Tara Cardinal Interview: Legend of the Red Reaper & More

Gavin Schmitt Interviews Tara Cardinal

Tara Cardinal is a highly acclaimed actress with an extensive resume. She is well known for her portrayals of complicated strong, and vulnerable leading women as well as the more challenging character roles. Tara is known as an advocate for children’s rights, and often lends her time to important charity events. As a celebrity role model she empowers young women to embrace their strength, inner beauty, naturalness, while accepting others in their uniqueness.

I had a nice chat with her in early 2011, and this is what she had to say about her diverse interests.

GS: Tara, you’re a pro-style wrestler, sword fighter, stunt driver, train in MMA style fighting, act, produce, raise money for children’s charities… what do you NOT do?

TC: Sleep.

GS: You have said that horror is the best genre for women, a claim many would instantly reject. Which women would you consider influences on you in the world of horror?

TC: Ah, and the objections would be valid. Horror, for some women, can be fatal. The staple roles — the blonde running through the woods, twisting her delicate ankle, lunging head first and falling upon her bouncy — yet perky breasts — you can only do *that* role so many times before that’s all they call you for. I have been VERY lucky. My first horror film had 45 minutes of character development (bows to the great Jose Cassella), and the role I was chosen for had substance, depth, and stood for something. She is also the final girl.

Women who’ve been an influence on me… RenĂ©e Zellweger, Sybil Danning, and of course Debbie Rochon. Renee specifically for her vulnerability. In every role she does, you can clearly see her sensitivity and her strength, which is uniquely feminine. Sybil paved the way for the ass kicking females. She epitomizes “Action Star”. And Debbie is a beautiful combination of both.

GS: You consider Renee Zellweger an influence… explain “Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Next Generation”.

TC: Skip!!!

GS: What was it like working alongside one of our favorite scream queens, Debbie Rochon?

Debbie Rochon and Gavin 2007
Throwback photo: Debbie Rochon and Gavin, 2007

TC: Debbie is very professional and extremely talented. She is by far one of the most talented leading ladies in the horror world, and I’m very much looking forward to working with her again this summer.

GS: You’re a method actor. Why do you prefer method?

TC: Ha! It’s not my choice. I was born this way. I started doing theatre when I was 11. Method acting served me very well. When I started doing film, I got into some trouble. Take one, two and three might be flawless — but then take four, five and six started to get stale. What happened? That’s where technique comes in. I started training in earnest when I moved to Hollywood, and finally have a really strong foundation that carries me through when method just isn’t cutting it.

GS: Your film “Dog Fight” ran into financial problems… can you recap that for us, and advise other aspiring filmmakers on how to avoid such pitfalls?

TC: I’ve never been on a film that didn’t run into financial problems. “Titanic” ran into financial problems. The investor on Dog Fight had money tied up on another project. She offered the funds, and then decided to hold off.

The only way to make money last on a project is planning. As a producer, I can stretch a dollar all day. The trick is to surround yourself with people who are VERY good at what they do, and want to do it.

GS: To be blunt, I consider Indiana the shittiest place in the United States. Prove me wrong.

TC: I’m in development on a film that will explore the nooks and crannies of that statement. Stay tuned. It’s called “Haunted”.

GS: I have heard the basic synopsis for “Haunted”, and if you get the right cinematography, I think it could scare the hell out of people. Any idea on what “look” you’re going for?

TC: That will be up to the producers and director. I’m in talks with some very talented people to take the reins on that.

GS: I think at least ten films a year should have Cary Elwes cameos. How do you feel about that?

TC: And one film a year where he plays my passionate lover, while carrying a sword and wearing a black mask! I think I’ll put him in the Red Reaper sequel [currently in development and being written by the amazing Shayne Leighton].

GS: Do you have any dirt on David Hasselhoff?

TC: I have nothing bad to say about Dave. He’s a good guy when he’s sober — and he’s a freaking RIOT when he’s not!

GS: Meyers-Briggs… I’m INTP. What are you?


GS: Could an INTP and an INFJ survive a day together?

TC: Not only survive, but have a great, low-key time!

GS: You have promoted “Legend of the Red Reaper” and “Delivery” very well… which project of yours do you think needs to get a lot more promotion than it has received?

TC: A lot of the films I’ve been involved in are getting a lot of publicity. I’m very grateful for that. Terminal Descent — which is now in Post production — promises to be amazing. Song of the Shattered, which is getting all of us a ton of press, and racking up awards and nominations is doing very well. Spreading Darkness (affiliate link), which stars Eric Roberts (I play his wife) hasn’t gotten any press yet… AND The Incubus, (affiliate link) in which I’m not involved, but my friend, and very talented actress Shayne Leighton is amazing. Shayne wrote, produced, directed, starred in it AND sings on the soundtrack. Now, that’s amazing.

GS: Eric Roberts seems very stoic, very gruff… is this just acting or his real sense?

TC: You’ll have to find out for yourself!

GS: (laughs) Okay. Thanks, Tara! We’ll be looking out for your projects as things get bigger and better.

TC: Thank you

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