Tanit Phoenix On Death Race 3: Inferno And The Audience's New Digital Cinema Habits

Once upon a time, “straight to video” was an insult. These days, some of the highest profile projects are going straight to streaming.

In the middle of these rapid mutations come some films and even whole franchises that take their own place in the hierarchy. Films that know their audience and work it.

Amongst these are the new Death Race films, prequels to the remake of the 70s cult classic.*

Death Race 2 and the new Death Race 3: Inferno both feature Tanit Phoenix as Katrina Banks, prisoner turned Death Race contestant.

Recently, Phoenix answered some questions about the Death Race films via e-mail. Here’s some of what she sent to me.

I know, a lot of films get downloaded now. Actually I just want to point out Death Race 2 was the second highest downloaded film after Inception when it came out, which we could say is not a good thing because you want people to buy the film or go and see the film if it was in theatres.

But being a direct to DVD film you’d obviously want people to buy it but it’s quite amazing that the film was seen by so many people because the demand was there. On my Twitter page, already so many people have seen it and I was like “how?” I think they’re buying it on iTunes or they’re being downloaded, which is quite interesting. It shows it has an audience though, it has a massive fanbase. But I still recommend people buying a DVD, just as a collector’s edition because it’s such a great movie.

When we were doing auditions for Death Race 2, I was originally cast as one of the other navigator girls. Roel Reiné [the director] saw me in the audition and he pushed for me to play the role of Katrina because he said there was a natural instinct I had, a sort of toughness that I had and a vulnerability that he wanted to portray in the film.

And in the third film that we shot now he basically came to me and said I want you to do exactly what you did in the second film. The ball is in your court, go! Yeah it was amazing he’s a great person to shoot with. He’s a very, very, very, very good action sequence director.

I just bought a house in Los Angeles so I’m moving out to L.A and I have a few projects on the go that I cannot speak of right now but there is some exciting stuff coming up. I do have a film coming up soon! It’s [Spud], a South African comedy about a boy in high school and I play the drama teacher. The first film came out and it did extremely well so we’ve just finished the second one.

Thanks again to Tanit for taking the time to answer some of my questions. Death Race: Inferno is available, as the lady said, on Blu-ray, DVD and iTunes now.

*It really is a cult classic, as hackneyed as that sounds.

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