You are currently in Italy shooting Zombie Massacre. In a few
words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character?
Eden Shizuka, an Irish girl raised by a Japanese monk, trained in
ninjitsu and other forms of martial arts is part of an elite SWAT team
organized by the US government to contain a biological
My character, being raised with Eastern philosophies
is quiet, intense, and deadly. She's also fairly anti-social. It was a
fun character to play.
all honesty: How much fun is it to kill zombies with swords?
10. It was fun to the amount of 10.
few words about your directors Marco Ristori and Luca Boni [Marco
Ristori and Luca Boni interview - click here], and what is your
The great thing about Marco and Luca is they have a specific vision, and
stop and nothing to achieve
it. Both of them are extremely hard workers. They not only directed the
film, but produced it as well. And from time to time, Luca would scale
impossibly tall structures and get birds-eye view shots. He's
incredible. Luca is also fantastic martial artist, so on the less
involved stunt days he and I would work together to choreograph some
nice sword fights, or light martial arts sequences. Luca is great with
angles of course and he was very passionate about the stunt sequences (a
man after my own heart!) - he was great at determining HOW the sequence
should end (usually with my sword pointed towards the sky all heroic and
epic). Then he and I would work out the choreography to arrive there.
One of the main things that impressed me was Luca's and especially
Marco's command of the English language. They could direct, joke and
communicate in English perfectly. I, on the other hand, couldn't order
an iced coffee without sugar
to go, without my assistant. Directing is such a complex job. I couldn't
imagine the skill it takes to do it in a foreign
During the shoot, you have
experienced a few (real life) earthquakes, right? Would you care to talk
Well, having spent the last few years in
Hollywood, earthquakes are no big deal to me. However, in Italy, it's a
little scarier. The buildings are older, more fragile. And they seemed to come
again and again. Most of the earthquakes happened in Ferrara, which is
where I shot my last Italian film. I was constantly checking in on my
friends via Facebook to make sure they were ok. There were fatalities, but
no one I knew. It's very sad, and terrifying for the people living there.
What can you tell us about the on-set
atmosphere - and any on-set anecdotes you'd like to share?
I have to say, this was one of the friendliest, most laid back sets I've
ever been on. And THOROUGH! Marco and Luca know their game. I had
assistants (whom I now call friends), I had my hair colored and styled
when I arrived in Italy. I had a trailer. I had people following me
around with umbrellas to make sure I didn't tan (or get too hot in the exquisite
Tuscan sun). Marco and Luca thought of everything, and left nothing to
chance. It was incredibly comforting.
I think my favorite on-set anecdote goes something like this...
To the Italian ear, there is no difference between the "ah"
sound and the "ha" sound. They frequently mix up words like
"hungry" and "angry". To them they sound exactly the
same - so one day during a sword fight sequence, Luca comes to me and says what
sounded like "Ok Tara, for this scene I want you to put your aya in
I tried. I tried SO hard. I never wanted anyone to feel like their
English was less than perfect. But for the life of me I had NO clue what
that could have meant. I'm usually pretty good at interpreting. I was
Luca tried again. But it sounded exactly the same. What does Aya in the
aya mean? What could it mean? I couldn't think of anything I had on me
that sounded like "aya". He repeated. I repeated it back to
him. Still, I remained clueless. I felt so stupid. How hard it could be
to figure out? I only have so many items upon my person and so many
places I could put them. I should be able to figure this out on pure
logic. But I could not.
Then Marco comes over and tells me to put my hair in the air.
That was a running joke for the rest of the shoot. I've asked Eddie the
sound guy (so called because of his Edward Scissorhands-haircut - not
because his name is actually Eddy) to record Luca asking me to put my
"Aya in the aya" so it can be his ring tone.
Not too long ago
have shot another movie in Italy, cult director Ivan
Zuccon's Wrath of the Crows. You just have to talk about that movie for a
That's going to be a great movie! Ivan is very well known for delivering
quality, unique films of top cinematic value. I've been privileged to
see the raw footage - and it looks better than some finished films I've
seen. Of course there's a stellar cast and an amazing crew. Ivan - I
can't say enough about HOW hard that man works. He writes, produces,
directs, DP's (director of photography) - there's seemingly no end to
his talents. And again, he's not a native English speaker - but that
hasn't stopped him from making film after film in English. Frequently
his films are offered theatrical releases due to his unexpected creative
As for the plot - 5 prisoners find themselves locked away, when all of a
sudden, a beautiful young lady dressed in crows feathers joins them.
