ED- The Eerie Digest would like to present actress Natasha Blasick to our readers. Natasha, we understand that you originally came from Odessa in the Ukraine near the Black Sea. Tell us about your early life there.
NB- I grew up in the Soviet Union times, and remember being a Pioneer. A Pioneer is a little like being a Girl Scout or Boy Scout in America except that it led toward being an official member of the communist party. History interrupted that plan. I loved marching. It was a thrill to guard a monument honoring soldiers, a statue with an eternal flame. I wore a uniform and solemnly marched and stood at attention. After the wall came down 7UP, the soda, was popular. We called it “ZUP”. I went to a supermarket where the snobby clerks informed me they didn’t have ZUP, they had “Seven Up”. It was very new and exciting. I was so young when the wall came down I don’t feel it in relation to any political views. My communism was fun. My first acting was a monologue about how Lenin planted a tree. We were dancing on the streets when the USSR collapsed. Someone asked me why and I didn’t know. Swan Lake played over and over on all the TV channels.
ED- Tell us about your move to America and the change to your new life style here.
NB- Even on the flight over it was eye opening to see the landscapes of different countries. The ocean is huge. As I flew I could feel the bigness of the world. I brought two suitcases; one of them was only for Teddy Bears so I wouldn’t be lonely. Believe it or not I’m a mail order bride. My sister’s friend opened up an online dating agency and she asked me to join. It’s very common now but then it was a pretty new experience. I didn’t really have any goal to get married or leave my country but I met my future husband Martin. He’s a composer for tv/film. I’d never been around creative types. In fact I got my master’s degree in marketing. The “bohemian” lifestyle was totally new. I guess opposites attract.
NB- I was doing theater when I was little, maybe 3rd grade, and played the role of the school principle. There was a boy who was a tough kid, but when we acted I could feel our roles had shifted; I was the principle and he was the good student. This is when I first felt the amazing power of the stage. But I hadn’t ever planned on going into any kind of entertainment. It was never even a thought in Ukraine. I got a masters degree in marketing. In fact, when I first came to Los Angeles I thought I’d be in advertising, since I loved Melrose Place and especially Heather Locklear. I wanted to be like her. Then I realized she’s not really in the advertising business – she’s an actress.
I joined an extras casting agency to see if I’d like the routine of being on the set – and I loved it. I did 2 days on ‘Sleepover’ and 3 days on ‘Cellular’. Some people think the long days are frustrating but I love the people, getting ready for the shot, even the waiting is fun for me. One of the other girls recommended me to her modeling agency. It was a natural process. Soon after that I was in scene study classes and it’s been a real learning experience ever since.
Another powerful experience was competing in the Mrs. World Pageant. I’d always danced in pageants before, but this time I acted a scene from ‘Erin Brokovich’. My mother had urged me several times before to do acting instead of dancing as my talent and I finally took her advice. I could feel it was affecting the audience – a connection.
The challenge really appeals to me. It’s such a big challenge there’s no end to how far it can go. And it’s not only about the craft of acting, it’s got a business and marketing aspect that is important and challenging, too. And to live a well rounded life means incorporating some form of giving back. I’m still looking for the one charity to affiliate with. In the meantime I lend a hand to different causes and learn and grow from each one. It’s true what people say about getting back more than you give.
An actor is a type of nomad going from project to project. There’s no human resources department or company guidelines to follow. You’re on your own, hopefully for the better.
NB- I was still doing a lot of modeling during that time, but I did land a recurring role for a whole season of Spike network’s ‘MDN’ playing a bartender. It was also an opportunity to do some sketch comedy work including playing an American founding father. I also learned how important it is to study the craft of acting. I didn’t get what would have been a really great part for a Lifetime movie; the show gave comments to my agent that basically said I had talent but they weren’t sure if I had the proper acting training to take a chance on me. Like so many things I didn’t know what I didn’t know until putting in a few years of classes. You can have talent or looks, but there’s a real craft to acting that can’t be substituted in any other way than by diving in and getting to the work.
ED- You played several parts since, then played in two episodes of ‘Days of Our Lives’. Please tell us about the show and the parts that you played in it.
NB- It was fun to go to the NBC lot to report for work. Instantly I was dreaming of a recurring role. Actually my character, Sasha wasn’t killed, so you never know, right? I was part of an elite force of female secret soldiers that were working undercover as Eastern European sex slaves. Seduce, trap, and kill.
Soaps will keep rolling if an actor misses a line. They will just go back and pick it up. It was pretty impressive and smooth. We were shooting in a airplane set. Because it was missing part of the hull, the camera could track moves from the cockpit to the cabin. And right across the hallway was the Las Vegas set. This was the first time I did weapons work. We had an expert making sure we handled the guns safely.
