Natassia Halabi on her work playing Erin in Javier Reyna’s, Regionrat

Natassia Halabi_indieactivity

indieactivity: How did you get connected to the Regionrat project? Did you have to audition? If you did, would still have got the part??
Natassia: Yes! I auditioned for the Director Javier Reyna directly. The audition choices I made were very different from the ones I made in the film – due to a better understanding of the character Erin and what I felt in the moment working opposite my co-star.

indieactivity: How did the choice to play co-lead on this project work for you?
Natassia: Fantastic! I think of Erin (my character) as a the subtle antagonist as well as the love interest. She was wonderful to play because it isn’t clear that she’s the antagonist until close to the end so walking that fine line of provoking and seducing but not giving herself away was challenging.

indieactivity: What part of the story challenged you when you read it? What drove you to get on the project?
Natassia: The director Javier Reyna’s passion is what drove me to get on the project. Passion is contagious! One of the most challenging aspects was figuring out how to get the audience to fall in love with Erin as her love interest Ray did.

Case Study: Javier Reyna presents the making of Regionrat

indieactivity: What do you enjoy about the work on Regionrat that wants to keep you working?
Natassia: The freedom in shooting to make whatever choices I felt and to explore. There were some scenes I could have happily spent 10 hrs shooting and exploring.

indieactivity: Give an example of a direction you received during the production of Regionrat?
Natassia: When we were shooting a key scene when Erin kisses Ray and makes him fall for her after he’s taken a beating because of her – our Director Javier Reyna had me deliver the lines whilst slowly circling Ray. The movement suggested an animal stalking it’s prey whilst distracting it with flattering words. This direction really made the scene and cinematically it also looks beautiful.

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Connor Williams, Natassia Halabi in a scene from Regionrat

indieactivity: How did you create your character from ground up?
Natassia: I asked our Director Javier Reyna a lot of questions about Erin and what she represents. I asked questions about her that weren’t a part of the script, such as what do you imagine Erin doing today some 20 years later? My main focus was finding out her motivation. I strongly felt that her motivation was to find validation and purpose in her life in the only way she knew how in a town that wasn’t conducive to broadening one’s horizons.

indieactivity: As co-lead on Regionrat, describe the feeling of responsibility that you shouldered. Were you scared? Or did it fire you up? What scenes where difficult to shoot?
Natassia: I felt a significant amount of responsibility as my character Erin convinces Ray to make decisions that are detrimental to him but are however key for the plot of the story. The challenge comes in convincing the audience to jump on board with or at least understand Ray’s actions.

Connor Williams, lead on Javier Reyna’s Regionrat, on playing Ray

No I wasn’t scared – I don’t think I’m ever scared in my work. I’m definitely ridiculously nervous in auditions when there’s one shot to get it right and prove your character worthy, but on set I feel great knowing the Director has faith in me and multiple takes to get the performance where it needs to be.

Luckily none of the scenes were difficult to shoot!

indieactivity: Explain one creative choice you made on set during production?
Natassia: To not use my full voice and not speak from my diaphragm – I’ve noticed on occasion that the older women get and the more we feel comfortable in our skin, the more we use our full voice. The character Erin is in high school and as we come to learn, is an insecure girl but wears the “cool and confident girl” mask.

indieactivity: What did you take away from the Regionrat project?
Natassia: A rewarding experience working with an awesome team that I hope to work with again.

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indieactivity: What do you like most about the production team, and collaborating with them?
Natassia: Javier our director is an actor’s director. He tells us very clearly what he needs from the scene and let’s us find our own way towards that, then he directs to perfect it. Johnny and Myriah Murillo our producers made every single day enjoyable and really took care of us like family. Also, our DP Carlos Jimenez is incredibly talented.

indieactivity: What is next for you?
Natassia: Next film release is the hazing horror film Pledges through Storyboard Entertainment!

indieactivity: What advice do you give actors regarding what you learnt on the Regionrat project?
Natassia: If it’s a good story by a passionate team, commit to it!

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  • Tina Jetter

    This story seems so compelling not to mention how I loved what she said when she gave her advice!