Natalie Eva Marie in Hard Kill

INTERVIEW: Natalie Eva Marie Talks Hard Kill, Wrestling, and Acting

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Hard Kill, at its core, is just a movie about trying to get the job done and getting out alive. When Derek Miller and his crew of mercenaries join in to help high-powered CEO Chalmers (Bruce Willis) with an off-the-books job, they’re confronted with the reality that the mission might be more than they bargained for. Natalie Eva Marie, who plays Sasha Zindel, a member of Miller’s crew, talked with us about the movie, the WWE, and following in the footsteps of some heavy hitters who came from wrestling and are now some of our biggest movie stars out there.

THE MARY SUE: I liked how the movie kind of flips as you’re watching it. They first think there’s a job they have to do, then it’s a rescue mission, and then it’s basically a get out alive film. And I liked that, especially with your character, Sasha. She had this journey within that that no one else really got to have because she had that struggle with her brother in the beginning, and then throughout the entire job, and so is that a bit more fun to play with as an actor rather than just the “we’re action guys, we’re just trying to get the job done” vs. your character who gets to have this arc within the overall story?

NATALIE EVA MARIE: Yeah, for me, definitely. Just because you get to play and pull back more layers with that because obviously, you know, Harrison (Jon Galanis) was my brother, and that’s definitely a bond that’s unexplainable. So I love the fact that I had that in there and I could dive in there and be able to kind of pull emotion, and you can kind of show that through the film all the way to the end.

THE MARY SUE: And I really liked that it was a fun action movie until (and I don’t want to spoil anything), but just the one point and you just kind of switch and it makes the audience go “oh it’s a fun action movie but there are also these stakes they all have,” that we kind of push aside when we watch these action movies. And you did a really good job of showing her stakes and showing her kind of saying, “Alright, I just want to get out of here now.”

NATALIE EVA MARIE: Exactly and thank you very much. I’m glad you were able to see—it’s kind of fun being able to hear other people’s point of view and their take on it, so I appreciate it.

THE MARY SUE: Of course, and you did a lot of wrestling, and the WWE is performing and acting, to an extent, but how different is it coming from something like the WWE into these more centralized characters and getting to play with these different kinds of emotions that you couldn’t have been able to on the WWE?

NATALIE EVA MARIE: I always say that, being on the WWE, I’m so thankful that I started there first because the work ethic and the relentless drive that you have to have to be one of the superstars is absolutely incredible. Like, you’re on the road 290 days out of the year while building your character and then performing in front of a live audience while being able to handle the physicality, and if you’re able to handle that, you’re seriously prepared for any endeavor that you do in life.

And transitioning that into TV and film, the fact that you’re playing a character that you get to expand on in a period of that story in one location is awesome. For this specific character, because I come from a military family—my dad is a Vietnam veteran and was in the Marines, and my brother-in-law is currently serving overseas right now for the Army. And … that was my biggest—I have so much love and respect for our military that I wanted to make them proud with my weapon training on the big screen, so I was lucky to do training with ex-delta force. Shoutout to James Flemming, who was, you know, the real deal, and was able to show me as much as I possibly could before I actually got on set.

And I just feel like doing that extra was something I needed to do for my character and to feel confident when I got there.

THE MARY SUE: Yeah, and it really paid off because I really like your character specifically because, in a lot of action movies, women are often resigned to like a damsel role, which like … this movie has, but it’s not your typical one, because she’s the genius behind why she was taken in the first place, but then with Sasha, she’s just kind of like, “No I’m part of this crew, this is my job” and it was never a question of whether or not she could do something because she’s a woman. She was just already accepted. Is that something you look for in your roles now?

NATALIE EVA MARIE: Exactly, I loved Sasha beginning to end. I am the youngest of all boys, so it was definitely a role that … there’s nothing better, I think—as an actress, especially—than seeing certain roles like that. It’s like you said. It’s along the lines of not just being female or a damsel in distress; it’s just who she is. This is her crew, and she’s fully accepted, and I love that.

THE MARY SUE: You’re also joining a huge caliber of … the WWE has given us some of our best actors we have out there because we have the Rock, Dave Bautista, and John Cena, and you’re joining these ranks. Is that something that’s intimidating to you, or does your training with the WWE kind of prepare you for these next levels of your career?

NATALIE EVA MARIE: 100%. It’s exciting, you know? Do I want to emulate? Sure, the WWE really molds you and helps so much to make that transition into TV and film, and I’m excited. Because for you to even put my name in with those guys is … something I don’t take lightly, and I want to continue to raise the bar and continue my journey, and I’m super grateful for the WWE because Vince, Stef, and Hunter gave a nobody kid a shot. I had a dream, and they gave me it, and without them, I wouldn’t be in this interview talking about a movie that I’m in with this cast.

Hard Kill is available on VOD and digital!

(image: Vertical Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.