Interview With Actress Elysia Rotaru, “Residue”

By Ruth on September 6, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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Oftentimes, I discover new artists when I interview actors with whom I am already familiar. In fact, I could say with a decided degree of certainty that the vast majority of the time, it is the recommendation of my actor friends that directs me to previously undiscovered talents (well, at least “undiscovered” on my part). And in the case of Elysia Rotaru, I noticed her as a result of my recent interview with James Clayton. While Residue may not be my preferred genre (I’m a sucker for mysteries and romantic comedies), I have realized in the past year that my tastes are more eclectic than I knew. I simply adore connecting with actors like Elysia who cause me to step outside my comfort zone, and in truth, I am quite impressed with our recent chat!

Photo Credit: Matt Lawrence

RH: Why did you decide to become an actress? What kind of training have you had?

ER: I never really thought of being an actor as a career choice at first, but then I decided to study acting throughout high school and University. I even got my Bachelor’s degree in theatre performance from Simon Fraser University. I am here, doing what I love because I was guided to it and just kept following the signs. 
 

What was your first professional job in the industry and what are your memories of that role?  

I think my first professional job in the industry was a small role on the TV show Psych. I don’t even remember the name of the role, but I’m sure you can see it up there on my IMDB. 

You had a role in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. How did you get that role, and what are your memories of that role and working on that film?  

I auditioned for the role like I always do, but there was something different about that particular role. I remember going into the room and feeling really good, comfortable and confident, and I had a lot of fun in there. As I left the room, the casting director’s assistant asked me to wait for a minute, so I did and then they asked me if I was clear for the shoot dates. I had a feeling at that point something was working out in my favour. A few hours later, my agent called with an offer. Working on the film was a total blast, and I was just pumped that I was working alongside Ben Hollingsworth, who was phenomenal and super super easy to work with. And director David Bowers was hilarious and so fun. You could tell that he loved his work. But of course, the best part of the shoot was getting haunted by “the foot” and getting it rigged up my nose. [laughs]
 

According to your credits, you have been in one Christmas film–Finding Mrs. Claus. What was most memorable about working on that film? Do you have hopes to do another Christmas film at some point? 

It was a super easy going to set, and the two leads were wonderful. My most memorable part of that film was getting to chat and work with Laura Vandervort who is stunning, down-to-earth, and such a delight. I hope our paths cross again. And yes, I’d love to shoot more holiday films. I’ve actually been auditioning for a lot of Christmas movies these past weeks, so hopefully, some good news comes my way. 
 

You had a recurring role on Supernatural. What was the on-set filming experience and cast/crew like? Any behind-the-scenes moments you can share from working on that show?  

Well, it wasn’t a true recurring role, as I did one episode as a guest star and then came back a couple years later as a completely different character. But nonetheless being on that show twice was so much fun. Jared {Padalecki} and Jensen {Ackles} are such a blast to work with. Their energy on set is just contagious. After twelve years of working together, it’s so beautiful to see that a cast and crew can still have fun and enjoy what they’re doing day in and out. Coming into that was a really positive experience, and it shined some great light onto this industry.  I remember filming this green screen scene as Victoria Dodd, where she burns up, and it was so fun to shoot. I did quite a few takes featuring different ways that I would die from being burned alive. I can only imagine what that looked like raw [laughs]. The second time I came onto the show as Shaylene, Jensen and I had a kissing scene, and I pushed him into the wall. I think after the first couple of takes, we kind of broke the wall.  

You’ve done some voice work, but are most known for Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales. What do you appreciate most about voice work? What are the challenges?  

I am passionately obsessed with voiceover work. It’s one of the most challenging aspects of the craft and I think is under-appreciated. Many people believe voice actors go into a voice booth in their pajamas, record their work, leave and then that’s their day. It’s not. What I appreciate is that every day is different and that you really have to have a passion and desire for language. To work in voice, you have to be a really good cold reader, have a strong grasp of storytelling, and be able to break down and analyze a copy pretty quickly. Which is something that I’ve been discovering about myself over the years. The main challenge I face is that I’m directing myself most of the time. I have to be confident, creative, and imaginative enough to come up with ideas, commit to them, and put them out there. I could go on and on talking about voiceover.
 

