There is a Strong Chemistry
Interview with Tanna Frederick

Evolving and involving are two key elements to life successes. They create opportunities, and expand the scope of our minds. Key elements in developing our own self-awareness so we can be in-tune with others. Tanna Frederick's embraces life’s metaphoric challenges head on, and keeps them in balance through her regiments that include, but are never limited to: humanitarian involvements, marathons races, surfing, acting, directing, writing, and her own further development of political, social and cultural understandings of human nature. The why's, how's and what for's all have become woven into who she is on stage, screen and surf board.  

Tanna Frederick is instantly likable on and off screen, refreshing, complex and simple algorithms of womanhood all rolled into one dynamic person. Whether she is working with her husband, Actor/Writer/Director, Henry Jaglom, (as they both relay a definitive attractiveness that breathes over and over fresh air into an elemental style), or on her own, unequivocally Tanna is uniquely genuine. 

08/06/2015- Song River
Link: (Vents Magazine)

Song: What are your roots and what was life-like growing up in the heartland state of Iowa?

Tanna: I am Irish and Czechoslovakian. My mom and brother are really into genealogy. The family came over here as farmers, but my brother and my mom have been going back to the Czech Republic visiting the different villages. It is great, because everyone is family.

My mom is one incredible woman, she is always busy and active. I really derive a lot of who I am and my strength from her.

And when it comes to my hometown of Iowa, I mean sure people drive through Iowa, but you really don't get it unless you live there and understand it is the heartland. Iowa is a beautiful place and I love it.

Song: Recently you had completed your fifth marathon, coming in at 3:51 I believe. This was your fundraiser for the clean filtered water for the kids in Vietnam. I read your quote stating, “ My heart sank when the 3:38 group came and I was struggling and watched them as they disappeared into the distance...” At that moment, what was happening Tanna?

Tanna: I had a great time, it was amazing, marathons always are, but I never want to do two marathons back to back again. (Laughed) I lost my toe nail over it!

Running the Race

Song: Tanna you seem to embrace life with a zeal that one might find well-balanced. Has your passion for running and surfing been the key?

Tanna: (Laughed) I love surfing, but I say it with all humility really. Being from Iowa, and I am surfing? Well, I guess I'm a bit kooky. The people who live here have surfed since they were three years old, but I do love it. I do it with gusto, I’ve been surfing for almost 12 years... it's not me being competitive and that's probably good for me.

Working out, running, surfing they both completely keep me in balance. I need to have the working out. You can kind of tell how insane the projects I am involved in as an actor by how much I work out. It really helps keep me focused and drives the energy. When I am in a really difficult run of a play I tend to increase my running. It is my yin and yang. I will do my long runs, a twenty mile run, before the night of the show, it lets my guard down easier, once your physically tired you can't put up as many walls. I believe for me, it makes the show easier. Especially with this current play, “Train to Zakopane.” It is physically and mentally exhausting play, but as time goes on you get better at dealing with all of its elements. The anti-Semitic theme has been tough, every rehearsal was just exhausting and I felt like heck, but there was no way I could say no to it. My husband, Henry Jaglom wrote it, and it touches close to home for him, so of course in turn it does for me as well.

Song: How is it working with your husband, Henry Jaglom?

Tanna: I love working with him. We are very copacetic. I always feel like we are building a sand castle. The first time we met we just totally got each other, we have the same tastes in art as you both can say hey I like that, or that really sucks. We are on the same wavelength, we work so well in tandem. We make such a great team. We do a lot of work without each other, but every time we do work together... it just fits.

And with me doing some of the leads in his films it helps me to help the other actors and free their ideas or boxes. Everyone seems to love working in Henry's style.

The lucky thing about Henry’s style is he isn’t a studio guy, he's very unorthodox about everything, the lucky thing about that is in the writing process there is me, Ron Vigone who is also Henry's editor, and pretty much co-director at this point, and Henry. We are pretty much “The Three Musketeers” and we all really work well together. Knowing how to take an entire set of actors, people, and steer it together towards the intended outcome. Everyone may not always be privy to the entire script, and yes there is always a script that is kind of a misnomer about Henry, but I know how to help shake them up and direct them to the character all while having fun as we reach our goal.

Song: Let's talk a little deeper about this current play, “Train to Zakopane.”

Tanna: The play began last November 2014 and will be finishing this August. Henry is making it into a film too, which is very exciting.

