Marina Mazepa is an actress, contortionist, as well as a dancer. She is also in three horror/Supernatural films Malignant, The Unholy and Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Marina was on So You Think You Can Dance and a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2019. Marina spoke with YEM about how it was playing a villain, how she learned to the Resident Evil film series, as well as what working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan was like.
Young Entertainment Mag: What made you audition for a role in 3 horror/supernatural films that come out this year?
Marina Mazepa: I didn’t actually audition. After America’s Got Talent, I was discovered by James Wan. He cast me as the main villain in his upcoming film, Malignant. I earned roles in my next two films, The Unholy and Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, through producer recommendations.
YEM: Out of the 3 films you’re in (Resident Evil, Malignant and Unholy) which had the craziest costume? What was your favorite?
Marina: Because of the demands of my costume, Malignant was the hardest and craziest performance to give. I can’t give anything else away about it, so you’ve got to watch this movie to understand what I mean. It comes out September 10, 2021. The ugliest costume I’ve worn for a movie was in Resident Evil. Painting my limbs and applying prosthetics took about four or five hours every day. The mask I wore in The Unholy was my least comfortable costume piece. It was supposed create another person’s facial structure on top of my own. It was super cool, but it totally blinded me. I can’t pick a favorite!
YEM: What are some techniques you use to keep up with everything, such as memorizing lines, photo shoots and your personal life?
Marina: I have a burning desire to become an actress that drives me to improve in acting, martial arts, and speaking English, which brings me closer to my goals. It’s hard to work without a purpose, so I set a very specific goal of becoming a successful actress in action movies. I’m now working on honing the skillset that I think is necessary to become that actress. The skills I work on every day are: martial arts, acting, dialect and speech work. Three years ago, I didn’t speak English and now I’m writing this! And I’m not ashamed say that I have teachers that help me with this. I’m constantly learning every day and I’m very proud of my growth.
YEM: How were you introduced to the Resident Evil film series?
Marina: One of the producers from The Unholy recommended me to the folks from Resident Evil. They sent me an email saying that I was under consideration for the role of Lisa Trevor and reviewed my reels and resume. After that I had a call with the director, Johannes Roberts. He loved my ideas about and interpretation of the character. Then he asked me to send him videos of how I would behave as Lisa, which ultimately earned me the role.
YEM: Did you use any of your abilities as a contortionist in the upcoming film Malignant?
Marina: Initially, I was hired for a couple scenes as a contortionist, but after a successful camera test, the creative team expanded my role. They gave me more scenes and freedom to showcase my martial arts and acting skills as well as the contortion they had originally hired me to do.
YEM: Will you be using any martial arts in Resident Evil or Malignant?
Marina: Yes, in a very a specific way. I don’t use martial arts traditionally in either film. I use martial arts to capture the specific body languages and postures of my characters.
YEM: Are horror films your go to movie?
Marina: Before acting in horror movies, I had only watched a few horror movies. I used to be really scared of horror movies, so I would usually watch them with a bunch of my friends to make them less scary. Now horror movies don’t scare me anymore because I know how fun it is to film them.
YEM: How was it (or what was it like) working on set with Jeffrey Dean Morgan? Did he give you any inside acting tips?
Marina: Jeffrey was super nice. We always talked about acting. He told me that when he was eighteen one of his first roles was a creature wearing a crazy costume and mask for Star Wars. He understood what it was like to play a masked creature. He was very encouraging of me on my journey.
YEM: What are you hoping the audience sees in your acting in these next 3 films? What are you most excited to see?
Marina: I’m super excited to see Malignant. No one has ever done the kind of work that I did in that film and I can’t wait to see the final edit!
YEM: How was it playing a villain?
Marina: It was so much fun to play a villain. In real life, I never express yourself in that specific way. Those characters are completely different from who I am. I promise I don’t want to kill people, but it’s fun to explore a character that does.
YEM: What types of roles do you hope to take on in the future?
Marina: I want to take on lead roles in dramatic action films.