KATARINA Waters steps out of the wrestling ring and into a zombie apocalypse for Chee Keong Cheung’s action-horror Redcon-1.
In this breathless thrill-ride, the Impact Wrestling star plays a member of the special forces squad tasked with a dangerous rescue mission through a zombie-infested city. The role sees Katarina’s character traverse a gory landscape and engage in brutal combat in an effort to save the day any cost.
Katarina joins us on Close-up Culture for a chat ahead of the film’s UK release on 28 September.
Q: We are so excited for the release of action-horror Redcon-1. What excited you about this project and this story?
A: FIRST of all, I was excited about the script. There are many zombie movies out there, but Redcon-1 has still managed to find its own unique spin on the theme. There was this idea of ‘the infected’ doing their normal, everyday things – normal for them, by the way, since this also includes drug dealers, gimps and other extreme members of society – and as the infection takes over, they become these deteriorated versions of themselves, which I thought was a very fresh take and fascinating to explore.
The story itself develops from a simple search and destroy mission into something a lot more ominous as it twists and turns, leading us down a dark and dangerous rabbit hole… Naturally, I was thrilled to be a part of something so special.
Q: You play SGT Kira Paige who is part of a Special Forces squad tasked with rescuing scientists out of the zombie-ridden City. What can you tell us about Kira and her role within the Special Forces squad?
A: KIRA is a pretty badass lady, if I may say so myself… Her role within the squad is that of a sniper, which requires a certain calm, almost coldness to her demeanor. However, she isn’t afraid of close combat either, and on several occasions jumps right into the heart of the fight. On the flip side, she does have a heart and shows compassion for the suffering she experiences around her.
Q: What preparation did you have for the role?
A: WE all took part in two full weeks of training beforehand – the first week was dedicated to fight techniques and choreography, the second week was military training. We were lucky enough to have legit combat veterans on board as military advisors and trainers, who made sure we knew how to move, how to hold a weapon and how to interact with each other as a team, as you would in this kind of situation.
Q: The fight scenes in the trailer look incredible. Do you get involved?
A: VERY much so. Since I do have a very strong background in fighting – including martial arts training, stage combat for stage and screen, as well as many years as a professional wrestler – this was right up my alley!
Q: The likes of Oris Erhuero, Carlos Gallardo (also a producer on the film) and Akira Koieyama also play characters in the Special Forces squad. What was the atmosphere like on set and what was the dynamic like between you all?
A: WE had so much fun working together. I think the two weeks of preparation were instrumental in creating a bond between us, so that by the time we got on set we were already a close-knit group. In addition, everyone was a real professional and brought their A-game – I am excited to see how our interactions as characters adopted that dynamic onto the screen.
Q: Director Chee Keong Cheung is known for his high-octane action. What can you reveal about your experience working with him and his style of directing?
A: IT was great. I had wanted to work with him for years – I almost had the chance to be a part of his first film back in 2006, but schedules didn’t line up, as I was on my way to WWE at the time. I had always regretted that and was glad we were able to come full circle with this project.
It was fascinating to watch him work. He has such a good eye, cinematically, and puts all his energy into every single scene. A lot of focus was placed on the action, keeping it fast paced and unpredictable – and the excellent fight choreography by Mark Strange obviously went hand in hand with that. I learned so much from this experience. It was certainly an eye opener on many levels.
Q: I also heard you used genuine military hardware on the film, something Ronda Rousey recently talked about the thrills of doing for Mile 22. Did you share that excitement for Redcon-1?
A: WELL, since we had to walk around with them strapped to our backs all day long… I wouldn’t have minded if some of them were a little bit less real, as they were quite heavy! That being said, the more realistic the prop, the set, the wardrobe is, it does give you more of an immersive experience, which adds to the thrill for sure.
Q: Speaking of Rousey, what have you made of her transition into pro-wrestling? It appears she has impressed a lot of people.
A: I haven’t seen much of her wrestling, to be honest, because I don’t watch WWE (not for any other reason than time and priorities). However, I do have a lot of respect for her in following something, that she has always had a passion for, with such commitment. Not to mention shouldering the pressure of transitioning into another sport at such a high level, as well as the criticism she was sure to face from day one, i.e. that she was only getting in on her name. But she seems to be doing well, and proving her naysayers wrong, which is great.
Q: Dwayne Johnson, John Cena, Dave Bautista, Wade Barrett, John Hennigan, yourself and others have made impressive moves from pro-wrestling to film. Are you proud to be part of a generation of wrestlers who have demonstrated such remarkable crossover talents?
A: THANK you very much. Of course, this was my plan all along… or rather, I was actually involved in film and theatre before I even started in pro wrestling. But wrestling has definitely given me a platform, and certainly on the action side there is a crossover there.
In answer to your question – I suppose I am proud of the hard work and perseverance I have put in, but more so, I am immensely grateful to have received opportunities that allow me to perform in various areas of the entertainment industry and to continue to pursue the things I love.
Q: I know it is hard to single people out, but is there someone from the wrestling world that you would love to see try their hand at acting in films?
A: I am trying to think of someone that hasn’t already done that – most people that spring to mind have worked on at least a couple of projects in the past. Personally, I would really love to see Marty Wright aka Boogeyman do some more acting work – he is so talented and charismatic, and has no fear of stepping into another personality and giving it his all. I believe he has a lot more to give still in that arena, and we have talked about working on something together in the future.
Q: As well as acting, you have also written and directed projects. Is that something you would like to do more of in the future?
A: YES, absolutely. I actually just finished writing a feature script and have a couple of others on standby. I might start with another short project to get me going again, but it is my goal to take that leap into directing a full-length movie.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects we should keep an eye out for?
A: THIS year for me the primary focus has been on wrestling – I returned to Impact Wrestling in April (which you can catch weekly on PopTV in the States and 5Spike in the UK), and we are shooting a new series for WOW – Women of Wrestling later this year, which is spearheaded by the original GLOW founder, David McLane.
So film-wise there is nothing directly in the pipeline right now, but, as you may know, that can all change from one day to the next – if you would like to keep up with what I am doing you can always follow me on IG/Twitter (@katarinasinfamy) and check out my website at www.katarinasinfamy.com.
Q: Finally, let UK audiences know why they shouldn’t miss out on Redcon-1.
A: I really think this is a film that will speak to many different types of audiences. Yes, it is a fast-paced, action-packed zombie film that will delight horror fans, but it also has a lot of drama mixed in, as well as plenty of twists and turns, suspense and human conflict.
In addition to that, the cinematography by Lorenzo Levrini is breathtaking- which, in my opinion, certainly elevates this film to another level, perhaps even above current expectations. If there is a category for ‘don’t-miss-cinema’ I would say this definitely falls into it!