Monday, May 5, 2014

Actress Tara Cardinal Interview! Legend of the Red Reaper!! Slash THIS! HAHAHA! EXCLUSIVE! FTW!

BANG! My fellow readers! One of those aha moments on Dan's Movie Report! What we have here is an exclusive interview with actress Tara Cardinal, Tara is the coolest, bad-assed red haired violence purveyor I know! She does it all, from Starring in Lou Ferrigno's Liberator, to wrestling, to just about anything else. Oh yeah, and she has a book out called Sword Sisters!!! Tara is one of the coolest people in the business and she is on the cusp of greatness! Why, because soon, yes soon, LEGEND OF THE RED REAPER blasts into REDBOX Home video. etc... I reviewed the film awhile ago, in case you missed it, blast this in to your cranium~  It is Time to Take on THE RED REAPER! See Tara live at Florida Supercon @  Coming July 4th weekend!

Chat a bit about your early foray into film.

I started out doing theatre and got into film by accident. A friend was doing a short, asked me to play the lead. I LOVED it. I was hooked. Soon after that I landed an agent, booked the female lead in the Warner Brother's release "Delivery" and then moved to LA.

Stunts Vs Acting, Must be hard to make the transition, maybe contrast a few of the differences?
I started off as an actor - so my transition was backwards! I was a fat, uncordinated child. When I was 19 I was mis-diagonosed with cancer. When I thought I was going to die I realized my biggest regret was NOT being inside my body. I'd always been very cerebral. I was in the gifted classes at school, I was writing poetry at 12, my first novel at 13. But I didn't know how my body worked. So after my surgery (I did have a tumor, it was just benign) I began learning anything and everything anyone would teach me. Especially Western sword play (not fencing, I'm not a fan of fencing, I prefer a harder style). After that I started training in martial arts, then wrestling. I'm just now learning Eastern sword play, which is nothing much like Western style.

Ever been mad on set of a film as an actress or stunt person, If you can chat about it would be cool.

I get mad when a set runs slowly, or when amateur crew are disrespectful of the director. Or LOUD crews. Sometimes the crew has no idea what it takes to get and stay in a character. I once knocked a tape measure out of someone's hand because he was making fart noises (while he was measuring me for light) during a scene we were moments from filming in which I was supposed to be hysterically upset. He didn't make that mistake again.

How about the treatment with regards to women in action films in general, better now, or still pushed aside? Do you feel you have to actually be more aggressive on set to get noticed?

The treatment isn't so bad when you can into an action film!

I don't give a shit if they notice me on set or not. I do my job, and I sit quietly until I'm needed. I'm prepared and happy to work. The end. I don't bother with politics and ass kissing on set. I can't do it. If I like someone and want to hang out with them, great. Otherwise, I keep to myself and stay focused.

In general though, there are NOT many action films for women and people who've not seen Red Reaper are surprisingly eager to dismiss it. I think they're assuming it's just another run of the mill, hot chicks fighting - movie. But what most people don't really get is that female driven action films are RARELY, if ever written, directed and produced by WOMEN. This one is. In fact this may be the first super-hero film with a woman in all three key positions. Yes it's different. And it's not a studio film where I had 29 execs up my butt to pander to.

Chat about hiding physical pain as a stunt person, actress, what is your coping mechanism?

Pain doesn't bother me. Actually, I kinda like it - makes me feel more alive. I've been kicked in the face, kicked in the boob, kicked in the head (actually that one took two years to recover from) and stabbed with a sword. Obviously being stabbed was the worst - and also my FIRST injury. After that after I get banged around a little, I'm just "well - at least I wasn't stabbed this time."

I did all of Zombie Massacre on a fractured foot, and a screwed up lower back with two mismatched swords (one was plastic, one was metal - they were two entirely different weights) and a 2 pound gun strapped to ONE of my legs. They gave me a really wide belt which doubled as a back brace - if it wasn't for that I wouldn't have been able to move at all!

During Red Reaper I had a dislocated rib and a sprained finger - that was tough to do sword play with a sprained finger.
But the normal bumps and bruises (actually when I was pro-wrestling I stopped bruising - now I do though) don't bother me at all. I prefer a little physical contact when I'm doing a fight. BUT - I totally respect an actor who DOESN'T. It's the kind of thing you've either trained for, or not. And if you haven't, contact can be very dangerous!

