Elysia Rotaru: beauty, brains and voice
Elysia Rotaru is the embodiment of beauty, strength and talent. From playing varying roles to doing voice overs for games and giving inspirational talks, Rotaru embraces every opportunity that is put on her path. Inspired by those closest to her in life, she is ready to take on anything and grow from her experiences while also hoping to inspire others. The psychological/action film she worked on, KILLBIRD, has its world premiere at the Dances with Films Festival in Los Angeles in June 2019. She also has worked on video and virtual reality games which are being released; “Face Your Fears 2” from Turtle Rock Studios and Oculus, and another from the team at Ready at Dawn Studios but we will have to wait and see about hat project. She rocks her fabulous style and here at BELLO, we can’t wait to see where she goes next!
You have such a wide variety of roles in different genres under your belt. What sorts of projects/roles do you connect with the most?
I love to keep myself open to different roles and seeing what sticks. Although I am deeply in love with the horror, action and comedy genres, nothing can stop me from opening my heart to a good romantic comedy or drama. I also really enjoy roles that let me explore physicality, and do my own stunts. And, I would love to be in a period piece and learn how to yield a sword and other skills I can add to my tool box.
How does working on a comedy like The Buddy Games differ from projects like KILLBIRD? Is preparation any different?
My prep was totally different for each role. KILLBIRD was a very unique film to work on, and one of the most challenging roles I have played to date. The dialogue included monologues filled with strong, elevated language and dealing with very heavy and sensitive subject matter. It was important for me to know and understand what I was talking about as Taylor Crane, so the director and writer Joe Zanetti and I dove in deep. I did a lot of research, searching online and watching parallel projects to understand the world I was about to live in, and to learn as much as I could about subjects I was never really mindful of and I tell you.. what a rabbit hole I went down. But I had to it, it was part of the work. There was also a lot of physical work I had to prep for as well. I had to do major upkeep on my body as I did the majority of my own stunts and fighting scenes. With The Buddy Games, I clicked with the role of Jane quite quickly as I already knew that kind of woman, so dropping into her was smooth. There was a limited amount of technical prep, but I did want to make sure the moments I shared with Josh Duhamel – on screen and as our director – were honest and solid. Rehearsals were also held in regards to comedic timing we had to get the timing right on a joke or the physical funny moment. There are actually a lot of similarities with drama and comedy because the stakes are so high in both, and at the end of the day you are coming from a place of truth for the character and telling a story, just with some adjustment that fit each genre.
You also do quite a bit of work with video games. How did you get into that and what do you like about it?
It was about three years ago when I first got into performance capture for video games, and the process was the same as with any casting. I got the audition, prepped the best I could, went it to read, had a blast, then waited to see what would happen (laughs). I remember they asked me to be fully off book, and to come up with blocking and movements that showcased the whole environment so the creatives could see where my imagination went. It feels like a combo between theater and on screen acting, which keeps me excited about any prospect of working on a game. It’s all play all the time, because I’m being seen by hundreds of cameras in the volume and by the camera right in front of my face, so any little expression and movement gets captured, and it forces me to be very hyper aware of my body and facial expressions. And the more expressive I become, the more realistic the final animation will be. I adore that I get to use my body and voice in a multitude of ways to bring to life to various characters – from human to alien to animal. There is something so freeing to be in a velcro bodysuit, covered in reflective balls with a camera right up in my face, with nowhere to hide. It’s like you’re naked in a way, and as uncomfortable that may sound, it pushes me beyond my comfort zone which I love.
When you have the time, what shows and movies do you like watching?
