Saturday, 14 May 2011


With a career which is heading 200 mph into the stretch, Nadia Bjorlin is right on the curve of stardom. The model, singer, musician and former daytime TV star from Days of Our Life is smart, funny, talented and exploding down the line with her first starring role in a big budget film – the racing adventure RedLine. It isn’t easy getting noticed amongst some of the most expensive and hottest machines to ever burn asphalt, but Bjorlin more than holds her own and raises the temperature on the screen herself.

A couple of weeks before before RedLine hit the multiplexes, Bjorlin checked in to tell us all about her career. She also let us in on what it was like to be behind the wheel of a major movie… as well as some luxury sports cars that are worth more than most people’s homes.

You were born in Sweden. When did your family move to the US?

I was seven years old when my family moved. I grew up in Sweden. It’s my first language. But I was the only kid [in my family] who wasn’t born there. I was born in Newport, Rhode Island.

Your father was a composer and your brother and sister are also actors. Do you feel that artistic temperaments can thrive in a family?

Oh, definitely. My family is very artistically driven. My father was a conductor and composer of classical music. My mom is a painter. She does interior design by profession, but she paints amazingly. So, yeah, I think it definitely runs in families and it runs in the blood. It’s all we’ve ever known and done. I have three brothers and two sisters and every one has been through it.

How did you first get involved in acting?

I started of by doing music when I was probably six years old. Playing the piano… all my brothers and sisters and I played the piano. We sang. We studied music. We all picked different instruments. I learned how to play the flute and the harp. I did opera, as well. I performed in operas and musical theater. That sort of segued into full-on acting.

I read that won an opera competition in 1999 and you also can play guitar, piano, flute and harp. If you weren’t acting, do you think you’d be a singer or musician? Do you still work in music?

It’s still a huge part of my life. I’ve really been fortunate in every acting job I’ve ever had, really, I’ve gotten to use my musicality in some way. Even on Days of Our Lives, which I was on for five years, my character was a singer. (chuckles) She was an opera singer. So it sort of conveniently worked out that I’ve gotten to have the best of both worlds. I’m really fortunate. I wouldn’t want to choose one over the other. I really like to have both of them as a part of my life.

Previously to RedLine, you are probably best known for your work on Days of Our Lives. They say that soaps can be a great training for an actress, but really hard work. How do you feel being on a soap has helped your craft?

It helped tremendously. It’s an experience that I would never trade for anything in the world. It just teaches you really good discipline and good work ethic. Daytime moves so quickly and there’s so much material. I think a lot of times people don’t give the actors their due respect, because of the amount of work they put in. But, that’s okay. You just learn to work at a really quick pace. You learn that you really have to stay on top of it. You can’t be lazy. You have to be able to crank out at least an entire episode a day… whereas prime time you get eight or ten days at least to do an hour. It really teaches you to stay focused and be with it. It kind of humbles you, as well, for the rest of the acting world, because everything else seems so much easier, in comparison. When you start to work – doing a film, where you do like maybe two pages a day, you’re like, wow, this is cake. (laughs)

What attracted you to the script for RedLine?

It just seemed like it was going to be so much fun. I’d never been involved in anything like that at all. That was all fast-paced, fun and funny. A lot of action. Having the opportunity to learn about those cars and learn how to drive them and put them in action – it was kind of amazing. It’s fun to be paid to show up and have a great time.

Now I have to admit, you are one of the first people I’ve ever interviewed where I have not yet seen the film. So why don’t you give me an idea of what it’s about and what to expect from RedLine?

