Tasya Teles: I’m feeling great! Enjoying the sunshine, hiking with my mom’s dog, even drinking healthy green juice…trying to do good things!
TT: Like many in the field, I got the acting bug as a child but I committed to the industry at a professional level only about 4 and a half years ago. I can’t believe it’s been that long already – so much has happened! I feel that I’ve learned so much and become really immersed in acting.
TT: In university I majored in finance, but then I took a couple of acting courses and my world changed. I immediately knew that I couldn’t ignore my love for storytelling. The universe supported my choice. The stock market crashed, and I said to myself: It’s time to do what I love.
TT: Great question! There’s certainly quite a few. Definitely The Princess Bride! Aside from the fact that Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) looks like my father, it’s an amazing classic storybook tale with hilarious characters and a rich imaginary land. Then there’s Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Goodfellas, 300, Snatch, Schindler’s List and The Last Samurai; Among the more current films, I would include The Departed, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, Shutter Island…I could go on.
TT: While I was born in Toronto Canada, I’m half Ukrainian and half Brazilian. Given the two cultural roots which were strong in my home, I find it quite easy to connect with very different types of characters; the warm, nurturing, free loving ones which remind me of the energy at the beaches in Rio, as well as the generous joking but resilient Slavic characters, who survived tough winters and political strife in Eastern Europe. Overall, I like ass-kicking characters the best, and am now training in martial arts to develop those skills. Wish me luck!
TT: It was Christmas and I was heading to Thailand for a holiday after a year of hard work. I needed a break. As far as I was concerned, I was done for the year; my vacation was starting! But, the universe had different plans for me I guess. My agent called telling me about the ‘perfect role’, and insisted I have a quick look. When I saw that it was written on the topic of Human Trafficking, I was immediately hooked.
Human Trafficking is a subject that I have cared about and been involved with for years, even before I was acting. I have been developing my own organization, called the Unslaved (theUnslaved.com), which sells simple, high-quality bracelets to make money to build alternative opportunities such as schools and training programs to help human traffic victims and end modern slavery. As it was I was finally going to Thailand to visit an organization, COSA, that prevents Human Trafficking along the Thai borders, and it was tough for me to abandon that plan. However, after reading the script, and meeting with the producers and Ekachai, I just had a gut feeling that this role was made for me.
I didn’t make it to COSA that year, as I was shooting in Bangkok, however I had the opportunity to bring light to human trafficking in a much more powerful way. The whole thing was very serendipitous, and a very special experience.
TT: The story is great – I think it is the main reason I decided to go in and talk with Ekachai and the producers. Naturally, the idea of working alongside some of the cast members was an exciting prospect, and I applaud Dolph for bringing attention to an issue that people aren’t comfortable discussing. Skin Trade goes into the dark world of human trafficking, and so the film needed a director that could bring a flare of warmth and artistry to the film, and provide some balance. Ekachai was able to do that, and infuse a bit of Thai humor as well as filmic authenticity to the whole production.
FCSyndicate: Chloe Babcook plays your daughter, Sofia, in the film. What was she like to work with?
TT: Chloe was hilarious. Silly would be a word that best describes Chloe! We had a lot of laughs on set together, and she’s an amazing actress. During her monologue with Dolph I would be so engaged, I’d sometimes almost miss my cue. I still see her often. She’ll introduce me as her mom, and I’ll pretend to get mad at her for coming home late. One day it’ll get old, but we still have a lot of fun when we see each other.
TT: Yes! Chloe and I both saw it, and then I saw it again recently at the premier. There were a lot of stunt gags that all of us were dying to see after post. It is always exciting see how everything comes together at the end of the day. This project really blew my mind. It’s difficult to talk about these fight scenes without giving anything away. But they really did a fantastic job on the movie. I guess you’ll have to watch it yourselves to see! 😉
TT: If Ron Perlman comes knocking at my door with a movie offer, I ain’t sayin’ no! You can count on that!
TT: A lens into a dangerous world that otherwise only exists in shadows, and behind closed doors. A couple twists and turns to keep you on your toes, some humor, some sexiness, romance… Oh yeah, and I think there may be one or two action scenes in there as well. 😉
TT: Yes! I have two big projects that are in discussion right now, keep your fingers crossed! Otherwise I am working on a disturbing Sci-Fi project called ‘Ethix’ this summer, and you can always catch me on CW’s The 100, as the badass grounder Echo, kicking some butt!
TT: [laughs] Yes, I told Tony Jaa that he better teach me some moves next time I see him, or I’ll hunt him down and karate chop him. I said it with a very mean voice and wild eyes, but he didn’t seem too threatened. Dolph and I are staying in radio contact via email as we both have various productions coming up soon, hopefully we’ll be working together in the future on Skin Trade 2. You never know!
FCSyndicate: In parting, is there anyone you would like to shout out or lend a special thanks to?
|Picture credit: Bellaphoto|
TT: Definitely! I am so grateful to be a part of this project. Dolph, Craig Baumgarten and the entire production team deserve a shout out for putting this story in motion. On set though, I would like to thank Ben Nott, our cinematographer, for being so on point, and Mike Dopud for teaching me how to stay calm in the middle of an on-set fire bomb.
Special thanks to Agatha Gozdur for playing an intergral role in making this interview possible!
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.