Nadia talks about making the film, doing her own driving, and her upcoming role in The Sonny Liston Story
Having done a lot of work on TV actress Nadia Bjorlin was all revved up to play the part of Natasha Martin in the ultra-charged, action, racing pic, Redline. The film features the personal exotic car collection of the producer, real estate investor Daniel Sadek. The production used his own cars including a Phantom Rolls Royce, Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari F430, Ferrari Scaglietti and two Mercedes SLR McLarens. Sadek's $450,000 Porsche Carrera GT is actually crashed during one sequence.
Bjorlin recently sat down to discuss what it was like to be a part of such an adrenaline fueled film.
Could you tell the readers who don't know what the story of Redline is?
Nadia Bjorlin: Well, lets see, without giving too much away... my character Natasha is a mechanic who owns an auto body shop which specializes in modifying high end cars. It's a family business. My father was a race car driver who taught me all the ropes. He unfortunately died while racing so it's a passion of Natasha's that she chooses not to act upon because of the repercussions that could arise from doing that. The movie starts and Natasha has worked on 4 GT's owned by Eddie Griffin's character, Infamous, who's this music mogul. He is basically involved in an illegal, underground racing organization. Where a bunch of rich, bored millionaires gamble on these races on these beautiful cars. Eddie Griffin's character finds out that Natasha is a great driver because she takes him for a test drive in his new, re-modified car. He basically tries to entice her into this world and she turns it down. He finds another way to entice her into it and before she knows it she's racing. She's now sort of forced into it.
What about the role of Natasha Martin attracted you to Redline?
Nadia Bjorlin: It seemed like such a fun project. It's kind of an empowering role as well. The hero is actually a heroine. It's a woman who is in this power position. It's also about a character that's working in this highly male dominated world. Cars, auto body shops, race car driving... females, nowadays, are getting more recognition for it but it's certainly not widely known or necessarily accepted. It was also a fun challenge to step into this role and do it justice and basically, kick ass!
Were the action scenes as intense in real life as they appear on the screen?
Nadia Bjorlin: Yeah, definitely. You're driving these cars, your adrenaline rushes like crazy! The director (Andy Cheng) and the second unit director (Johnny Martin), they're really known for action. They really wanted us to do as much of the driving as possible. They wanted us to really challenge ourselves as well because they said, "This is the only way this is going to be believable and that audiences will buy it as well." I completely agree because it looks so much better because of it. It felt so much better instead of saying your lines and then having someone else jump behind the wheel of the car; it's not even you it would feel so fake and contrived. I was really happy to have the opportunity to put these cars to the test.
It also seems like audiences today are so sophisticated that they sort of go into a movie like Redline looking to see, "Is this the actor or is this their stunt double?"
Nadia Bjorlin: Exactly. We were very well aware of that and they didn't want this movie to be about that. There's no CG and all the car crashes are done for real. They were aerodynamically worked out. That's kind of an impressive thing to be able to say.
How did they prepare you to drive these cars? Did they just give you a crash course...
Nadia Bjorlin: Basically and then they put you behind the wheel and "May God be with you!" (Laughs) The second unit director he did Gone in Sixty Seconds and he trained Angelina Jolie and Nic Cage for that. He's the one who put us through the crash course in driving. We learned how to do reverse 180s, how to slide a car, and do all these things and just get behind the wheel of these cars and just feel how they operate. We had to take a little stunt course. It was fun, though.
What was the most interesting thing about doing this film? Or, were there several interesting things?
Nadia Bjorlin: It was a bunch of things. It was fun being able to work with such an eclectic cast because everybody's so different. They're so different as actors and in the projects that they choose, and the fact that they're all together on this one film, that was kinda fun. You just learn so much from watching them and working with them. The driving of course was incredible. That was a lot of fun.
It certainly looks like it.
Nadia Bjorlin: They're like, "Okay Nadia, you can get out of the car now." (Laughs)
What are you working on next?
Nadia Bjorlin: My next project is tentatively titled The Sonny Liston Story with Ving Rhames. It's about the heavyweight champion of the world back in the 1960s who was beat by Muhammad Ali.
Is this a straight biopic? Does it look at Sonny Liston's whole life or just a portion of it?
Nadia Bjorlin: It basically does chronicle his whole life. Not from childhood but it chronicles his life from when he goes to prison; in prison is where he learned to box. It then follows his life in that way. These are all real characters and there's something that's wonderful and challenging about having to play somebody who did exist and doing justice to that character. I play the girlfriend of the mob boss, Ash Resnick, who owned Sonny Liston's contract at one point.
Redline zooms into theaters April 13 in limited release from Chicago Pictures.