Canadian actress, Vienna Hehir, has worked throughout the country as well as overseas in Malaysia and Singapore. A true artist, Vienna molds herself to whatever role she’s portraying. Talk Nerdy With Us got to talk with her about her two latest projects, Double Crossed and Darc.
Follow Vienna on Twitter: @ViennaHehir
Follow Vienna on Instagram: @PrettyBumPoops
Can you tell me about your roles in Double Crossed and Darc?
“For Double Crossed, it’s a short film, a Canadian spy thriller, with a comedic flare. It’s set in 1989; I play a character named Sherri, who’s an agent. I kind of coerce and trick the lead character Jonathan, into giving me some information that will help us in what we’re trying to do in uncovering the storyline. With Darc, which is also an action thriller, I play a character named Lisa Ito, who, through some unfortunate circumstances, she is owned by the Yakuza. I help the lead character Darc try to locate a missing daughter who is kidnapped by the Yakuza. I help him uncover his mission. It’s complicated, but quite fun.”
It sounds quite fun. Do you like action thrillers like these?
“Yeah, I mean, personally, I haven’t had a lot of chances to attack some of these roles. So it was quite nice to get two that were in the action side. Darc was quite demanding when it came to being physical. We had tons of stuntmen on board. We all did some of our stunt work, as well as having a lot of stunt doubles that worked extremely hard.”
A lot of the stars don’t want to injure themselves. Did you guys have lots of rehearsal time to get ready?
“I know that for the men especially, it was very physically demanding, for Tony the lead, and for a lot of the stuntmen. Brett Chan, the stunt coordinator, did a fantastic job with choreography. But they were literally working months ahead on sequences and getting the body in shape. For myself, I didn’t have too much training doing stunt work and combat work, so I had a stunt double do certain stunts they deemed a little bit dangerous and demanding, especially for the shoot we were going for. There was some stuff I was able to do, and as an actor you want to get into as much as you can. But the stunt people work so hard. I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do, especially for how demanding it is on their bodies.”
What drew you to these characters?
“To be honest with you, when I first got the script, they were very quiet and secretive about what the story was. I didn’t receive a lot of information. I kind of had to make my own judgments based on what they gave me. What I took from Lisa is that, through unfortunate circumstances, she didn’t have a lot of freedom and choice, being a part of human sex trafficking. She was just very strong. She had a strength that you don’t get to see in female characters. Regardless of what she has been through, she is still able to go for what was right and help people who needed to be helped. “
You’ve worked in Malaysia and Singapore. How is it different working in Canada or the US?
“Obviously there’s always going to be a difference in terms of traveling. It’s also really difficult because time zones do affect you. I think overall, when it comes to art and being an artist, it’s pretty international. Everybody kind of wants to work for the greater good of expression. There wasn’t a big difference in terms of working toward a goal, especially with people in the industry. I had to get used to being in different countries and staying in different hotels. There’s always some difficulty with language barriers, but you just have to be comfortable and really patient. We work in the same industry, so we sort of communicated that way.”
Did you experience any culture shock?
“I actually had never been to Asia before. So to go there for work instead of vacation, it exposes you to a whole new thing as a foreigner. I do have an Asian background, but I don’t exactly speak the language. Everyone was very helpful, but there is a real difference between being a tourist versus a local. You kind of just settle in and get comfortable.”
Have you had to fight hard as an actress of Asian descent?
“I’ve been extremely fortunate as a female, ethnic artist. I do think we’re moving towards the right direction, in terms of the industry acknowledging all different types of ethnicities and trying to reflect it in the work. I wouldn’t say that I see any struggles with being a different ethnicity as far as being considered for a role that the industry would hire. For myself, I think my main model is hard work. You quit the industry; the industry doesn’t quit you. The best thing I can do is work as hard as I can and be the best that I can be. I try not to see it as being hard based on my background. For me, my difficulties that I face, being an ethnic artist, I just try to be the best actor so that it won’t be considered an issue. I know that at this point starting again to be more willing to include all different sorts of ethnicities. I do know that ethnic artists have struggled to be seen in mainstream work.”
You’ve been in many shorts and TV series. How are they different from a feature film?
“Well for shorts, it’s a lot tighter of a community. It’s definitely shorter shoots because of budgeting or timing. I believe it’s more of a close-knit family, based on my experience. Everybody knows each other and have been working together for quite some time. People will give input on things and collaborating more. Working on television series, a lot of times the plot and the storylines have already been set. You’re generally more removed from the creative side. A major high-budgeted film, it depends on the way that the team runs. But specifically with Darc, I think that a lot of times actors will be very close, because you’ll be filming for longer and you’ll have a schedule with specific times for you to be there, and be there for longer periods of time.”
How often do you seek work between shoots?
“It varies between seasons and timing. We are very dependent on the US industry as well. So I’ve been fortunate to have a pretty consistent work schedule. I have noticed through peers and keeping an eye on the industry, that summer is usually busier with shoots than the winter. The spring has more auditions. So far it’s been pretty consistent, but I’ve been pretty busy. I usually try and take some time with longer shoots like Darc, so that I can distress from the things that I carried as that character, that I feel that I need to let go of before I take on a new character.”
Have you always wanted to be an actress?
“I have always wanted to be an actress. Since I was a kid…I don’t know what it was. There was no specific point. I think I remember seeing a musical on stage, The Sound of Music, and it was the first time I’d seen actors in front of me. I knew that I wanted to tell stories and perform. It was very innate in me. Ever since I was a little kid I would dream about working in films and it’s always been something that’s always been a part of my life. I can’t say that I see myself doing anything but this. It’s definitely a dream to work in the industry that you love. I just want to work as hard as I can to continue doing what I love to do and succeeding in it.”
Is there someone you’ve dream of working with?
“There is an actor named Brad Renfro, who was in the client. He unfortunately passed away. As a young child, I wanted to work with him. I think right now, there are a lot of actors I would want to work with, and I don’t want to single one out individually. But for the longest time, it was Brad Renfro.”