The first time I saw Julia Voth was in the immortal BITCH SLAP, where she and her co-stars made an indelible impression on me (and, I’m sure whoever else saw the film) forever. It was the model-turned-actress’ first starring role, and it led to her getting parts in shows like Castle, Supernatural and Huge. Now Julia is ready to kick ass once again in a sci-fi action film called Painkillers, in which she plays a member of a Special Forces squad tasked with retrieving a mysterious object in the mountain of Afghanistan. The film allows Voth to play a strong and take-charge character, which doesn’t seem like a gigantic stretch for the spirited Canadian beauty.
I spoke to Julia right before Christmas break about her new role, and during the chat we also hit upon how she got started in the business, her favorite genres, and getting physical on set. Julia also offers up some real talk about the fake side of Hollywood and gives me an update (for want of a better word) on Bitch Slap 2!
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Saskatchewan, Canada. I grew up there.
When did you make the move to L.A.? Was it in conjunction with when you wanted to become an actress?
Well, I actually modeled. I was 14 when I went to Japan for the first time to model, but my mom traveled with me, so it was cool. I did my school when I was traveling and I actually finished high school six months early because I worked really hard. I don’t dilly-daddle. Then I went to New York to continue modeling in 2007 and that’s when I started acting.
Did you always know you wanted to make the transition into acting?
I always enjoyed performing and putting on plays and stuff, when I was a kid. It just sort of happened. I moved to L.A. and I was modeling and I started doing commercials, and then my commercial agent started doing theatrical and he asked me if I wanted to try out for CSI something, it was one of the CSIs. I went in and auditioned and I didn’t get the part but I enjoyed it, so I started taking some classes and going out on more auditioned. I always thought acting would be fun, but it wasn’t something I thought very seriously about as a career.
In an alternate universe, if you weren’t acting, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’m sort of an anomaly, I’ve only ever been an actor or a model, those are the two jobs I’ve ever had. Honestly, if I hadn’t found acting, I really don’t know what I’d be doing. I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon it. I probably would have just gone back to school and done something that a normal person does. I dunno, been a psychologist or something. [Laughs]
Tell me a little about PAINKILLERS and what can you tell me about your character in it?
Absolutely. So my character is the brains behind the operation, and the crew basically relies on my character to get them from point A to point B. She’s a valuable character, not one-dimensional. It was physically challenging, I did all of my own stunts - everyone did all of their own stunts - and it was very empowering. My character- everybody would be lost without me, so. [Laughs] I got to be physically strong, mentally strong, it was awesome.
Was there a stunt in particular that was difficult to shoot?
There’s one shot in the trailer where I’m sort of spinning around and shooting at the same time, that scene was difficult in the sense there was so many moving pieces. We were shooting on a very tight time schedule, so while that scene would take a day to normally shoot, we had just four hours. Our stunt coordinator was really great, it all looks really natural because he was good with us.
Are you a fan of action roles, which allow you to be really physical?
I would say yes, the physicality of it is really fun. Anytime you get to really move around instead of just standing around talking - I mean, the talking end of it is fun too because you get to find all of the different emotional elements to it - but when you get to be really strong and be physical, it’s really fun.
Is there a genre of film you haven’t done much of that you’re looking forward to exploring?
I have a movie coming up that’s sort of going to cover this, but I’ve only been in one romantic drama, a love story. It’s called Seattle Road and it’s coming out this year; it’s the only one I’ve ever done and I really enjoyed it. And I have another movie that has certain elements of that coming up soon, so I get to be all emotional again. I do want to do more romantic movies, but in my career I’ve been so lucky to do so many different kinds of acting. I had a sitcom up in Canada called Package Deal, it was a multi-cam comedy shot in front of a live audience, and that’s totally different than Painkillers and stuff like that. It’s been really great, I’m just up for anything.
What is your favorite movie genre?
I think comedies. I like to laugh, I like silly movies. When I watch movies I just want to vege out, so I would probably pick something that’s a comedy. I do appreciate a really good drama, I watched Room the other day and I don’t think I’ve cried so hard in a movie in a long time. It’s such a good movie; my boyfriend was like, “Are you okay?” I was just bawling my eyes out. I love watching other actors go places, and I just love good storytelling.
I’m not going to let you go without mentioning Bitch Slap. That movie is such a guilty pleasure, when are we going to see a sequel?
Dude, I hope so. At least a couple times a week I get some notes on some sort of social media from fans asking for it. I saw [writer] Eric Gruendemann just before Halloween and I asked him and he just smiled. I would love to do it. I think Trixie is one of the most fun characters I’ve played. I wish we could do it again.
Who is your all time celebrity crush?
I’m so weird about crushes, I feel so out of the Hollywood loop sometimes, because I love Hollywood and love the movies but I’m not such a big fan of some of the people in Hollywood, so I just sort of keep my distance and do my work. I would probably say James Dean was pretty rad. That’s when men were classier too, they’d open doors for ladies and be more like gentlemen. So I feel like I’m going to go with James Dean. Not the porn star, the actor.
Do you ever regret becoming an actress? There are such highs and lows in the business, do you ever say to yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
A hundred percent. I never regretted it because it’s given me so much and it’s given me the kind of life and freedom that I want, but I definitely have had moments when I’ve thought, “I should just quit. I should just move back to Canada.” The idea of doing something different with my life has sort of been in the back of my brain for at least three years. I’ve started producing too and that’s helped, sort of being behind the camera with more control has helped that urge to just run away from this life. I stay away from Hollywood, sometimes it’s not worth it to me, I don’t care a lot of the time. I mean, I care obviously about the integrity of my work, but I don’t care about the fake Hollywood, and there’s so much of that. You’re trying to work, you’re trying to be an artist, you’re trying to perform and do all these things that make you happy, and there’s just so much crap that goes along with it. But yeah, I’ve definitely had those moments where I just want to quit, it happens a couple times a year.
Hopefully no time again soon. Thanks so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
Oh yeah, you too. It was lovely talking to you.