Recently I watched THE EXECUTIONERS starring Natalie Burn. It was an intense horror-thriller Lionsgate film directed by Giorgio Serafini. I was given the opportunity to interview her and know how she came into films and what it was like to work in movies like The Expendables 3 in which she shared the big screen with Mel Gibson as his wife, and Mechanic: Resurrection starring Jason Statham. Actress NATALIE BURN Talks About The Executioners
Natalie Burn: I drew from the same inspiration that anyone in any profession chases. Whether it be the teacher wanting to build a better future for our children or the construction worker wanting to help create a building or the painter wanting to express their soul on a canvas. From a young age, we are all granted a passion for something. We are asked by our parents or teachers or friends “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Children will always answer this question honestly & unbiased. As a child, I answered this question in the truest sense of its intention: I wanted to be a star. And then, even at a young age, we begin to execute to the point of desiring recognition for it. I have been one to fight for things through fierce competition. When someone tells me I can’t do something or tells me they can do it better, a fire ignites inside of me and I can’t stop until I have proven everyone wrong. I know that people are all different and what inspires me won’t necessarily inspire someone else but it’s up to us to find what breathes passion into our lungs and allow it to take the reigns of our spirit into our work.
Natalie Burn: The honest answer would be much too long to explain here. I would literally have to write a novel to jam everything in. What I can say is that my journey is like everyone else’s. It’s one of a kind and a long path to walk to arrive where I still wish to be. I started as a ballerina, moving from city to city, learning different cultures. Always being forced to adapt, to learn different languages. Sometimes life makes you learn things you believe will have no use for you but all it becomes is preparation for a bigger challenge that ends up being what you needed to solve your entire life. I feel like all the experiences I had as a ballerina to a choreographer to an actress to a producer and so forth has prepared me for the biggest moments of my career thus far. And even with all of this necessary knowledge, I still don’t feel like I know everything. Without a doubt, I have much to learn and much more mistakes to make along the way. But this path I chose I will not exchange for anything.
Natalie Burn: I really liked Kay’s unpredictability. When I first read the script I didn’t understand her motives nor her actions and that intrigued me. I wanted to find out more about her. Whenever there are characters that beckon me to dig more, I salivate for the opportunity to find those hidden answers. Kay is a sublime abyss that I could excavate for hours. She has her dream of publishing her book and I believe her character begs to ask the audience: what lengths would you go to achieve your own dream? Actress NATALIE BURN Talks About The Executioners
Natalie Burn: The most important thing for me was to understand the logic behind those scenes. I read the script and I had many debates with the director on why we had to go to those heights. I wanted to make sure we weren’t just doing these scenes for the sake of gratuitous nudity and mindless violence. I am very much against showing nudity in the film unless it serves the character in a necessary way. But Giorgio convinced me that if we are going to show the unflinching act of rape & violence then we had to be fearless in our telling of the story. We had to make sure we conveyed those scenes brutally honest. Because if we want the audience to experience the suffering and pain of those characters, the material would have to be as unbiased as possible. Much like the very tough scenes to watch in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” with the sexual abuse of the lead character and then her retribution when she gets revenge on her assaulter. There was an understanding and need to show those scenes unfiltered. It had the profound effect it desired and achieved it’s goal of addressing the sensitive topic of rape and how unfortunately it happens everyday to people who never get to speak up about it. And that’s why I agreed to make this film. To support the empowerment of women in the face of the immeasurable odds against us. We must tell our stories no matter the critique. At the end of the day, if we have no strong topic to show the world, then why are we making movies in the first place?!
Natalie Burn: For anyone who’s a member of our industry, competition is a natural attribute. From auditions to the red carpet, there is always a small amount of rivalry that shows up. But there is also great levels of camaraderie that take center stage once a project is underway. Whether it be film or theatre, the ensemble is the most important thing to honor because no one can achieve the goals of a project alone. With this film, there was no room for competition because of the sensitive subject matter. During production, there was a real sense of safe professionalism and unconditional support. And those things were necessary so that when it came to the acting, we could take risks in a very safe environment. Actress NATALIE BURN Talks About The Executioners
Natalie Burn: In movies, usually, females don’t have as many roles as men do. And when they do it’s to accommodate the male leads in their ascension of their story. In this movie we are allowing the story to be driven from the female point of view, giving it the strongest voice. But also, we want to begin the conversation of the brutality of the sexual violence it displays. Usually those are 2 topics, when put together, have a lead male character that “saves the day” and that shouldn’t be the case here. We are entering a new era of storytelling and we need the world to see the ushering of this exciting way of movie making. And with the movies we have the powerful ability to write the narrative we want to tell, to show the masses that our stories hold weight and gravitas. The movies are a powerful medium. The majority of people in the world today won’t remember what they learned in a textbook from school but will remember what movie they watched when they were a teenager. On another note is it fair to use violence with men as they often use against women in real life? That’s up to the audience to answer. Much like the issues of the death penalty or abortion, controversy will always split people in the room. Our film is a controversial one. Some people will like it and others won’t but it is imperative to show the truth of this film so that those discussions can begin in order illicit change in the world. We as characters made our choices in the film and we didn’t all agree. Is the idea of “Eye for an Eye” valid here? Does the satiation of ones revenge truly heal their own wounds? That is the main message that I wanted to evoke to the audience when I made this film and it’s up to you now to make that decision.
Natalie Burn: They are all amazing actors that I either grew up on or admired. It was definitely a dream come true to meet them all at the same time. I didn’t get a chance to work with all of them on screen, (only Mel Gibson, which was an unforgettable experience), but I was lucky enough to get to know them while promoting the movie. What I can say with confidence is that those men are the pioneers in their craft and exude professionalism. They are the true legends that set the bar high for the new generation to follow. And the true definition of what it means to be a legend for me is one that knows how to encapsulate all aspects of performing art, (physically, mentally, emotionally), and bring it to life as if it were happening for the first time right in front of us. And that’s who those men are! Actress NATALIE BURN Talks About The Executioners
Natalie Burn: Yes. I was lucky enough to meet and know Wesley Snipes. We met on the set of Expendables 3. He was kind enough to watch one of my movies, “Awaken.” He gave me great honest and productive criticism. One of the things he said was that as we get older as actors, we ease into our characters more and don’t force moments nor emotions to happen. He then told me I should watch the movie “Misery” and learn from Kathy Bates on how to hide a secret using tactics through the character. And that’s the advice I tried to apply to my film “The Executioners.”
Natalie Burn: To get yourself out there as much as possible, to get into projects no matter the size or the budgets of them. Grab yourself a camera and just start shooting. We are living in a very exciting era where mediums like social media and YouTube have created opportunities to write our own destiny. Take advantage to create your own content. It’s important to know your assets and when the time comes, to be ready to shine. Hard Work + Talent = Luck.
Amazing interview. Loved reading ! Thank you.
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