Shifting gears, Legend of the Red Reaper, chat about the initial concept, how did it come together?

Work. Lots and lots of work.

Six Year Process, damn what the hell happened, I heard you mention something about lost footage people not following through etc.. (feel free to answer as long as you want)

Had everything, started filming.
My first "producers" swiped 40% of the production budget and left.
Most of crew weren't far behind them
Someone had to take the reigns, so I stepped in and salvaged the project. When it was all said and done I took over as writer, producer, and director. It was such an amazing concept, and my cast and crew were SO dedicated - I felt responsible for the story. I couldn't let everyone down just because it was hard. Anything worth doing is hard. Film making is hard. So what?

It took me two years to learn how to write a script, and then write one that was worthy of the story and the actors (and that also incorporated the footage already shot!).
I pulled together a new crew and some new cast and brought back some of the old cast too.
I'd raised the rest of the money by doing a medical study (like Robert Rodriguez) while I was writing.
Because of the budget and location limitations I had to spread the shooting over 6 months. My final scene took place in a waterfall.
Originally I was supposed to wrestle former WWE wrestler Al Snow in this waterfall (which we built from scratch). And I did - and that was awesome - but my post house lost a significant amount of footage - after holding on to my tapes for NINE months.

My first editor never started. My second editor had no idea how to cut the film with missing scenes. . I'd shown my second editor's cut to Uwe Boll and he'd passed. By now another year had gone by.  I taught myself to edit, bought an edit system and cut the film myself. Uwe was impressed with the work I'd done to that point, so he agreed to spend another 90 minutes watching my cut. He liked it, and we agreed that a real editor would need to be brought in. We hired a great editor who really sunk his teeth into the meat of the story - which is exactly what the film needed. It still took another nine months from the day Uwe signed on until we had a "final cut". I have a particular way I like my action cut, so Sean Wyn and I took another 5 days to recut the action. And then we were done!
Well, done except for color, sound, score and ADR (re-recording dialogue).

It took ANOTHER nine months for my teams to finish. I sent back the audio after some odd female vocalizations (they made my fighting sound like porn!) mysteriously ended up in my movie.
The credits took another two weeks and SIX drafts!
The opening title sequence took several days and 4 drafts as well.

Once the filming on Red Reaper started still problems? Did the real Red Reaper come out, and have to get tough with anyone on set, or in post?

Yup. From start to finish. People have come to learn: I'm not an easy boss. I don't accept shoddy work.
Uwe Boll, how did he get involved in Red Reaper?

Ho-Sung Pak, a martial artist and film maker had heard about Red Reaper and thought it would be a great match for Boll's company. Boll saw the trailer and agreed. As I mentioned above he took a little more convincing, but he liked my cut of the movie enough to take a chance on a brand new film maker. He put his full weight behind me, and rescued Red Reaper.

It's not stated frequently or loudly enough - Uwe is a hero of independent films. No other film maker is as much discussed or publicized as Uwe. He is a great friend to talented, up and coming film makers and deserves to be treated like the hero that he is.

I love Uwe, what do you think the issue is with him and his haters?

Oh his "haters" are his bread and butter. Most of his haters aren't really haters. They're either playing along with the joke OR they're wanna-be film makers who just don't know how to get started. What's ironic, is that they're kicking the one man who might actually give them a chance.

In "Hollywood" Uwe is incredibly well respected.

Working on your own film as opposed to acting for another director, more pressure, describe your mindset, wearing multiple hats on the Red Reaper.

On my own projects I am all business. My first priority is to wear every hat like it's the only hat I'm wearing. Sometimes I have to over-rule myself.
For example - writer Tara wrote a great scene, but producer-Tara had to cut it! Or director-Tara took it in a different direction for another reason. Actor-Tara maybe didn't give a great performance in that take - so it can't go in the movie - or another actor in the scene only gave me ONE usable take, but it wasn't actor-Tara's best light, or best performance. Producer-Tara has to do what's best for the MOVIE, not what's best for Actor-Tara.

Same Questions with Scarlet Samurai, Problems, frustrations, positives!

I was originally hired as an actor on Scarlet, but for their own reasons the producers weren't able to finish the project. I bought the rights to the footage and story and THEN learned that half of the footage was missing. The director mailed me the missing tapes via Fed Ex - but Fed Ex destroyed them. It took me 6 weeks of public humiliation to get Fed Ex to pay out the incredibly small insurance rate.

