Born in Van Nuys, CA and raised in Burbank, CA the blond, beautiful and voluptuous Tracey Birdsall might in the traditional Hollywood world of typecasting be dismissed as a California girl, but Tracey is not your typical California girl and is shattering barriers of presumption proving there really is no such thing.
Now into her 50s she has not lost one ounce of luster and is pulling off roles once traditionally the domain of male actors while being able to compete with 20 something actresses.
The youngest of three sisters Tracey was studied in dancing and singing, taking part in musical theater in her formative years. It wasn't long until commercial work came her way as a teenager being seen in such product commercials as Sunkist, and in television in the soap opera Loving and the dramatic series Hearts Are Wild. But her shining moment is now as she breaks through age and gender barriers in film as a pioneer for others to follow.
Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter is a perfect example of breaking barriers. A role which would have traditionally been a man's role with a beautiful woman as eye candy hanging on his arm instead now has the beautiful woman for sure, but she happens to be the tough as nails leading character as well.
In this interview Tracey talks acting, her role in Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter and what's on the horizon for her.
Why acting? What is it about this game that fuels you?
People fascinate me. The joy of creating a character and bringing it to life right down to the minute mannerisms excites me. I love the process of creation, development, birth (as in birth of a character), and living that life and experiencing it. It’s not only a skill, but also a passion. It drives me, inspires me to do more and be more, at the same time as it puts me in a position of transparency – but as another human – complete with strengths and vulnerabilities of varying degrees. It’s really quite a fascinating experience, so I choose to go through the hundreds of hours of preparation to do all over again… like a child in an amusement park – enthused with the possibilities and also the unknown.
Is there anyone in particular whose career you've either idolised or even unconsciously tried to mimic?
To mimic? No. That would take the fun out of doing the work. Other actors whose performances involve living the life of the character to the extreme inspire me. Getting a new script delivered to me that seems impossible to my brain at first, also excites and inspires me. I love most performances of Daniel Day Lewis, Meryl Streep, and recently that of Leonardo DiCaprio. I don’t idolize anyone; moreover, I compete with myself to always work harder than anyone I know. I do think it’s possible that those whose performances I appreciate do the same.
Do you consider yourself a 'type' of actor?
I have a branding duality – but much of that has been attained by successfully going off-type. I was always the girl-next-door (now the girl-next-door grown up), with an edge of badass – which comes from both my tomboyish ways and my action roles in sci-fi. My edgy-sassiness in comedy is a far cry from my sci-fi persona, but I revel in the joys of both extremes. My type stretches again as my character goes to a dramatically darker place in the up-coming sci-fi time travel thriller The Time War, which will baffle people in comparison with my more sexy intelligent grown up girl-next-door character in the up-coming comedy Who’s Jenna…? I revel in challenges from type, and get the opportunities to stretch.
What sorts of roles do you find you're usually brought in for?
I’ve been working for about five years straight so I haven’t had a chance to “go in” for anything actually. I usually get sent scripts to see if I would be interested in doing them. I’ve been brought in for the whole gamut throughout my life, with a pretty fair distribution between comedy and drama in both auditions and bookings. Ironically enough, the one “type” I never got booked for (and rarely brought in for) was that of the “mom.” Although I am a mom in real life, that was never my “type” which was confusing to me for many years. I have been the spunky step-mom and the trophy wife who couldn’t contain herself, but just being a mom was never my type in the eyes of casting. We have to see ourselves how others might see us, and expand upon that with opportunities… to help them see which ways we can stretch… always one of my favorite things! Let me do something I haven’t done before and I’m very happy.
What's been your favorite role to play so far and why?
Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter was my favorite “released” role to date, as it utilized so many of my strengths and expanded upon them (and I loved the action) – along with my vulnerabilities which also stretched to all new levels in living her life. Unreleased would be the upcoming The Time War, as it was an almost impossible role given time travel and living the lives of various versions of myself throughout time… an absolute monumental task that took 220 days of shooting over three years. Such an amazing experience…
Has that been the movie that's also opened doors for you?
Every film and opportunity opens multitudes of doors and opportunities. It’s always that way. Rogue Warrior definitely expanded upon my branding, which has led to The Time War which will also expand upon it. When you work with every cell of your being with skill and more time commitment than was ever required of you to bring characters to life, doors do open; it’s just a fact of life.
As the year ends and a new year begins, what do you hope for for 2018?
I just want to work and live the lives of characters that I create. That said, I would love to parlay what I do back into the realm of television, as it seems to be the way of the future.
Tracey's film Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter is available in select stores and online! You can always find it at:
Thank you, Tracey!