Danielle Nicolet co-stars in Syfy’s latest film “Red Faction: Origins”, playing the character Tess DeLaVega. She is also co-starring with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the upcoming film, “Ticking Clock”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Danielle about her roles in both her films recent films.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role in “Red Faction: Origins”, playing Tess DeLaVega.
Danielle Nicolet: Tess is a very special combination of Princess Lea and C-3P0 [laughs]. She is Jack Mason’s unintentional side-kick. She believes herself to be the smartest person in the room all the time, better much because she is. Jake, our hero, kind of can’t save the day without Tess, but Tess goes along kicking and screaming at absolutely every moment. She doesn’t do so good out of the office.
MG: Where you familiar with the video game franchise?
DN: I have to say I am a HUGE gamer. I am a big first person shooter player. I have even voiced a couple of characters in different video games. So, I am pretty involved with video games. I have not played “Red Faction”. I have not played “Guerilla” until after we started shooting the movie, which was kind of good for me. When I got the script, I read it and I didn’t have any preconceived notions. Also Tess, my character, is the only one in the movie that doesn’t have any previous connection to the past games. My character is though connected to “Armageddon”. It was really confirming not to have all that in my head before I got the job. Once I got it I went out and played the games.
MG: How was it working with Robert Patrick and Brian J. Smith?
DN: [laughs] Ok, number one: Brian Smith is the nicest person I have ever known in my life. I love him. Number two: Robert Patrick is the funniest person I have ever known in my life and I love him. Robert is hysterical. He is from two towns over from where I live in Ohio. We spent pretty much the entire time in Europe together fighting over who was better: the Steelers or the Browns. He thinks I am terrible person because I am a Steelers fan and I think he is sad and sorely mistaken to care about the Browns [laughs]. Robert is just a blast. We have breakfast together every morning. He is just the most salt of the earth completely grounded superstar that you will ever known. It is like he has no idea he is ridiculously famous. With Brian, I can say he has no idea he is ridiculously cute and that every girl checks him out no matter where we go. He is incredibly humble and just really loves being an actor. It was incredible for me to work with him since we are in every scene together. We were both so committed to our characters and to this job that we were able to be real supportive of each other. He will forever be family.
MG: What was the most difficult part of working on the film?
DN: I am sure every single actor from this movie would have the same answer. The most difficult part was shooting this shooting this movie in Eastern Europe in the dead of winter. The physical conditions of this movie was the hardest I have ever been in my life. They were also though the most necessary. The movie takes place on Mars. Mars is not a comfortable place to live in “Red Faction”. It has been terraformed, so you can breath the air but just because it is breathable doesn’t mean it is warmer. We shot in a place that was like the temperature that Mars is. Our day average about 3 degrees fahrenheit. At nighttime, it was between 10-14 below. So we did a lot of huddling up together to try and keep warm. All of the exterior we did in the movie were not shot in front of a green screen. We shot all of the exteriors in this incredible cave system just outside of the Romanian boarder. It is totally remote and a 2 1/2 drive from the nearest hotel. It literally looks like Mars. It has red ground, rocky and exactly like the Martian landscape. The cave system is totally protected from nature. So when you watch the movie, the only thing that isn’t real is if we are ever outside the sky. The digitally took out the ceiling of the cave and put in the Martian sky. But that is why we were freezing the whole time because our director really wanted the exteriors to be real. He didn’t want it to seem like an entirely CGI generated film.
MG: Tell us about working with Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the sci-fi thriller, “Ticking Clock”?
DN: Working with Cuba was a dream come true. How many times in your life to you get to ask somebody where do they keep their Oscar [laughs]. “Ticking Clock” is like a psychological thriller but once you get 10 minutes into the film you see it is science fiction. Cuba’s character is a writer and the murder mystery he is solving in his book starts coming to life. I play his wife, who has a real problem with what is going on with him. I believe that he is having the issues he is having because he is drinking too much. He can’t quite tell the difference between his reality. I won’t give away the ending but we will find out what is real and what isn’t. It is a really fun movie and I love my science fiction. So I was really excited to do that.
MG: You are both equally skilled with drama and comedy, do you have a preference?
DN: I don’t want to sound like a fence-walker but seriously the thing I love to do the most of all is like the character I played in “The Starter Wife” and “Red Faction”, which is a funny character that is in the middle of a serious situation. That is the most fun for me. I enjoy playing that character that brings a little of levity to a very serious scenario. So playing Tess was like being a kid in a candy store for me as an actor. I got to spend five weeks delivering fantastic one liners and screaming when guns come around [laughs].
MG: What other projects do you have upcoming?
DN: Right now, “Ticking Clock” is obviously coming up. “Marry Me”, the mini series I did with Lucy Lu comes out on DVD in a few weeks. I know they are also going to air it again in it entirety really soon. So I got that coming up. Also just also keeping my fingers crossed that there will be more “Red Faction” movies.