This story is near and dear to Henry's heart, as it is a story about his father and it is extremely pertinent to today's society. We all absorb information so rapidly, we don't seem to have a place to let our emotions go, we can't process correctly. I think there is so much we don't understand, especially if we don’t know our history. I know I had a lot misconceptions on what being Jewish was, I was raised Catholic, and my character in this play is actually a Catholic. The hatred, and the politics especially going back to this time, 1928 Poland, right before World War II, and understanding the social political times, it is pretty scary to see how close it is to... and how it has not really changed. Henry has written many, many wonderful productions about show business, about women, but this is the first one he has taken on about family. This story is something Henry's dad had told him really in hushed tones, maybe only four times in his life. And his dad would say, “Henry this is really the only thing I ever did in my life that I am particularly ashamed of,” and this is what this play is about.

I think being able to explore where the roots of anger, and hatred come from is important. In many ways I believe it begins very simply, and from a deep love for one's own parent and misunderstandings due to circumstances that arise from there. As in this play, the role I play, which we took creative license to, as we asked why she, my character, hates the Jews. It is a girl who has formed a hatred of all Jews because her father had killed himself over a business deal that went bad with a Jewish businessman.

Does History Repeat Itself?

Song: Do you feel then overall Tanna, that human beings have really changed much and learned from history?

Tanna: Yes, I suppose you could say I am a little “Dorothyish” about humans and I have to do something that brings hope and consideration to the dialogue for people.

Then end of this story shows that both sides can change. There is the anti-Semite and the Jewish man, who has just as much vehemence towards the other side and the two of them end up falling in love with one another. In the end she ends up running back on stage and gives him a gift that belonged to her father and kisses him passionately.
It leaves one thinking at first how could anyone after all that had occurred on either side ever change their perspective, but in the end they do, because they saw each other and took time to understand. The only way to overcome hate is through love.
This brings all my thoughts to looking at our own world now. You take a second look at why things are the way they are. You look at social and culture economics, from where we come from and you can leave that space to see. If we take the time we can cross over to each other and heal ourselves.

Song: You are quite capable of going from a serious role to a comedic role Tanna. When it comes to your character persona in comedic moments, you relate to certain predecessors in the roles of the great actresses, I thought of Lucille Ball immediately.

Tanna: Why thank you! (laughed) I love Lucille Ball, she was genius and you know who else had such great timing? Marilyn Monroe, but she seldom gets credit for it and is completely underrated.  She was impeccable at her comedic timing.

I am such a 40's person, loved that period and love Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis.

A Standing "O!"

Song: “Ovation”, is due out this fall. I was watching a clip and you were instantly likable, and believable. You embodied I think everyone woman at moments like those. Your sense of timing, is flawless, and as a woman I could totally relate to that clip with James Denton and the 'green mask'. Talk to me about the movie, its elements, and characters.

Tanna: Its the third in our trilogy sort to speak,"Hollywood Dreams, Queen of the Lot and now Ovation this fall.” The first one was about a girl coming out from Iowa who ends up selling out to business over love, then the next film was with Noah Wyle and my character has made it, but she is still struggling and trying to make her way up. This is third film and she has now done very well... it's the art versus commerce film. 

It all takes place backstage, as where all the drama really takes place. It's that relating again, I mean here is the totally hot James Denton in one scene walking in and I am sitting at a piano with my hair up in a towel and I am wearing a green mask of beauty stuff all over my face (laughed). It was my “Wicked” moment, and that is life, that is how it happens! Like you’re trying to be sexy and then you turn around and run into the countertop! Or you end up spilling hot coffee all down the front of your shirt... I just love men who love women in those moments, because that is most of us women! And I love how the men in Henry's films have to love those moments, because really it is the platform for every woman. Those I think are the most charming elements of who we are... all I got is charm baby! It goes along way.

All I want to be in these films is: I want to be every woman, so every woman can relate.

Tanna Frederick's is real. She isn't one person here and another there. Embracing one's true self just may be what is the most likable part of who we are, and it has certainly lent itself to her many successes in a variety of facets she is involved in. She is comfortable in her own skin, and embraces her own natural progression of development. Tanna puts it all succinctly this way, “Each of my smile lines, each of my scars tells a story of my life. You wouldn't Botox the Grand Canyon now would you!” Coming from a place in the heart that embraces womanhood in all her glory, actor, runner, surfer, writer, director Tanner Frederick's is an absolute real delight.

From one woman to another... Tanna we are bad ACES!

Clip from Ovation: