Interviews: Actress Katie Burgess Talks About Her New Film The Jurassic Games

The dinomite mash-up of the summer, The Jurassic Games stops onto VOD this June from Uncork'd Entertainment! 

Starring Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3) and Perrey Reeves (Entourage), the film imagines a world set in the near future wherein ten Death Row convicts are chosen to compete in The Jurassic Games, the ultimate virtual reality game show that pits its players against dinosaurs and each other. However, there is a catch… If you die in the virtual game, you also die in reality; and for Anthony Tucker (Adam Hampton), survival is his one chance to be reunited with his children after having been wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his wife. As the devious The Host continues adding improbable challenges, the characters will find the odds stacked against them as only one victor can emerge as winner and reclaim their freedom. 

The Jurassic Games is the third film from Emmy Award-winning director Ryan Bellgardt (Gremlin, Army of Frankensteins). 

The Jurassic Games will be available on Digital 6/12 and DVD 7/3. 

"Every year, 10 of the world’s most lethal death row criminals are chosen to compete for their freedom in The Jurassic Games, a television show where contestants must survive against a variety of ferocious dinosaurs. The players all die gruesomely in the game zone except for one, the last one standing, the winner, who is granted not only his freedom, but fame and fortune. Survive the dinosaurs. Survive each other. Survive…The Jurassic Games."

We had the opportunity to interview actress Katie Burgess about the film.

TMS: I did get to watch the movie, and it was super fun!

KB: I'm glad you liked it!

TMS: It was really well done; the characters were great. I had a lot of fun with it!

KB: Good! I'm glad to hear that!

TMS: What was it that made you want to be involved with this movie? How did you come to be in The Jurassic Games?

KB: I'd actually worked with (Jurassic Games director) Ryan Bellgardt before, on his film Gremlin, where I played Anna Thatcher. I got to see what his team does with the special effects, and I really loved the work ethic and I loved the environment on set. Ryan approached me about another film, and I was super interested. He said "This time, you would be playing the antagonist, this really intense character", and I was all for it. It was new for me, and I was super excited to get the new challenge.

TMS: Joy really seemed like she was a fun character to play. Since it was so different for you, how did you approach that? What or who did you look to for inspiration for that role?

KB: I pretty much just pulled generally from a lot of movies that I had seen previously. There were a lot of characters from The Hunger Games specifically that have a little bit of what Joy has, so I was able to pull from that. I also just had fun with it. Reading the script, I had an idea in my head of what she would be like. That was the most fun part, was getting to create Joy, to turn her into this mega-villain that she is.

TMS: She was a great character, and you really looked like you were having a lot of fun playing her. Was it a fun general atmosphere on the set, interacting with the cast and crew? Had you worked with any of them before on Gremlin?

KB: I had worked with Adam Hampton before, he plays Anthony Tucker in this film. Oh my gosh, the set was so much fun! We were all just cracking jokes, messing with each other the whole time. It was a lot of fun, no tension. Everyone on set was so sweet. What I've noticed a lot in films shot in Oklahoma is that the people are so kind, even with the lower budget. We were all friends on set, so even though I was the youngest they treated me like an equal. We had a great time, it was lots of fun getting to work with them and collaborating on the scenes. It was a great time.

TMS: Was the entire cast and crew from Oklahoma, or did a lot of people come in to work on the film?

KB: It was mostly Oklahoma, so most of the cast and crew were local. We were lucky, Ryan Merriman (who plays the host) was living in Oklahoma, so that was awesome. Perrey Reeves (who played Savannah, the show's director in the film) came in to film for a bit, and she was amazing. I'm pretty sure there were only a couple that were not from Oklahoma, which was interesting because we were travelling all over Oklahoma to make the film. It was really cool to see so many Oklahomans coming together and creating such a fun film.

TMS: That sounds great! The landscapes in the movie were really beautiful as well, the scenery was gorgeous.

KB: Yes, can you believe that? All of that is in Oklahoma! You would think that Oklahoma is just flat with nothing, and I feel like a lot of it is (laughs). But I had no idea we have Little Sahara, which is where we filmed the desert scene. That was just absolutely gorgeous. And Robber's Cave, which is where we filmed the forest scenes, is also in Oklahoma. It was all filmed locally and it looks absolutely beautiful. ,TMS: As for your other costars in the movie, what's it like to work with gigantic dinosaurs that you can't see?

KB: It takes a lot of imagination (laughs)! We really had to be creative. We had the visual cues that the crew would give us just for eyeline purposes, but you kind of had to create the monster in your head. What I did when I was running from a scary dinosaur was picture what would terrify me into sprinting in the opposite direction or hiding. It was kind of fun to imagine what you would be so scared of.

TMS: I was convinced! What was your acting background prior to doing this movie and Gremlin? What had you done before that?

KB: I got started in film acting when I was about nine years old working in commercials. I did that for a little while, and then I was cast in a local Tulsa movie when I was about ten. After that I was cast by director Tracy Trost in The Lamp, which was adapted from the book by Jim Stovall. That was a lot of fun, and it was pretty much the first professional set that I had ever worked on. I just loved it, it was amazing. I got to take three weeks off of school and have a blast doing it. It didn't even feel like work. I think that was when I decided that this is what I can do for the rest of my life. If it's this fun working, sign me up!

TMS: if you could remake any movie and play any character, who would it be?

KB: That is such a good question! I'd probably choose something with Dakota Fanning. I love her, I think she is so talented. I couldn't name a specific movie of hers that I would want to be in, but I feel like she's done amazing in every role. It would be an honor to be in a remake of something that she did.

TMS: What other roles do you have coming up?

KB: I'm about to start filming a feature called Jade Black, written and directed by Terry Spears. He worked on the set of The Jurassic Games, and he approached me about the role of Jade. I'm super excited to say that I will be starring in an action thriller! So you can look forward to that!

TMS: We'll definitely be keeping an eye out for that. What else are you doing to promote The Jurassic Games? Will there be a premiere in Oklahoma or anything like that? What else are you and the rest of the cast and crew doing to promote the film?

KB: We are doing a lot of publicity. A lot of reviews are coming in, so that's where most of the publicity for the film is coming from. We are having a small premiere on June 8 at a local Oklahoma film festival, so we're really excited about that. Besides that, we're doing interviews, just trying to getting the word out. Oklahoma is a pretty small film community, so hopefully we'll get a great showing for our premiere.

TMS: There's actually a lot of buzz online about the movie. I was looking at reviews and articles on a couple of different sites before I watched the movie and did the interview, just to have an idea of what the word on the street was about it. A lot of people really seem ot get it. It seems like a lot of people are really having fun with it.

KB: Yes, I think that a lot of people are responding to it, and it is just a fun movie. It just makes me so happy because this is the most publicity Ryan has ever gotten for a film. I definitely don't think Gremlin got this much publicity. But people have really been taking to it and I'm super excited to see where it goes.

TMS: It's a great concept, and with a title like that I'm sure the curiosity factor is huge. I think this is something that a lot of people are going to discover and end up having a lot of fun with.

KB: We're all just reading the reviews, learning. We're just so grateful for this opportunity and for all of the input that we're getting from people that have seen the film.

TMS: I promise I'll have nice things to say in my review!

KB: Good, thank you so much! I will be looking for it!

TMS: Where can our readers see The Jurassic Games?

KB: It is going to be on video-on-demand June 12, and then on DVD July 3.

TMS: Thank you so much for your time. I really had a lot of fun with the movie and I wish all of you the best of luck.

KB: Thank you so much!