The absolutely sweet and amazing actress Tracey Birdsall was able to grace me with some time for a fun interview about everything she has going on right now. It’s a lot. Check out our conversation below.
Birdsall is a California native who is currently starring in Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter in which she also serves as a producer. She is also well-known for her roles on The Young and the Restless, Loving, and Dawn of the Crescent Moon.
Besides those she also has The Time War coming out that is narrated by the late Sir Christoper Lee plus Who’s Jenna…? with Bill Sorvino.
RONN!E: Hi, Tracey, how are you doing?
Tracey Birdsall: I’m doing well, how are you?
RONN!E: I’m good. I’m good! Thank you for speaking with me. I really appreciate it.
Tracey Birdsall: Of course. I love your guy’s website name. It’s really awesome.
RONN!E: Thank you. How is your day going so far?
Tracey Birdsall: Really good. It’s beautiful today. Where are you located?
RONN!E: Seattle. Another muggy, wonderful, 90-degree day…
Tracey Birdsall: We are 75 and sunny. It’s beautiful.
RONN!E: Better than here today, actually.
Tracey Birdsall: Nice, ocean breeze, too. (laughing)
RONN!E: Well, thank you for speaking with me today. I really do appreciate it. I guess we’ll just kind of get into it. My first question is actually about Rogue Warrior, Robot Fighter, which is a movie you did with Director Neil Johnson, which is a good movie, I heard that is also being developed into a TV series that you might be starring in?
Tracey Birdsall: It is! It’s actually… we’re working on two more films, on the second of the films since Rogue Warrior. As soon as we finish two of those, then we’re starting on the series. Actually, it’s in the future from Rogue Warrior.
Tracey Birdsall: Yeah, I know! It actually was suggested to us, because everyone after they saw the movie, they were like, “I want to see what happens next!” It’s kind of awesome.
RONN!E: Is that just in development stages so far, then?
Tracey Birdsall: It is because we’ve got a couple of other films that we have to finish up. One of them we started shooting before Rogue Warrior, and then we started trying to beef it up because Rogue Warrior had gotten to be such a big… beef. And then we needed to beef up the one we’d shot before. And then we shot so much footage that now we’re splitting it into two movies. So now we have At the Edge of Time and then we have The Time War. And it’s just been so much work, so we’re hoping to finish that and then we’ll be on to the television series.
RONN!E: Right on! That sounds rather fun, actually. And speaking of Time War, can you tell me about that? You’re starring in that with Christopher Lee, is that right?
Tracey Birdsall: Well, Christopher Lee did the voiceover narration before he passed away. It’s a project the director’s been working on for well over a decade. Fifteen years or something like that, so that’s kinda cool, and I’m pretty excited about that. And then we have Barry Corbin, William Kircher, and we’re in post-production on that. We’ve got a little bit more that we’re going shoot and we’ll be adding someone on to the cast pretty quick here, even though 99 percent of it’s in the can.
Tracey Birdsall: Well, you know it’s funny because I’m a character in Time War but there are at least twenty versions of me.
Tracey Birdsall: Yes. (laughs) It’s time travel, and so it’s really complicated, because when you have time travel you have different versions of me when you’re genetically the same, but it’s different versions of me that exist in different times, and so I’ve had to work really, really hard on making them all individual from each other. And so it’s very distinct, different characters that I play in it, but they’re all me, and some of them are in scenes together, which is really interesting. So I’ll get four pages of script and I’ll have to do one as one character and then I’ll have to change my mindset and go back and do the other character.
RONN!E: So was that difficult, trying to switch?
Tracey Birdsall: It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Like, dealing with robots that aren’t really there and being in space, that’s a piece of cake compared to this because in order to have it be interesting you have to believe that you’re each of these characters that are each different. And so it’s just so complicated to get your mindset into it, you know? It’s really, really complicated. They have to move a little different, think a little different, appear a little different, in order that when the viewer watches it, they believe that they’re different. Hardest thing I’ve ever done.
RONN!E: That sounds really interesting. I can’t wait to see that. Sounds like you had your work cut out for you on that.
