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A Heroine with a Plan: An Interview with Broken Road’s Lana McKissack

When your farm is threatened by both an evil agri-company called Chem-O-Grow and a body modification-obsessed enforcer named Arlin Frey, what do you do? If you’re Rebecca, you fight back—hard. The voice of BROKEN ROAD’s Rebecca is performed masterfully by actor Lana McKissack. From her career debut under the direction of Robert Rodriguez, playing Antonio Banderas’ misbehaving daughter in the cult hit FOUR ROOMS, to roles on Amazon Prime’s Emmy winning show DARK/WEB and Machinima’s TRANSFORMERS: COMBINER WARS and TITANS RETURN and more, Lana brings so much to every production she’s in. 

Recently, Lana stopped by to chat with RECURSOR about her career, her love for science fiction projects, and what it was like voice acting for BROKEN ROAD.

RECURSOR: How did you get into performing?

LANA McKISSACK: I was born and raised in LA, and when you grow up here, you end up dipping your toe in the entertainment business. Most people decide, “This is a crazy business; I’m getting out.” I decided, “This is a crazy business; I’m staying in!” I just loved it from day one. I did my first commercial at about age two, and I just fell in love with performing from a very young age, and I never wanted to do anything else, ever.

Do you have a favorite memory of a production that blended both singing and acting?

Around Halloween 2019, I was involved in a musical parody of Stephen King’s IT. I played young Georgie and Eddie, two of the boys. It was just the most fun—a really great show. The cast was awesome. I looked forward to it every day. There’s nothing like a live show. And I won an Ovation Award for that show, so that was extra special too.

How did you get involved in Recursor’s sci-fi interview show, NINA_UNLOCKED?

I just auditioned for it. I had my script, but they let us improvise a bit. I was interviewing someone as NINA, who is a robot/AI interviewing people in all walks of life; it’s informative, fun, and funny. 

The audition went well, and I found out I got the job. But I didn’t really know what it was until I got to the set and found myself weaering a whole greenscreen suit, with a white bobbed, banged wing. I felt like a different person. It was so fun. 

And then to see all the FX they created later—they did such an amazing job with it. It was a really special project. I’ve never done anything like it before or since.

Rebecca is a badass! She takes care of business. She’s brave and she’s strong, and it’s always fun to play a character like that

Have you always enjoyed science fiction? Or did you come to it later in life?

I didn’t have much of a connection to sci-fi as a kid. But I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and I loved The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury as well. 

Now, I find myself doing more and more projects in sci-fi, which is so cool. In science fiction, there are limitless possibilities. Characters can do anything, because anything is possible in that world. So, I just fell into it, but I definitely have more of an appreciation for the genre now. 

How did you become involved with MY HUMAN EXPERIENCE? What drew you to the project?

Aimee Dansereau (the producer of MY HUMAN EXPERIENCE) reached out to me because of her connection with Recursor. She knew NINA_UNLOCKED, and she felt I’d be good for her project and asked if I’d read for it. I said, “Yes. Do you have a script I could read?” She sent me not just the pilot script but lots of background stuff. I thought it was so well developed and such a cool world, and I remember being struck by just how humorous it was.

MY HUMAN EXPERIENCE has been doing the festival circuit and getting tons of awards. What’s that been like?

It’s really exciting because you never know how something is going to turn out. I think, given everything that Covid threw at us, it came together beautifully. I would love to make more episodes, and I think that’s everyone’s aim. I don’t know how that process will go. But I’m excited to do more episodes.

How did you become involved with BROKEN ROAD? 

E.J. Kavounas (producer and writer of BROKEN ROAD with Jacob Pinion) asked me to do a table read of the script during the lockdown on Zoom. They wanted to hear all the episodes out loud before they went into production, and I didn’t even know I was being considered for a role. A few months later, they reached out to ask if I would play Rebecca Clark (the story’s heroine). 

To see BROKEN ROAD all come together has been really cool. My mind is blown as to what’s possible and what they’re capable of, just technologically, that you can send people off with just words on a page and assemble it all and turn it into a story.

What intrigued you about playing Rebecca?

Rebecca is a badass! She takes care of business. She’s brave and she’s strong, and it’s always fun to play a character like that. An as actor, you think, “In a situation like this in the real world, how would I act?” I would like to think I would put on my game face and say, “Bring it on, Arlin,” but realistically, I probably wouldn’t. It’s fun to inhabit someone else’s brain for a little bit and say, “You know what? I’m going to be a badass!”

Where did you draw from to find that strength to reflect in your performance of Rebecca?

It’s probably a combination of people I draw from. You know, people make impossible decisions all the time. You never know what you’re capable of until you’re in a desperate situation. 

But I think about my mom—she came from Japan to this country, with two kids, on her own—and just the strength she had to leave a bad situation and start over here, where she didn’t know a single person. The courage that it took to do the difficult things that she did—I draw on that. 

And then there are other people in my life and people I read about in the news. Honestly, the first responders too! It’s incredible the things people do, the sacrifices they make, the hours they work. And nevertheless, they continue to do the hard things and thrive and make the world better for everyone else.

So, I draw from all these different sources and find that part in myself, and think: “If I was in that situation, what’s the best possible version of me? What would she do? What could she do?”

What’s it like performing in an audio drama? What was challenging, rewarding about it?

We did a table read together, but then it was all done on our own, individually recorded, and we sent our recordings in for post-production. We weren’t even patched in to get real-time feedback. We got feedback later and were given notes so we could redo things. 

So, it was very much, I get to create this world, this character, exactly as I see her and wing it and just hope for the best. Getting to use my imagination—that was the fun of it but also the scary part. You don’t have someone immediately telling you you’re going in the right direction. But I recorded the episodes over time, so if I was way off track, they would have told me pretty quickly.

To see BROKEN ROAD all come together has been really cool. My mind is blown as to what’s possible and what they’re capable of, just technologically, that you can send people off with just words on a page and assemble it all and turn it into a story. It’s amazing how it worked out. It’s a complicated process, but I think they absolutely smashed it. It sounds so cool.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m working on three things simultaneously. The one I can talk about right now is a Harry Potter mobile game called Harry Potter: Magic Awakened which has been out in Asia and is supposed to come out worldwide this year. I play Moaning Myrtle. It’s so fun! I love that character; she’s so entertaining and has such a dynamic range from the cute, coy girl to pissed off. I really enjoy that. I’m also working on an animated series and a video game, both very hush-hush.

What’s the best way for people to connect wih you?

I’m on Instagram and Twitter as @lanamckissack. I had a YouTube channel, but I haven’t posted in several years. But if you feel like looking at old sketches and songs, you can check it out.

And if anyone hasn’t seen it, I recently did Dark/Web on Amazon Prime. That’s also a sci-fi adventure series. It was a super fun project as well, and it’s the reason I got to go to my first ComicCon. The experience of being there as a guest on a panel was mind-blowing and so fun.