I recently got the chance to talk to Drea Castro about her role in war drama ‘Act Of Valor’. Here, Drea talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and which three people she would invite to dinner…
Hey Drea. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Act Of Valor’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Act Of Valor’ tells the story of an elite team of Navy Seals who prevent one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play the role of an emotionally, conflicted suicide bomber who is manipulated into the unthinkable. My role in this film was to reveal the humanity behind the madness of a terrorist.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I saw a posting on ACTOR ACCESS - (a site that actors in the US use). They were looking for someone who could speak Tagalog for a Female “Suicide Bomber”. At first I said, “I don’t know if anyone would ever believe I could play a suicide bomber”, but what the heck. I knew I could do it so, I submitted. I got requested to do a video tape audition and sent it in. Then I got called right away to have a Director’s Session with Scott Waugh at Nancy Nayor’s casting office. I walked in, did the scene. Nancy says “Wow. That gave me chills”. Her casting assistant agreed. Scott said: “It sounds so good when it’s in Tagalog”. He gave me some adjustments and I knew I nailed it. I knew at that moment that I booked the job.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
The film is very unique because my directors, Scott Waugh and Mike “Mouse” McCoy really wanted to create an authentic movie. They achieved this by casting active-duty Navy Seals for the main roles. The Seals also used live rounds and real weaponry for many of the battle sequences. I even got to run around with a real AK-47, not an airsoft or a fake one. P.S. They are heavy!
The film stars Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano and Jason Cottle – with Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
My directors were really great! I worked mainly with Scott Waugh on my scenes. Scott was an amazing director to work with and really passionate about the project. He made me feel comfortable and really let me play with the character. As far as the actors, I worked alongside Jason Cottle for my scenes. He is truly, a talented and committed actor. Jason would ask for my help with proper pronunciation with his Tagalog AKA Filipino lines, so we’d sit there mirroring words to each other for a couple of minutes. It was probably amusing to anyone watching us.
Let’s talk a bit about you Drea. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I grew up in a family that loved to sing! And so right away, I learned the art of performing through song. I remember going up on stage and singing as a child. I was incredibly nervous, but when I heard that clap from the audience, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to perform. Years later, I discovered that I also enjoyed another kind of performance other than singing. Acting. And I was addicted to it.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
RUN! If you have some other passion, even an inkling of another job you want to do – do that! This is the hardest industry to get into, especially if you want to act. You give up normal life and stability, for the chance to do even the tiniest of roles. Most people who have never attempted it, don’t really understand why you do it. So you are constantly dealing with people wondering why you don’t live a normal life of “family and kids” and a “9 to 5″. It’s a lot of pressure and sacrifice. I wish I had another deep passion! With that being said, I love what I do. But it took a lot took a lot to get to where I am. Don’t expect anything less than years of hard work.
You’ve been in a number of different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far?
I had a small bit part as Sigourney Weaver’s Nanny in ‘Baby Mama’. She was so great to work with. I walked up to set and she immediately made a joke with me about my plastic baby doll I was rehearsing with. You could just tell she was just having fun and loved other people. She also made sure she thanked me in the end.
What is currently on your I-Pod?
Jack Johnson, Portishead, The Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Massive Attack, Robin Thicke, Glen Hansard & Marketa Iglova and Ella Fitzgerald.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Meryl Streep – she is so down to earth, yet one of the most talented people in the world. I’d just love to sit there and pick her brain – and also, share my amazing spinach dip with her. She’d probably like it.
- Angelina Jolie. she is so courageous, talented, and has helped so many people in the world. I just admire her work both in the entertainment industry as well as her Goodwill Ambassador work for the UNHCR.
- Ella Fitzgerald – I just want to hear the woman sing. She’d entertain the 3 of us. Angelina, Meryl and I would just stare at her amazingness.
What is your favourite word?
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I hope that my film, ‘Act of Valor’, will lead to more acting opportunities! I can’t go in details yet, but there are a couple of interesting projects coming up! I do have a beautiful film coming out in April called ‘Paulina’, which explores the story of a Cambodian girl on the cusp of a gambling problem. I just finished working on the film, ‘Ben & Becca’, (starring Brian Krause from ‘Charmed’ and Bibi Amos)
I am currently directing a documentary feature film, ‘Baldy For The Blind’, which explores the story of 11 blind hikers who attempt to summit Mt. Baldy, the highest mountain in LA (over 10,000 feet).
Thanks for the interview!