Elysia Rotaru is proving once again that hard work and dedication can lead to exciting and amazing opportunities in Hollywood. She is definitely making a name for herself in film and television.
She’s appeared in several hit television series such as Fringe, Supernatural, iZombie, Hellcats, and Motive. She’s also appeared in films like Cold Pursuit, The Age of Adulting, and Dead Again in Tombstone alongside veteran actor Danny Trejo.
Many of you may know her as Taiana Venediktov, who was Stephen Amell’s love interest on the hit CW series Arrow. Currently, she is receiving rave reviews for her work in the independent thriller Killbird.
We had the opportunity to speak with Elysia about her current film Killbird. We talk about how she became involved with the film, what it was like working with the cast of Killbird and any upcoming projects she can discuss.
Pop Culture Principle – Before we get started with the interview, how have you been handling the quarantine and dealing with the coronavirus? Have you been keeping yourself busy?
Elysia Rotaru – You know what, it has been a whirlwind of interesting feelings. Mid-March, I was actually en route from LA to Vancouver to Toronto to go film a movie right when the lockdown was announced, so I ended up staying in Vancouver with my husband in our place. I’m so grateful my family, friends, and I are healthy and in good spirits, and despite the heaviness and intensity, there have actually been a lot of positives.
One being that we expanded our family with a fur baby. My husband Ryan and I rescued a puppy and have had this time to raise and train him, which has been a lot of work. We also have been able to spend more than two weeks together and enjoy each other and talk more about the future face to face, rather than just text and with memes and FaceTime calls. And of course, having the time to slow down (which for me is still work in process) has been a nice push to recalibrate.
Pop Culture Principle – Your latest project to be released is the thriller Killbird. Can you tell us how you ended up joining this project?
Elysia Rotaru – I was asked to read for the role and was pretty hesitant at first. The material really shocked my system and I actually almost passed on reading for it. After talking to my coach and team I realized it was a fear-based reaction to my lack of knowledge on the subject matter. Joe, wrote a highly intense film, involving elevated language and ideas and it freaked me out. But I ended up seeing that was a major reason to dive into this project. Joe and I had a Skype meeting, dug a little more into the work, and a few weeks later I flew back up to Vancouver to start filming one of my most challenging roles to date.
Pop Culture Principle – For our readers, can you give us a brief synopsis of the plot for Killbird?
ELysia Rotaru – It’s a high-intensity conspiracy, action thriller, following a woman who becomes caught in the middle of a cat and mouse game between two government agencies.
Pop Culture Principle – You play Taylor in this film. Can you tell us one thing you both have in common and one difference between you and her?
Elysia Rotaru – Well, one of the things we have in common is actually a little something you can pick up when you watch the movie in the first few scenes (no spoilers). But it has to do with astrological signs. Our biggest difference is that I really don’t know how to use a proper camera to snap pictures, let alone photograph birds.
Pop Culture Principle – Judging from the trailer, there seems to be a lot of physicality to the role. Is that correct and how did you enjoy that aspect of the character?
Elysia Rotaru – Yes! That was one of the main things that attracted me to the project and I was fortunate enough to be able to do all the work in the film with the exception of one stunt. I mean that’s when we really start to learn who Taylor is in a way, but still keeping the audience questioning her use of actions to oust forward.
Pop Culture Principle – The film has a small cast, but it includes some great actors like Aaron Douglas, Tahmoh Penikett, and Stephen Lobo. Can you talk about working with this cast?
Elysia Rotaru – It was wonderful. It felt like a small theatre ensemble when you consider the crew as well and I love that. I feel like I get to play more, really go deep with the scenes, reset faster, hash it out, and allow for more creative room. It was very collaborative but focused on Joe’s direction. Working with Tahmoh was always on my list and this film was a fun way to play together for the first time. I had a blast working out our choreography and he is such a generous scene partner and a gentleman.
If you see the film, you’ll notice my time with Aaron was short, but intense and fun. And I literally spent every day on set with Stephen and we had a great time rehearsing the monster dialogues we had been given by Joe [laughs]. It was definitely a mind melt some days, with the weight of the world we were living in, but we used each other to push through.
Pop Culture Principle – This film deals with conspiracy theorists. Where do you stand when it comes to conspiracy theories about the government?
Elysia Rotaru – It’s something I haven’t ever been into, which is why I had such an adverse reaction to reading the script the first time. But then, I HAD to start my research into that world for prep, and the rabbit holes I went down…my head was exploding. And as weird as it sounds I could feel my chemistry start to change. Post filming, I took a massive news and social media break to let Taylor and all the ideas leave my system, and try to recalibrate. But WOW… the concepts!
Pop Culture Principle – Killbird is an independent film. Can you talk about working on an indie project as opposed to a film with a much bigger budget?
Elysia Rotaru – Indie films have always had my heart. There’s just this feeling I get of “let’s give’r” from all the people who step onto an indie set. I also find the people on indie projects are there because they just loved the concept of the project, or they want to support their friend, which I LOVE. It’s a nice sense of community to help each other be better. You feel the pressure that you can’t mess up and do four or five takes. I also love being involved in helping bring someone’s vision to life, and most of the time you aren’t dealing with ‘big egos’ on an Indie set. However, I am selective depending on who’s involved, what the story is, and what their plan is for the film.
Pop Culture Principle – We see independent films and filmmakers as the backbone of the film industry. Would you agree with that?
Elysia Rotaru – I can totally stand behind that. I mean we all have to learn and start somewhere, so why not on a project with a tight crew, good vibes, and a mixed level of skill and talent where you can raise each other up and make creativity flow.
Pop Culture Principle – Why do you think viewers should see the film Killbird?
Elysia Rotaru – Because you get to see me do some fun and crazy stuff! But also if you’re into conspiracy theories, Joe, and all the cast really, will take you for a ride.
Pop Culture Principle – With Killbird out now, are there any other projects you have coming up that you can talk about?
Elysia Rotaru – I will be appearing in the final season of The 100, and I will be voicing a few characters in the Play Avengers Game coming out this fall, and the new game Legends of Runeterra. And with the film industry slowly coming back, I hope to return to a few more projects that were put on hold. Oh, you can also hear me as one the voices of Hallmark’s Movies and Mysteries Channel and one of the voices for PetSmart.
We would like to send a big THANK YOU to Elysia Rotaru for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about Killbird. The film is currently available in the U.S. & Canada via IOD and VOD: cable, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vimeo
If you would like to keep up with all of Elysia’s latest news, projects and her social media sites, you can visit her official website here.