Award-winning actress/producer Tracey Birdsall (Tick Tock, I Might Even Love You) has just finished production of her new film Robot Fighter, in which plays the lead role of a kickass rebel warrior who stands up against a robot empire to save humanity.
Directed by Neil Johnson, Robot Fighter is a film with many similarities to Star Wars as well. In fact, the film shares some of the iconic locations from Star Wars Episode VI : Return of the Jedi, especially the Salton Sea, Yuma, Arizona, and features a star studded cast including Stephen Manley from Star Trek III : The Search for Spock, Daz Crawford from Blade II, Livvy Stubenrauch (Frozen) and more.
I asked a few questions from Tracey to learn more about this awesome film. Here's what she had to say..
Review Dude: First of all, congratulations on the film. Robot Fighter looks like an awesome movie. And you looked pretty badass in the movie stills as well. Tell us how you got involved in Robot Fighter? And what attracted you to the film?
Tracey: Well, there’s everything to like about Robot Fighter! It’s an amazing script to start out with, an amazing cast to work with, and Director Neil Johnson at the helm… it’s a force to be reckoned with!
I worked with Neil on “At the Edge of Time” a few months prior and we were discussing our love for Science Fiction and my love for robotics. He had a script he wanted me to read that delved a bit into the subject, and he continued to tailor it until it was a project we were both excited to bring to life. I guess you could say I got involved at the creation stage, and I was attracted to it by my love for the specific genre (sci-fi and artificial intelligence.)
Review Dude: Can you tell us a little bit about your character in this film?
Tracey: Sienna is a woman, who has some inner struggles that she’s dealing with which make her character really interesting. Her character has some very challenging issues, which make not just the physical journey enticing, but also the psychological aspect of her journey. I love these strong female characters in character-driven science fiction. It’s really like living a dream since I’m a combination of a Science Fiction geek, a serious actress, and a fitness buff. I’ve truly never had more fun.
Review Dude: Let's talk action. I saw some big guns in the movie stills. What kind of cool stuff can we expect to see in this movie?
Tracey: Guns, explosions, crashes, fighting, more running then you can imagine, nukes, bombs, you name it! It’s action-packed to say the least! Additionally, the “other worlds” and the shots in space were amazing. Oh… and the speeder bike! The list goes on and on…
Review Dude: What was it like working with Daz Crawford and Stephen Manley?
Tracey: Daz and Stephen are both great both as human beings and as actors! Their performances were top-notch, and both of them were quite seamless to work with. These guys take their acting as seriously as I do, so we were all pretty much “living it together.”
Review Dude: Was it difficult to separate your roles as lead actor and producer?
Tracey: If you have to have one rule as a producer/actor, it’s put down the producer hat when it’s time to focus on your role. After all, it’s hard enough to put down who you are as a human being long enough to live the life of another. Therefore, I put it in the contract when (depending on the size of the role) my “duties” of a producer step aside and my duties of an actress are first and foremost. It’s the only way I can work; however, I’m sure it’s different for other actor/producer’s.
It’s my way and it works for me… It also depends on who else you are working with. With Neil, he allows me that courtesy and it makes it all work flawlessly. I have to give my acting 100% at the least, so I can’t focus on anything else when we go into actual production or it will mess with my methods.
Review Dude: When can we expect to see a trailer for Robot Fighter?
Tracey: The trailer will probably be available right before it’s release. By the end of 2015, there should be a lot of Robot Fighter in the air! The potential artwork will be available much sooner of course.
Review Dude: Will there be any sequels to Robot Fighter?
Tracey: We’ve already been discussing that possibility! Nothing would make us happier than to have a demand for it, and the “buzz” is definitely leaning in that direction!
Review Dude: I also heard about another film you're working on, At the Edge of Time. Tell us a little bit about that film and your role?
Tracey: AT THE EDGE OF TIME is a Science Fiction time travel movie set in multiple realities. The main character, Cyrano, has a Messiah Complex and upon seeing his world in decay, travels through time, rewriting history in vain. My character, Dijanne, is a General in an exhaustive twenty-year old war constantly coming up against Cyrano (played by Darren Jacobs) to try and put a stop to him. Needless to say, that’s not as easy as it seems…
Review Dude: Everyone knows you're multi-talented. You're a terrific actress, a writer, a producer and even a singer (yes, we know about your church choir days). It's remarkable. Have you ever thought about directing a movie?
Tracey: Thank you :) Directing is not a talent that I would like to pursue at this time! We have to know our strengths in life, and I’m not trained as a director. Producing came naturally to me and used my natural abilities. Directing is not in my arsenal of realms. That said, I would love to direct another actor in scenes and bring them to their utmost in ability. That would be a challenge I would love to meet, but not a career move!
Review Dude: Female protagonists are very rare in movies. The number of movies with strong female leads seems to be getting lower by the year. As a producer, what do you think about this issue?
Tracey: I have been fortunate enough the last couple of years to not see that trend in my life… if anything just the opposite. I prefer to see it as a story that needs to be told and when you cast the parts the characters are either male or female.
Nothing in life is “fair” and the gender equality issue has been out there a lot longer than I have! We, as humans (actors, producers, human beings) have to find our opportunities in life. Producing helps fill that gap as you can create opportunities… male or female.
Review Dude: Can you give us a sneak peek into your future plans? Any movies, scripts you're working on?
Tracey: We are in “talks” about which project to do next! It’s actually hard to focus on post-production when the part I love the most is being in production! With “Who’s Jenna Jameson?” and “Robot Fighter” both due out at the end of the year, it’s going to be hard to find a project to top those!
Review Dude: In conclusion, is there anything else you would like to add?
Tracey: I think it’s important to stay busy in this crazy industry that so many of us thrive on (and in), and I think what we do between our roles is just as important. To be a badass, like in Robot Fighter, you have to be in top shape and endurance level. You can’t just “be that” without putting out the work long before the role comes along.
That said, to work and to get those fabulous female protagonist roles, you have to focus on your craft, your skills, your presentation and your “being” so that when you get that call… you’re always ready. It’s a really hard job but the rewards are immeasurable.
Thanks a lot Tracey Birdsall for taking the time to answer my questions, and I'd also like to thank October Coast for arranging the interview.
Robot Fighter is currently in post-production and is expected to be released very soon. Stay tuned for more info about the film.