Tanit Phoenix opens up to me about her starring role in Death Race 2 and she talks about her upcoming show Femme Fatales that she is filming as we speak for NBC, starring in Maya, in which she had first hand experience in the negative side of making a film like that. We also talk about Lost Boys and her modeling career.
Phoenix was born in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to a family of Irish and Dutch descent. Growing up, Phoenix excelled at a variety of activities, including dance, athletics, and music. At an early age, she was enrolled in a ballet class at the behest of her mother; it lasted for 10 years.
Phoenix began her acting career as Candy in Lord of War opposite Nicolas Cage and Jared Leto, and then the following year starred opposite Wesley Snipes in the horror film Gallowwalker. In 2010, she starred in the horror film Lost Boys: The Thirst and the action film Death Race 2 opposite Luke Goss, Sean Bean, Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo. Tanit has just completed filming the comedy Spud opposite John Cleese in South Africa.
Make sure you follow Tanit on Twitter. And on Facebook.
1. Death Race 2 is out on DVD now, I am wondering how was it filming in South Africa? And tell me about your character you play.
I play a character called Katrina Banks, an ex military sniper sent to jail for killing a superior officer. She navigates Luke's car and ends up discovering Luke has a lot of similarities she has, taking care of those who can't fend for themselves. Filming in SA was amazing, for one I was Luke Goss' and Danny Trejo's tour guide.
2. Filming all those action scenes did you get any bumps or bruise? I have read that you have trained in the art of Muay Thai boxing.
It was pretty intense. I worked with great stunt people who trained me pretty hard everyday, and helped me look good on camera and yes I am trained in Muay Tai. It was wonderful to play a strong physically adept character who got to shoot machine guns and smack the crap out of male convicts.
The only bruises I gained from this film were from the car scenes. Being thrown around inside the car was not fun.
3. Can you tell me about Femme Fatales? What it is about and who is also starring in the film with you?
Femme Fatales is a new tv series for NBC. Its contemporary film noir, and I am the narrator to the show. I have been dubbed, the sexy Rod Serling (twilight zone). I also play small character in every episode and lead the audience on a journey, showing them who these woman are who kill men. I am the only series regular!
4. How was filming the movie Lost Boys: Thirst? Have you seen the previous two films before getting this role?
I saw the film with Keiffer Sutherland, is a cult classic, and I was excited to play a vampire romance novelist who actually just wants to be a vampire, its rather sad actually as I am killed in the end by the boy I am trying to save. Lost Boys makes for a good laugh with the over the top weapons Corey used.
But yet again, it was being filmed in SA and not a lot of lead roles are offered to SA actors, especially when you are starting out in your career, so I jumped at the chance to do it and gain some experience. Now that I live in LA, my film choices are different as I go up against A list actors.
5. You have taken on some risqué roles in the past like Maya. How do you determine what roles to take and you seem pretty self confident with you body.
Maya or the badly named (making no sense at all) K. Nights was originally a beautifully written Indie film about an Indian girl traveling with her best friend to America to discover her heritage. With the experiences and adventures they have, they both discover who they are as young woman. My character does fall in love, but I must include here that this film was never intended to have extended risqué scenes and all our contracts had very specific clauses stating that in the editing the risqué shots would not be allowed in the film. What needs to be made known is that the film was never completed with the original actors, the director also quit half way through because producers never paid him his weekly fee, and our voices were dubbed with badly trained actors. The Indian crew members also quit because the producers failed to pay them too. So the people in charge edited the unfinished film with the few already completed scenes they had so far with an inexperienced editor, and turned the film into a 'make no sense' piece of trash. The producers then released the film and declared bankruptcy right after. None of the actors were paid. It is very sad for us all as we now have a distasteful badly edited film out in public and we can't get our names removed. We are in the middle of a lawsuit. I mean, who does this kind of thing and then gets away with it? So, I did not choose to do a film with risqué scenes, it was unfortunately edited that way in India against my will and what I had put in my contract.
6. You have done shoots in Maxim, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, Cosmopolitan. How did they differ from each other? And which one did you have the most fun doing?
I started out as a model from the age of 14 and over the years I have shot for some of the worlds sexiest men's magazines, I am very comfortable with my body. Cosmo, Marie Claire and Elle are all womans magazines, they focus on beauty and inner strength. I love doing both.
7. Have you ever been to Comic-Con before? And if not do you plan on attending soon?
I was asked to be there last year for the release of Lost Boys and Death Race and then again for Femme Fatales, but I was in the midst of shooting a film and could not leave. This year I will definitely be attending.
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