As you can see in the photo above, I wasn't lying was I?
Gary King's Death of the Dead is a hilarious film that turns the zombie and kung fu genres upside down and produces a bucket of laughs. So intrigued my Christina Rose's performance, I wanted to get to know the actress behind nerdy Wanda. So thus is born the first jaded viewer interview. Christina Rose was gracious enough to answer my goofy questions. Thanks Christina!
1.) Tell us a little about yourself. Be sure to include the adjectives like awesome, beautiful and zombie killer. :-)
An awesome fun fact about me is that I was born in Naples, Italy. I have a beautiful family of six including three sisters, my mom and dad, and my amazing dog Sammy :-) . I’m a New York based Actress who has worked professionally in Film, TV, Commercials, Broadway, and am also a professional Zombie Killer. :-)
2.) How did you get involved with Death of the Dead?
Gary King and I had been in contact before this film. He was hired onto the project and was able to recommend me to the producers of the film. I auditioned for the role of ‘Wanda’, and the rest is history!
3.) Your performance as I wrote in my review was brilliant. Have you acted in a comedy before? Is acting in a comedy (especially in a horror comedy) different from your previous work?
Thank you for the wonderful compliment. My first feature film that I fhot was called ‘Happy Birthday Harris Malden’, in which I played the supporting role of ‘Elsa’. This film was a comedy, but the style was very different from ‘Death of the Dead’. I’ve also performed in many stage plays/musicals that were comedies as well, such as playing ‘Adelaide’ in ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘Marty’ in ‘Grease’ on Broadway.
Acting in ‘Death of the Dead’ (a horror comedy) is both similar and different to my previous work. I find that the main ingredient for an actor in playing any role in any comedy is finding the TRUTH in the moments that the character is living. The actor should never ‘try’ to be funny or witty. If the actor is living in the moment and experiencing what the character is going through then humor will arise.
Physical comedy was prominent in some of the previous work that I mentioned and in ‘Death of the Dead’. As an actress I have to be very open and unlimited in the use of my body when it comes to a comedy. Some things work, and others don’t, but you have to be willing to experiment.
4.) I think Wanda might be the new Buffy we've been looking for. Her transformation from clueless nerd to kick ass zombie killer was fun to watch. How did you approach the role and what kind of characteristics did you give her that weren't in the script?
I knew that the character had to go through a huge transformation after reading the script. In the audition my main goal was to show the diversity between the two sides of ‘Wanda’ by making strong choices. I knew there needed to be a big physical transformation as well as the character’s personality.
During the audition process I made some specific choices for ‘Nerdy’ Wanda. I knew the character was unattractive and your ‘typical nerd’ so I wore large glasses, put my hair in a pony tail, and wore baggy clothes. But a character is so much more then just the physical appearance. I had to find out what ‘Nerdy Wanda’ was like beneath her skin (self conscious, socially awkward, weak-yet still having a strong belief in herself).
Once I found out who ‘Wanda’ was from deep within I was really able to enjoy and play with the role. One characteristic that stays throughout the film is Wanda’s big heart and belief that she could be something great!
In the beginning her lack of talent, looks, and all around ability prevent her from moving forward until she obtains the magic belt. So as ‘Sexy Wanda’ she is finally physically able to do everything she has ever dreamed of doing and finally unstoppable! I got to become a super hero. I’m thrilled that I was able to have the opportunity to explore this character and make her what you see onscreen today!
5.) What was it like working with Gary King and Bo Buckley?
Working with the entire creative team was amazing! I don’t think this film could have been what it was without the efforts of every single person involved.
Bo Buckley was a fantastic producer/writer for the film. He helped the production run very smoothly. His positive energy and great business sense and made him a joy to be around on set.
Gary King is a splendid director. This was my first time ever working with him. He allows the actor to make various choices per scene. I love that I was able to say the lines a variety of different ways so they had multiple choices to use in the editing room.
Gary is definitely one of the best director’s that I have ever worked with. He really lets the actor get involved with the development of their specific character. He’s a very talented filmmaker, and I see big things for him in the future.
6.) You handled yourself solidly in the action scenes. Did you get any weapons training? What was it like to film the onslaught of these kung fu zombie hordes?
One of my favorite things about this film were the fight scenes. We had such a blast on set, but it was very fast pace. I only had 2 days of training before we started shooting the movie. One day of scene work with the other main actors, and then one day of fight training. On the day of fight/weapon training I learned Bo Staff, Nanchuku, and various Martial Arts moves (kicks, punches, blocks, etc.). My previous experience included Stage Combat, Stunt work (bungee,harness), some Karate, and my dance training.
The person director Gary King and I chose to model my ‘BadAss’ Wanda after was Jean-Claude Van Damme because of his graceful/dance like fighting style. This was my first opportunity to portray a character like this. I really enjoy doing a lot of my own stunt work. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
7.) The movie has quite a few one liners, zingers and hilarious jokes. Do you have any favorites?
A few lines that the audiences seem to remember are:
‘Wanda the wimp’
‘Wanda the weirdo’
‘Wanda the weakling’
They’ve become a favorite of mine because I hear these repeated so often!
8.) Any possibility of a sequel if the movie takes off? What would you like to see in a possible sequel?
There are some exciting things happening right now with the film that could eventually lead to a sequel if the audiences dig it enough. We have a current ‘Death of the Dead’ Comic Book in the works, as well as possible action figures. The film has been getting great reviews from the press and the fans, so if it gets the right distribution there is a good chance it could hit a wide audience.
If there is a need or strong desire for a sequel in the future I think we can make it happen. I know the director and producers have already been tossing around ideas. We’ve discussed more of the adventures of ‘Sexy Wanda’ fighting various battles. Gary said it would be the same humor, but more action. So we’ll see!
9.) I see your collaborating again with Gary King again in How Do You Write a Joe Scherman Song which is a musical. How's this film differ from DotD? Also, do you have any future projects coming up?
‘How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song’ is a Feature Length Movie Musical. So the main difference right off the bat is that there will be singing and dancing in the new film that comes out in 2011. This film is also a drama. We like to say that it’s ‘Once’ meets ‘All that Jazz’. As you can tell ‘Death of the Dead’ is far from a drama. My character in the Movie Musical, Evey, is an aspiring Broadway performer who is struggling with love and life in NYC. My character is VERY different from ‘Wanda’. You will have to watch the film to see more!
I’m very excited for 2011. I have a few Feature Films that are in development right now. I cannot release information on these projects just yet. I would love for people to stay tuned to my Facebook Fan Page, Website, and Twitter to find out my future projects when I can release the information. You can also watch for me in the ‘Lucille Roberts Gym’ Television Commercial that will air all next year (2011). I also have been talking to various filmmakers about projects for 2012.
Thank you to everyone for your support and please continue to follow and support my career! :-)
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