Kristanna Loken has been starring in television shows and movies since 1995. With her breakout action performance in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines she became a household name. Now, she's got a new movie out and TMS had a chance to talk to her about action films, Black Rose, motherhood, and the future of how we watch movies.
TMS: You've been keeping really busy these days. You've got a steady string of new movies coming out. But, I'm sure you get asked about Terminator 3 all the time? How do you think that film helped elevate your status as an actress?
KL: Well, I think it just opened so many doors on the sheer scale and scope of the film. Really the level of outreach. All of a sudden, people worldwide knew who I was. I had done quite a bit of work before then but certainly nothing on a global scale. Not only did the film go over the world but I went all over the world promoting the film. I think it was just getting out there and meeting the people that made a difference in their awareness of me.
TMS: In a male dominated field, we know a lot of these action roles go to men, how do you continue pushing yourself to get work and what do you do to set yourself apart from other actresses that are trying to get these parts?
KL: Good question. I think it's really letting the work speak for itself in all honesty, and trying to stay a little bit ahead of the game in that sense. I'm launching a new production company called Trio Entertainment. We've got a slate of ten films and TV series. So really taking more overall creative control in the selection of films we're going to produce, my role in them, in front of the camera and also behind the camera. I think that the more you/yourself can call the shots, you'll certainly be better off trying to create.
TMS: A lot of the movies you've done have been action. What draws you to that genre? And if you could pick another genre to work in, what would it be?
KL: Well, I was at this festival last night to celebrate women in action, predominantly the stunt performers. For me, my physicality lent itself to action. I grew up on a fruit farm. I'm an athletic person by nature. And I like getting down and dirty and physical. I'm six feet tall. I have a certain type of presence. I think it lent itself to these strong female roles. I think you need to have a certain stature almost or ability certainly on screen. I had the pleasure of honoring Cynthia Rothrock last night for her lifetime achievements. She was a pioneer for women in martial arts. I have appreciation for that. I think that's a very important aspect for me doing action.
As far as what I'd like to do more of, I'd love to do more comedy, frankly. I'd like to do more straight dramatic roles. I've been getting the question lately if I'm going to direct. I'm really feeling ready now in my career after 24 years of being in front of the camera and doing some producing. I'd really like to direct.
TMS: I know you're a new mom. How has that changed your perspective?
KL: Immensely. I think in every possible way. I had no idea. It changes your life. In every possible way I feel like a better human being. I feel more like the woman that I've always wanted to become and I feel like my decision making process has become much more acute because it's like looking in the mirror all day long making a decision that's going to directly effect the well being of your child.
Thor had a rough start to life. He had three different G.I. birth defects. It was a real struggle for us in the beginning. But through that I feel like a student. I feel like he's been a teacher. I feel like a better person from all we went through. It's been an incredible journey.
TMS: So, what kind of movie is Black Rose?
KL: Black Rose is a thriller suspense film definitely with some action. What I liked about my character was her duality and her complexity. She is a police profiler and is playing with the boys in the big league. This is her first case and she's investigating a string of murders. It deeply effects her on a level that startles her. I think through and through Emily Smith is a humanitarian and that's why she went into profiling, so she can really save lives and find the perpetrators before the next murder happens.
TMS: Robert Davi is the ultimate character actor. What was it like working with him on this?
KL: Robert is great, really a professional. Really a joy to have on set. He's always willing to try to make the scene the best it could be from every angle. I love that. He's really great to work with.
I worked with Bruce Dern wh is such a legend. He said, "Acting with a partner is like doing a dance. When it goes well it's like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.' That's so true. And Robert Davi was a great dance partner.
TMS: I noticed the film was made in 2014. Was there a reason it was held back?
KL: (laughter) This business still mystifies me, frankly. I know it came out in Russia and was a European release. With these independent films, you truly don't know where they're going to land especially with all the different media outlets. When I heard that after 3-4 years we were finally getting not only a VOD release, but that people really liked the film, it was really exciting.
TMS: Getting into your history a little bit, what actresses made you decide to try your hand at acting?
KL: I always wanted to be an actress. Growing up on a farm in upstate New York, I did all kinds of summer stock theater and dance. I loved to perform. I really love Helen Mirren. She's a pioneer for strong female roles. She's just remarkable. I would love the opportunity to work with her some day. She's been a real inspiration. But, I might add, on another side, my father has been a real inspiration for me too. He did some acting when he was younger and he always supported my dreams and still does. I collaborated with him. He was also a writer on a film that Bruce Dern played my father, Fighting For Freedom that we shot in my parent's barn in upstate New York.
TMS: If you could pick one iconic female comic book hero or action hero, who would you pick?
KL: As in one that I haven't already played? (laughter) That's a really good question. I think of Jane Vasco in Painkiller Jane. That was an awesome character. There's so many that I've already enjoyed embodying, I haven't really given it any thought as to who else I would prefer. Maybe there's one I could create.
TMS: How do you think the industry has changed since you started? Is it easier or harder?
KL: That's actually a priceless question because the business has changed so much. It's changed yearly. You almost have to be around the next curve of what's next. When I moved fairly recently and was going through my attic, I was finding TV Guides. Think about that. Most people don't even know what a TV Guide is. It wasn't that long ago. I think in a way it's easier to get films made because there's all these micro budget films and so many platforms. However, I think it's harder for you film to get noticed and distributed for that exact same reason. There's so much content out there. What we've been trying to distill in our company is 'what's next?' and what will be the most beneficial for the way we release content? How will it reach the most people. How can we make films that stand apart from the rest? It's a really good question.
Black Rose is in limited theaters on April 28, 2017 and hits VOD and DVD on May 2nd.