Tracey Birdsall: You know, I sat around when I first got the script and I scratched my head a lot. Like how am I gonna do this? And I talked to my coach because I work with Margie Haber and this is a good couple of years ago and I’m “How am I gonna do this?” So we sat there and talked about it and she’s like “Make them distinctively different” and I’m like “I know” so it’s, there was a lot of head scratching and a lot of figuring until it finally got to the point where I’m like, okay, I’m just gonna focus on this one character. And when I watch some of the footage now I actually look at it and I’m like, oh wow, first I don’t feel like I’m watching myself, and second I don’t feel like I’m watching the same person. I feel like I’m watching more than one person, so that was really interesting.
RONN!E: That shows your art.
Tracey Birdsall: Oh man, I just love this stuff! (laughs)
RONN!E: Besides just acting-wise and trying to get into each character, was it difficult filming? I always wonder about the out-takes from each actor’s perspective. Like, you had scenes you had to do with yourself. How was filming that?
Tracey Birdsall: Well, you have to actually believe that that’s a different character. I’ve done all kinds of methods but really what I do when I am a character is I have to believe that I am that character and live that character’s life. So I have to just actually believe everything that that character believes. And so it’s creating that so that your mind can get lost in that, in creating that vessel. And what’s interesting is when I watch things that I’ve shot, no matter what version of me it is, I don’t feel like I’m watching myself. I feel like I’m watching that thing that I created, you know? So it’s like I’m not judgmental with myself. I don’t really know how I got there, but I’m thinking of the state of confusion I was in when I was tackling that. And a lot of it, we shot overseas. So I was dealing with temperature extremes and bizarre locations and we’re out in public a lot, so it wasn’t like I could hide out in a corner and be a different character, I had to be it out there. It was interesting.
RONN!E: When it comes to your career, I was recently told you’ve made a push more toward sci-fi. Has sci-fi always been a genre you’ve wanted to do, or was that your main love, or…?
Tracey Birdsall: It’s always been, my main love. I grew up and I was such a science fiction geek as a kid. I was a tomboy and a sci-fi geek, so it’s like this is the best of both worlds for me because I get to do all this action stuff, and I get to, you know, get killed and I get to play with guns and… So for me me, it’s like I’m in heaven. But I’ve been in the industry my whole life and I never got offered a sci-fi part. I auditioned once for a Star Trek film and I didn’t get picked and I was really bummed. But it just never was in the cards for me. So I just worked on my craft and got to be the best dramatic and comedic actress that I could and then got whatever roles I could, and I trained and prepared and then Neil ended up calling me in one day and we actually met at a restaurant over a cup of coffee. And he’d been watching my career and watching my stuff, so first, he asked me to do a voiceover of a computer in one of his films. And I’m such a geek that I was so excited! I’d never done a voice-over before and he was kind of testing me, and so, to be a computer, I mean we all grow up saying wouldn’t it be cool to be that voice? So I did that and then we just started working together. I did more voice stuff for him and then he wanted me to lead a project and then, well now we just kind of love working together because we work with that same intense level that you don’t see often. A lot of people don’t work like that and we’re just like fanatical about our careers, so… It’s really, really awesome. I’ve knocked out a couple of comedies in between all the sci-fi, but since you know sci-fi fans love sci-fi, and so it gets talked about a lot. So it’s okay to talk about the comedies you’re in, and then like “okay, let’s get back to the one with the big guns”, you know?
RONN!E: And the aliens. That is true. We stay true to our sci-fi.
Tracey Birdsall: And it’s what I like talking about, too, even when I’m not in it, so it’s great to have a vehicle to be able to talk about your favorite genre. I just love it.
RONN!E: Speaking of your non-sci-fi stuff, tell me about Who’s Jenna?
