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The Fretts on Film Interview: Sarah Shahi

January 30, 2012

I just got off the phone with Sarah Shahi—I was interviewing her for TV Guide Magazine about the much-improved upcoming second season of her USA Network drama Fairly Legal, but I also managed to squeeze a few details out of her about her role in the new Sylvester Stallone-Jason Momoa revenge flick Bullet to the Head, which I recently selected as one of the 12 most exciting movies of 2012. Here’s what she had to say:

Bruce Fretts: What was it like making Bullet to the Head?

Sarah Shahi: Oh, man, that was so fantastic. I play Sylvester Stallone’s daughter. I’m the only female lead in the whole thing. Walter Hill directed it, and Joel Silver was producing. It was a dream team.

Bruce: What’s your character like?

Sarah: I play a tattoo artist, so I learned how to give tattoos. I did an apprenticeship in New Orleans. And I was covered from my neck all the way down in tattoos. I had to do a nude scene. It was one of many firsts for me.

Bruce: How was Stallone to work with?

Sarah: He was wonderful. He’s a living legend. He was sodown-to-earth—I don’t even know if that’s the word. He’s the kind of person who’s very aware of his power. He’s very aware of who he is, but he doesn’t let that get to his head, in a way. He’s incredibly self-deprecating. We all went out to dinner for his birthday, and he and I both chowed down on burgers and cake. He’s as real as somebody of his stature can possibly be. He was such a giving actor—everything I wanted him to be, and more.

The dream team: Momoa, Shahi and Stallone join forces for “Bullet to the Head”

Bruce: Was that his 65th birthday party?

Sarah: Yes, it was.

Bruce: I can’t believe he’s a senior citizen. He’s ripped!

Sarah: I know! I can’t believe it either. Tango & Cash is one of my favorite movies.

Bruce: But you play his daughter, so there’s no sexual tension?

Sarah: No. Oh my God, no! Please don’t even say that.

Bruce: Did he become a father figure to you?

Sarah: Sometimes he did. It’s interesting because in the script, my character is the only one who gives him shit and he has to take it, because I’m his little girl. And that’s kind of what the dynamic became in real life. We would have disagreements over scenes, and I would give him shit about it, or I’d find a joke to insert somewhere, and he would just nod his head and have a smile on his face. He’d look at me with his fist in a punching position, like “Why I oughta!” Our dynamic onscreen, that’s what it became offscreen.

Bruce: How were Walter Hill and Joel Silver? They’re both legends in their own ways.

Sarah: Oh my God, fantastic! I was pinching myself every day coming to work with such fucking legends. On top of that, we were doing 10-hour days! In New Orleans! It was a party.

Bruce: I wish I coulda been there! Sounds like fun…

Sarah: I wish everybody I knew could’ve been there. I could not believe I was getting paid to do that job. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.

Are you psyched to see Sarah Shahi in Bullet to the Head? (And not just because she does a nude scene…) Post a comment!

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