I had 10 more days to shoot, a new script to write, new characters to add in and I had to completely re-do the sound. Almost none of the original sound was usable. One actor became extremely hostile and started making impossible demands, holding up the production up even further. Then this actor's Daddy started emailing me pretending to be a big shot in the industry and trying to turn the project into a tv show, which is absurd, because we only had half the film and no
usable audio! I finally had to block them all on Facebook, so I could focus on finishing the film.

The reshoot was grueling. I still had the fractured foot and screwed up lower back I was  telling you about from Zombie Massacre. It was 36 degrees but my wardrobe was a tank top and thin pants. But I had to MOVE like it was still summer.

Most of the movie was shot in NY, but I had a one day shoot in Hollywood - and all but ONE of my crew members left after HALF A DAY. I was floored. And they all seemed surprised that I was disappointing by it.

The Eastern theology has been difficult for many Westerners to follow. The audio is STILL being worked on after a year. We're re-doing the score as well.

Post production on that movie has been very difficult. Because the reshoot budget was so low a lot of the crew were working as favors - which is invaluable of course. But every once in a while there's an ego-maniac who thinks after one movie he can start making incredible demands - things that couldn't be done even if I were inclined to do them! And I know they just don't know any better, but it drives me crazy to have to take valuable time away from actually doing work to placate the ego of mis-informed newbies.

What have you learned from your experiences from the two films, What not to repeat, what would you continue to do.

I have learned so much from saving two films - I know now why things are done a certain way. Why paying less costs more. I have learned not to work with people who are difficult from the beginning - they only get worse. Not to work with people who aren't passionate and driven like I am.

I have learned how professionals conduct themselves - and it's quietly.

I wouldn't try to save another film. I learned what I needed to from that experience. Also, and most importantly, I screen crew for compatibility with women. Some men just aren't ready for a female leader, and on set that can cause unnecessary delays.

Currently - on my latest venture "Agoraphobia" a film I've been hired to produce by the amazing Ms. Lou Simon - I'm searching for a DP that can shoot women - and every demo reel I've seen includes cars, sunsets and explosions. It's surprising how many cinematographers don't have any female faces on their reels.

Shifting to chatting about your film in a live setting, something you like? Looks fun!
Oh yes, I loved it. I loved getting the immediate feed back and questions from a live audience! That was awesome!

I see you have many more screenings of Red Reaper any news on DVD release date? Movie is in Red Box soon! Check link!

Everywhere else - summer 2014!

Watch for Tara in Miami Beach! At the Florida Supercon July 3-6!

Time away from film, know it is not much, but what does a Red Reaper do outside of beating guys up on screen?

I write - I just finished my first novel, co-authored by Alex Bledsoe and released by Rogue Blades Entertainment. I'm also working on the comic book! Sword Sisters!

Ok, who are some of the actors and directors you look up to?

Sylvester Stallone is a huge inspiration. He's the kind of man who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty, losing big and gambling on himself. I like that. Robert Rodriguez inspires me as well. I learned a lot from his book, and did the medical study to fund the second round of filming on Red Reaper.
George  Lucas as well. He lost his health and his wife making Star Wars. People laughed at him, didn't believe in him. But he did it anyway and built himself an empire. I lost my house making Red Reaper, and was hospitalized twice from stress. I "get" Lucas in a very real way. (REAL filmaking!) Get it pretenders, you like films make them! Material possesions can be re aquired!

of course Uwe Boll, who makes the fun video game action movies, but also is deeply interested and outspoken about world affairs and puppies. 
(I love Uwe also!, Ha, He laughs in the face of haters!_Waiting for Tara to fight her critics!) Wait, she is a wrestler!_

Charities you support, or causes?

Covenant House
The Tenderness Tour
Victoria Burrow's "Star Paws Dog Rescue"

Future projects, what is in the pipeline for the Red Reaper?

I will continue building the Empire.(More like the Death Star! haha)

Final thoughts, words of wisdom for young film makers?

Don't give up! If you make a commitment - to yourself, to a project - stick with it and we all win!

Contact and info! Don't be frightened!  Watch this space for more exclusives and stuff! Including Exclusive photos!

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