Well, my character, Natasha Martin, is a mechanic. She owns an auto body shop with her family, with her mother. Cars are what runs in their family, music runs in mine. (laughs) She owns an auto body shop which specializes in modifying high-end cars. She also has a garage band, so I do get to sing in this movie. Eddie Griffin’s character shows up in the beginning. He's a music mogul and he has his Ford GT 340 worked on. [He] asks Natasha to take him for a test drive in his new car. He’s really impressed by her driving skills, because her father was a race car driver, who died racing. So she’s sort of chosen… she loves it but she’s chosen to live without that because she doesn’t want to leave her mother by herself – in case something ever happened, because it’s dangerous, obviously. Basically, without giving too much away, Eddie Griffin’s character does sort of entice Natasha into this world of racing, because he’s involved in the illegal underground world of racing, where all these bored millionaires hang out and race all their nice cars.

So what was it like working with all of those expensive cars? How much of your own driving did you get to do? Were you worried about having something happen like what happened to Eddie the other day, where he totaled one of the cars?

Umm, you know, what? No, actually it didn’t. I don’t think I could think of that. You kind of had to be very fearless. The director and the second unit director were were very insistent that we do as much driving as possible. They started to train us before production – to learn how to slide cars and do reverse 180s. And, learn how these cars work, because, of course, they are nothing to be messed with. They are some very sophisticated machines. It’s not like driving a Honda Accord. (laughs) They said, listen, people are going to be expecting to see something. They are not going to believe you guys drove the cars, so we need you to really do it. Because audiences are sophisticated, so this movie set out to have us do as much as possible. To use as little CGI effects – actually, I believe that none of it – none of the stunts were CG in the movie, which is pretty amazing. We did a lot of it. I guess it is crazy, you don’t think about it until afterwards. Your adrenaline is rushing and you’re driving those cars and you’re two inches away from a camera car. You could very well crash into that. (laughs) You could crash into the other cars.

Your character is a woman who lives and succeeds in a world that is very much male-dominated. Was that liberating as an actress?

Yes, it was definitely. At the same time, it’s slightly intimidating, because you go, you know what, I want to do this justice. I want people to really believe in this. And there are women in that world, who do race cars and what not. They have a lot of obstacles that they have to overcome. So you just hope that you do the character justice. Do the role justice. And, you know, it’s all about the driving, too. I was like, you know what, I really have to attack this driving, fiercely.

In the film, your character is asked if she believes in luck and says she doesn’t need luck. What about you, do you believe in luck? Do you think it helps your life and your career?

You know, I don’t know. No, I guess I don’t believe in luck either. (laughs) Of course, I’m sure that there is… you know; people who win a lottery or something. That’s luck. That’s all… beyond certain aspects of life, that’s simply all luck. But, I also believe that our actions in life make that luck a lot easier. You have to buy the lottery ticket if you’re going to win the lottery. (laughs) So there’s a sense of that work that goes behind it.

This was a nice, eclectic cast – veterans like Tim Matheson and Eddie Griffin and newer actors like yourself. What were they like to work with?

It was really a lot of fun. I mean, Tim Matheson, I sort of grew up seeing him. Seeing his work. It was really, really a nice camaraderie amongst everybody… and you can’t always say that. But I feel like we were really fortunate that it was a really eclectic cast, but at the same time I felt like I learned so much by watching them. They were so professional, but so giving, artistically. And personally. It was really amazing. Everybody was just really fun. Everybody was so different that it was kind of nice to challenge yourself in different ways as an actor. Eddie is the funny man – and he’s also really smart. He’s a funny man who’s always on. You sort of have to keep up with him, because he makes up most of his dialogue.

Eddie Griffin says in one of the promo films that you have a set of eyes that pull you in and make you wanna do things. Any idea what things was he talking about?

(laughs) I have no idea what he’s talking about. (laughs harder) I’m going to pretend like I don’t know what he’s talking about…

Are you a big action movie fan?

Yeah, I am. I mean, who isn’t? I’ve never really met anybody who hasn’t at least somewhat enjoyed action movies. Because you get something out of it that makes you… whether it’s just a form of escapism and having fun and just being able to cheer and being at the edge of your seat and have a good time. There’s always something fun about that. Plus, having three brothers and growing up, I’ve seen every action movie there is. (laughs)

You also did a movie called If I Had Known I Was a Genius that just played Sundance. What was that like? Was that before or after RedLine?

