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Exclusive Interview: Death Valley’s Tania Raymonde

Actress talks about MTV’s horror-comedy series

Earlier this year, Shock Till You Drop swung by the set of MTV’s Death Valley. While most of the cast and crew appeared to be having fun on the supernatural horror-comedy, one person was particularly energized about the experience: Tania Raymonde.

In the show, the actress, who plays Officer Carla Rinaldi, gets to cruise the San Fernando Valley and take down werewolves, zombies and vampires as part of the UTF (Undead Task Force). Clearly, not a bad gig. After all, it allows Raymonde to tap into her action heroine side. We spoke to the star earlier this week about her turn on the series which airs every Monday night at 10:30pm.

(Click here to read about her time on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D.)

Shock Till You Drop: Before we talk about your show, I just wanted to say that your cameo in Chillerama is pretty funny. Who roped you in to that?

Tania Raymonde: I haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet. I did a television show with Adam Rifkin called Look for Showtime, a television version of one of the movies he made. We just kept in touch and he asked me to do Chillerama and I said, sure.

Shock: Now that shooting Death Valley is behind you, how would you sum up the experience?

Raymonde: We got to do a lot of weird stuff on the show. It’s not every day we get to shoot guns on a daily basis or stab zombies in the chest or watch your partner chainsaw a zombie through the head. We were lucky. All of the bloody, gory stuff was fun, but we also got to improv and play around with the characters. It was equally funny and bloody throughout the year.

Shock: And you got to work with an array of upcoming directors…

Raymonde: Yeah, Drew Daywalt, Jordan Vogt-Roberts had a lot of funny stuff. Eric Appel who is a big director for Funny or Die, they do a lot of funny videos for Adult Swim. It was great, they kept the show young. They brought some of that experiment Internet video style into the show to keep it fresh and fast.

Shock: The series pushes some boundaries as far as humor and gore is concerned.

Raymonde: [laughs] Yeah, totally! MTV was pretty relaxed in terms of doing whatever we wanted. There were a few things we were not allowed to say, but we tried to. There was some concern over one scene where Captain Dashell [Bryan Callen] called someone a “Vietnamese lady boy” and there were some problems with that. But we’ve had some freedom with what we could do. The gore and violence, we were always able to push the envelope. We were surrounded by creative people who could come up with the funniest shit possible.

Shock: Obviously you had blast with the gore… You dig the genre?

Raymonde: Well, I like good movies in general, but one of my top three favorites of all time is The Shining and there are some movies I saw as a kid that just trouble me to this day like The Exorcist, The Birds, Rosemary’s Baby. I was happy to be part of a genre show and I thought it was cool to do a series that takes a scary premise and makes it funny. That’s what makes the show unique. I love shows like The Walking Dead, but I also like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead, so this was a good combo. Plus, there was action. That’s my jam, I love that kind of stuff. I did a little bit of it on Lost but not enough to my liking.

Shock: So, we should count you in for something like The Expendables 3?

Raymonde: F**k yeah! I would love that. Are you kidding? Toward the end of Death Valley, we got to shoot blanks because until then we just used fake guns and CG’ed in the gunfire. I tried to learn the body language of a cop, I wanted it to look realistic. You have to sell they’re real cops to a certain extent.

Shock: Did you ever do a ride along with a cop?

Raymonde: No, but we did gun training and I got my license. We also had a great stunt coordinator there every single day. You’re there being funny, but what you want to make sure what you do looks realistic, like how to hold a gun, how to holster a gun. That was all helpful because we had to be on top of our game since we had such a limited time to shoot. But I’d love to do a ride along with a cop. I wonder if cops watch our show. I wonder if there is a secret get-together of cops in L.A. who sit down, crack a beer and watch the show.

Shock: Now, is there talk of a second season?

Raymonde: I don’t know. Everyone seems to be happy with the show and it’s picking up steam. I think the episodes get better and better, and there is some back story with the creatures and you find out the vampires are controlling the zombies and that becomes a big element. People will want to know what happens next, so yeah, I’d love to see a second season. We’ll see what happens.

Source: Shock Till You Drop