Invicta veteran Taneisha Tennant has had some very tough fights in the cage and shows great determination. That factor led to her being recruited and then cast as another member of the cast of Bruised, the directorial debut of Halle Berry.
We spoke with Taneisha to ask about her involvement in the project and her experience on set as a novice artist, as well as how the project is moving towards realism. .
Victor Rodriguez: Taneisha, thank you for joining us, for starters. Tell us right away, how did this process start for you, how were you chosen to collaborate on this project?
Taneisha Tennant: Yes, it was actually after my first Invicta battle. I got a call from Halle Berry but I couldn’t pick it up at the time, so when I called her back it went straight to voicemail. Then I went to Florida for a vacation and a friend of mine from Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City where Halle Berry was training – I believe this is how Halle Berry first got to know me, from the past. training program. I believe it’s Rob, his name is Rob – he’s Renzo Gracie’s trainer – Halle Berry was looking for a specific style and boxer. And he gave her my name. From there, I went back to New York and introduced myself, and that’s how it started. She told me what she wanted for the movie and what part I could be in.
VR: Any particular reason she chose you and how did that happen?
TT: Apparently what she was explaining to me was that this particular part I was playing was like a bad girl, looking as if she could kick someone’s ass. I guess I have looks, like a tough girl.
VR: So guide me on your level of involvement and what you did during the process, how was that?
TT: The process went on for a few days, see… she sent a limo to pick me up (from New York), I went to the hotel, the next day I went to shoot… I didn’t know what to do. call that.
VR: Yes, the shoot. The set. The same thing.
TT: Yes! The set. I went to the movie set. I got to see behind the scenes, you know, have a behind-the-scenes look at the movie and all that. Then I do my scene, Halle Berry is directing me, everything like that. No da is great! Then stayed an extra night and a limo took me back home, to New York.
VR: Beautiful. From what you can see, what do you think of the attempt to make this as grounded or as close to reality as possible?
TT: Looks like they tried really hard to do that. All the people she danced with, most of them were actual fighters, and they drew their inner experience from the people who fought there. I think she did a great job of incorporating real-life MMA fighters into the film.
VR: Do you have any fight scenes with her?
TT: Uhh, maybe! I haven’t seen the movie yet!
VR: Do you have any training sessions with her or anything like that or does she have her own business?
TT: No, I’m not sure I can say it but, um, yeah. I was, I guess I fought her… maybe (Laughs)
TT: I don’t know, I haven’t seen the movie!
VR: YES. It’s fine, it’s okay. I’m only asking about the process, not what happened on the screen.
TT: I’m really not sure how it all comes together, I should say. I just do my part and she directs it, yes.
VR: And have you done any kind of acting or choreography before?
TT: Not really, but my role is one that I know well, pretty cool.
VR: Yes, but you sound like you had fun with it, am I correct?
TT: Oh, that’s right, it’s fun! It’s really different because it doesn’t feel like a real fight where you punch straight, more like a technique where you sometimes make it look a bit overdone so it can look better in front of the camera. It’s great to learn all those little details.
VR: Do you feel jittery or whatever, or do you just come in and kick it?
TT: Well no, I was fine! Once I was in the cage, I was fine. I just heard “Action,” and you know…
VR: Did it just click?
VR: Alright. So what do you feel from leaving this project? What are your feelings after the whole process is over?
TT: I just feel so lucky to be a part of it. Apparently this is her first time directing a movie. It’s really cool to be part of a predominantly female cast. And for the lens to show female fighters that are often overlooked, I’m happy to be a part of it.
VR: Do you think this will lead to your participation in other projects in the future? Can you be open to that?
TT: Yes I hope so! I’ve always liked any kind of role or stunt, or whatever.
VR: Can you think of a celebrity you want to punch in the face?
TT: Huh! Can’t think of any in my head, no (Laughs).
Halle Berry’s “Bruised” is currently streaming on Netflix.
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