early in my career and played Mei Li
in Flower Drum Song and Liat in South Pacific, but then I
returned to school to get my MBA. I
realized how important it is to always try to perfect your craft doing the
play. We had rehearsals three
times a week for months before the performance, and the actors were
wonderful. The lead character
was played by Patrick Faucette, who is a regular on Tyler Perryís The
Haves and Have Nots and the play was written by Gary Hardwick.
It was an awesome murder/comedy and my character of Layla was a
showgirl. We performed the
play at the LMAO Dinner Theatre, and I even got to do a pole dance during
you tell us about Murder at Thick City's showrunner Nina Womack,
and what was it like working with her?
Womack is a wonderful actress, director and producer.
Nina was raised in the industry and her ex-husband is Cecil Womack jr,
son to legendary Motown singer Mary Wells and nephew to R&B
Bobby Womack. Nina has a
Theatre Arts degree from Cal State Northridge and is incredibly
cast of Murder at Thick City included
as Damien, Angel
as Gina, Nina
as Angela, Shaun
as Taylor, Richie
as Cinique, NeiCe
Knight-Preuitt (www.imdb.com/name/nm3949716/) as
Gertie, and I played Layla. I
was blessed to work with such talented actors!
Tell us about your role in award-winning filmmaker
Gregory Hatanaka's Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance!
Being involved in Gregory Hatanakaís Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
has been an incredible experience! Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
is the sequel to the legendary cult classic Samurai Cop (1991), and features the dynamic duo of Detective Frank
Washington (Mark Frazier) and Joe Marshall (Mathew Karedas). This time
their mission is to solve a series of assassinations being committed by a
secret group of sexy female vigilante killers. Alongside the original
cast, the film also stars iconic actors such as Mel Novak; Bai Ling; Tommy
Wiseau; Laurene Landon; Thomas J. Churchill; Joe Estevez; and Kristine De
Bell and Joycelyne Lew, who were both leads in Jackie Chan's The Big
I was fortunate enough to be featured in a scene
with the legendary Tommy Wiseau, who is famous for the cult classic The
Room. Tommy has a dynamic
presence and he was so nice on the set.
He showed me how to hold my sword and how to use it.
Our scene was shot in 35mm film, which is very rare these days.
Quentin Tarantinoís next film and the next Bond film are going to
use film. Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
premiered in Hollywood at the Laemmle NoHo 7 in October 2015 and sold out
all screenings. The film is
now traveling to other cities, including New York, Austin, Denver,
Portland, Chicago, Winchester, Ashburn, with more cities to follow!
Itís gotten rave reviews and has been sold out everywhere. Iím
so proud to be a part of it!
photo by Gregory Hatanaka
Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
at the American Film Market on November 4, 2015 to a sold-out crowd.
There was the AFM standing room only screening, with a meet and
greet with the filmís stars afterwards. There was also an epic,
star-studded party at 31TEN Lounge in Santa Monica.
The film was a major success at AFM!
You've also just
finished filming Garden Party Massacre
- so what can you tell us
about that one and your character?
professionalism of the shoot was amazing!
I already knew that it would be an awesome film because of the
great script, which won Gregory Blair [Gregory
Blair interview - click here] a Best Screenplay award at the FANtastic
Horror Film Festival, and because Gregory is a perfectionist, but
everything exceeded my expectations. Roxy
Shih was the producer on the film, along with Gregory, and the eleven day
shoot was perfectly planned out. Even
the catering was spectacular. Jeff
Robinson was an amazing first assistant director and kept everything
moving. Golie Yazdy was the
highly professional second assistant director and Nate Cornett was an
excellent director of photography.
How did you approach
a character as ditzy as Melanie, and how much of yourself can you find in
Gregory says that he wrote the
character with me in mind. Iím
hoping that Iím not as crazy as Melanie, but she turned out to be my
best role yet. I rehearsed my
scenes with my Strasberg method acting teacher Michael Sewell and in an
acting class at Golden West College with Tom Amen so I was very prepared.
Armee Jacob did an incredible job on my hair and makeup for the
film. I wonít give anything
away, but I ended up looking like Ursula in The Little Mermaid Ė LOL!
Do talk about your director Gregory Blair [Gregory
Blair interview - click here] for a bit, and what was your
This is the third
time that I have worked with Gregory and he is an amazing actor, as well
as being an excellent screenwriter and director.
I canít say enough about his talent in all areas, but especially
acting. His characterization
of Linc was wonderful to play off of.
Gregory works very fast as a director and knows exactly what he
wants so everything gets done in two or three takes.
I love working with him as he knows the characters inside and out
and can demonstrate exactly how the blocking should go. The film is so
hilarious that everyone was cracking up on the set.
I canít wait to see the finished version and I hope it wins as
many awards as Gregoryís first film Deadly Revisions!
You'll also be in Ted V. Mikels' upcoming Ten Violent
Women: Part 2 - anything you can tell us about that one yet?
