It’s so nice of you to agree to be interviewed for MTM Mytrinitymagazine.com, for our dedicated readers can you state your name and profession?
Natalie: My stage name is Natalie Burn. I’m an Actress, Producer, Choreographer and a Dancer.
Awaken is a non stop high intensity thriller what was the concept behind the plot?
Natalie: I wanted to bring awareness to an issue that isn’t commonly talked about today. I was inspired when I read a story about a boy being abducted in China, and his eyes were taken and sold. After reading this story in a newspaper, I was inspired to write my own script about human organ trafficking. I didn’t want to turn just any story into a movie, but one that took on a topic of this importance.
You seem to be extremely busy having written the screenplay acted and produced without a stunt double how was that experience, and was it the first time?
Natalie: The experience was one that had many ups and downs, but overall I learned so much from it. Instead of learning by observing, I jumped right in – a trial by fire type of situation. Thankfully I came out of it still wanting to do more. There is so much to think about when doing this, and it feels like there isn’t enough time to do it all! I had to separate myself creatively as an actress, from the production side of it, doing what was best for the project. As for the stunts, I knew what I was capable of beforehand, from years of ballet and dance. I wanted the sequences to be done a certain way, and the best way for me to get them done that way was to do them myself. It was tough but I came out of it with only minor injuries. This was definitely the most ‘hats’ I have worn on a project and I am glad to have done it. Now I can take all this with me to my future projects and continue to grow as a person as well as an artist.
I know you have been acting for some time but for our readers how does a Prima Ballerina who has attended The Bolshoi make the transition from professional ballet to Hollywood Actor?
Natalie: I always knew I wanted to be an actress since I was a young girl, but I was growing up being the daughter of a ballerina, and that became my first life and first passion. As an artist it’s an expression of your emotions and feelings, with dance you express everything through your body, and taking it to acting now you use another way to express yourself – with words. The hardest part for me is getting used to memorizing lines. As with anything, it takes practice. The brain needs to be trained just like the body does with movement, so it takes time to get control over emotions. But I’m determined to be successful. This is my second life now and I can’t see myself doing anything else at this stage in my life.
Your production company 7Heaven productions are churning out quite a few movies now, is it difficult to run a busy company as well as spending weeks away on location when shooting blockbuster movies?
Natalie: Well it certainly keeps me busy and I have many nights where I get very little sleep. It’s not easy to act and produce, there are projects that are ready to go and then all of a sudden the movie can’t be made for some unpredictable reason or strange issue, since there are so many people involved in one project there are that many more chances for problems to come up. Knowing this, I have to work on many projects at a time because you never know when something will fall through or how long it will take to move forward. Luckily technology has made It easier for us nowadays as people are more accessible and contactable even while I’m away on a location shooting.
Was it a rigorous shooting schedule how long did Awaken take?
Natalie: It was an eighteen day shoot plus three days of pick up shots, most of the film was shot in Los Angeles and only five of those days were shot in Belize. Time is always an issue in independent films, especially with all the problems that can come up with a shoot, actors, locations, scheduling conflicts, etc, it limits you with what you can do creatively. It would be amazing to have unlimited time to shoot a movie but unfortunately we don’t have that luxury, so the schedules are really tight and we have many long days of getting as many scenes as possible to be shot in a day to be finished in the time we have – a lot of planning goes into it. And of course a lot of complicated issues that always come up every day.
You have a very eclectic mixed bag of actors in the movie Darryl Hannah (Kill Bill Vol 1) plays Mao extremely well, did you have anything to do with casting?
Natalie: I actually cast the whole movie myself, it took many phone calls and negotiating. Darryl Hannah’s character Mao was originally supposed to be a male and then I decided it would be much more interesting to change things up and make it a female, since most of the time the head of a criminal organization is thought to be a male – it’s fun to play around with things like this to give something unexpected to the audience, it is still not easy to cast so many roles and get actors that fit and can pull off their part.
What other films have you produced or acted in are they genre specific?
Natalie: Most of the movies I’ve done in the past have been action, horror, or thrillers. I have produced one comedy, and found that they are harder to sell unless you have a more recognizable cast, as with horror and action films they are more commercial films and don’t always have to have such big names in them.
What’s new in the pipeline, having recently seen a screening of the movie Criminal with Gary Oldman, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, yourself are you set for more action thrillers?
Natalie: I love doing physical roles, however I would like to explore more dramatic roles, since I have been trained in theatre and drama at the Actors studio and the Lee Strasberg theatre. I look up to actors like Daniel Day Lewis, and Meryl Streep, they are amazing character actors, I would love to be like that one day. Right now I’m still building my name so I know I will be cast in more action/ thrillers, but once I have more freedom I would like to do more character roles.
In Mytrinitymagazine.com fashion can you coin a phrase or quote something which is incumbent of who you are or what you stand for?
Natalie: “Live for yourself and take the most from life, for in the end you will be left alone to look back at your own life achievements.”
MTM, Mytrinitymagazine.com recommends Awaken it’s fast paced and very enjoyable
By: Sunday Olorunshola