Many people probably know you as Taiana from Arrow. What was it like coming onto that show and portraying this character? Since you were on that show for some time, what did you enjoy most about your role on that show?  Do you think there is any chance your character could come back at some point? 

It was actually really lovely coming onto that show when I did. I came in at the beginning of season four in the flashbacks and there was a lot of freedom to create a really fun and intense character. I worked mostly with Stephen Amell, Jimmy Akingbola, and Ryan Robbins, so I didn’t really get to meet the rest of the headlining cast, except when we passed each other on set, or in the hair and makeup trailer. I think what I liked most about that role was that I was working with an ensemble for almost an entire season pretty much comprised of Stephen Amell and Jimmy Akingbola. It was either three of us working together or the two of us working together. There was something really fun and special about that. And I’m not sure if Taiana is going to come back, but a lot of the producers always kept saying to me, “you never know, we always seem to bring people back from the dead.”
 

It looks like you will be in the second season of Travelers. Without spoiling the storyline, is there anything you can tell us about your character?

I would love to tell you about my character, but sadly that’s going to give away part of the storyline for season two. You’re going to have to just tune in and find out how I play out.
 

Residue was recently released. How did you get involved in this film, and what can you tell us about your character? Since this is an independent film, what do you see as the benefits and challenges of doing an indie film?

I got involved in Residue from being invited to an audition. I play the role of Monica who is the love interest of the lead, Luke Harding. She is also the manager and cleaner of the building he and his daughter reside in. I love working on an indie film, especially when it’s with people I know and respect, and the script is exciting. I think a lot of the challenges are mostly on the production side of things because you’re always working with some sort of tight-knit budget. People are usually there maybe for free or at a lower rate than what they would usually get, so I always make sure that when I’m on an independent project, it’s with great people who are there working together to produce something that resonates with them. I also find that a lot of independent projects touch on subject matters that resonate more to my essence or something that I want to dive into in a performance, and there’s a little bit more grace and freedom to explore and put forth your own ideas. That’s always a great incentive for me.  

Any other upcoming works you can mention?

On September 12th, I have a movie coming out called Dead Again In Tombstone, where I star alongside Danny Trejo. You can see me in season two of Netflix’s Travelers, I also star in another indie feature Heart of Clay alongside Mackenzie Gray from Legion, and I have a plethora of voice work I do, but can’t mention titles yet. But if you’re into magical ponies, you might hear someone you know in season seven (wink wink). 
 

I notice you’ve done some producing. Any chance you may do some directing or writing at some point?

I’ve been producing some short films on the side with some good friends, one of them is my production partner Stephen Sawchuck. We just finished production on our latest project titled FWD which is a horror comedy short film, and we’re hoping to show it in the festival circuit. And I would love to direct one day. I think I’d really like to start co-directing and then work up from there. 

What are your favorite summer pastimes?

I love beach volleyball, swimming, SUPing {stand up paddle boarding–I had to look it up!}, boating, and scuba diving. Just being outside in general. Oh, and I like to lay out and work on my tan too.

Photo Credit: Matt Lawrence

Elysia is a genuine talent with a deep and abiding love for every facet of this industry. She is versatility personified in a gorgeous package of energy and passion, and I am thrilled to begin the quest of uncovering previously untapped gems consisting of her extraordinary works with which I am unfamiliar. One of the best parts of interviewing actors like Elysia is the electrification of discovery. Moreover, the fact that Elysia is a lovely and accomplished woman with immense talent and consistent optimism only make this journey even more gratifying. Thus, I would invite everyone to check out all of Elysia’s links below, and maybe even investigate her recent and upcoming works (that film coming out later this month sounds intriguing). It is industry professionals like Elysia who irradiate the light of joy, humility, and benevolence to all viewers, fans, and co-workers alike that consistently remind me of why I relish my position of interviewer so much!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

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