That was actually done before RedLine. It was a completely different cast and vibe. It’s an ensemble comedic movie, with a really stellar cast. Even the smallest roles in that movie were done by amazing, comedic almost legends… It was really an honor to be a part of. My character in RedLine is obviously this sort of bad-ass, fearless kind of sexy girl. (laughs) In this movie, I’m just this sort of pessimistic, woe-is-me, bizarre girl who thinks the world is doomed. She’s a little bit crazy and she works at Costco. (chuckles) So, it’s a completely different, character role.

I’ve heard you’re also in consideration for the title role in the Wonder Woman movie. What is happening with that?

Yeah, I mean, I hope so. I’m definitely… I mean they want to meet with me and what-not. But right now, they don’t have a script locked down, so they’re not going to consider really anybody, I think, or have any meetings, until they get a script locked down. They lost their director as well, Joss Whedon, who was going to write and direct it. But I believe that fell through, also. It’s in such the rudimentary stages of it that even being considered for it at this point is really cool. But, you know, we’ll see….

Other shows you have done have tended to be dramatic, but you have also guested on sitcoms like Jake in Progress and Out of Practice. Do you enjoy doing comedy? Which one is harder?

It’s different. I guess it really depends on the actor, but I really love it. I wouldn’t mind having a sitcom one day, but I think it’s kind of a dying genre on television, anyway. So, you don’t necessarily know if that’s going to happen. But, yeah, I have a lot of fun with it. I really enjoy comedy. I think it’s maybe a side that people don’t know that I have. You know, I guess I’m kind of funny. (laughs)

You are also fluent in several languages – undoubtedly your European upbringing. Would you be comfortable doing foreign films as well?

Would I feel comfortable? You know what? Probably not at first, but it’s certainly a challenge that I would be up for. I think artistically all artists – what we really want in life is to grow. That’s by learning and challenging and broadening your horizons. I don’t think it’s exactly fun to be stuck doing the same thing. Sure, that’s fine. If you get to do what you love everyday, that’s great. But I certainly would be up for the challenge. I think it would be pretty cool. As an artist you sort of leave a legacy. It’d be nice to leave a legacy of diverse work.

Well, say you were in the future looking back at that legacy…. Ideally, how would you like for people to see your career?

You just want to be respected. You want people to of course be entertained and enjoy what you do, but you want for people to think that you are capable of doing more than one little thing. Be inside this box – like one genre. Oh, this is the person that only does this or only does that. I guess that’s fine, too, but I think somebody saying, “Wow, she can really do a vast array of things” would be a pretty cool thing.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Wow. Good question. You know what? I don’t know. Now with the Internet and everything out there, you put yourself out there so much that people that don’t know you tend to judge you. I don’t necessarily know what my reputation is, or what people perceive of me. Maybe it’s that I’m a lot more… I’m kind of quiet, I guess. (laughs) I’m kind of a low-key person. I love spending time with my family. My idea of a good time is having dinner with my family and friends on a Friday night. It’s not the crazy Hollywood partying. I guess the fact that I enjoy bad reality television. I’m very sarcastic as well. (laughs)

Well, like you said, there is so much out there, particularly with the Internet. Are there any misconceptions that you have heard which you’d like to clear up?

You know, I try to avoid reading the stuff, because it can be very negative or nasty and whatnot. But it doesn’t matter, because I don’t go to bed at night worrying about people think this or that… It’s kind of silly. I had a picture once, where somebody literally superimposed a cigarette in my hand. I don’t smoke. I hate it. I’m really against it. And I was on this website that was like Smoking Celebs and people were like, “Oh my God, Nadia smokes?” I’m a singer. I can’t smoke. But you kind of go, there are people out there that rag on you. They waste so much of their time to nit-pick or fabricate things. You almost have to laugh at it.


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