Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Action Actress Monique Ganderton Interview (C) 2016, A Dan's Movie Report Exclusive!

All Photos Unless otherwise noted http://www.kristinecofskyphotography.com  (C) 2016

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Four years ago I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Actress/Stuntwoman Monique Ganderton. http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2012/01/monique-ganderton-interview-c-2012-dans.html Her star has risen to super hero status. In 2016 the indie film she starred in, 'The Hunted' sees a release, and she is involved in huge projects including X-Men: Apocalypse', 'Captain America: Civil War', and 'Suicide Squad'. Monique chats about life in the business, being a world class stunt action hero, and gives my audience her creative mind to match. It is time to go one on one with Monique, get your pencils ready, cause it is time to learn MO! 3-2-1- Go!

Chat about how you got involved with The Hunted Feature Film. Casting etc...
'The Hunted' was definitely a passion project for Bob. To be honest ... It was so long ago I don't even remember how Bob asked me! I know he had seen Sam and I's Short film 'Seven Layer Dip' and I think he just reached out and I was stoked to be the lead on an indie film! It was a great experience! For more info: https://www.facebook.com/thehuntedtv/?fref=ts

Although you have acting credits discuss some of the transitions and challenges for you to become the leading lady in 'The Hunted'?
I didn't see 'The Hunted' as a challenge in a negative way at all. I love working on a small family type project. I was able to play and practice and try anything I wanted in a really comfortable safe environment. It was great! Everyone that worked on it had a voice that was heard and then Bob ultimately decided the direction it would go. I loved the finished product. I think Bob did a great job, and I laughed out loud so many times watching it! 

I am assuming you have a bit of a fun sarcastic side, and enjoy the humor of this style of movie.

Absolutely! I thought every single actor totally kicked ass in this. The humor is right up my alley. 'The Hunted' really let us open up and try anything. It reminds me of how restrictive working on a studio project can be. A lot of times it doesn't feel like an open collaboration and that is just the nature of corporate film making. It goes through a lot of approval channels before it gets to the actor so a lot of times you are basically a puppet. Not always of course but it is common.

Robert Chapin is a legend in 80s and 90s B movies, and 'The Hunted' had that cool factor, did you challenge your inner B movie self?

I love the tone of the movie. I felt everyone else was living the B movie dream and my character was watching them from the present. I think that is what her part was to ironically be the voice of reason and a Vampire!

Does working with great friend Tara and other fantastic action ladies like Lauren and Michelle Lee, makes the days go by much easier?

I love all these ladies so much! I am a huge supporter of women in film and these women all bring their unique bad ass selves to the table. It was so much fun.

What are your thoughts on the final film?

I loved the movie! I laughed so hard and really enjoyed the effects and the tone. It was made for the price of a beer so the love and hard work  that went into it really showed.  I wish we had had 5 million to play with. We could have really really nailed it with that (amount), but that will be the next one right?

Chat about working on Jesse Johnson's 'The Package' and playing a bad girl surprisingly named Monique. I know you love indie action, how was it working with Stone Cold Steve Austin onset, heard he was a pretty no nonsense guy.

Steve was great!!! He's "No Nonsense" but has a grey wry and dry sense of humor! I really enjoyed my experience with him. I got to tie him to a chair and punch him a bunch so that was fun!  

Above Pic: Monique and Stone Cold in 'The Package' (C) 2012 Anchor Bay

Your work in 'The Package' was memorable! I think you make a great bad girl in film, do you like playing the mischievous bad girl or protagonist, or is it more of a case by case basis

I feel like my HIT (Actors use this term to describe the casting 'Stereotype' we exude) is a strong and 'bad girl' type. I am very physical, so I tend to book roles that need that domineering physical presence. However, I personally feel very connected to comedy and I am also a very emotional person so I love exploring that as well. I will cry and I will yell and I will explore the vulnerable emotions that maybe casting sometimes wouldn't expect a tough stunt woman to have. But, I am a human being with emotions. a lot of them. I love to go there, to express myself, and to connect with the character in whatever way is needed to tell the story. 

A dynamic individual. Monique, It has been a 4 year gap since out last interview, where we chatted about 'X-men: The Last Stand', and alas, now you are Death in the new 'X-men Apocalypse', I know it is a guarded secret, but can you shed some light on your character and how long you were on set for the project?

