This week's New Face Friday looks at MyAnna Buring - AKA Tanya Denali!
Tanya is part of the Alaskan Denali coven which is considered extended family to the Cullens, and are also a "vegetarian" coven. In the books, Bella finds out that Tanya was once interested in Edward, but that he refused her in a gentlemen-type fashion. Tanya was first mentioned in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse movie, but we first saw MyAnna Buring portray Tanya as a guest at Bella and Edward's wedding in Breaking Dawn - Part 1.
Q: A lot of people who are cast talk about the very first time they see themselves in their red or gold contacts, and that's the first time they really felt like a vampire. Can you describe what it was like for us the very first time you saw yourself all decked out in your vampire gear?MyAnna: It was amazing. I think that's the first moment that I really, truly, believed that I was doing the film. Because all of it, you know, you have this build up when you get the part and you can't quite believe it's true then, and then you arrive and you still can’t quite believe it’s true then. The idea of you becoming a vampire, or becoming part of this incredible group of vampires that’s described in Stephenie’s films, it’s such a far fetched notion in a way, and then all of a sudden as soon as the contacts go in, it’s a reality. Suddenly you are able to see yourself as apart of that group, if you will, and it’s amazing feeling.Q: Congrats on being cast in Downton Abbey. Can you tell us a little about that part and when you are starting to work on it?MyAnna: I’ve already started working on it. I play a maid who joins the rest of the staff downstairs. She causes a bit of mischief and I’m very excited to be playing, her name is Edna, and I’m thrilled, really.Q: Awesome. Excited to see you in it.MyAnna: It’s quite fun. All of a sudden, in my the last two years, I have been part of the most amazing stories that we’ve had in the last few years, Twilight, and now Downton.Q: Looking at your resume you have done so much TV and film work. Which do you prefer and why?MyAnna: I don’t have a preference as to mediums, for me it’s really about the characters and the parts and the stories that we’re telling, that’s what really intrigues me. So whether that is in film or TV, I don’t mind at all. I just feel really lucky that in the last couple of years I have been given the opportunity to play so many different parts, in so many different characters, in so many different stories.Q: Quick follow up. Are you going to be able to see anything at the Olympics this week?MyAnna: I will actually. I’m going to see a track and field event later on. I’m thrilled, it’s so hard to get tickets.Q: How much of the back story between Edward and Tanya might we get to see? I know it was a big part of Midnight Sun for your character, and I was wondering how much of that made it into the movie?MyAnna: Well of course this film is based on Breaking Dawn, so obviously, I believe it’s going to stay quite true to that story. And if there are any elements of that back story that you feel that hinted towards that more than expressed. Which would be a fun side story to do someday, maybe. (laughs)Q: Some key parts in the story that fans are excited about with your part is you possibly training vampire Bella and also being on the front lines against the Volturri. Can you give us any clues whether those scenes will be in the movie?MyAnna: Quite possibly, quite possibly. All I can say is that there is a final confrontation that I think audiences and especially fans will be very excited to see. I was definitely excited to film them. That’s all I can say really [giggles].Screencap from the teaser trailer!Q: Was there any favorite moments during filming?MyAnna: So many. I think I had a favorite moment every single day of shooting. A couple that stand out for me are one day on the set in Baton Rouge, or just outside of Baton Rouge, a few of us cooked up a little plan to surprise Bill Condon with a little bit of a dance off. You know when there was supposed to be something completely different in the take, we were doing a very technically difficult take that we had to do several repeat takes, over and over and over, just to get it right, and we thought that we would be checky and put in a little number that would just lift the spirits on set and create a bit of fun and laughter for all of us. It really paid off for us and it was so much fun. Everyone laughed so much that day and it was just joyous to see everyone having a bit of a dance. And then, I had a stunt which hopefully you’ll get to see in the film, but I wasn’t going to do it. It involved myself and snow. I wasn’t going to do it, but in the very last minute of the day, the last shot, we were up against it and running late and Bill came to me and said, “MyAnna it’s gotta be you that does it. You gotta do it cause they are going to see your face.” So I won’t tell you what the stunt was. Or what exactly I had to do because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I got ready to go out in the freezing cold and I saw this crew that was so cold and shivering. They had been out all day and I cannot mess this up, we have got to get this in one [take]. And we got it in one [take] and I have never felt so satisfied, ever, with a shot in my life. It was amazing. Just wonderful and the relief on everyone’s faces that they didn’t have to stay in the cold anymore. I felt I had done did my job well that day.Q: Did you have a chance to talk to Stephenie about your character and what that was like?MyAnna: Yeah. Well the great thing was that we had Stephenie on the set, everyday, so absolutely. Obviously we had her books for source material while we were researching our characters and there have been so many side stories written around the franchise that was amazing research material. But then, to have the source on set was incredible. So yea, I took every opportunity and chance I got to talk to her about Tanya. I kept joking with her saying, ”come on Tanya has got to end up with somebody, there’s got to be someone cause it’s sad. Everyone ends up with someone.Q: What did she say?MyAnna: Well What she said made me very happy, but I will end it at that. [laughs]Q: Come on you gotta tell us!MyAnna: I think Tanya will have a great end, or she has a great end in the world of Twilight. Tanya ends up very happy.Q: Would you ever do a spin-off involving the Denalis?MyAnna: Well I never shot that possibility out. You never know where you are. As it stands, I don’t believe that it’s in the pipeline to happen right now. You never know and if it were to, perhaps. Maybe, who knows, who knows. I had so much fun shooting these two films that I wouldn’t say no immediately, that’s for sure.Q: As a fan of the books, you were a fan before you were ever cast.MyAnna: Yes, absolutely.Q: I think it has so many great visual images in it and in your filming is there any one scene that stands out in your head and you said “oh gosh this is so much like the book! or everything you imagined?”MyAnna: Umm. Well the wedding, in the first Breaking Dawn, was really lived up to everything I imagined it would be - everything. I thought Bella's walk up to the altar was just breathtaking and I thought it completely encapsulated what I had envisioned when I read the books. What exceeded my expectations..oh there was so many things that exceeded my expectations, but I have a feeling that in this final film there will be a great moment towards the end that I think will blow people away. It definitely blew me away while we were filming it and I’m really excited for it.Q: Obviously this movie has a giant cast of new vampires coming in, what kind of things did you do to bond?MyAnna: Well when we first arrived in Baton Rouge when we first started filming in Louisiana we were all staying at a hotel together. So everyday you woke up you’d walk out of your room and you would stumble across a couple of actors playing vampires and you’d cook up an adventure and go off and do something and you’d stumble onto some people around Baton Rouge and you’d go off and do something else. I think I described it before as having sort of a musical festival feel to me. You know all of a sudden you walk up to this place and you don’t know anyone, but it’s very exciting and by the end of the first couple of days you feel like you’ve known everyone for years. Then you’re all going off and listening to music and making music and having fun and having these little adventures together. Yea it felt like a music festival or summer camp for six months which is an incredible experience that I have never ever experienced before.Q: Did you keep anything from your character? A prop or anything?MyAnna: I did end up with a ring. Casey Lebow had a friend, jewelry designer, who Michael Wilkinson saw her stuff, and he said that absolutely we have to use her stuff for the Denalis. Very much Denali material. So we were all decked out in her incredible designs, and they were so beautiful. We cooked up this little story that perhaps the Denalis had odes of mines around the world, in South America and they would go mining themselves for precious jewels and then they would make their own jewelry and that’s what they wore all of them together. One of their trinkets had part of a stone that was broken while filming it wouldn’t be used again and I kept that one.