While they try to determine what she is, strange things happen to them,
and around them. They've each committed heinous crimes. My character
murdered all three of her children. The torture they endure fits their
crimes. Well, maybe sometimes it plunges overboard. If you like Italian
horror, you'll LOVE this one.
How does making a movie in Italy compare to
shooting one in North America?
In general - the sets are MUCH friendler, the pace is more laid back. The
days are a little longer, but the movies get DONE. They shoot these
things in one gulp.
Now that's not to say that American film sets aren't friendly - they
are. But there's something about shooting overseas, in a foreign land,
that turns us actors into really big 2 year olds. We can't order food,
get directions, drive - or do many of the things we take for granted
back home. Someone HAS to take care of us. And that forms a very special
bond that just doesn't happen back home.
Although, having said that, Josh Eisenstadt (American director) runs a
pretty chill set. I've seen that guy deal with some drama that would
make a lesser man cry with grace and ease. Much love to Josh Eisenstadt,
and his alter-ego Aaron Pope.
How did you get hooked up
with Zombie Massacre in the first place?
Legend of the Red Reaper
and Uwe Boll.
Uwe (ooovah) saw the first cut of
Legend of the Red Reaper
(as a distributor) and
while he wasn't interested at first in distributing the movie, he did
seem impressed with my acting and sword work. Possibly in that order. I
guess he did a little research on me, and found out I LOVE to do
action/horror movies and sent my info over to Marco and Luca just before
I was scheduled to shoot Wrath of the Crows.
Marco and Luca came to set
on my day off, we had lunch, and it was love at first sight for all of
us. I was the first actor attached to the movie. The really funny thing
was, my character was originally supposed to be a Japanese man.
Fortunately, Marco and Luca have this super-human capacity to re-imagine
their own story (that's EXTREMELY rare among directors, and rarer among
writer/directors - I once had a director tell me I couldn't play a
certain role unless I was a brunette - and here go Marco and Luca
completely UN-phased by gender OR my Caucasian-ness). And thus it began.
The Profane Exhibit
Massacre's producer Uwe Boll, you have only recently shot Basement
as part of the anthology movie The Profane Exhibit. So what can you
tell us about that movie - and about Uwe Boll and working with him of course?
The Basement is a brutally intense piece about a man (played by
Clint Howard) who kidnaps his own daughter, keeps her in the basement,
and uses her as a sex slave for years upon years. I play the daughter
and Caroline Williams plays the cognizant wife.
The writing and directing of it is completely contrary to what you would
imagine a piece like this to be. There's no screaming, crying, begging
or beating. Here we are 8 years into the kidnapping - all that has been
played out. The daughter has resigned to her fate. She's been beaten and
almost broken. She goes "willingly" to bed. She even smiles
when daddy compliments her. She's desperate for love, interaction,
distraction from the constant solitude.
Clint and Uwe did such a fantastic job, there wasn't anything for me to
do but keep up. I got a lot of praise from the producers and crew after
the shoot, but I don't feel like I can take any credit. Uwe and Clint
created the world, I just took the pill.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
other past, present or future projects of yours you want to talk about?
Well, after a new editor, and shiny new recut Uwe said YES! He will
Legend of the Red Reaper. A new new editor was hand picked, and said editor
is rocking a new cut as we speak. I'm told it's a super creative new
cut, and if it's better than the last cut, which was pretty darn good,
it will knock your socks off!
Also, my new super top secret project Terminal Descent/Scarlet
Samurai: Incarnation is in post
production. I play a rough and tumble urban explorer, obsessed with the
Buffalo Central Terminal. I lure 3 girls and a photographer into the
Terminal to help me uncover the secret - and everything goes horribly,
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
all for now folks!!!
for the interview!
Thanks for chatting with me!