I play Death. That is all I can say! But I can tell you, I absolutely loved watching Bryan Singer do his thing. I know he has a reputation for being nuts and this and that. Sure. But watching the passion he brings to set and to the characters is unreal. He literally will act out the scene and make it come alive. It was fun for me to watch his process! I also got to work with my buddies Rochelle Okoye, Fraser Aitcheson and Warren Sheer. We had major giggle fits on that set. Praise Berg!(Ed Note: Make sure you watch for Monique her scene is in the beginning of Apocalypse!)

If you could be any comic book hero who would it be?

Captain Marvel!!!! I know she's usually Blond, but she's tall and bad ass!

Monique is tall and very bad ass! I saw the demo of you on a horse fighting Xena style are you up for the Xena reboot?

 I wish!!! I think they are going really young, maybe I could be her cool, young mom. HA!

Very cool! DC or Marvel, have to ask? Or does it matter as long as the story is good? What are your favorites to watch? Do you like the dark shows like Netflix 'Daredevil'?

To be honest, I really haven't had time for the action TV shows. I watched the first EP of 'Daredevil' and it was great! I want to watch more for sure. I am definitely partial to Marvel films. I love the fun nature, and the action is great! I love a good dark story too though. I am looking forward to seeing 'Suicide Squad'!

Red Carpet from 'Civil War' Premiere (C) Contactmusic.com

'Captain America: Civil War' and 'Suicide Squad', a busy year for you in action, can you describe any of the stunts or situations you had to do on those projects? Perhaps share a couple of funny or interesting stories from the set.

'Captain America' was obviously AMAZING because I got to work with Sam. Its hard to explain my role on that show. He would have too explain it. I did help out with the organizing of his brain during the action designing. I was on set as his right hand for a lot of it and helped organize folks for the crazy pre vis schedule. Sam was spread very thin on that show so I helped where I could. 

'Suicide Squad' is hilarious because I doubled Cara Delvigne for a small portion during the initial shoot and then Tara Macken doubled her for the re-shoots with Sam while I've been in Canada working! So funny! It will probably be the first and last time we double the same person! I love it! And she totally KILLED it. Cant wait to see the movie!

Wow you and Tara doubling the same actress, that is cool, ha! Shifting gears, I am really excited about 'Coldest City' looks cool, I see you are doubling Charlize Theron, and are credited as the Assistant Stunt coordinator. I know this will be full of action, can you chat about working on the project?  Also do you like to work in Europe as much as the USA or does it matter as long as the material is great.

Yes 'Coldest City' will be a whole other interview closer to its release date! It was an amazing experience. I loved Budapest. What an amazing city!!! And Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world. I love it so much.

I am sure we will get into that closer to the release date. Chat about Charlize Theron, she seems intense and driven, a real force in action. Did 'Mad Max' inspire you to up your own game more? How is she to work with, quiet, reserved, or fun?

Haha! We challenged Charlize beyond anything she's done before in this movie. 'Mad Max' wasn't even on the radar for us. It was basically, Make Charlize the most bad ass ACTOR - male or female. And She brought it. She's up there with Hugh and Keanu... probably better actually, because she puts her Oscar on the action. BOOM!!

Charlize is one of my all time favorite actresses, is there any actress you have not doubled but would like to, or a project you would love to work on?

Honestly I don't have a lot of actors in my mind that I haven't doubled. Charlize was always one and Sigourney Weaver. I would love to double her again, or work with her again in something!

Not mentioning the project of course, have you had any experiences you would not put yourself though again, bad situations. Perhaps share a bit about it leaving specifics out, unless you want to.

I used to feel like I had to (say) yes to jobs or I would never work again. Now I say no to people I don't trust. I have had a coordinator say: "come for martinis and Ill think about hiring you". I've had whiplash because a rigger didn't listen to my concerns. Basically told me to shut up, and do the gag. I have watched horses flip over with actors on them, I have been asked to do ratchets all day with no adjustments, I have seen coordinators set actors up for failure so the stunt person looks better, The list goes on and on. I don't work with these people. There are amazing, respectful, safe coordinators out there and if I can say anything to new folks: Trust your gut. If your not comfortable, chances are something is wrong, or will go wrong. You should fully understand the stunt, and be able to openly voice concerns to the coordinator.

