Like many little girls around the world, Natassia Malthe used to dream of one day becoming a ballerina. The Norwegian-born beauty eventually went on to dance with the Norwegian Opera and the prestigious Norwegian State Ballet College. Then, however, her career plans took a very different course when she joined her friends in auditioning for a musical theater class. Much to her surprise, she was accepted, and two months later Malthe was studying musical theater in London. From there, she took the proverbial bull by the horns.
“I was visiting my mother in Vancouver for Christmas, and not long after I arrived in town I began meeting a lot of actors and was trying to figure out how to break into the business,” recalls the actress. “One night I was at a Christmas party and spent most of my time talking to this woman about the basics, such as putting together a resume and how to go about finding an agent. At the end of the night she told me that she was an agent and she signed me the next day. I then went on my first audition, which was with [director] David Nutter, and he said to me, ‘You’re in the right business. You should stick with it.’ David gave me my first job and that’s how I got started.
Millennium, First Wave and The Dead Zone are among Malthe’s TV guest-star credits. In addition to a number of made-for-TV movies, the actress has also appeared in such feature films as Disturbing Behavior, Lake Placid, BloodRayne II: Deliverance, The Other Side of the Tracks and opposite Jennifer Garner in Elektra. In the latter, she played Typhoid Mary, who could kill with a single touch of her hand or kiss on the lips.
“I loved Typhoid Mary,” enthuses Malthe. “I came up with an entire back story for her and I wish that the character has been further fleshed out [in the film] because there is so much more to her than we get to see onscreen. What struck me the most about Typhoid was her evilness, you know? I really had to focus on her dark side, which I did through music. I listen to certain musical groups in order to get to ‘that place’ with a character, and in this instance I listened to a lot of heavy metal,” she says with a smile.
On this particular sunny day in August (2008), the actress is on-location outside of Vancouver, British Columbia where she is shooting the Sci Fi Channel movie Knights of Bloodsteel. As a warrior elf named Perfidia, she is recruited to help the film’s hero, John Serragoth (David James Elliott), in his fight against Dragon Eye (Mark Gibbon), who is determined to rule the magical world of Mirabilis. Our heroes’ task is not an easy one, and along the way Perfidia must overcome her own personal demons as well.
“I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone, but my character does crash to rock bottom,” notes Malthe. “She goes from being a superhero warrior girl to rock bottom. That was a tough scene to do. Perfidia loses the guy and her powers, but in the process she discovers something else.
“The other big challenge with this character, at least initially, were the [prosthetic] teeth and practicing the dialogue as well as speaking in front of the camera with two big, clunky teeth in my mouth. Hopefully I’m not lisping in any of the scenes we’ve already filmed,” she jokes. “At first the teeth were longer at the back and had greater support, which allowed them to be smaller and more refined. But it was impossible for me to talk while wearing them. So now I have a brand new prosthetic that grasps my own teeth at the front. They’re a bit bigger than the first set, but much easier to work with.”
Malthe’s experience as a dancer as well as her prior gymnastics training has been an advantage when it comes to the physicality of this role. “I’m familiar with ‘movie martial arts’ as well, and that along with my dancing background has been a big help, especially with the sword-fighting scenes,” says the actress. “It has a lot to do with coordination and muscle memory, so I don’t find the physical stunts all that difficult because I’m able to memorize the moves. We’re lucky, too, that we have a wonderful crew along with stunt people.
“There was a scene we shot at a waterfall that was extremely slippery and our director, Philip [Spink], was quite concerned about us falling into a big rush of water and being swept into the river. So they put chains, almost like dog leashes, on us to prevent that from happening. There’s also a scene where our characters are standing in mud while having a sword-fight with the bad guys. The mud was like quicksand and when we finished filming, the crew literally had to pull us out of the mud. It was quite funny. And then there was the tall grass. Our feet would constantly get caught up in it, and falling over wasn’t a good thing, especially because of the thorns.”
Despite the weighty nature of our heroes’ mission, there apparently has been time for levity on the Knights of Bloodsteel set. “Sometimes you just get the giggles,” admits Malthe. “The network is probably going to look at the dailies and say, ‘Oh, boy, Perfidia is laughing again.’ There have been moments where I’ve literally had to tell myself, ‘Please, don’t start giggling.’ Oh, my God, my first onscreen kiss with David, every time he leaned over to kiss me I began to giggle. It was very embarrassing, but David forgave me, thank goodness.
“I have the best cast mates,” adds the actress. “Everyone gets along and in-between takes there are so many funny jokes. We’re having an incredible time and our character arcs are developing very nicely. Every one of these characters has impressed and amazed me and I love seeing my fellow actors come up with truly imaginative choices with their performances.”
As with ballet dancing, there is a tremendous amount of discipline and hard work that goes along with honing your craft as an actor, and Malthe is not afraid of either. “You pay your dues and work really hard, and I think everyone has a chance to succeed in this business if they persevere and just keep going,” she says.
“I had tremendous audition stage-fright when I first started acting, and it took me years to conquer that. Once I’m on-set I’m fine, but I think the toughest nut to crack was the entire audition process and feeling like you’re going to have a heart attack before walking into the audition room. The biggest reward for me was working through that, and now I’m able to relax in the [audition] room and do the work. So there are lots of [acting] obstacles to overcome, but when you do that, you hopefully get more and more work and new opportunities.”
As noted above, all photos are courtesy of and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!