I was graced with the chance to interview the amazing actress Sunny Mabrey. We got a chance to talk about her new film Beyond the Trek/Teleios and some of her other exciting upcoming projects. Give the interview a read below.
She has appeared in a plethora of films and TV shows. From playing Glinda in Once Upon A Time to starring in Species III. She also starred alongside Samuel L. Jackson in the films, xXx: State of the Union and in the cult comedy-thriller, Snakes on a Plane.
Personally, not sure when this girl finds sleep…but she is kicking ass and taking names. Can’t wait to see where she goes next.
RONN!E: Thank you so much for speaking with me. I really appreciate it.
Sunny Mabrey: Of course! Thank you!
RONN!E: Let’s get right into it. We’re starting out talking about Beyond the Trek, aka Teleios, which is a film you did with Ian Truitner, who wrote and directed it. My first question is: how did this project fall into your lap?
Sunny Mabrey: Well, I went on an audition. The old-fashioned way. I went on an audition and apparently did a great job on that first one. And then they had me back to meet the director and I’m pretty sure they wanted to hire me because my second audition was really bad. I’m sure Ian will tell you that. *laughs* But I emailed him afterward and said, “That didn’t go as planned, but I really love this part and I’m positive that I can be your Iris”, and he agreed. He agreed with all of it; he said, “I knew you were right on the first audition and the second one was a little weird.” But, you know. So there you go.
RONN!E: So you did get to see a script or concept before you auditioned for it?
Sunny Mabrey: Yes. I got to read the script and I loved it. It was a really fun role and I’d never played anything like that before. And I love sci-fi! So it was another opportunity to get to do that. And when I went in on the second audition I got to see a lot of the set that they already had in progress. There were some really cool models of the ship and he showed me those. It was really encouraging to see how much planning they were putting into the whole thing and how good everything looked.
RONN!E: As you mentioned, you play Iris, which is a very intense character. I’ve seen the film, so yeah. Tell me about Iris.
Sunny Mabrey: She is one of the genetically modified human beings. She is supposed to be extremely perfect, in every way and even more so, I think, with Lance Broadway’s character and my character because they are the leaders of the ship. They have to keep everybody in check. I’m sure, as you must know, as you go along you see that there are vulnerabilities to these characters, as well. I just loved that about this role. It’s one of the things that attracted me to her–the cracks and the damaged quality that Iris had.
RONN!E: As I mentioned before your role as Iris is very intense. Did you have to do a lot of preparation in developing that character?
Sunny Mabrey: I did, actually. Physically, I had to, well, I already work out a lot so I kind of ramped that up a little bit and then I also did some training for a sparring/fight scene that I had with myself, actually, in the film that didn’t make it in. I don’t know what happened with that. Maybe technical issues? It was pretty intense.
RONN!E: Oh, I’ll have to call Ian back now. I want to see that scene.
Sunny Mabrey: I know! I even asked him if it was put together enough that I could just take it and, you know, have it for myself? Show people? [indecipherable] He said it’s really not. It was such an involved scene, technically. Basically, it was me fighting a hologram version of myself. Sparring, as just exercise, in space. I had to learn both sides. I had to get through the stunt coordinators and they were also like, brilliant at everything, and the one guy, Seth, and, I forgot the other guy’s name… *pause* I can’t believe I forgot. They taught me this routine where I’m jabbing and ducking and doing all the moves, and then I had to learn the complete opposite of that. So every time Me Number One punches the other one has to dodge it, or get hit, or respond. That was difficult!
RONN!E: I bet!
Sunny Mabrey: But it was fun. I loved it.
Sunny Mabrey: They are all very good at what they do on the side, besides acting, so they were all pretty athletic and these physical specimens–top-notch physical specimens walking around and I was like “I don’t know if I can keep up here!” But I had to because that’s acting. I was like “I gotta be better than these guys, so I’m just gonna act.” But Lance, he’s really tall, muscular, a very in-shape dude. Also T.J. Hoban, who is actually a fitness guru type person, covered in muscle and fitness and all that stuff. And Mykel, also, they are all just like super in shape and it could have been a bit intimidating, but everyone felt so warm and friendly that it didn’t feel that way at all.
