ASTRO, from director Asif Akbar, tells of a billionaire’s private space exploration program returning to Earth with an abducted extraterrestrial from a newly discovered alien planet. Courtney Akbar tells us about her pivotal role of Laura Lee, working opposite Gary Daniels in the film and what it was like working in the real Roswell.
How would you yourself describe ASTRO?
Astro is a movie that will take you on an adventure unlike you’ve seen before. You’ve got your bad-guy billionaire with his twisted son, aliens, explosions, heart-ache, and more! It’s not about the VFX like you see in today’s big scifi movies but more of an old-school style film telling a character-driven story.
How did you decide how to play your character? Being a sci-fi film, it must be hard for an actor not play it too cheesy and yet not super serious?
I guess that’s part of experience and intuition along with a director that is very interactive and gives you room to collaborate and express yourself as an individual artist.
How did you get along with Gary Daniels? Did you develop a close bond while filming?
Gary is a charming, lovable person! We spent a lot of time together in preproduction and during production and truly bonded in a unique way. It’s not every day you can make man like Gary sob for you but as you will be able to see on screen our emotions were very genuine.
Did you sympathize with your character?
I did very much. Laura Lee is an only child who lost her mother, Julie, to cancer at a young age and is the anchor that grounds her deeply heartbroken father, Jack. I can really sympathise with her because my mother, whose name is also Julie, lost her mother as a child and her father shortly after so it’s definitely a scenario close to my heart. I have a very strong relationship with my parents and I am blessed to be able to have them as supporters in my life.
A lot of the film takes place in the house. Was it a house near Roswell, New Mexico? You filmed out there, right?
We filmed mostly on location all over Roswell and also a few locations in Los Angeles. The beautiful Mansion is a property in Roswell and all of the cool laboratory sets were built there. I was actually fortunate enough to have gone to Roswell while the team was looking for locations and I was the one who found what is my house in the movie. As crazy as it sounds, the owners were very welcoming when we knocked on their door and told them we were driving by and adored their house and wanted to shoot our movie there!
How was it shooting out there? It would’ve been an interesting place to be around!
Roswell is so darling and I think everyone should visit there! What other town in the world had a real UFO crash and has aliens hanging out every where? 😉 Not to mention all of the other non-alien related history in the area. Shooting out there was fun but extremely cold, like 13 degrees Fahrenheit cold. Any breath you see on screen is real!
Was this a physically and emotionally demanding role for you?
Every role has it’s demands. I had a few months of physical training to prepare for it, which I really enjoyed doing, and taking on the role of a young woman who lost her mother and is living to hold her father together is not an easy task but it’s really a learning experience that is worth all of the obstacles.
What do you expect will audiences will get out of ASTRO?
I think they will have fun and want to see more! I also think this will touch on the consciousness and subconscious of many people.
ASTRO is on DVD June 5.
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