Excellent advice Mo, let us shift the topic again. How about dream projects for Mo, You and Sam directing a feature film is in the cards in the near future? You guys have the talent and skills for it, and plenty of animals and friends to help, ever think about it?

Everyday! I think about it literally everyday! Sam and I have been so busy working that its a matter of us saying no, and doing our own project. Its a hard thing to do, but at some point you have to pause and take a risk to get to where you want to go!

I know the area of film in Georgia is pretty controversial now, what needs to be done to keep the business in Georgia?

I think for now the pressure from studios to veto the Religious freedom bill has done some good for the state. But the bigger issue is that there are no laws currently protecting LGBT from discrimination. Or anyone who is a non Believer (Of a Christian God) for that matter. Did you that is 7 us states you if you deny a Christian 'God' then you may not enter into public office? There is work to be done against all kinds of discrimination so baby steps! And Nathan Deal veto'ing that bill was a good step in the right direction. In my opinion.

I appreciate your honest opinion about non movie related subjects. Another sore subject for me also is the lack of Academy Awards for stunt people. I think two need to be given, one for best stunt, and one for best coordinator, as you have sound and sound editing etc, what do you think has to be done to change the mind of the Academy?

I think it is definitely feasible to have a Best Stunt Coordinator Oscar. It is a long time coming, especially with Mad Max being nominated so many times, as well as all the massive action movies getting Oscars for visual effects and sound. Its time. The film content these days is full of stunts and deserves recognition.

Any statements you would like to make to action fans, how do you feel the state of action film is currently as opposed to say 10 yrs ago, more work, but more competition? Longer shoots etc...?

I feel like the massive surge of gaming and social media has limited the attention span of viewers and it is reflected in film. In the action especially. Its a hunch, but I'm guessing there is a lot of thought that goes into how the younger target audience perceives action. Quick ferocious editing and a super fast pacing. I watched 'Lego' movie and 'Zootopia' and the amount of information being thrown into little minds these days is staggering. It happened to our parents and grandparents... now its us. Ill be talking about the good 'ole' stunts to my kids I'm sure, as they are watching interactive hologram movies HA!

Perhaps compare this 'X-men Apocalypse' film to 'X-men The Last Stand'. Has the technology helped more?

The past 'X-men' movies relied on the Stunt creativity to create the illusions of these super hero skills. Lots of clever wire work blending with the CGI of the time. Now you can more readily fall back on CGI to fulfill your vision. It has its pros and cons for sure. We are experiencing worlds we never could have before but ... we are also losing that tangible human creativity. Those Mcguyver moments. Those Jim Hansen moments. There is something quite beautiful about a movie that had human hands  building the world.

In 10 years Mo is directing, stunts, acting, or growing organic gardens, riding her horse, and gathering eggs, or a combination of everything?

Could be any and all of the above! I live in the moment, driven by the moment so anything can happen. I would love to direct Act and I still love stunts. My body not so much though. As for different futures.. If I book a series acting, get pregnant or get injured, my future changes. No matter what path I go down it will be the one I am supposed to be on and no matter, what path I will always have a garden and my horse around! I am as curious about the future as you are!

Final words of advice to people who want to do equine stunt work how often do you ride and practice etc.. you have a unique skill, chat about the relationship and trust with your horse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO1Yi5lVOFo Short action demo with Monique and horse!

Horse stunts is an ethics question as much as it is a skills question. I am so close to my horses. I feel them, their curiosities and tendencies. And to be honest. They want to be roaming, socializing, exploring and experiencing on their own terms. I want to be the kind of person that is a positive experience for them. I love to hop on bareback with a roper halter and go on adventures. Ones that they enjoy. I have had mixed experiences with horses on set. Its a rough job for humans and more so on the animals. Of course there are great horse wranglers out there that take exceptional care of the animals and its these people I would work with.

Monique on the web: Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MoniqueGanderton/?fref=ts
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MoGanderton
Official site, including short films @ http://www.moniqueganderton.com/index.html

Thanks so much Monique, Check out 'The Hunted' Support indie films!


The film is available for purchase now on Vimeo @ https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thehunted
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