RONN!E: Right on. So I was talking with Ian Truitner and he had mentioned that you guys basically shot this film in sixteen days. What was that like?
Sunny Mabrey: It was intense! I was like quick, crazy, long hours, and then it was over. And then we’ve been talking about it for a few years now. And that’s great. I’ve made some really great friends on that set and I’m glad to see it coming to fruition and having some success because we put a lot of time and energy into it. A lot of hard work, even though it was quite a short burst of time, but I love that kind of thing. I think that’s one of the things I’m addicted to. All of the sudden, just like turning it way up, and the energy and being there but it not getting finished, maybe not getting your turnaround. That indie film feeling, the collaborative effort. And just doing it. Doing whatever it takes to make it as good as you can.
RONN!E: I know all too well what you’re talking about.
Sunny Mabrey: Are you in the world as well? Are you a filmmaker?
RONN!E: I’m getting in there, yeah.
Sunny Mabrey: Cool, so you know.
RONN!E: You must be enjoying the success of the film, it’s been on the festival circuit for a while now and has won quite a few awards. Are you enjoying that?
Sunny Mabrey: Yeah! The sci-fi community is just so wonderful. Everybody has received it well and I’ve done a bunch of Q&A’s and met a lot of the people who liked the film and answered a lot of questions online and interviews. Just a really fun ride to get to hang out with these guys and still talk about the show and get to promote it at all of these festivals.
RONN!E: Right on.
Sunny Mabrey: As I said I’m a fat, fat horror fan, so some of these things you might catch me at anyway.
RONN!E: Which actually brings me to one of my questions. You’ve played the gamut of every kind of character in your career. You were even Glinda in Once Upon a Time for a moment there, and you’ve been in Mad Men. You’ve done a lot of roles in your career. Is sci-fi the genre that you love the most?
Sunny Mabrey: I think as an audience member I probably love horror. Psychological horror, because it’s the most rewarding when it’s good. You know? Like it’s really hard to make a great psychological horror film, because the concepts, fresh concepts, are hard to come by these days. It seems like everything’s been done, so when somebody does actually come up with something original and accomplishes that in a really visually amazing way, it–that gets me excited. But that being said, as an actor, I love participating in those films too and I would love to get to do more of them, but when I’m writing I tend toward comedy. And horror comedy is great. I love that mixture. I also love drama. That may be one of the reasons I’ve gotten to do some broad range of genres in my career because I really do just love them all.
RONN!E: So is there any particular character or role out there that you really want to play at some point?
Sunny Mabrey: You know, Orphan Black is a pretty amazing role for a woman.
RONN!E: Oh! There you go!
Sunny Mabrey: Because you have the opportunity to get to do a lot of different roles in that. So I’m seeing a lot of stuff like that. Let’s see, what’s that show on Netflix I want to see? It’s got that chick that was the original Dragon Tattoo chick. The original, though.
RONN!E: I can’t recall, I’m sorry.
Sunny Mabrey: I will tell you in just a sec. Her name is Noomi Rapace.
RONN!E: Oh, yes!
Sunny Mabrey: Yes, she’s on a show right now, of course, I can’t find it.
RONN!E: She’s on that new one where she plays like seven different sisters or something?
Sunny Mabrey: Yeah!
RONN!E: That one looks exciting.
Sunny Mabrey: Yeah, that one looks amazing. So I’m a character person. I may not necessarily always look like a character actor, but with my comedy, I love becoming just a totally different character, including dudes and old women, you know? And that’s comedy, but like I love it. And so to get the opportunity to do something like that would be amazing.
RONN!E: Yeah, that would be fun. Your own little Eddie Murphy film, I guess, in a sense, where you play all the roles.
Sunny Mabrey: Totally! Choose the genre and I’ll just go with it.
