Photo Credit: James Lew, editing by @adoubleleye
Back in 2012, long before I began acclimating myself in the stunt community via social networking and not yet learning who actress and stuntwoman Tara Macken was at the time, I got the chance to see director Gary Ross’s theatrical adaptation of the YA novel, The Hunger Games. It was a film that I thoroughly enjoyed and one I am glad to have seen as that particular franchise progresses its next three films, with Macken also credited in its latest sequel, Catching Fire. It is also a film I was happy to experience as an unforeseen precursor to starting my site and ultimately meeting Macken online, whose growing body of work can now be seen in her latest action reel now available on her YouTube channel in the embed below.
Namely drawing her inspiration from characters such as Angelina Jolie’s lead role in the 2001 film, Tomb Raider, and that of actress Zhang Ziyi and action legend Jackie Chan, Macken has risen significantly in the last seven years since beginning her training in stunts for a professional career in film and television. Upon relocating from the Bay Area to Los Angeles within the last decade, her journey in life has largely immersed itself atheltically and competitively, as well as dancing and acting, a dynamic journey that would ultimately earn her the privilege of working on a number of exciting productions with some truly amazing people. “I have a couple of real fond memories from working on set.” she says. “Most of them involve fighting actors that I’ve grown up watching! [laughs] I got to fight Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3 and Justin Timberlake in an Audi commercial. It was great working with actors that are as awesome off camera as they are on camera.” She continued, “I also love the feeling right after you perform a stunt. There is a breath of silence where everyone is waiting for you to give the sign that your okay, after which follows up with an applause. The theatre geek in me loves this, it reminds me of performing on stage, plus it’s great to watch the cast and crew’s reactions to a stunt.”.
In addition to her role in Josh Waller’s latest Zoë Bell headliner, Raze, some of Macken‘s new ventures in action can now be seen in the new trailer for the upcoming fantasy martial arts adventure, Ninja Apocalypse. And while fans wait to learn more about the film upon its expected tentative release this April, Macken solely expressed praise for its director, Lloyd Lee Barnett, as well as the film’s fight choreographer, Matt Berberi, telling Film Combat Syndicate “…Lloyd Barnett was great communicating his creative vision for the film, and he made sure that the project was fun and enjoyable to be apart of. And I’ve worked for and with Matt on many projects. He is very story driven and technique based in his choreography. He has an encyclopedia of knowledge for action and film, so it’s always a pleasure to work with someone so well versed in the medium.”.
With her career in full bloom, like any artist, Macken‘s successes have allowed her to evolve more creatively, in various aspects of her field. Primarily however, she also expressed an emphasis on the importance of photography in adding to one’s own knowledge and understanding of film. “Over the years, I’ve gotten into photography, as a means to learn how to tell a story through still images and to learn how to use a camera.” she says. “Photography also helps you learn how to be a better performer, model, director and it exercises your imagination. Besides stunts and acting I ultimately want to direct. I directed my first project last year, a music video for a folk pop artist. I’ve also directed little fight shorts and dabbled in stunt coordinating and fight choreography.”.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what the future will bring for Macken and action fans like myself. Ninja Apocalypse looks like it will be a fun film to watch, and at rate she continues to grow as a formidable, multifaceted actress, she promises even more action from here on out, with the second season of the Crackle digital webseries, Cleaners. In addition, she will appear in next week’s theatrical release of Divergent, followed by June 27 release of Transformers: Age Of Extinction and next year’s long-awaited premiere of Fast And Furious 7 on April 10, 2015. And of course, you can be sure there are plenty of surprises to come, and I look forward to sharing them with you all in due time.
For now, check out her new action reel and subscribe to her official Facebook page with links to subscribe via Twitter, her official website, and much more!