Who doesn’t have Netflix now and days? In some cases it has completely taken over a persons need for cable or satellite television. If you are looking for a Great Horror movie, smaller budget, with great acting, Last Shift is one that is sure to keep Horror fans guessing, as well make those hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
The Movie is about the daughter of dead police officer, who has followed in her fathers footsteps. On her first night on duty she is assigned to be the lone guard at the abandoned Station while the new one is being used to house the inmates. From there, evil, coming in the form of humans and demons alike, try to contact the woman as she learns what had happened on that day years ago.
I had the pleasure of talking to one of the actresses in the Movie Natalie Victoria about her role as a Prostitute who seems to have tough skin with an underlying need to have someone to listen to her even if for a short while. I also got an insight into her life and what it takes to become successful in a career where your looks place you into a box and there is always someone next in line to take the job.
Q: How Did you start acting/at what point did you know it was something you wanted to pursue as a career?
A: I have always been a performer since I as young. I used to write, produce, and sing/dance/act in holiday-themed plays each year I would put on for my parents since I was age 6. (I’d always find a way to bribe my sisters into being shepherds or Wisemen each year, which they both hated!). But I think the moment I knew I wanted to be an actress was watching the 1993 Oscars on TV. I remember watching Anna Paquin standing at the podium speechless, wide-eyed, gasping for breath. She was standing there without a word for what seemed like forever. I thought to myself, “ANYTHING that leaves you that happy and speechless – I WANT TO DO THAT!” And from there my love of acting just grew and grew.
Q: Your Bio on Imdb says you’re a baseball fan?
A: I am! I’m a WhiteSox South-Sider fan, Sexy huh? Haha! That often surprises most people but I love the WhiteSox! The very first baseball game I went to was a White Sox game and even though I was in the nosebleed section with a crew of misfits from bible camp – well, you know…I fell in love with baseball. Whitesox fans are fanatical and truly understand the intricacies of pitching strategy and “small-ball” baseball. So the people we were sitting next to quickly schooled me. I learned how hard it is to make it pro, and since then I have been to Spring Training in Phoenix several years and watched the Rookie, A, AA, and AAA teams play. It reminds me a lot of acting actually. There is a lot of discipline and hard work ethic that goes into making it PRO and an incredible struggle on your way to the top that you have to go through before you get there. Every step of the way someone is nipping at your ankles trying to take your spot. It’s incredibly competitive but also inspiring to watch. I love it. Well that –and a good hot dog!
Q: Have you met any Big names in Hollywood as far as actors and Directors go? You did work on a Lionsgate Production which is by no means small time also your movie Abstraction was a huge hit at a number of festivals and won several awards; did those have a different feeling then your previous work?
A: Definitely, I have met a lot of people and I can definitely say there are both bad eggs and good eggs in the group but the one common denominator in all of them is an unwavering passion and worth ethic that is unmatched. For me, every project I do is different and unique and so I love each of them in a different way, and rarely compare them – their successes (or rather success as defined by mass media) are irrelevant to me as an artist. I love them all, and I enjoyed the journey with them, as well as the people I got to make the projects with. Of course, it is always wonderful when a bigger distributor like Lionsgate or Magnolia Pictures decides to pick up a movie you have a role in – that definitely makes it easier to get bigger acting projects down the road because more people have seen your work, and that’s awesome. That said, anytime I get to go to film festivals, I am a happy camper. I am a HUGE movie fan, and film festivals are like my own personal drug. So promoting Abstraction was a real treat. That project was a lot of fun to make, great people on it, and we all had a great time promoting at the festivals. I love those guys so much, and their talents – that project was a great experience and I know those guys will go on to make many more successful projects too. Keep an eye out for them!
Q: You’re also a writer too? Is that screen writing? Anything you’re working on currently?
A: I am. I started writing really young and honestly abandoned it when I came to Hollywood because agents and managers at the time felt confused that I revealed I was both an actress and a writer. It was strange to them that I was a multi-hyphenate. They didn’t understand how to sell me that way, so they told me to only focus on acting, and they refused to read my writing or pitch my work. So you know being young and naive I agreed to downplay who I really was because honestly I just wanted to work. And of course they sent me out on auditions playing the dumb blonde or ditzy blonde roles only. It was so painful…but I kept telling myself I was lucky to be auditioning at all. There were so many out of work actors and who was I to complain? I stayed quiet and trudged through it. Overtime, it caught up to me. I realized I was cheating myself, and my art.
When you get to that point you eventually revolt and say “enough is enough! This is not who I am! I am more than this!” —and I did. So now I have no reps. Hahaha. No really, I don’t – and that’s okay too. I have reached out to directors and producers whose work I admire and luckily they have taken a chance reading me and some even cast me in their films. So everything worked out the way it was suppose too. And even though I have worked for 8 years steadily as a professional actress, I feel like I am just beginning. I have so much more room to grow and explore as an artist and I am excited about what the future holds! I haven’t met the right team or reps or any of that yet. And it is certainly crucial to have great reps in this town to really break through –people, you need good reps and they are out there for sure! As an actress though I feel it’s also important for you to be true to who you are and not deny that. Your work is always better when you are living your truth. That’s the balance I have yet to find, but I know I will find the right team in the right timing that get me and my work. I trust that completely. I am just working hard until then…doing my thing, trying to book parts, meet great directors and producers, hopefully meeting some good agents and managers, and keep writing!
