You know her from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Bloodrayne and SyFy's "Painkiller Jane," but did you know she was funny? Kristanna Loken makes her goofball comedy debut in National Lampoon's The Legend of Awesomest Maximus, on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, March 20. The charismatic and sexy star took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with CraveOnline about frat boy humor, kissing Sophie Monk, playing Meg Ryan's daughter on the (tragically cancelled) soap opera "As the World Turns," and her upcoming film Love Orchard, written by her own father.
CraveOnline: So The Legend of Awesomest Maximus – I feel like this movie was made for a certain audience. Like most of them are likely to have penises.
Kristanna Loken: Definitely, definitely.
You have to come onto this movie knowing that you’re making this movie. You’re playing a character called “Hottessa.”
Exactly, yes. I knew what I was diving into.
Did you just do this for the fun of it, or do you actually enjoy this brand of humor a lot?
For me, it was a nice, bold difference in my career from the other stuff that I’ve done. I don’t know if you saw Lime Salted Love, but that was a very dark, dark film. I’ve done anywhere from The L Word, to action, to dramatic, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and I hadn’t hit the spoof broad comedy market yet. Even though I’d done comedy in the past, this was a real departure, and kind of a welcome change for me. So I found myself reading it and laughing out loud, so I thought, “Well, that’s a good sign.” And, you know, Will Sasso’s great, and Jeff Kanew, who we know from Revenge of the Nerds. So I thought, “What the heck, why not?”
What’s the tone like on-set? The movie has a very frat boy vibe. Was it much more professional on set, or was it more goofball?
Definitely more on the goofball side of things, for sure. Yes, at the end of the day, we’re making a movie, but – that was a bit of the mentality we had, but it was a very jovial, fun, creative place to really push the envelope. So there was definitely, you know, a lightness on set.
We actually ran a clip last week of you and Sophie Monk. You get to make out. I note with interest, though, I don’t think you actually kissed Will Sasso.
That I didn’t in the movie?
I don’t know if you did on the set. I think the kissing’s reserved for Sophie Monk.
I think that Will probably had it in his contract that I should only have a make-out scene with Sophie. [Laughs] No, you’re right, actually, and that wasn’t anything that I think we did intentionally, but that whole thing with Sophie, that actually came as a bit of a twist while we were shooting. One of our frat boy mentality guys that we had behind the scenes was going, “Yeah, maybe we really should have this scene at the end where you and Sophie are… you know.” So of course we went for it.
I think we’re all happy that you did.
Yeah! You know? She’s hot! How could everybody not be happy? I think she was a little nervous, but… [Laughs]
I actually wanted to ask you… because I grew up watching As the World Turns, and I know you were on that show briefly.
Yes, you are right. That was my very first paying job as an actress, at the ripe age of thirteen years old. It was an amazing learning curve for me. It was in New York – I grew up in upstate New York. And it was wonderful, because I give soap opera actors so much credit. I mean they shoot a show a day. That’s an hour of television a day. And the dialogue is massive, I mean it’s talking heads. So it was a really good place for me to start learning cameras and dialogue and memorizing and all those sorts of things.
What were your thoughts when it got canceled after fifty years?
I was really sad. I was really, really sad about that, because there was a gentleman that played… I think it was Dr. Bob. And he’d been on the show for like fifty… it was something ridiculous, like fifty years, since he was a young guy. And I worked with his son, who was a director. And in his case, he’s gonna retire, but some of the people who are in their forties or younger, who have been on the show still for an equally long time – fifteen, twenty years – that’s their life and their career, and those jobs... And I know friends, I just went to a friend’s wedding, who was on soaps, not that particular soap, but she was on soaps since she was a little girl, and now in her early thirties, it’s like, that’s their life. I mean, that’s about the most job security you can have in a world of acting. So it’s just gotta be really tragic for these people.
The cool thing that I remember about my character is that she was the… you know how they speed-age characters in soap operas? My character was the speed-aged version of Meg Ryan’s daughter, originally. I mean, and she was off the show obviously by that point, but that was a little cool trivia.
You’ve got a bunch of new movies coming out: you’ve got Phantom Hunt, Love Orchard, Dark Power. Tell me about some of those. What are you really excited about?
I’m the most excited about Love Orchard because I also produced it, and my father wrote it. He’s a screenwriter, amongst other things. So it was a really incredible experience to start a company with him, and another partner who directed it – Farhad Man, who I worked with on Painkiller Jane. And it’s a story that’s inspired by actual events. I grew up on a fruit farm in upstate New York, and this is probably where the story takes place. It deals with the immigration crisis in America, underscores a family that lives on a farm. They have three children, the two oldest were born in the U.S., the youngest was born on a trip back to Mexico when the father’s mother was dying, and when they re-enter the country, at the age of two and a half, she faces deportation. So my character is an attorney and the farm owner’s daughter, who’s played by Bruce Dern, and she ends up trying the case on a national level and raising awareness, so this family really becomes a microcosm of the greater whole. So we’re very excited about this film, we’re looking forward to our submission at Cannes, we’re going to have our first screening next week.
So Love Orchard, and then also, it looks like I’m going to be back on the next season of Burn Notice. So I know that show has a lot of fans out there, and they’re going for their sixth season, so they must be doing something right.
I had a friend who, right after 9/11, was deported to Syria, and the worst part was he didn’t speak the language, because he’d been here since he was like, two. And then he was stuck there, and he got shunted right into the Army. So I’m glad that you’re illustrating that, that’s really great.
Yeah, it’s interesting that you bring that up, because it’s a global problem right now, and people are facing a lot of xenophobia in the world because of that, because you’re having people who go back to these countries that maybe they were born in, but other than that, they know nothing about. So it is a real thrust of our company, Working Man Productions. We want to do films that educate as well as entertain, because, with all the work that I’ve done, I see how the medium of film can really reach people, and how important that is, to have a serious message behind it.
Do you know what your next project is going to be at that production company, or are you still looking? Do you have any projects already set up?
We do. It’s taken from a book, and again, based on a true story about a serial killer in the 1970s, called The Boy Next Door.