I recently got the chance to talk to Heather Doerksen about her role in ‘In The Name Of The King 2: Two Worlds’. Here, Heather talks about how she got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Heather. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘In The Name Of The King 2: Two Worlds’.
No problem Matt. Thanks for getting a hold of me. I love to chat, so interview away!
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
This is a campy sci-fi action flick, about an ex-US Marine who gets transported back in time to a Medieval world full of dragons, black arts, and a kingdom that’s in danger of slipping into the hands of an evil tyrant.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I loved playing this particular character. Her name is Dunyana, and she is the heir to the throne after her mother, the Queen. She is strong, both in spirit and fighting ability. Even though she is a royal princess, she prefers to be out in front with her soldiers, fighting with them, for honour. She is passionate about reclaiming the throne for her people, who have been cast out of the kingdom.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I got a call from my agent to prepare for the audition, so I put on my most Medieval/Shakespearean-looking outfit, which happened to be a long skirt and a corset – (little did I know they were going to put me in a full neck-to-ankle costume that covered me up, complete with the armor Leelee Sobieski’s character wore in the first ‘In The Name of the King’. It was a real metal breast-piece and was pretty heavy to wear!) I went into the audition room and did the scene once. Uwe Boll said “Very good,” and I left. That was it. It was so quick, and I had almost forgotten about it, when I got a call a couple of weeks later saying I got the part!
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Well, if you’ve ever seen a Uwe Boll picture, you know what you’re getting into! Along with the lure of Dolph Lundgren – (I mean, come on, it’s DOLPH!) it’s a light romp full of Shakespearean-type dialogue, special effects, and fight scenes. You can’t take it too seriously, which is exactly Uwe’s approach to this type of filmmaking. This film is definitely a fun time!
The film stars Dolph Lundgren, Lochlyn Munro, Natassia Malthe, Christina Jastrzembska, Aleks Paunovic, Natalie Burn, Elisabeth Rosen and Michael Adamthwaite – with Uwe Boll onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
I was filming a scene that leads up to the battle, and I had finished all the dialogue, which was supposed to be the end of the scene – (and the end of my day on set). At the point when I thought I was done for the day, the stunt coordinator came up to me and said that Uwe would like me to do a fight scene. I was asked if I’d ever done sword-fighting before… “No”. It wasn’t in the original script that I was to do any fighting at all, much less sword-fighting, so I hadn’t learned before getting to set. But I really like to do my own stunts, whenever possible, so I was up to the challenge. The stunt coordinator had to give me a crash course in sword-fighting techniques. I’ve danced my whole life so was hoping that the fight choreography would stick in my head. After they filmed me killing one guy, Uwe said he wanted another. So I learned a whole new fight scene. Then Uwe wanted another. So I learned a third fight scene. All three were used in the final film, and it was so fun! That’s the thing with Uwe. He does scenes in one take, usually, so there’s so much time at the end of the day, and that day in particular we were able to shoot three extra fight scenes that we had to just make up on the spot.
Let’s talk a bit about you Heather. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’d always been drawn to performing, but it wasn’t until I was in my first year of college that I realized I really wanted to dedicate myself to it as a career. I actually was studying Science and Math in my first year, and with my course load of Science, I also took one theatre course. The teacher was almost a motivational speaker more than an acting teacher, and one class he had us find a spot in the room, close our eyes and then he asked, “Picture what makes your heart sing. Now ask yourself what’s stopping you from doing that. And ask yourself how you can start.” I pictured myself acting. And that was the day I changed my major from Science to Theatre, and I graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University. And from there, things just started rolling. I really think that if you’re following your heart’s desire, things will just start opening up for you.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
I would say to train with a teacher you love – (audit classes til you find someone) and develop your own work! I formed a theatre/film company after graduating from college with five other school colleagues, and we wrote, acted in, produced, and directed our own original shows for two years that mixed live theatre with film. It was great, because we were never waiting around for the phone to ring, we were doing it ourselves, and staying artistically fulfilled at the same time. I recently worked with Charlie Day on ‘Pacific Rim’, and he said he would not be where he is today had he not started writing ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ with his two close friends. He took it into his own hands. Persistence is one of the most important qualities in this business. There are so many auditions – (or meetings with agents/managers) and not everyone will like what you have to offer. But SOMEONE will, and that is a magical moment.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV series’ – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why? Any good stories?
I loved working with Kathy Bates in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’. She was so warm and generous, and funny. She actually gave me a ride back from set to my trailer one day and she asked what projects I had coming up next, and I told her there was nothing at the moment. And Kathy said “Well, don’t worry, it won’t take long. You’re good.” It was so sweet of her to give such encouraging words, especially since I was just starting my career, and was kind of timid at the time. Something that may have seemed so simple to her meant the world to me.
Another great time on set was for ‘The Client List’ with Jennifer Love Hewitt. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that she plays a wife and mother who starts working at a brothel in order to keep her family afloat. The part I played was a friend of hers at the ‘massage parlor’, so we were pretty much hanging around on set all day in our lingerie! It was bonding to say the least, and we had some pretty hilarious dance parties trying to imitate the choreography for Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies” in the cast room. I laughed so hard on that set with all the brothel ladies, and Jennifer Love Hewitt was really sweet.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Conan O’Brien, Ellen DeGeneres, and Meryl Streep. I feel that if I were to be in the presence of Meryl Streep, I would be rendered speechless and awestruck. So in the time I’d need to find my voice again, Conan and Ellen would make us all laugh so hard, and buy me some time to form some actual sentences!
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I love New York. It feels like home actually. People walk at the same pace as me! I love the bustling nature, the characters you see everywhere, the subway, the art, Broadway. New York remains a city where it feels like anything is possible…
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
If it’s rainy – (which it often is, living in the rainforest that is Vancouver), I love cuddling up on the couch and watching a good movie or series. Right now I’m watching ‘Dexter’, ‘Breaking Bad’, and ‘Game Of Thrones’. If it’s sunny, I head to the beach and read. I’ve just started ‘Harry Potter’, and I love how imaginative the world is. I’m way behind on the ‘Harry Potter’ train, but I’m on it now, and I’m loving it!
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I have been busy shooting ‘Pacific Rim’ in Toronto for the past 7 months. It was a whirlwind of a shoot, being on the biggest movie set I have ever stepped foot on. Simply incredible. I had to cut my hair off and dye it platinum blonde, which was quite the experience! I was working with one of my dream directors, Guillermo Del Toro, who was so laid back and hilarious, swearing like a sailor and making everyone just so at ease on such a massive project. One day, after a take, he shouted from the monitors, “Heather! You are a serious mother fucker!” I may just have to put that on my gravestone, haha! The movie comes out July 2013 and I’m so excited to see how it turns out! I just got back to Vancouver and am heading full-on back into projects. I just booked a role on the upcoming Warner Bros feature ‘Hidden’, which I’ll be shooting in September. You never know what’s around the bend in this business, so I’ll have to wait and see what else 2012 brings!
Thanks for the interview!