Tracey Birdsall: That is a great film! I shot their either just before or just after Rogue Warrior. I think it was just before, and that was a comedy we shot on the East Coast. I played a lead female in it and it’s kind of funny. I don’t know what to say, people keep mistaking her for a porn star, in her looks, and she’s actually one of the partners in a law firm. And so, it’s just hilarity with the cast of characters. Joe D’Onofrio is in it, Vincent Pastore, Garry Pastor, Bill Sorvino, so I felt like I was with the Sopranos cast for the time that I was there. Not to really give much of it away, it’s a fabulous mishmash of characters and I think I’m just about the only girl in the whole movie, which is pretty funny. There is another girl in it for part of it and then there are some extras that are girls, but it’s mostly kind of a guy flick. And me. It’s getting released through Indican soon. I don’t know any of the details; I’m kind of out of touch with the guys over there because I’ve been working so much.
RONN!E: Do you have any other projects going on besides, I mean, you’ve got a lot going on as it is right now with the God of War series—is that the name of it? Is that the planned name or is that just—?
Tracey Birdsall: Yeah, that’s the working title. A lot of those things don’t come down to us. You know, we can put it together, and we can shoot it, and we can get it all out there, but then once it gets to distribution and all that they kind of take it from there. So they can change titles, they can do—it’s really interesting. They have a lot of control. So that’s its working title and there hasn’t been a lot of talk on the title since then until we get the treatments done of the episodes.
RONN!E: I see. Do you have anything else, any other projects besides the series, and Time Wars coming out? What else do you have coming out soon?
Tracey Birdsall: I think that’s quite a bit!
RONN!E: It is quite a bit!
Tracey Birdsall: I’ve literally not taken a break except for, the only travel I’ve done is with a film. I’ve literally not taken a break in five years.
Tracey Birdsall: Yeah, it’s crazy. I mean, I’ll take a day off and go visit my parents, but that’s about it.
RONN!E: Well, when you love what you do…
Tracey Birdsall: I do! I absolutely love it. And with this one I think our wide release is on August 15th, so we’ve been out exclusively through Walmart for 60 days at that point and before that, we were in theaters. And then we go wide, so iTunes, Amazon, and we’re hoping Redbox. We really don’t know where it’s coming out, we just know it’s coming out everywhere around that time.
RONN!E: I’ll make sure to make a note of that. One last question. Of all the roles you’ve played, what’s the one role that you really want to play, or what type of role? Is there any particular character out there that you really just, hopefully, one day during your career that you hopefully get to play?
Tracey Birdsall: You know, I’ve knocked a few of those off with the last couple of years. But there’s only one type of role that I haven’t gotten to play and that’s like something very evil. Like a serial killer or something like that. And the only reason I’d like to do things that I haven’t done is because you grow new muscles. It’s like you learn new things. I mean it would be a very difficult way to spend a year because of the way I immerse myself, but there were a couple of things I really hadn’t gotten the chance to do that I was able to do in The Time War. I mean there are some really twisted, messed up characters that I do and I always wanted to do that. And dark, you know, but not truly evil. In The Time War at least they have a purpose and they are trying to do something. But something really twisted and dark like a serial killer would be very challenging, to my mind.
RONN!E: Nice. That’s nice. Come up to Vancouver and meet some of my friends, then, one day.
Tracey Birdsall: Yeah? (laughs)
RONN!E: I have horror film making friends, so…
Tracey Birdsall: You know, I never wanted to be the screaming girl in a horror film. But to be the twisted, messed-up mind behind it, I just find it fascinating. You know?
Tracey Birdsall: I’d like to delve into something that’s dark.
RONN!E: So is there anything you’d like to leave my readers with at the end of this article?
Tracey Birdsall: No, I love the people that are out there supporting me. I totally appreciate the people that are so good to me, and so I love doing press with people like you because it’s so well appreciated out there. It’s such a fun ride! And I absolutely love your website name!
RONN!E: Thank you. It took me a while to wrestle with it, but that was the one I came up with.
Tracey Birdsall: It’s fantastic.
RONN!E: It’s actually named after my other half if that means anything.
Tracey Birdsall: Really?
RONN!E: I believe my other resembles a monkey and so that’s his nickname – Monkey.
Tracey Birdsall: Okay, that’s hilarious and I almost want to see a picture now.
RONN!E: Maybe I’ll email one over to Clint for you.
Tracey Birdsall: That is so funny. At least you say it lovingly.
*Special thanks to Clint Morris with c2cTalent and Cheryl Dyson.