I recently got the chance to talk to Alicia Ziegler about her role in ‘Rise Of The Dinosaurs’ – (also known as ‘Jurassic Attack’). Here, Alicia talks about how she got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
While returning from a military expedition, a commando unit crash-lands in a dense, remote, tropical jungle that also happens to be a lost world populated by dinosaurs. The commando unit must find a way out of this isolated valley before becoming prey for prehistoric predators.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the film…
I play a soldier on a mission to help rescue a scientist that has been captured by local terrorists. My character, Sarah Hadelman, is a feisty, strong and “by the books” lieutenant that can hold her own with the boys. Portraying her was fun as we are both focused, strong-minded with wise-ass flare.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
One of my friends penned the script. When I read the script, I fell in love with my character, Sarah. The director really liked my spunk and vision for the character. It was a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on my athletic nature and my…um…bossier leadership qualities!
How would you say this film is unique and different?
The story isn’t just a ‘Dinosaurs in Setting X’ scenario but in many ways a modern-day interpretation of ‘The Lost World’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. We shot with two different cameras: one for the acting and one for CGI. The project took us to Belize – which was hotter than Hades. Like most films, not everything makes it to the screen and much of it ends up on the editing room floor, but we filmed a great deal of footage out in the jungle and I feel that our camaraderie comes across on the screen.
The film stars Gary Stretch, Corin Nemec, Vernon Wells, Michael Worth, Natascha Berg, your good self, Israel Saez De Miguel and Rachel Riley – with Anthony Fankhauser onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
That said, it was like a bag of pop rocks! Every day you could count on having a popping good time. I absolutely loved working with everyone. Gary Stretch taught me how to box on our down time. I think he just wanted to knock me around some. Plus, he had the most crass and vulgar humor ever – he was hilarious. Steve Hack was a special egg. This man – not only smart, but also extremely selfless – had the greatest attitude. He would do whatever it took to immerse himself into his character. He was the glue of each day and made everyone feel comfortable running around playing commando amongst a world of unseen dinosaurs! But the real star of the show was the bus we camped out on each day as our set trailer. We never named it, but it was our home away from home and everyone who rode on it has a story!
Let’s talk a bit about you Alicia. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
When I was about 13, I saw the movie ‘Twister’. When I left the theatre, I thought to myself “THAT has to be the coolest job ever!”, I get to play pretend and never be limited. The energy of that feeling activated my passion in an instant and it’s never left!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Become well versed in your craft. Be confident. Be brave. Be present and thankful for when you do work, because there can be a lot of downtime. So find other hobbies and interests to keep you creatively driven in between jobs! I hold a Masters degree in Nutrition as I love helping people live healthier lives and achieve their fitness goals. I am also a writer. I am writing a journey toward self-discovery titled, ‘I Know Not Why’. Ultimately, each moment you get to “act” whether it be two minutes, two hours, two days, two weeks, two months, two years, SOAK IT UP.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV series – which actors and actresses have been your favorite to work with and why?
Oh wow. This isn’t as easy as telling you my favourite brand of Peanut Butter, but I’ll give it a whirl. I’ve been blessed to work with many great people, but there are a few that have always had a special place in my heart because of the way I was treated by them.
Lance Henriksen is at the top of my list! What a gentleman and what an icon! His voice and his laugh are like none other; I can literally close my eyes and hear them both any time I want to. He made each day that we worked together on ‘Beautiful Wave’ utterly delightful. He is so full of wisdom and fantastic stories. And I picked up smoking because of Lance. I was never a smoker and I don’t smoke today. But, I was standing next to Lance under a tree outside our trailer and thought, “One day I’m going to want to say, I had a cigarette, or few, with THE Lance Henriksen!” and so I did. I lit up! Me? The health nut? I quit shortly thereafter, but I felt it was like a rite of passage.
I’ve also had the honor of working with Nathan Fillion (‘Castle’). He made me feel appreciated both on set and in between takes. He is very smart and has a very comedic side that helped keep my nerves at bay each time I was about to launch into a lengthy monologue in one of my scenes. He is a dear friend and I feel blessed to know Captain Malcolm Reynolds!
Callie Thorn (‘Necessary Roughness’) is not only incredibly talented, but she gives you more to work with than most people. Never have I ever met an artist with such remarkable listening skills. There is no “acting” with her – it truly is the art of just being. She’s dynamite and her energy is contagious.
Daniel Dae Kim (‘Hawaii Five-O’) is really cool. He is laid back, smart and a total jokester – which I didn’t expect when he plays such a hardball on the show. In between takes, we talked exercise and nutrition. At lunch one day he sat down next to me and said, “Don’t look at my plate. I know I shouldn’t be eating any of this?”
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
What isn’t? I listen to EVERYTHING. However, I have a severe crush on James Morrison. I have a million play lists for training, driving to auditions, from auditions, writing, etc. Some recent picks are:
Not Giving In (feat. John Newman & Alex Clare)
Leggo by B.Smyth (feat 2 Chainz)
Time Bomb by Iration
Seven Devils by Florence & The Machine
Ho Hey by The Lumineers
Latch by The Singles
Put the Gun Down by ZZ Ward
The Sun Will Rise by Kelly Clarkson
California Dreamin’ by Bobby Womack
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Freedom by Anthony Hamilton
Where the River Flows by Collective Soul
If I could have dinner with three guests (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
First of all, this question is like choosing one food to eat all day, every day for the rest of your life. Ugh, so HARD! But here goes…
Neil Gaiman because he’s NEIL GAIMAN! Author of ‘American Gods’, one of my all time favorite books! I bet he could generate conversations at a table like it’s his soul mission in life. If Neil can’t make it, then Ralph Waldo Emerson can be his stand in!
Iyanla Vanzant because she could take the entire dinner party on a joy ride of laughs and tears. By dessert, everyone would be healed of their life’s crap! I think she is simply amazing at what she does. A life-coach with a no BS approach? Yup! Bring it!
But my third person to dinner would have to be Tom Cruise. I know every word to ‘Top Gun’ and I’m a fan. I honestly think he hasn’t looked far and wide enough for his next Mission Impossible girl! I mean really, I’m RIGHT here!
And, in the event that I am allowed a fourth…I am a huge football fan – so if Wes Welker would like to talk about why he just ditched the Patriots and left me and Brady hanging – he is also more than welcome to show face!
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
While I loved quite a few, the only movie of 2012 that I saw more than once was ‘End Of Watch’. I am an adrenaline junkie so ‘Safe House’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Skyfall’, and ‘The Bourne Legacy’ were also in the mix. I want to be a part of the action! Is it obvious?
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
I filmed an indy feature, ‘Committed’, earlier this year with alongside Mark Hapka. It’s my first psychological thriller so I’m excited to see how that turns out.
Thanks for the interview!