How Natalie Burn Channeled Stallone to Become an Action-Film Star
Muscle & Fitness sat down with Burn to learn more, and to figure out how the star juggled her acting duties while also producing the film.
“It’s always challenging to take on several hats at the same time,” says Burn of her movie-making experience. “So, it was about understanding what my priorities were, during that day. Just, like, separating myself so that when I needed to focus on acting, I focussed on acting. If I needed to focus on stage combat then I needed to stretch, to take my time so that I don’t pull anything. For me, that’s the key. With producing, I was the first one on set and the last one to go. I feel that as producers, we fix problems.”
“I’ve always had this fiery personality, and I’ve always wanted to do something that had way more character,” says Burn, who recalls that one of the highlights of her dancing career came one evening when she decided to throw the choreography out of the window and express herself by going with her own gut. “Inside of me, I had this fire burning, where I just wanted to scream and do stuff.” The star found that contemporary dancing allowed her to explore the aspects of movement that she was most interested in. “For me, doing stunts right now, and doing film fighting is just another exploration of my body.”
The Kiev-born dancer-turned-actress has certainly learned from the best of the best. Having played a mercenary in 2022’s “Black Adam” starring Dwayne Johnson, and working on numerous other movies featuring the cream of the crop in terms of action stars, it was a conversation that Burn had during her time on 2014’s “The Expendables 3” that inspired her to always bet on herself.
“I was so lucky to meet him,” says Burn of Stallone. “I had several conversations with him and he is definitely a legend, and I’m inspired by his ways. I’m inspired by the fact that he had his own voice. He told me his story (of making Rocky), and what motivated him, and how he pursued that. He said ‘I’m going to star in this movie, and no one can take that away from me.’ He had a purpose, and he followed it, and I’m sure it inspired so many people in the world but it definitely inspired me. That’s what inspired me to become the producer. I was like: ‘You know what?’ If I have a project that I strongly believe in and I feel like it belongs to me… it’s for me.”
In a funny story, Burn reveals to M&F that the film’s director, Timothy Woodward Jr. was looking to add more tension to the movie, and having heard that Bruce Willis shot “Die Hard” bare footed, asked Burn to do the same. As a dancer, the star had strong feet, but found the process torturous because of the rough surfaces that she would be required to work on. Still, she bravely continued through the cuts and blisters, only to learn after they had wrapped later that Willis had worn sandals for certain scenes. “I was like, really!?,” she laughs, recalling her reaction to Woodward Jr. on learning the news. “Like, it would have been nice for you to have googled it before-hand!”