I recently got the opportunity to talk to Nikea Gamby-Turner about her role in Zoe Saldana’s new film, ‘Colombiana’. Here, Nikea talks about how she got involved in the project and what music she currently listens to…
Hey Nikea. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Colombiana’ is currently in cinemas right now…
For anyone who has yet to see the film, the film’s plotline revolves around Zoe Saldana’s character, Cat, who after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Shari, I work for the 3rd precinct of the Chicago PD. Without giving too much away…I am responsible for making the climax to the movie happen. I get Zoe’s character Cat in trouble so to speak…wait maybe that is giving too much away LOL!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
My manager’s called me and told me I had an audition for ‘Colombiana’ – I was like “Okay”, then I saw the breakdown and saw Luc Besson’s name along with Oliver Megaton and knew this was going to be a major picture…and was immediately excited and a lil nervous to audition…but I won the role!
How would you say this film is different from other action films?
I think this film gives you everything you need as far as action and gunplay is concerned…obviously the fact it’s a lovely young woman doing it and she can hold her own is not a new concept in film, but here it just shows what our brown-skinned sisters are capable of and hopefully it will open more doors for us to do action films…I didn’t mean to make this a out cry for more minority stars but I think that’s why this movie is important!
The film stars Zoe Saldana, Jordi Molla, Lennie James and Amandla Stenberg – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? I understand this is the second time now you’ve worked with Zoe Saldana?
I was in Mexico City for 4 days shooting and never really ran into any of the other actors…I did see Lennie James at lunch after my scene was done though…and yes this is my second time being in a movie that Zoe is in – the other being ‘The Heart Specialist’. In that film I was in a flashback so it was just me and the guy I was working with – so me and Zoe never really got chance to meet. LOL!
Let’s talk a bit about you Nikea. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Hmm long story short… I have always been in love with acting since a child…watching musicals, etc and I think ‘Annie’ was the thing that made me go “Hmmm I may want to do that”. I think once I got into college that is when I really gave it a go…and ended up having a minor role in a theatre production. Then I worked behind the scenes in the industry…TV, film development…agencies…management companies and none of it made me happy. I was then diagnosed with breast cancer (I’m happy to say I am a 7 year survivor now) and somehow it gave me the push to get back into acting classes and give it another shot. I also do stand up comedy and sketch comedy! I am in a group called Elite Delta Force 3 and we perform around Los Angeles and have performed in Chicago as well. You can see some of our work at www.youtube.com/edf3comedy.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
I think people think that there is really a such thing as an overnight success and they don’t really understand how much work goes into this…you do for sure get some really great opportunities like a manager or agent walking up to you saying “Hey, do you want to act?”…but when you’re in the room YOU have to win the role…and that takes work…any working actor will tell you my favorite quote “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success” and even then it’s not guaranteed…you have to really love this job and this business in order to succeed and you can never ever give up!
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Hahahaha I don’t have an I-Pod – I have Pandora on my phone and I listen to all types of music…I am pretty eclectic that way…I am not really a big hip-hop head…I love old school music, Chicago House, 90’s hip hop and soul music…I love electronic music like Zero 7, Morcheeba, it really varies on my mood. My friend David says he loves coming to my house cause he gets music ideas.
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, living or dead – who would they be and why?
The first person I would say is Jesus because I really want to know what he did between 12 and 33…see if he got into trouble…if he had a girlfriend…see if he tormented his sisters and brothers. Next would be Whoopi Goldberg…I am fascinated by her life and her journey in the business and would love to play her in the story of her life…people seem to think I look like her and I do an impression of her in my sketch group. I don’t think I have a 3rd person.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month or so?
Troy Davis is set to be executed on 9/21 and there is no real evidence against him and yet they won’t give him a stay of execution.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
More auditions and hopefully more work…I don’t have anything on the books right now…but the year is not over…so stay tuned…I know/hope you will be seeing more of me in the future! For now you can catch me in ‘The Heart Specialist’ coming out on DVD in October, on re-runs of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and if you have kids ‘Big Time Rush’!
Thanks for the interview!