Tonight Syfy premieres the original motion picture Red Faction: Origins, a feature-length television series pilot based on the popular Red Faction video game franchise. The movie stars Brian J. Smith as Jake Mason and Robert Patrick as Alec Mason, the main protagonist of Red Faction: Guerilla. The film takes place between Red Faction: Guerilla and the upcoming Red Faction: Armageddon. Actress Danielle Nicolet, who plays Jake’s sidekick Tess De La Vega, told me much more about it.
AFC: You have worked with some great performers. In your first movie (Loaded Weapon 1), you played Samuel L. Jackson’s daughter. You spent several years as a student telling John Lithgow he was acting inappropriately in class (3rd Rock from the Sun). Which actors have you learned the most from?
Dani: Wow, I have been lucky to work with some great ones! Let’s see: John Lithgow taught me that part of being a great actor is always remembering how lucky you are to be on that set in the first place. I worked with him during my most formative years, and will forever be grateful for that lesson. Debra Messing (The Starter Wife) taught me that it is possible for a woman to be hysterically funny and incredibly graceful at the same time. And my dear friend Lucy Liu (Marry Me) taught me there’s nothing hotter than a chick who knows how to yield a sword!
AFC: And which were the most fun to work with?
Dani: It’s hard to pick one! I don’t mean to cop out, but I have had so many amazing experiences. I really try to come away from every job with true friends, and having grown as a person and as an actor.
AFC: On 3rd Rock, did you ever get tired of saying, “Dr. Solomon, that is inappropriate”?
Dani: Haha! Never!! He was always sooooo inappropriate!!!!
AFC: And hilarious! So you’ve done comedy, you’ve drama. What genre do you enjoy most?
Dani: It really depends on the script and the people I’m working with. There’s a real gift in comedy in that you go to work and laugh all day long. Sometimes I’m amazed that people pay me to come up with ways to make them giggle! But, drama really makes me feel alive. I guess the ultimate for me is playing a role where I’m the levity in the middle of a drama. Kind of like in Red Faction.
AFC: Red Faction: Origins is based on a popular video game. Did that make a difference when you were making the movie, or did it feel like any other acting job?
Dani: It felt like any other job to me because I tried to stay away from the game until we really got up and running. My character is a real fish out of water, and not having pictures in my head of what Asimov and Eos (the main cities in the movie) would look like helped keep it real for me.
AFC: Are you a gamer?
Dani: Oh, yeah!
AFC: What do you play?
Dani: All of the Grand Theft Autos, Saint’s Row, Call of Duty…pretty much any first person shooter that ends up in my house.
AFC: Did you know much about this particular game?
Dani: I didn’t until we got started. Now I’m quite the expert!
AFC: Women in gaming often catch grief from other people, ‘None of these girls are true gamers,’ or get put on the spot like they should prove their ‘geek cred.’ Have you run into any of that yourself?
Dani: Anyone who’s ever played me would never say that. (wink)
AFC: You’re playing Jake Mason’s ‘sidekick.’ What does that mean?
Dani: It means that Tess (my character) is joining our hero (sometimes reluctantly) for an adventure. Tess drives Jake crazy, but he has to accept that there is no way he can save Mars without her!
AFC: What kind of preparation do you go through to be a hero’s sidekick?
Dani: Lots of ducking for cover, and small, almost imperceptible “Eeks”!
AFC: This movie is a pilot for a TV series. SyFy always sends its TV stars to San Diego Comic-Con. Have you been to a Comic-Con? Are you ready for how crazy it is there?
Dani: I have been once for an animated series that I voice. It was so much fun!!! I’m a big science fiction fan myself, so I walked around and took it all in. I took pictures with every stormtrooper I could find! I’m playing Storm in the new X-Men Anime series, so I know I’ll be there this year for sure.
AFC: After this airs, when will you know if the show gets picked up? How soon would you have to get to work?
Dani: I’m not sure how soon we’ll hear! I hope it’s fast!
AFC: So where can people find you on the Internet? You’re @DaniNicolet on Twitter. Where else?
Dani: Twitter is the best!!! There’s always Facebook too. (smiles) Thank you so much!!!!!!!
Find Dani and others from Red Faction: Origins on Twitter:
Dani Nicolet – @DaniNicolet
Brian J. Smith – @BrianJacobSmith
Kate Vernon – @Kate_Vernon
Devon Graye – @dgraye
Tamzin Merchant – @TamzinMerchant
Tom Lieber (SyFy Network Executive) – @TommyLeeba
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