Any extraterrestrials thinking about invading Earth may need to think again. Humans will not simply surrender.
In Occupation, a small group of residents in Australia band together after a devastating invasion by aliens. As they struggle to stay alive, they initiate plans to work together for a chance to strike back.
The film stars Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison and Stephany Jacobsen in this action-packed science fiction alien invasion story.
LRM had a phone interview earlier this month with Stephany Jacobsen. Jacobsen is a television veteran who starred in popular television shows like Star-Crossed, Revenge, Melrose Place, Home and Away and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
On the phone, we discussed about her returning to sci-fi, fun on the set and aliens.
Occupation is available on VOD and Digital HD today.
Read our interview transcript below.
LRM: I’ve known you for certain TV shows like Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and Battlestar Galactica: Razor. Those are are sci-fi shows. Why are you attracted a coming back to sci-fi over and over again?
Stephany Jacobsen: First and foremost, it’s because I’m a woman. I’m mixed race. I’m part Asian. I’m part Portuguese. I’m part Caucasian. Sci-fi has always been the genre that has offered me for widest breadth in regards to the characters that I am allowed to play. So that’s really been what it is like. TakeT he Sarah Connor Chronicles, for example, because of the time travel aspect of that. It’s basically based on around the concept of this alternate dystopian future. It was feasible in that world for a mixed race woman to have an Australian accent and be the commander of a nuclear submarine. I tend to find that with a lot of the other genres–type casting can be a little bit of a problem. That’s probably the main reason I keep going back to sci-fi is because the role that I can play the other most creatively fulfilling for me.
I just loved the larger, the larger than life aspect to it. I love a lot of explosions, wars, aliens and killer robots. The other thing, with sci-fi stuff, the stakes tend to be higher than if you’re doing a legal show or a soap opera or what have you. A lot of the time it’s about, it’s about saving the human race or preserving the human race to speak. The stakes are always kind of up there. It’s right up there in the region of life and death. And I like that.
LRM: So what was the particular draw that you liked about this project here of Occupation?
Stephany Jacobsen: Well, there were a couple of things. Firstly, I loved that this character enabled me to play the arc from civilian to soldier. As you mentioned before, I’ve done a lot of sci-fi stuff where I’ve played military characters and trained fighters. But, I’d never had the opportunity to play someone who starts off being just a normal girl and becomes a warrior and a leader. So that was something that was really appealing for me, because I knew that it was going to be a first off for me.
Apart from that, I could tell from reading the script that the writer-director Luke Sparke didn’t view women as being compromised in any way or weaker in any way. I really loved that, because a lot of people, due to no fault of their own, will, when they write their female characters–they will just kind of tone them down a little. So that they’re just maybe not quite as deadly as the men, not quite as powerful, as the men are not quite or as physically competent men. And Amelia was all of those things.
LRM: Did you have to do any special training for this particular movie since you’re so used to a sci-fi with stunts or gun training?
Stephany Jacobsen: Well, I didn’t. We deliberately didn’t do that, because our characters are civilians who form a militia. So they didn’t have any formal training.
LRM: Did you mainly do perform your own stunts throughout the entire movie then?
Stephany Jacobsen: Pretty much. [Laughs] Now I think about it I didn’t have a double ever. [Laughs] That’s a good question. I can’t believe I didn’t realize that until you ask.
LRM: As an Australian yourself, was this project went pretty smoothly since this was practically a filmed in your backyard?
Stephany Jacobsen: It was and it wasn’t. I mean it was filmed in Australia’s backyard, but I’ve been living in the U.S. since 2007. For me also, when I lived in Australia–I lived in Sydney. We filmed in Queensland and northern New South Wales. So it’s the. For me, it was actually kind of the big opposite. It was a completely new fresh experience.
LRM: So what was your favorite experience here on this project for yourself?
Stephany Jacobsen: We had a great six weeks. We really did. And I’m not just saying that to be euphemistic. There was so many great fulfilling, memorable times. The one that I enjoyed the most, partly that I enjoyed this so much was because I think the whole cast really did well one particular scene. It was a battle scene sort of close to the beginning of the movie where everybody, I guess we all of collectively bridged the gap from the civilian to militia. That fight sequence was really just fun to shoot, because it was the first time that we all got to get physically into our characters. It felt like playing. you know. It was definitely a lot of fun. I’m pretty sure that you’ll know exactly the one that I’m talking about when you watch the movie.
LRM: I do believe I do know what you’re talking about.
Stephany Jacobsen: Right. [Laughs] You know the one, right?
LRM: Absolutely. During the production, how did the director handle basically the alien scenes? Was it practical effects, CGI or was it just a combination of both?
Stephany Jacobsen: I want to say, that with this movie, the majority was practical. There was some CGI, but everything you see in the movie with an exception of a few bits and pieces–that Luke put on as garnish. Everything that you see in the movie, we actually did. Like we were actually running from explosions. It was great since it made our job as actors really easy. We’ve had to do what our characters would have been doing in the instance by getting from A to B and don’t get blown up. [Laughs] It was great in that regard.
LRM: I do have to admit. When I was watching the movie, I’m so jealous that you had a running slow motion scene with the explosion in the background. That must be a dream come true for any actor.
Stephany Jacobsen: I’ve got to tell you. Luke just came up with that on the fly. He came up to me one day and he said, “Okay, Steph. I’ve added a shot. We’re going to do this.” I said that sound excellent. Then he tells me that I got one take. At that point, I kind of started getting anxiety. We pulled it off in the end. That’s fantastic. One of my favorite shots in the movie. I think it’s one of a lot of people’s favorite shots. Definitely worth it.
LRM: Stephany, do you have any upcoming projects for yourself?
Stephany Jacobsen: At this point in time, we were just a few weeks out from starting pre-production on the sequel. It’s pretty much going to take me out of there. If all things go to plan, I think Luke would have something more to follow that up his sleeves.
LRM: Excellent. One quick last question since you, since your love of sci-fi and do you believe in aliens?
Stephany Jacobsen: Absolutely. Of course! Who doesn’t? How little of outer space have we charted? It’s absurd to think that there’s not another life form out there.
LRM: [Laughs] Great answer. Stephany, it’s my pleasure to be speaking with you. Thank you very much with this conversation.
Stephany Jacobsen: Thank you for getting up so early to talk to me. Have a great day. Thank you.
Occupation is available on VOD and Digital HD today.
Source: LRM Online Exclusive