Ellen Hollman is a prolific actress who has finished production on her newest movie “Army of One”. We caught up with her to discuss the film and how she trained for the role of Brenner.
The Knockturnal: What inspired you to audition for Army of One?
Ellen Hollman: The director, Stephen Durham, and I knew each other prior to Army of One. We both collaborated on a script together, so he knew what he would be getting into with me, to say the least. When he offered me the role of Brenner Baker, along with producer collaboration and action design with my husband, Stephen Dunlevy, it was a done deal.
The Knockturnal: What kind of intense action scenes can we expect from this film?
Ellen Hollman: Aside from every action sequence being unique from one another, every actor and stunt performer performed their own stunts and choreography. We insisted upon that authenticity from the beginning and cast people accordingly. My favorite sequence however is the “one-er” you’ll see in the final act. It’s a helluva ride with an original song I was able to collaborate with our composer, Austin Fray, on that makes the whole sequence a thrilling, nail-biting, and yes, humorous, experience.
The Knockturnal: Do you think that the audience will relate to your character?
Ellen Hollman: Anyone who has ever experienced loss in their life will be able to relate to Brenner and her heartbreak. Some go to therapy, some drink booze, others go on a murderous revenge trail like she did. Hopefully, you just relate to those first two options!
The Knockturnal: How do you describe the experience of playing such an intense role?
Ellen Hollman: To play Brenner was not just physically, but also psychologically challenging, simply from the death and loss she had to endure. On top of that, to produce and create the action design of the whole film with my husband, made it an around the clock job for me. Who needs sleep, right?
The Knockturnal: What kind of training did you undertake during filming?
Ellen Hollman: My background is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I’ve been delving into Judo and fight choreography with my husband’s stunt team 8711 (John Wick, Deadpool, Atomic Blonde) for several years now. There was very limited rehearsal time on set, so we had to mostly rely on what we already knew to bring to the screen. Trusting your own abilities takes you farther than you realize.
The Knockturnal: Could you describe the work that your company, Visual Impact Now, does?
Ellen Hollman: Visual Impact Now is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing eye-care for in-need LA youth. With our partner One Sight, we’ve managed to service over 6,000 LAUSD children with visual acuity’s eye exams and glasses. We’re dormant for the time being due to current “pandemic circumstances”, but plan to pick up where we left off in the future.
The Knockturnal: How does it feel having your company be involved in events such as Coachella and Sundance Film Festival?
Ellen Hollman: I believe linking the entertainment industry with the non-profit industry is a perfect vehicle that enables a large reach to happen. Whether it be from awareness to financial contribution, it’s proven quite effective!
The Knockturnal: What inspired you to get into acting?
Ellen Hollman: Being a performer was always something I was curious about. My parents are classical musicians, with my father still performing in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I grew up being backstage during performances, whether it was the Nutcracker ballet to pop concerts, and the life behind the curtain was always so fascinating to me. Although I no longer play the violin or piano, I understand having to be on stage rain or shine…the show must go on!
The Knockturnal: Do you think this could help inspire other women to get into acting?
Ellen Hollman: Now, more than ever, women’s voices are being heard. There’s an element of empathy that women bring to the screen, among many other qualities, that I believe are imperative in filmmaking. Army of One separates itself from the otherwise male dominated action-drama genre because of this empathy, and it makes a far more enriching experience on screen, in my opinion.
The Knockturnal: What are your plans for 2021?
Ellen Hollman: To shoot 2020 in the head Brenner Baker style.