And writing—yea…writing…I actually won a small children’s author award for the first book I wrote when I was younger – maybe 7 or 8 years old? It was about a girl who gardens and a unicorn that is sad he can’t fly. They become friends and off they go on an adventure — Not groundbreaking stuff by any means but yes, I loved reading and writing at a very young age. I was a wild, weirdo kid who loved movies like crazy and was socially awkward and not the best at making friends. So stories were always an escape for me, and an outlet growing up. I loved jumping into my wild imagination and creating. I have written a few screenplays, one set in WW2 about a female heroine, one about second chances and second acts in life set in the sports world, a sci-fi thriller, and I am working on a new project now. I have begun the development process this year on several so we will see what happens in 2016 shall we? 😉 And I’ve also written two childrens’ books that I hope to get published in 2016/2017, although I am behind right now working on the illustrations. Those stories are more along the lines of Tim Burton style fairytales.
Q: Are you currently working on anything that will be put into production?
A: As an actress – of course! Acting is my first love by far! But I can’t talk about them quite yet. I promise I will soon… I do have a crime drama in post-production right now called THE LOOKOUT, where I play the lead. It’s a beautiful story about love, loss, revenge, and redemption.
Q: How did you meet Anthony DiBlasi? Did he offer you the role personally or did you just kill the casting call?
A: I actually met Anthony BEFORE he started developing Last Shift. He was coming off another movie, and I was in full promotion mode for my latest film that was being distributed at that time. We met at a party and hit it off instantly and quickly checked out each other’s work. I loved his directing and style of films and he seemed to click with my style of acting so it was a good fit artistically. We went to coffee and he told me after reviewing my work, that he felt I had been under-utilized as an actress up to that point in my career. So he asked me if I was interested in doing something completely different – and of course, I was game! I love love love to challenge myself as an actress and artist. And anytime I get to be terrified of the role or challenged or extended the opportunity to explore something new, I jump in head-first. Normally, I audition like 5 times for a role in a film. I have been cast as the lead, the costar, the supporting, the extra with a line, the chick in the background – I don’t care. I just love acting on great projects! To me, no role is too small and every role you are given is a privilege and I give everything I have to every role a director entrusts me with. But boy oh boy– do I audition. Again and again and again and I keep working hard for like even the smallest roles…sending tapes again and again and pestering directors for a chance to read. I fight for everything and nothing has been easy for me out here in Los Angeles, despite what people may perceive. So when Anthony actually told me he wrote that role of Marigold specifically for me during the development of Last Shift and the part was mine, I was shocked and beyond humbled. I still think today that I am really lucky that all worked out —because I had never had that happen before (up to that point in my career). It was a leap of faith, and I’m glad I leaped! 😉
Q: Your Character in Last Shift focused a lot more on your skills as an actor, instead of Playing to the typical Blonde Hair girl thrown in to the movie for looks and a damsel of distress (don’t take that mean you’re gorgeous), It showed your ability to get into the mindset of that character and add a lot of depth to a person who wasn’t a focal point of the movie. Was there any different way you prepared for this role as opposed to others, and what did Diblasi do (if anything) to help you connect with this specific character?
A: Ha! You are saying this actually substance and depth under all this blonde, blue eyes, and boobs!?!? Nah…. Hahahaha. No really, no offense taken. Believe me, it’s easy to get type cast in a city where you are constantly judged for your appearance. I know that first hand. I really wanted to play more of a character role and explore something different as an actress. Playing the role of “Marigold” allowed me to do that. She works a dark corner of life and yet keeps her cool in spite the shit going on around her. I loved the kind demeanor she shows in conversation to Officer Jessica Loren while trying to mask what I perceived to be a deeper sadness underneath her. It was challenging to explore that kind of vulnerability. I really liked that about her.
As far as working with Anthony DiBlasi – He is completely an actor’s director. He understands our craft and how to communicate with us to get the best performances. He worked with me on “relaxing” into her while creating a sense of danger at the same time – and finding that balance was key to be sure. That was hard for me since I am used to playing comedy and the quirky girl-next-door with tons of energy and bright smiles. And now I am suppose to immerse myself in the complete opposite of that to convincingly play a streetwalker! But I loved the challenge. He let me play with her in different takes and then do something completely different for the last take, with different direction from him each time that was very specific and focused. He really knows how to pull the best performances out of actors. I would work with him again in a second!
Although 31, looking 25, and having been in the movie industry for over 8 years, it is apparent Natalie is just getting started with her list of roles. A director would be lucky to have such a fluid actress who can expand an portray a wide variety of emotions through camera . If you take a look at Natalie’s body of work, her growth from role to role is impressive. I wasn’t sure how straight forward I could be about the fact the “Blonde Hair Large Chested” girl in movies is usually cast as a shallow character not really connecting with the audience in any way except with that of their body but I was glad to see she already recognized that before i pushed the envelope to far. If you haven’t had the Chance to see Last Shift, it was Ranked on Netflix’s top 50 horror movies, and once you’ve finished watching it, it’ll be apparent why. Be sure to check that, and the Rest of Natalie’s work out. Which you can keep updated about by following her FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and TWITTER by clicking on those Links.