ED- In 2007 you were in the productions of ‘The Russian Redneck’ and ‘Flash Click’. Tell us about these films and the characters that you portrayed.
NB- ‘Russian Redneck’ was shot on green screen. That was fun. I went to the Script to Screen festival in Tulsa to support it. It was my first festival. I was a presenter at the awards show and ‘Russian Redneck’ won for best series. That festival inspired me to get into producing. The indie spirit and supportive environment made it seem possible.
And ‘Flash Click’ was shot in Big Bear. It’s won some awards at festivals. It’s got a supernatural element. During that same time I shot a long form commercial with Eric Roberts for SeaDoo. It’s called ‘Rusty Dogs’. I was an Eastern European sex slave again.
I’ve played this type of part in several productions. I actually feel that it’s an honor to shine a light on this situation that’s very real. The daughter of one of my mother’s friends was kidnapped into this kind of slavery.
NB- ‘Death Of Evil’ is a turning point in my career because it’s also my first leading role in a feature film. Both ‘Death Of Evil’ and ‘Vampiro’ are Damian Chapa pictures. So many, many people are talking about making indie movies, but Damian actually gets it done, and with a quick schedule. We had met by chance a couple of years before ‘Death Of Evil’, but had gotten out of touch. I was thrilled to get the part of Julietta Aster, a European aristocrat being controlled by her family and their quest to create a 13th blood line. It’s a cross between ‘The DaVinci Code’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’.
The producing came naturally as a result of wanting the movie to go as far as it can. Damian and I see eye to eye on a lot of things, so I was primarily interfacing on the distribution side of things and the marketing and PR. The same for ‘Vampiro’. It opened up a whole new world to me. Damian is an actor first, too. But, he’s learned how to create his own path. I’m currently looking for the right script, a vehicle for me, to champion and bring into the world.
ED- In the same year you played a part in the film ‘Bobby Fischer Live’. Please tell our readers about this.
NB- It’s the part of a reporter interviewing Bobby Fischer, the eccentric chess legend, over the years. Makeup aged me over a 30 year time span. It was interesting because I learned details about the historic match with Boris Spassky. Of course I heard about Spassky but I didn’t really know that much about the meaning behind the match and how it related to the cold war. I did a bit of coaching for some of the Russian lines, too, for Americans playing Russians.
ED- This year we found you in the film ‘Dark Crossing’. Can you tell us the theme behind this production and the part that you play?
NB- It’s set in the drug tunnels from Mexico into the USA. I play a Russian drug dealer. It’s a Damian Chapa movie. He really fought to have me in that role because it was written for a native Spanish speaker. I had to learn enough Spanish to be convincing. It’s common for Damian to add lines on the set; and it happened here, too. It was a real challenge. It ended up giving an extra layer to the story. Some characters even explain the difference between Russian and Ukraine. I really loved that bit. There were a lot of guns in the movie. My gun was a smaller fake gun but, with proper supervision, I got some really great pictures holding big machine guns.
ED- You have recently finished the production entitled ‘Notes from the New World’. Can you give us a sneak-peek at the film and tell us something about it?
NB- It’s based on Dostoevsky’s ‘Notes From The Underground’. My character, Sonia, is borrowed from Dostoevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ and is one of the leads. It’s artsy. The director, Vitaly Sumin really pushes the cast to find the subtext, and even the subtext within the subtext. I re-read the original books and also Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’, which Vitaly suggested. I wanted to show, through my character, faith and an eternal light that carries on no matter how crazy it looks from the outside.
I still haven’t seen the finished movie but I’m really looking forward to it. I make my songwriting and singing debut, too, with a song called “My Soul”. It’s in Russian and is meant to sound like a traditional folk song. Acting has so many unexpected moments and challenges like that.
NB- I’m playing Brando’s first wife, Anna Kashfi. Playing a real person who is still alive is intimidating. I read her book ‘Brando For Breakfast’. She’s a complicated person, the mother of Christian Brando. Even Marlon Brando didn’t know she wasn’t Indian until after they were married. Apparently, she insists to this day that she is. She refuted her father’s statements that she’s Irish. She has moods, to say the least. Connecting to domestic violence is putting me in a bit of a different mental state. I was bruised after the first day of shooting. Tomorrow I’m on set in a dream sequence.
This is a testament to the importance of relationships. It’s the fifth Damian Chapa picture I’ve worked on. ‘Brando’ takes place over a period of 30 years so once again I am playing different ages. There’s a comfort level having worked together so much. I’m pretty excited for people to see this compelling movie.
ED- Natasha, you are a very beautiful and talented actress. I know that our readers are thrilled to learn about you. We also hope to hear more from you in the near future. We wish you luck, and thank you for spending this time with us.
Links for Natasha: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2632418/