Talks & Interviews — January 9, 2014 at 11:24 am

Jana Mashonee: Singing, doing own stunts and fighting dinosaurs (exclusive)

jana-mashonee-8What scientist, in his right mind, would be breeding real dinosaurs on his farm? Well, the one from “The Dinosaur Experiment” (aka Raptor Ranch) did. And it would’ve ended extremely bad for all the people around, if it wasn’t for Abby Whitecloud – a beautiful Native American, a waitress-turned-hero, who takes matter into her own hands and stands up to vicious prehistoric creatures.

It would’ve been another cheesy “raptor flick” with Lorenzo Lamas, except that Abby was played by Jana Mashonee – a popular Native American singer, who debuted in movies with his role.

BZFilm spoke to Jana about the film, and as it turned out – the directors of the film (Michael Beberashvili, Dan Bishop) were specifically looking for a Native American girl.

“I was invited to audition for the role,” Mashonee told BZFilm. “I was interested in diversifying my career to acting and this was an opportunity to star in my first movie so I flew to Texas, auditioned, and got the part.”

Mashonee admits she had no acting experience prior to shooting, except for community theater work.

” I had been involved with actor workshops and private acting coaches before, but this was my first paying job,” she said.

Then Mashonee spoke about her character, Abby, which in the film has to do basically everything – shoot the bow, do her own stunts, fight dinosaurs, and be an eye candy as well.

“Abby was an expert shooter so I actually took it upon myself to take archery lessons for several weeks prior to my shooting of the movie,” Mashonee said.


“It was a lot of hard work but a lot of fun to learn –I used a compound bow 40 pound and it was fun target shooting. I practiced on “dummy/fake” deer models as well to pretend that I was shooting at small dinosaurs!”

“Since my arrows were real and had flint tips many times I was shooting at the mechanical dinosaurs on set and actually hitting them,” she said. “No faking!”

Mashonee added that she was also doing all her stunts herself, as “carrying around the bow required extra physicality that was grueling but still fun!”

Surprisingly, one of the film’s shooting location was in Russia (St. Petersburg), and Mashonee recalls it being “gorgeous”.

“We worked specifically in St.  Petersburg, the food was fantastic and the people were all so nice to work with. We were filming in late Summer, early Fall so we had great weather too. We had a little time to visits some attractions, like the Hermitage, but it was also just good to walk around and see the sights.  I’m glad we filmed there as it was my first time in Russia,” she recalled.

Being a popular singer, and having the honor of being the first Native American to top the Billboard dance charts, Mashonee was of course the “main attraction” in the film, for the Native American audience.

jana-mashonee-7“So far the film has been received well by the groups of Natives that have watched it.  We’ve had a couple of screenings of the movie with Natives specifically and it has gone over well,” she said. “There are very few, if any, lead roles played by Native American actresses and featuring Natives in the United States.”

She went on to add that if there’s ever a sequel on “The Dinosaur Experiment”, she’d be interested in being a part of it.

“No one else is capable of shooting down those dinos like I am,” she said.

Regarding having a second career as an actress, Mashonee said she’s working towards her next movie, regardless if it’s the main part or supporting.

“I appreciate the first experience with “The Dinosaur Experiment”, but I would be happy working in other roles in a movie, so I can gain a lot more experience and really hone my craft,” he said.

“There are a few scripts that have been sent my way, and I’m currently in the process of deciding where to take them.  I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity for my first role and hope to continue acting in the future,” Mashonee added.

The Dinosaur Experiment, aka Raptor Ranch, will be released by Walmart on July 15. The film is also available for renting on Redbox, for streaming on Hulu, as well as on Amazon, where it can also be purchased on DVD. The film is distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment.

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