Natalie Burn has gone from graceful ballerina to gruesome man-killer for her starring role in the independent movie, “Til Death Do Us Part.” And, while the Ukrainian-born film star is able to carry her own weight thanks to being skilled in a variety of martial arts, it is her homage to childhood heroes like Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis that gave her performance the ultimate “eye of the tiger.”
Muscle & Fitness sat down with Burn to learn more, and to figure out how the star juggled her acting duties while also producing the film.
“It’s always challenging to take on several hats at the same time,” says Burn of her movie-making experience. “So, it was about understanding what my priorities were, during that day. Just, like, separating myself so that when I needed to focus on acting, I focussed on acting. If I needed to focus on stage combat then I needed to stretch, to take my time so that I don’t pull anything. For me, that’s the key. With producing, I was the first one on set and the last one to go. I feel that as producers, we fix problems.”
In “Til Death Do Us Part,” Burn, a former student of The Royal Ballet School in London who also performed with the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow, plays the role of a runaway bride in a movie that mixes action, thriller, and horror as she defends herself against her ex-groom and seven angry groomsmen, all intent on ending her life. As the story unfolds, Burn’s character becomes more intense as she uses her primal instincts to try take out her wedding party. In the kill scenes, Burn seems to relish the ultra-violence in a way that comes through the big screen and moves the audience. And, it seems that the desire to unleash herself from the shackles of being a demure dancer is at the heart of her passion to express every conceivable emotion in front of the camera.
“I’ve always had this fiery personality, and I’ve always wanted to do something that had way more character,” says Burn, who recalls that one of the highlights of her dancing career came one evening when she decided to throw the choreography out of the window and express herself by going with her own gut. “Inside of me, I had this fire burning, where I just wanted to scream and do stuff.” The star found that contemporary dancing allowed her to explore the aspects of movement that she was most interested in. “For me, doing stunts right now, and doing film fighting is just another exploration of my body.”
While the violence on film is bloody and surreal, the planning behind each sequence is clear to see, with elements of dance, jiu-jitsu, taekwondo, karate, and kickboxing on display. Burn, who has trained with Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Arnold Chon and D.Y. Sao was heavily involved with her team in putting together pre-visuals for the movies’ director, Timothy Woodward Jr. To undertake those scenes while wearing a wedding dress required Burn to fight her way through two replica dresses. (There was supposed to be a third, but it never arrived on set.) In making the movie, the second dress got so bloody that a decision had to be made to forget the missing third dress and paint one white, in order to continue the filming that was shot out of chronological order. Finding solutions to problems is all par for the course, however, when you are both acting and trying to produce a project at the same time. Fortunately, Burn has learned from the best when it comes to owning a project.
Natalie Burn Credits Sylvester Stallone For Inspiring Her To Both Act And Produce ‘Til Death Do Us Part’
The Kiev-born dancer-turned-actress has certainly learned from the best of the best. Having played a mercenary in 2022’s “Black Adam” starring Dwayne Johnson, and working on numerous other movies featuring the cream of the crop in terms of action stars, it was a conversation that Burn had during her time on 2014’s “The Expendables 3” that inspired her to always bet on herself.
“I was so lucky to meet him,” says Burn of Stallone. “I had several conversations with him and he is definitely a legend, and I’m inspired by his ways. I’m inspired by the fact that he had his own voice. He told me his story (of making Rocky), and what motivated him, and how he pursued that. He said ‘I’m going to star in this movie, and no one can take that away from me.’ He had a purpose, and he followed it, and I’m sure it inspired so many people in the world but it definitely inspired me. That’s what inspired me to become the producer. I was like: ‘You know what?’ If I have a project that I strongly believe in and I feel like it belongs to me… it’s for me.”
Natalie Burn Put Her Best Foot Forward To Channel Bruce Willis In ‘Til Death Do Us Part’
In a funny story, Burn reveals to M&F that the film’s director, Timothy Woodward Jr. was looking to add more tension to the movie, and having heard that Bruce Willis shot “Die Hard” bare footed, asked Burn to do the same. As a dancer, the star had strong feet, but found the process torturous because of the rough surfaces that she would be required to work on. Still, she bravely continued through the cuts and blisters, only to learn after they had wrapped later that Willis had worn sandals for certain scenes. “I was like, really!?,” she laughs, recalling her reaction to Woodward Jr. on learning the news. “Like, it would have been nice for you to have googled it before-hand!”
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