Actress Kristanna Loken talks about her role Hottessa in The Legend of Awesomest Maximus, due out on Blu-ray and DVD March 20
Actress Kristanna Loken broke onto the scene playing the deadly/sexy T-X terminator in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, after many years of smaller guest-starring roles on TV. The actress has put together a diverse body of work since then, with bigger TV roles, recurring on The L Word and starring as Painkiller Jane, and film roles such as BloodRayne and SWAT: Firefight.
The actress is now delving into the comedy world with the spoof National Lampoon's the Legend of Awesomest Maximus, which debuts on Blu-ray and DVD March 20. I recently had the chance to speak with Kristanna Loken over the phone, and here's what she had to say about playing a character named Hottessa in this spoof.
It looks like it's been awhile since you've done a comedy. I was wondering what was more appealing to you, getting to do comedy again, or just playing a character named Hottessa?
Kristanna Loken: (Laughs) Well, a little bit of both. I enjoy doing comedy, and yeah, it had been awhile since I had done a comedy. Since we shot the movie, I've done some comedy theater a couple of times, one improv and one scripted, at the Improv here in Los Angeles. I really liked the script. As you know, it's a spoof of Troy, 300, movies in that vein. It was very politically incorrect, and very funny, so I thought what the hell? Why not do something outside the box?
At this point in your career though, do you get sent comedy scripts often? You have a background in big action movies, but do you get comedy scripts sent to you also?
Kristanna Loken: A little bit, a little bit. I think it depends, also, what the film is looking for. I think in this sense, since I've done some of those big, epic films, it feels right to have me do a spoof version of it. I do get some, yeah.
Did you find yourself going back and watching any of these movies like Troy or Gladiator, just to get into the right mindset before you went to the set?
Kristanna Loken: Some of the references were really broad, and I remembered them from the films, and it was pretty clear to me. The one thing that we did go back and watch, the love scene between myself and Will Sasso, my prince, was a blatant spoof of 300, where all of the sudden, the wind picks up in their bed chambers, and everything goes into slow motion, and everything has this hyper sense of reality. We did watch that a little bit, with the director, just to get an idea of what they did.
There is a great cast here with Will Sasso, Rip Torn, and even Dennis Haskins. Were all of these people attached when you came on?
Kristanna Loken: Well, Will was definitely on board, and I was familiar with his work. I thought it would be fun to play with him a little bit. I'm trying to think if anyone else might have been on board, at that point. I think Rip Torn might have been on board. I met with the director, Jeff Kanew, who obviously people remember from Revenge of the Nerds, and I thought it would be fun to work with him. He actually gave me a book called Lady MacBeth, by Susan King. He said, 'I want you to read it, and obviously keeping in mind that we're doing a spoof film, but your character, in a sense, is Lady MacBeth. She is the princess who is desperate to become queen, and she'll basically stop at nothing, to get what she wants.' There were some parallels to draw from Lady MacBeth, but in the very broad sense of the word.
That's cool though, he had that base established, of who the character really was.
Kristanna Loken: Yeah, even though we're doing a broad comedy, we wanted to make the characters as rich and full as possible.
Can you talk a bit about Jeff's style on the set, and what he really brought to a movie like this?
Kristanna Loken: He has a very, very laid-back demeanor, but he's definitely not afraid to go the extra distance to get the laughs. He goes to such an extreme that at times, I'm almost watching through my fingers, going, 'Oh my God, I can't believe they're actually doing this.' He was great. I really, really enjoyed working with Jeff, and I would be happy to do so again.
I was wondering if there was someone in the cast who was most susceptible to cracking up on the set?
Kristanna Loken: Well, Will is so quick and so funny, he's the type of actor who definitely goes off script, and rightfully so. He's got a lot of good material. We never quite knew what was going to come out of his mouth, or how it was going to come out of his mouth, and that's one of the reasons why he's a great comedian. I don't think two takes were ever the same. If we had a blooper reel, I'm sure it would be very rich with material.
You have a few projects which are in various stages of development right now. Can you talk about any of these projects, or what you might be doing next?
Kristanna Loken: Sure. I have a project that is very special to me. It's a film I'm also producing and starring in alongside Bruce Dern, who is such a legend and such an amazing guy to work with. It's called Love Orchard, and it's the polar opposite from Awesomest Maximus. It's a drama, inspired by actual events, and it deals with the immigration crisis in America. I play an attorney, Bruce Dern plays my father, and they own a fruit farm in upstate New York. They have Mexican migrant workers who live and work on the farm. One of the families that lives on the farm, they have three children, the two oldest were born in the U.S., so they're citizens, and the youngest was on an ill-fated trip back to Mexico, when the mother was dying. When they try to re-enter the country, the little girl, at the age of two and a half, faces deportation. My character ends up trying the case, on a national level, and ends up raising awareness of this family, who becomes a microcosm of the case as a greater whole. We are just about finished. We have our first screening of the film next week. We are very excited. I think it will be a festival darling piece. On the other end of the spectrum, I'm also going to be back on Burn Notice this upcoming season. They introduced my character last year, and I'll be back again. I have another project that's kind of in the mix, but I don't think I should talk about that one yet.
When are you looking for Love Orchard to hit the festival circuit?
Kristanna Loken: We have our first screening next week, and that will be the first time that any of us have seen it in its entirety. The first submission will be to Cannes. I think festivals, a lot of times, are brought towards films because of the subject matter. It's a very human story of keeping a family together, and human rights. It's about a lot more than immigration, but since immigration is such a topical theme right now, we feel it will have a widespread appeal for many festivals. Cannes is the next one coming up, so that's the one we're gunning for.
Finally, what would you like to say to your fans, or to anyone who loves a good spoof, about why they should pick up National Lampoon's the Legend of Awesomest Maximus on Blu-ray or DVD starting March 20?
Kristanna Loken: I think with this one, they'll be in for a good, fun, politically incorrect, wild ride. They'll definitely be seeing Kristanna in a different light, so it should be fun.
Great. Well, that's my time. Thanks so much. It was great talking to you.
Kristanna Loken: Yeah, you too. Take care!
You can watch Kristanna Loken as Hottessa in National Lampoon's the Legend of Awesomest Maximus, which debuts on Blu-ray and DVD March 20.
National Lampoon's the Legend of Awesomest Maximus was released March 20th, 2012 and stars Kristanna Loken, Rip Torn, Sophie Monk, Ian Ziering, Deon Richmond, Gary Lundy, Dennis Haskins, Tony Cox. The film is directed by Jeff Kanew.