May 7, 2020 Interview – Tina Majorino
Finding success while only a child, Tina Majorino has made a very interesting acting career for herself. Earning her chops alongside big-time names such as Meg Ryan in 1994’s When a Man Loves a Woman and Kevin Costner in 1995’s Waterworld, she would later play an important role in the 2004 cult classic Napoleon Dynamite.
Continuing her career in a wide range of projects, including television series such as Veronica Mars and Grey’s Anatomy, it seems Majorino thrives on whatever comes next. Most recently trying her hand in the Horror realm with her role in the Hulu Into the Dark film Delivered, once more, she shows there is no limit to her talents. Perhaps her darkest portrayal to date, Majorino recently took the time to talk to Cryptic Rock about Delivered, her interesting résumé, what she looks for in a character, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been acting professionally since you were quite young, in both film and television. Involved in many well-remembered films, how would you describe your career in entertainment to this point?
Tina Majorino – Oh my gosh! Starting out with a light question. (Laughs) I would describe my career as eclectic; I’ve gotten to do so many different things. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve been able to work with some pretty incredible artists. Because of the people I’ve worked with when I was first coming up, I really had a mentality of just trying to do as many different things as I could. The people I was working with, when I was first coming up, were really heavy-hitters who obviously do everything right; just going out there, trying different things, and always making it about the work. I think that is the advice I’ve always tried to follow: keep changing it up and keep challenging yourself. I’ve been able to make a pretty eclectic career for myself with a collection of all different kinds of people from all different walks of life.
Cryptic Rock – You certainly have accomplished being diverse. You have worked in Comedy, Drama, and now, Horror. Do you enjoy the ability to work in different genres?
Tina Majorino – Yes, absolutely! I love to be challenged, which is why I took on the role of Jenny in Delivered. Anything that really makes me feel nervous or scared to do, I just have to do it. It feels, to me, like that’s what’s going to make me a better actress and person. The experiences are always very educational for you as a person as well. I have always wanted to dance around genres so that I’m not getting pigeonholed and so I don’t get bored doing the thing that I love to do the most.
Cryptic Rock – That is a good outlook to have. You mentioned portraying the leading character Jenny in the new Hulu Into The Dark film Delivered. How did this project come about for you?
Tina Majorino – This script came across my desk and I read it in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down. In all honestly, that is a very rare occurrence. Normally when you are reading a bunch of scripts you will find things that you will say, “Hmm, we can do something with that, it might be interesting.” Very rarely does a script come into your life that you feel like you have to do it. (Laughs)
It was so well-written. Both of the characters were so three-dimensional. The fact that it was a Horror film was just a byproduct of these two women’s story; the focus wasn’t to be super scary. All of these characters are fully formed human beings. It felt heavy, challenging, dynamic, and scary as well. I just had to do it!
Cryptic Rock – You do an exceptional job with your role too. It is a pretty dark film. Would you say this is one of the darkest roles you have ever played?
Tina Majorino – Yes, by far. I would say this is the darkest role that I’ve ever played. Any sort of role that I played before that fell under that category was more on the dramatic side, not on the scary or violent side. Getting into the psyche of this character was vastly different than any of the darker roles that I’ve played before.
Cryptic Rock – Obviously your character comes from a dark place, as well. What was it like getting into the mindset? In a way, did you have to sympathize with Jenny?
Tina Majorino – It was not sympathize, but it was just coming from a place of compassion. As an actor, for me, I have to be able to find the pathway to the person that I’m about to play; and you can’t do that if you are sitting in judgement. It is imperative that you find that door, which usually for me comes from being empathetic toward the person.
When I sat down with our director, Emma Tammi, we really talked at length about how the goal wasn’t to make Jenny scary; the goal was to make her a very troubled woman and to focus on why that is. She’s a real person, we didn’t want her to be flat and one-dimensional.
I definitely came from a place of empathy, that this is a person who has experienced so much trauma in their life, is alone, and things are spiraling. Not only is it scary, but it is also incredibly sad. That is really how I found my way to her.
Cryptic Rock – The story does have a very human feel to it that is scary and tragic. You mentioned working with Emma, who also did an exceptional job with the 2018’s The Wind. What was it like working with her?
Tina Majorino – Emma is an incredible woman. Just as a human – she is so awesome, smart, has such good ideas and interesting perspective. Working with her on a personal level was incredible because, for me, it’s very important I trust my director; they are pretty much the guiding light. Under normal circumstances you really want that, but under these circumstances, where I was really scared at the prospect of playing someone like this – where it was my first time in this genre and it was my first time playing a villain – Emma was the perfect person to work with.
I trusted her implicitly. When we were doing all these insane scenes – where in our experiences, we’ve never been in positions like that – I always appreciated with how honest and open she was. I could go to her with anything, especially the genre-related questions and technical questions; because I’m not as adept at that as this amazing crew was. She was always willing to educate me and answer questions. We sat down very early on and I told her, “The most important thing I need from you is to tell me the truth. I’m really scared of making this over the top. When you are watching, I need to know if I need to reel it in or go bigger.” She just made a safe environment for all of us.
It was also pretty incredible to have a female director on such a female-centric story. I think that added a depth to it that is apparent in the outcome. I adore Emma – I would work with her over and over again. She’s amazing!
Cryptic Rock – It sounds like it was a great experience. Now that you have done Delivered, would you consider doing more Horror movies in the future?
Tina Majorino – Hell yeah! (Laughs) It was so fun. I just feel like I have the best job in the world. I get to work and play, and especially on this set. It is just so insane and fun. I love fake blood, stunts, and action. This was definitely a dream job. I would 100% do another Horror movie. It was so fun.
Cryptic Rock – That is cool to hear. Right now a lot of things are on hold with the state of the world, but do you have any other projects coming up?
Tina Majorino – I have a couple of things in the pipeline, but as you just said, everything is on pause, so who knows. I am just excited for Delivered to come out on Friday, May 8th. We have been waiting for such a long time for this to come out, we are all super pumped!
Cryptic Rock – It is just in time for Mother’s Day, following the trend of Into the Dark holiday-related films. Last question. Do you have any favorite Horror or Sci-Fi related films?
Tina Majorino – My favorite Science Fiction film will always be the The Fifth Element (1997). I love it to pieces! I’ve watched it a thousand times and I would watch it a thousand times more. As far as Horror movies, it would be hard for me to pick my favorite one. The Shining (1980) will never not scary me, that’s something I saw way too young in my life. (Laughs) Misery (1990) is another one I love. I also really enjoyed Paranormal Activity (2007). Ghost stuff always scares me more than person on person horror. There are so many good Horror films. It’s fun to get scared sometimes when you are watching a movie. (Laughs) I love the psychological/thriller related Horror films.
Cryptic Rock – Right, sometimes what you do not see is what scares you the most.
Tina Majorino – I agree. My dad loved Alfred Hitchcock, so I grew up watching his movies. That’s the kind of storytelling that I’ve always loved. I will say that Emma Tammi has the ability to know what to show and what not to show. I think that is just incredible and I love that way of telling a story. Human beings’ imaginations are so insane, all you need is a little seed and people run away with it.
Feature photo credit Lucas Rossi