Saturday, December 3, 2016


Tracey Birdsall is a beautiful, talented and award-winning American film and television actress recognized worldwide for her diverse and challenging roles.  Tracey recently earned the esteemed recognition of the 2016 Female Action Performer of the Year Award at the highly regarded Action on Film Festival for her role of Sienna in the recently premiered Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter
Merc With a Movie Blog recently caught up with Tracey Birdsall to get her thoughts on working on Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter and playing the award-winning role of Sienna.

Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter, written and directed by Neil Johnson, is a highly anticipated science fiction film set in the distant future depicting the overthrow of humanity by artificial intelligence on Earth and other worlds. There is one major hitch in their plans for the completion of this overthrow; the determination of one strong-willed and resourceful rebel named Sienna (Birdsall), who goes up against the droid empire to take back her world and her freedom.

MARLA REED: What was it about the script for Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter that made you feel confident enough in it to not only take on the lead role of Sienna, but to become a producer for the movie as well?
TRACEY BIRDSALL: It was more like the Director and I had worked together before and he was trying to find a project I would like to work together on. He realized how hard I worked, but he also realized to what extremes (any) I was willing to go in building a character and bringing her to life. He sent me many scripts, one of which morphed into ROGUE WARRIOR: ROBOT FIGHTER. It had so many elements about it - sci-fi, action, character-driven, huge arcs - that I wanted to live. He kept re-writing it until it was a project we both wanted to collaborate on and bring to life. It utilized most of the tools I had, so I was eager to work on it together - and devote the massive amount of time required to create.

MR:  You are no stranger to acting in sci-fi related movies. What is it about this genre that appeals to you as an actress?
TB: Sci-Fi is really a genre within itself - one of my favorite genres I might add - but it’s the addition of the dramatic arcs, comedic moments, and depth of character that really appeal to me. I love also the aspect of sci-fi that requires you to use immense imagination; all aspects of the brain simultaneously. That’s not to say that all sci-fi is like this, but the projects I have chosen to do within the genre are above and beyond, and including, of all the various genres. I love a great challenge, and the most recent project, ROGUE WARRIOR: ROBOT FIGHTER, was in all aspects, a fantastic challenge.

MR: Your intense and strong portrayal of you character of Sienna in ROGUE WARRIOR: ROBOT FIGHTER has been favorably compared to that of Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor in terms of a strong female action hero. Do you feel that this is a good comparison and what, if anything, did you draw inspiration from to help bring your character to life?
TB: I’ve actually met Linda at our local gym, so thank you very much for the compliment! I believe it’s a good comparison, but I believe that Sienna in the film (my character) will become something to be compared “to”. It was really a unique role with unique challenges that we haven’t seen together in sci-fi before. I delivered her as an individual - whilst not comparing her to other female heroines…albeit inspired by other heroines, such as Linda.

MR: You have worked with writer/director Neil Johnson on other projects. Did he allow you any creative freedom or input into the character of Sienna or allow you to suggest changes if you felt a scene wasn't working out?
TB: Neil and I have a complete and trusting relationship. I don’t try and direct, and he doesn’t try and act. That said, we appreciate the decades of training and work that has gone into our professions and reputations. As a director, he steers me precisely; however, he oftentimes just “lets me go” and he always is open to my unique perspective and delivery. We have a mutual admiration for each other as professionals. We are both very lucky to be working together, and we are both ridiculously driven in our methods of story-telling.

MR: What were some of the challenges you faced in working on ROGUE WARRIOR: ROBOT FIGHTER that you might not have encountered in other films? How did you meet these challenges?
TB: In ROGUE WARRIOR: ROBOT FIGHTER, nothing short of epic was acceptable - which I loved! The challenges of extreme physicality, mental acuity; working opposite robots that did not yet exist but had extreme dialogue (physical robots that came to life in post-production). Harsh elements (sand storms, heat waves, etc.), everything was unique because almost everything was on location and was “real.” On top of that, just the challenge of getting enough calories consumed to be able to handle the physical endurance was extreme. 
How did I handle it?! I said, “okay”, “yes Neil”, and “give me four more breaths please before you call action”. I also said, “I need a bit more water”, “give me 10 seconds to get into that emotional space” and “thank you”. I said “thank you” a lot, because I had been given this huge opportunity to play this role, and I did not have one complaint. If I had an injury or a bruise, I iced it, rubbed arnica on at night, photographed it for the memory book and showed up for additional punishment the next day. You see, we cannot shy from opportunity. We must always rise to the occasion. That’s the true definition of an actor. We bring our injuries to work with us and that becomes part of our reality.

MR: What was the most fun and/or rewarding aspect of being involved in making ROGUE WARRIOR: ROBOT FIGHTER.
TB: The entire production was a dream; however, as an actress - the most rewarding part was living this life that was more complicated and demanding than any life I’ve seen. It really humbles you as an actor to try to relate to roles of being homeless or destitute, etc., but when you see what this character goes through - when you live what this character goes through - it makes pure existence as a human being seem so “doable” - so “minuscule.” We gain a lot of perspective from the roles we live. 
The most fun? This entire movie was an adventure! This entire movie was a challenge in every aspect. If our growth as a human comes from challenges (which I believe it does) then this movie was a milestone for me… and working with Director Neil Johnson is a dream - the man’s a genius.

MR: What is next on the horizon for you as an actress and a producer.
TB: We are currently working on a film entitled THE TIME WAR which sees Adolph Hitler traveling through time and trying to re-write history. It is such a complicated film wherein I play (I believe it’s 12) versions of the same character in different timelines. We’ve been working on this film for a couple of years now and I’ve never been so confused in my entire life! I ended up having to print up separate versions of the script and treating them like completely different characters in different films… creating different entities (quirks, speech patterns, etc) for each of them…living each of their lives like it was the only role I was playing. It’s an absolutely brilliant production also starring Barry Corbin, the late Christopher Lee, and Stephen Manley as Hitler. We will release more info as it continues through post-production, but it’s a whole new realm of brilliance! 

We'd like to say thank you to the wonderful Tracey Birdsall for taking the time to speak with us.  Be sure to keep up with Tracey on her official Face Book Page.  Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter was recently picked up by Sony for distribution in 2017 with a TV spinoff also in the works.
Check out the trailer below:

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