RONN!E: So I did mention to some friends that I was interviewing you and a couple of them kind of screamed in my ear a little and demanded that I ask one question of you, and that is: Are we ever going to see Glinda in Once upon a Time again?
Sunny Mabrey: You know that I don’t know that, right?
RONN!E: Yeah, I know.
Sunny Mabrey: Everybody knows that they don’t know, but they ask anyway.
RONN!E: I know, but I don’t want to get kicked in the head, so…
Sunny Mabrey: It’s upsetting for me, too, not to know, but… I tell people that ask me that to go on the internet and talk to the producers of Once Upon a Time. Adam Horowitz. He’s the big producer of Once Upon a Time. And just tell him! You want to see Glinda again. And you know what the sad part is she’s the Good Witch of the South, so she really loves her warm weather, right? Like me. And she’s trapped in a winter, icy wonderland. It’s beautiful, but it’s, you know, freezing.
RONN!E: It’s time to rescue Glinda.
Sunny Mabrey: It’s time to rescue Glinda! I mean, I feel like a lot of other people on that show have been rescued and it’s time to come back for me. I’m just hanging out. Waiting around. They ask me for stuff, but, hello?
RONN!E: So, I know I can always go to IMDB and look it up, but I noticed it’s not always reliable, so what other projects do you have coming up that you want people to know about?
Sunny Mabrey: Okay, well, I just came out on an episode of the show Typical Rick, which was really fun. With Nick Swardson and Simon Rex. And the next thing that’s coming out is an episode of The Librarians, which is much like the Once Upon a Time vein. I’m trying to think which episode–I think it’s episode three or four of that show which is coming in the fall.
Sunny Mabrey: Do you really?
RONN!E: Yeah, I’m a huge fan of that show.
Sunny Mabrey: Yeah, it’s sci-fi, too, it’s magic! So that should be fun and then I’m producing, and I wrote, my own pilot. It’s a sketch pilot horror-comedy genre, that I’m shooting right now with a company called OGold Soul] and my management company is called Hagen Entertainment and they’re helping me with it as well.
RONN!E: Can you tell us more about that?
Sunny Mabrey: Well, it’s like I said a sketch comedy show and in the horror comedy genre and so far it’s starring a few of my friends that I believe are some of the funniest people on earth. And should it get picked up… I probably shouldn’t even be talking about it since it’s still in the pilot phase. But should it get picked up I plan on having even more of my funny friends that I’ve made throughout the years and actors, hopefully, some actors that I’ve never met before and have some amazing official cast put together to tell everybody.
RONN!E: Escaping Dad? Can you tell me about that one?
Sunny Mabrey: Oh yeah, that one came out not long ago, as well. That originally had a different name and we made it as an independent film. And we knew that–we thought there was a chance it might get bought by a studio network, so we were trying to shoot it as sort of a darker version of that. We really wanted it to be, not more, but really wanted it to be real and you know, kind of dark, I guess. A little bit edgy. And that’s how we shot it, as best we could, and I think everybody gave a great performance in that movie… and then a TV network did buy it. And we ended up they decided – it was Lifetime, obviously, which I’ve worked with them many times. I love Lifetime. They ended up renaming it Escaping Dad, which, you know, so many Lifetime fans out there. I guess the literal titles go best with them. But it was awesome. It was great. A lot of people told me they watched it and they loved that movie, so I feel proud of it.
RONN!E: That’s great.
Sunny Mabrey: Yeah!
RONN!E: I want to thank you so much for talking to me, I really do appreciate it. And, as I said, I’ve seen Teleios or Beyond the Trek, as it’s going to be here in the U.S., and Iris is–you play a very intense character. I wish I could give spoilers but, because this is an interview.
Sunny Mabrey: I know, you can’t say too much! You’ll give too many things away.
RONN!E: But I’ll be sure to let everyone know it’s available now so they can watch it themselves.
Sunny Mabrey: Please do!
RONN!E: Thank you so much and I hope more success comes your way.
Sunny Mabrey: Thanks, and you, too. Break a leg with your filmmaking.