Violent Women: Part Two is the sequel to one of his most successful
films, Ten Violent Women,
and has empowering women as the motive of
the action. I play Joanna, one of the ten
violent women. Ted gave me the
greatest compliment on the set of this film.
He told me that I looked great, better than in Paranormal
Extremes: Text Messages from the Dead, and asked if I lost weight.
A woman always loves to hear that!
He actually asked me twice and I was happy that he remembered me
from the first film.
did you first get involved with the project, and were you aware of the
first Ten Violent Women?
I played a reporter named Tara Turner in Tedís
latest feature Paranormal Extremes: Text Messages from the Dead.
My good friend Luc Bernier [Luc
Bernier interview - click here] introduced me to Ted and to the lead of
Ten Violent Women: Part Two Donna Hamblin [Donna
Hamblin interview - click here]. Donna was the lead actress in
Tedís Astro Zombies M3 Cloned and also was the lead in Len
Kabasinskiís Angel of Reckoning [Len
Kabasinski interview - click here].
I got to be great friends with Donna and her wonderful family
during my week of filming in Las Vegas, NV.
She had just recently gotten the role and had tons of lines to
learn, but she is such a talented actress that she made it look easy.
Her character of Gloria in the drama is very intense and empowering
to women. Ted was so happy
with her performance and mentioned it numerous times during filming.
have seen the first Ten Violent Women
and also The Doll Squad,
which was the predecessor to Charlieís Angels.
I love both of those movies and they are now released on digitally
re-mastered Blu-ray, and are also now being shown on Turner Entertainment
Dawna with Ted V. Mikels
you can tell us about legendary filmmaker Ted V.
Ted is the nicest man in the world and also one of
the most talented and creative. I
have learned so much about filmmaking from his direction and just watching
him work, and I am honored to have appeared in two of his films.
He has created over 50 films, which cover every known genre in the
film world. He has over 60 years of experience in making movies. Paranormal Extremes: Text Messages from the Dead was about
paranormal activity and Ten Violent Women: Part Two is about female
founded TVM Studios, a Las Vegas-based film and video production studio,
in 1993, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Certificate
of Recognition by Nevada Lieutenant Governor Lorraine T. Hunt for his
contributions to the filmmaking industry.
Ted was the subject of a book, Film Alchemy: The Independent
Cinema of Ted V. Mikels by Christopher Wayne Curry, and was the
subject of a documentary film, The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels.
Released in 2010, the film was narrated by internationally known director
John Waters and directed by Kevin Sean Michaels.
What's Natural Born Filmmakers about, and what can
you tell us about your character in it?
Born Filmmakers is from Grunder-Oakley Productions and was directed by
Steve Oakley. The film is both a cautionary tale as well as a spoof, and
puts a searing magnifying glass on the workings of Hollywood as it reveals
what happens when you mix naive producers, shady investors and carefully
calculated contracts. My character of Donna is the ex-wife of
Gregory Blairís [Gregory
Blair interview - click here] character of filmmaker Frank Lee Payne, and is the
current wife of Domiziano Arcangeliís [Domiziano
Arcangeli interview - click here] character of mob boss Giovanni Ė
how lucky can you get?
How did that
project come into being in the first place, and how did you end up on the
production side of things as well?
Oakley worked for MTV for many years, and Domiziano Arcangeli and I are
doing a reality series with him called Body Beautiful.
Steve and Domi have done six films together, and this shoot was a
lot of fun because so many of my friends are in it.
I learned so much working with Steve on the production of this
film, and line producing is a lot harder than I ever imagined.
There are so many details to take care of on every day of the
shoot. Iím very happy that Natural Born Filmmakers was nominated for Best Comedy at the 2015
Action on Film International Film Festival, and congratulations to Steve!
Any other future projects you'd like to talk
Dawna with Domiziano Arcangeli
photo by John Cox
I am very excited to be playing a Marilyn
Monroe-like character in Aki Aleongís The Final Chance.
I am honored to be the vice president of publicity for Akiís film
company Mustard Seed Media Group. I
will also be playing the outlaw Crego in Damien Danteís Jezebeth 3:
The Guns of El Diablo [Damien
Dante interview - click here], which will be shot in Wyoming, where the series
Longmire is filmed. I
canít wait to learn how to ride horses and shoot guns and to be in a
true Western film. I will also be playing an evil madam with a Dutch
accent, but I canít talk about that one yet. I played Harmonia in Jared
Mastersí Ballet of Blood [Jared
Masters interview - click here] and Honora Turner in Chandra Gersonís
Salvation of One, which will be shown at the Marche du Cannes Film
like to announce that Joe Williamson of the Williamson Management Group is
now my manager, which gives me great hope for the future.
Joe is very selective and most of his clients are much more
accomplished than I am. He was
an associate producer on Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
and is the
vice president of publicity for Cinema
Joe and I both agree that I need to aim for bigger and better roles
and projects, and I canít wait to see what the future brings with such a
great manager in my corner! One
of my goals for the coming year is also to broaden my range of roles.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
you so much for this interview and for all of your support!
for the interview!