Right now I’m obsessed with HBO’s Barry, and I’m doing my best to catch up on Game of Thrones – I’m late to the party, don’t judge me (laughs). I’m also loving Killing Eve, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisle, Letterkenny, True Detective, Dead to Me, YOU, Pose, Big Little Lies, Chilling Adventures of Sabria, and ANY shows my friends are working on. Oh and I also love a good cartoon including Big Mouth, Rick and Morty, Archer, and of course Sponge Bob. Recently I also rewatched John Wick and John WIck 2 to gear up to watch John Wick 3, I just love Keanu Reeves. By the looks of it I love all sorts of different genres, but horror, action, and mystery are my go-to’s.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
It’s hard for me to single out one person in particular, as I am constantly meeting people who get added to my inspiration list. I would say the people that do inspire me work hard to follow and achieve their dreams, including my family and friends who hustle hard and have so much drive to be better day in and day out. But, if I have to single out a few people, the first would be my husband Ryan Williams. Words can’t express how much he inspires me. He has such a strong work ethic that shows up not only in his work as an actor, but also in other areas of his life, including in his passion for golf. So much so, that this year he won a major tournament and is now a British Columbia Golf Champion. He knows how to find balance and still keep his passions alive. I take a page out of his book daily. Then there is my sister Elyda, she is so talented in her craft as a visual artist and she takes risks, including moving to a bigger city and going after her dream job. She really inspired me to make my move to LA. And I have so many women in my life who are mothers or new mothers and find a way to balance motherhood and their careers and make it all work. That to me, is such a beautiful thing to witness.
What is an example of the most recent time you were challenged and how you worked through it?
One of the biggest challenges I recently faced was going behind the camera for the first time as a producer on the short film FWD that I did with my production partner. I was so nervous about it because I never went to school or had professional training for that side of the business, just what learned from being on set as an actor, so I just had to trust myself, the cast and crew and the process. It was one of the best learning experiences of my life, and very rewarding, as FWD went on to win a multitude of awards within the film festival circuit, at an international level. It also gave me a greater appreciation of the whole machine of filmmaking, and rekindled my love for being on screen in a new way. It really showed me how work it actually takes to put together a project from beginning to end. I can’t wait to produce more projects, so in the meantime, I started to produce videos for my YouTube channel. In regards to acting, the path of being an actor is always filled with challenges – some big, some small and some totally out of your control. But at the end of the day, the biggest way I overcome them is knowing that I have something special to offer which is unique, versatile and will fit into a role that’s it’s meant to. I do practice keeping myself open and ready by keeping my tool box full and sharp by taking class when I’m not working, I keep my body healthy with workouts and good food ( and wine), I train my mind with meditation, and fill my spirit with other passions, including hiking, reading, sports, gardening, and traveling. This helps keep a balance, so I can continue pursuing my craft, and enjoy my time on this crazy fun and exciting journey of life.
How would you describe your personal style?
I like to honor the body I am in and celebrate and accentuate the natural curves of the female form. Growing up, I used to model and I’ve always admired style icons including Monica Bellucci and Helena Christensen. Fashion is another extension and an outlet for my creativity as it helps me express how I feel, take risks, and expand my mind. I find it fun and inspiring to collaborate with my stylist as well and get their creative juices involved, it’s as if we’re working on a group art project that we all enjoy. Hopefully my choices in my personal style encourage and create positive conversations for young girls, women, and all the others out there who need inspiration in expressing how they see themselves and to shine brightly.
What are some of your go-to’s in your closet?
I love to dress up, even though it’s tough going to set or the voice booth in a gown (laughs), so my go- to’s include crop tops, a great pair of jeans, and heels or nice flats. Or, if I’m feeling more femme on a particular day, I’ll pair a cute dress with heels and a fun bag.
What are you looking forward to most this year?
So far 2019 has been great to me. I was able to participate on a panel for ACTRA DAY IN LA at the Beverly Hills Hotel where I was invited to speak about my career, moving to the US, and about working in both Canada and in the US as an actor. I also had the pleasure of voicing the iconic superhero She-Hulk in Marvel’s Superhero Adventures. This summer, KILLBIRD, a psychological/action film I worked on has its world premiere at the Dances with Films Festival in Los Angeles, and I have a few more video and virtual reality games being released including Face Your Fears 2 from Turtle Rock Studios and Oculus, and another from the team at Ready at Dawn Studios, however I can’t speak on that project quite yet. You can also hear me on Fox Sports North as their female promo announcer and on Paramount network for the new season of INK MASTER: BATTLE OF THE SEXES and as the voice of ZILLOW in their new campaigns.
How can your fans keep up to date with yourself.
Follow me on Instagram at @elysiarotaru and subscribe to my YouTube channel and remember to leave a comment. I also always look forward to meeting more people at the comic conventions I am grateful to attend.
Thanks for chatting with me
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Photographer YASMINE KATEB @yasminekatb
Stylist SERAFINI @serafini_official
Hair ALEX THAO @alexthaohair
Makeup ERIK TROPPE @eriktorppe