Up Close and Personal With Actor Tamara Woods

12:00 PM asenseofpurposemovie 0 Comments

In 2015, Tamara Woods was cast as Sgt. Diane Torres, an Army medic. She is the lead female actor in the upcoming movie “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives.” In the year it took to complete the movie, Tamara’s character had to struggle and learn to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder after she is raped by her commanding officer, Captain Jake Nixon, and becomes pregnant with his child. Let’s hear from Tamara in a Q & A.

Q:  How did you feel when you landed the lead female role, Sgt. Diane Torres, in ASOP? 
A: When I was informed of the great news, I felt honored, though overwhelmed with mixed emotions of excitement and doubt. I pondered if I could play such a role after reading the description and was this from God. I know that my God would never place such an opportunity at my feet to walk in if I was not prepared and equipped. Overall, I was honored, doubtful, confident, and amazed to be offered the role by director and producer Jillian Bullock.

Q:  How did you prepare to portray a woman who was raped by her commanding officer?
A: Anything that comes my way I usually approach with prayer. My faith in God is an intrinsic part of my being, so I seek God first in all that I do for preparation, guidance, etc.

Q: Since the movie was filmed over the course of a year, how did your pregnancy affect the movie?  
A: My unexpected pregnancy was a beautiful surprise and the highlight of the year. In the beginning of 2016 I was acting in multiple productions simultaneously and didn’t even know we (my husband and I) were expecting a new bundle of joy. So when I found out, I was excited but uncertain if my news would excite the director and producers. I am so fortunate that in addition to them being happy when I shared the news, writer/director Jillian Bullock wrote my pregnancy in the script.

Q: How did you get along with actor John Quinlan considering he portrays your rapist in the movie? 
A: John Quinlan and I have great chemistry together. When I first met John it was via SKYPE. We talked, discussed the script and then started rehearsing the script. John, who is new to acting, was so eager to learn and I was thrilled to share some acting tips I’ve learned over the years. When he flew in for our first scene, I smiled and jokingly said, “This is the only smile you’re going to get from me,” and we all laughed.

Q: How difficult was it for you to bring the emotions needed to portray a veteran with PTSD?
A: What’s challenging for me is character development, especially when I have no experience or only have little information on a topic. Once I am able to understand the scene, the role and embody the character, the emotional aspect comes easily.

Q: What was your most difficult scene?

 (Misty Godfrey, Tamara Woods, Jillian Bullock)
A: My most difficult scene was the rape scene. I was 8 months pregnant with a belly and didn’t know how this was going to happen; nevertheless, Jillian Bullock is a professional and she knew what to do. Everything I was concerned about she was too, and as a filmmaker you can capture what you need without jeopardizing the safety of your cast and the scene. JB worked it out! Jillian was my rape body double and Misty Godfrey was my horse stunt double. 

Q: You’re a veteran. Tell us about your service.
A: I am proud to have sacrificed my life daily to serve my country for seven years in the U.S. Air Force.  My last assignment was Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom. My duty position was Information Management and my rank was Staff Sergeant. During my deployment, one of my additional duties was a Travel Representative and their mission at the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing was “Boots on the Ground”: Get them in, supply them and get them out. I made sure the airmen got out once their mission was complete.

Q: How do you think this movie will help those who are dealing with PTSD?
A: This movie is a voice for those who are dealing with PTSD and may find it hard to speak. When you can find an advocate to speak on your behalf that is always helpful.

Q: What do you think audiences will get out of seeing ASOP?
A: After seeing ASOP audiences will walk away fully aware and educated on mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and sexual assault that our soldiers face that can lead to drugs, and/or suicide. I am hoping it will spark discussion for a positive change.

Q: How did the cast and crew keep things light and positive on the set since the movie is a serious drama?

A: When we were on break or in between takes we would joke around.

Q: What were your thoughts working with director, Jillian Bullock?
A: I am thankful that I reached out to her four years ago. To finally meet Jillian and work with her was a long time coming, but worth the wait. I was blessed with a two for one – I got to work out with her and to be in her movie. Jillian is a thorough woman and a professional. I’ve been in the business for a while and have seen, and heard a lot of game, but Jillian carries through what she says and in that I can trust her. My mother and mentor told me when you find someone who treats you right you hold on to that person. I’m looking to work with her again on many projects.

Q: Do you know any veterans who suffer with PTSD? If so, how has the movie helped you help them?
A: I knew a veteran with PTSD and now I’m learning of more veterans whom I’ve met over the years who have it. This movie helped me in so many ways. First, it helped me to take a deeper look at those who suffer from mental illness by placing me in their shoes as Diane Torres. This role taught me how certain things can trigger one’s mind back to that horrific event. I’m hoping that I am able to help them by telling their story and it relays to the audience so that veterans who suffer from PTSD will no longer be ignored.

Q: What are your plans after this movie is complete?
A: My plan is to continue my greatest production by God’s doing and that is spending time with my family, and use my God-given gifts and talents to bring about a meaningful change.

Q: You’re an accomplished actor. Name a few other projects you’ve done.
A: When I’m not on set I am on stage. I have been blessed and received a Broadway World nomination for portraying American voting rights activist, civil rights leader, and philanthropist, Fannie Lou Hamer in “Freedom Smitty!” I’ve also done “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Miracle Worker,” and “God’s Trombones” to name a few.

Q: What else would you like to say about the movie, your role, or anything else?
A: I am honored and thankful to have been selected to help tell Sgt. Torres’ story for all to know what we veterans suffer and endure while serving our country. Whether they have a physical or a mental injury, or both, they need our help. ASOP is bringing this issue to the forefront because they did their duty, so we must come together to do our part as a society to help.

Five Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Tamara
  • I like to imitate Sesame Street characters
  • Childhood Saturday morning favorite TV show was “Saved By The Bell.”
  • My favorite flavor is chocolate.
  • French fries is my Kryptonite.
  • My favorite actor is Will Smith. What we have in common – we’re from the same neighborhood and have the same birthday.

To learn more about Tamara, check out her website at – www.TamaraWoods.weebly.com and follower her at www.facebook.com/theTamaraWoods
To see Tamara in action, check out the movie trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9XyxN76JzA
Tamara on IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2964546/?ref_=nv_sr_1

#ASOPmovie #JohnQuinlan #JillianBullock #TamaraWoods #PTSD #Film #Actor