by Staci Wilson
Hard to believe it's been so many years since I did the press junket — for Horror.com — of Grindhouse, and interviewed Tracy Thom and Zoe Bell for the first time, regarding their roles in the Quentin Tarantino segment, Death Proof. All this time later, the two ladies are still working together, and still loving it. I caught up with Tracy on the set of Raze, her latest.
Staci Layne Wilson / Horror.com: You're working with Zoe again, which I think is fantastic. You two have lots of chemistry together.
Tracy Thom: It is fantastic, I'll work with her again anytime she'll have to me and hopefully that's vice versa. She said it has, but we will see so to make sure she does good on her word. I think it's really good to develop good friendships and relationships in this business.
Are you one of the girls who get abducted? I understand Raze is kind of Gladiator-like, in that these women are forced to fight to the death…?
Tracy Thom: I'm one of the girls who get abducted. I play Teresa. I don't want to give too much away as far as spoilers.
What's her background? What's she like to she already know how to fight?
Tracy Thom: Teresa's a boxer.
Are they abducting people who have fight backgrounds purposely for their entertainment? Is that the idea?
Tracy Thom: I think so. They're trying to make good fights. They've got like a viewership. Some people are more skilled than others. And these are just kind of scrappers with a history of getting into bar brawls and fights and disorderly conduct and other people who like I'm in a very extreme situation like this. I think the training which is really very interesting about the script. It's about the training and how much fight background you had may or may not help you, because it's all about how you function under the stress, because some people are really good fighters, but they are so freaked out that they can't think. And then, bad bad bad things happen to them, they lose a fight to someone else because they can keep a cool head. I think the psychological impact of these women's lives is what really, really drew me to the project. I think it's really special. It's a fun movie that I've never seen. I've never seen that done and I love horror movies. I grew up with horror movies. It's my favorite genre. So yeah, I started reading it and I couldn't put it down.
What type of horror fan, do you think would like this…? Saw and Hostel…?
Tracy Thom: I think that those are the easy go to's. I think those fans will certainly like this movie. They liked the twisted the whole group of twisted people like Hostel was where did you find all these people. But sometimes people will have certain ideas of fun that required destruction and death to other people and you think that nobody else would be into that. But there are large factions of people who would be into that is interesting and more frightening. I mean, its one thing to be afraid of one person in the neighborhood killing people. You don't know who is involved in this group that may have their eye on you. And they decide Oh, that girl’s athletic, okay. And then lock you into the cell and within the first five minutes you want me to kill people. It's very Gladiator-esque. And I was watching the Gladiator recently. I feel like the drama of it as well, the actual psychological warfare. For example, I really enjoyed the first Saw because of the psychological impact of the situation on these men in this room, who was watching how to deal with that and all the stages of it. They go through and was interesting to me as an actor. And that is what is really compelling to me. Just the horror aspect of it isn't as compelling to me as well is the gore. The gore factor came out and you know, I love horror movies. But lately they've become so gory. I'm more into the terror aspect of it, the suspense and storytelling, which made this film really interesting. In addition to having kick ass violence and it.
Right, I was going to ask you about the physicality of the role. What kind of training did you have to go through in advance to get yourself up to par?
Tracy Thom: I've been doing some boxing and stuff over the last couple of years. So I just kind of fell into what I've been doing. I've been doing more kickboxing and more tie over the last couple of years. It's also different disciplines are fighting. When you have to fight each other. So as a boxer I don't normally fight other boxers. It's more kicks and feet.
It sounds like The Deadliest Warrior on Spike TV, where they put the different kind of like they put Genghis Khan up against Count Dracula or whatever; it's like, totally different styles.
Tracy Thom: Right, and it requires you adapt and if you don't adapt well then that happens. It's like okay… that's a foot coming at me, what am I can use to block the foot?. When someone starts to grapple with you and they want to get on the floor with you and you have a standing discipline, then all of a sudden they have the advantage because they're trapping you on the ground. And you don't want to do that, so it becomes really really interesting. I know I just keep saying that word, but I find it fascinating all the ways it can play out that are traditional that aren't just like oh they fight. Let's see what happens. It's very complicated and very intricate how these women have to fight for their lives and fighting for your life is different. It's not really in what we think of as a woman's nature to kill another person with their bare hands. We usually equate that to men.
That's the consequence of, you don't kill them they'll kill you. Basically that's the driving force? But do some of the women don't want to kill somebody else, and they would rather die?
Tracy Thom: No they don't. I don't know how much I can give away though. Basically what these people have done is that they don't even allow that as an option. If you don't fight they will kill a bunkmate of yours. So, you not only have to fight for yourself you fight for your closest love one. So you can't just give up and say I'm sacrificing myself or, I don't want to do this anymore, I don't want to kill another person, based on whatever beliefs they have or whatever. You can't get out that way because then you're also sacrificing your mother or your child. So you have to keep everybody alive. And if you want to sacrifice yourself and you don't want to fight me more than you're also killed and your loved one.
So I see what you're saying about the psychological aspect of it than to.
Tracy Thom: If you don't fight. So, yet their twisted people is like all twisted people do this stuff. It's not just like Hostel - those people have a fetish for sport. It's the torture of people. It's really that they have a belief system based on this tournament. So they don't actually believe that they are doing anything wrong. The people that are doing this….
Do you have some scenes with Zoe? Do you get to work with her?
Tracy Thom: I do get to work with her. I'd meet her through a wall through adjacent cells. So they can't let us get together and plan our escape. So they don't let us compete. So yeah a lot of acting is done through the wall with her, which is a challenge in itself, because of her face.
Yeah that would be fun to see it all put together.
Tracy Thom: We have moments when we see each other. It's just really, really an awesome movie and we have so much fun together. So it actually makes the work go much faster, because we know each other so well. it makes this whole experience an environment run more smoothly.
Of course when you're going through such torture, physically and mentally as a character. It's good to be surrounded by friends.
Tracy Thom: Right. It really is. It's great to be back to some of our old tricks with Zoe. she was there. She was there with me through all my stunt driving training. So when we have a driving scene she's in the scene. Also there is my support, and I was there for her support in the acting scenes and she was like am I doing this right? So we have a little bit of that here. And I'm so excited for her to see her grow from being a stunt woman in the gold being never to have seen your face as a stunt woman. And to see her actually really command at the screen and embody this character and hold the camera, hold the screen. It's really lovely to see. I'm so proud of her and I can't wait for everybody to see it. There's nobody like her. She is one person. She's not joining a fleet of other women hard really doing the same thing. There's nobody who can do what she can do.
Right, and she's producing? She's a multi-talented lady.
Tracy Thom: I'm so proud of her.