Welcome to Ella Balinska Fan, the latest online resource dedicated to the talented actress Ella Balinska. Ella has been in films like "Junction 9", "Charlie's Angels", "Run Sweetheart Run" and the upcoming "The Occupant". She has also been in TV Shows like "Casualty", "Midsomer Murders", "The Athena" and the upcoming "Resident Evil". This site is online to show our support to the actress Ella Balinska, as well as giving her fans a chance to get the latest news and images.
admin - Sep 4, 2022
Flaunt Magazine

Ella Balinska | There’s No Hiding Here and That’s Cool With Us

In the many worlds of gaming, new beginnings are of endless supply. Run out of lives? Simply press play again. Make a risky move that doesn’t pan out? No matter; opt to re-enter this given world, or perhaps delve into an entirely new one.

An avid gamer herself, 25-year-old actor Ella Balinska knows this unique opportunity to restart very well, not to mention the know-how that comes with it. Balinska has parlayed her interest in the gaming sphere into a number of recent projects; her new Netflix series Resident Evil traverses the world of its namesake game, and she has a video game, Forespoken, as Frey Holland, on the way. This comes off the back of Balinska’s breakout role in 2019’s Charlie’s Angels, in which she embodied the fiercely independent former MI6 agent (the agency’s youngest recruit ever), Jane Kano.

Balinska is certainly not averse to a challenge, on or off screen—even though, unlike a game’s virtual world, we don’t have the quick-fix option to click play again. In this, she looks to the inherent potential of such new (and sometimes angst-inducing) experiences. “There is an argument that the height of freedom happens right at the precipice of fear,” shares Balinska, reflecting on her first time jumping out of an airplane a short time ago. The London born-and-raised actor checked this escapade off the bucket list while in South Africa filming Resident Evil (much to her producer’s dismay—although she did wait until wrapping to take the leap). “And that’s exactly what it is,” she continues, “you almost let everything go because you’re so out of control, that is the single most liberating experience. Because when you’ve got your legs hanging out of the side of a plane and someone else pushing you out, you’ve really just got to relinquish.

While we may lack unlimited restarts, there’s always opportunities for firsts. First times, first tries, first successes, first failures. For we all must keep on playing, seeking out the value therein. “You know what, you’ve got to try it all,” smiles Balinska. “To do what you like, do what you love. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ve learned something.” Balinska’s intent is clear: to keep trying, to keep learning, to keep living, all while relinquishing that little bit of control. It is, after all, only the beginning, and she’s open to whatever is to come. Here, she explains where the fire beneath that curiosity and openness comes from.

When did you first know you wanted to act?

I did acting as an extracurricular at school—I was always part of the drama club. Then I went to go watch Avatar at the Odeon in Leicester Square with my dad, and I remember seeing Zoe Saldaña play Neytiri on screen, and it was just one of the most phenomenal things. It was the first time I ever watched a film where instead of saying, ‘Oh, I wanna be an actor,’ I was like, ‘I want to be on set, I want to be part of the process, I want to be all up in it.’ So I’d say that’s probably when I was like, ‘Alright, let’s see how we can start taking this seriously.’

I understand you found your niche—if you will—in stage combat while you were studying? How did that come about, and how did you decide that was ‘your thing,’ at least for the time being?

I was an athlete before I was an actor, so I’ve always been very aware of how my body lies in space, as it were. So it almost came hand in hand. Like anything that you love, you kind of get a bit obsessed with it. So I did all the courses—stunt training courses, I’ve done my stunt driving accreditations, I’ve done the full nine yards! The shoe fit and I wore it, I guess. Which is cool because I’ve got that in my arsenal—there’s other things that I love doing, there’s other genres that I’m pursuing at the moment. But also for the time being, seeing as it’s working, we’ll stick with it!

In that vein, you’ve got Resident Evil coming out in July. The trailer was released a couple of days ago and has generated a fair bit of talk online; how have you found the response thus far?

I’m honestly so excited, because people talking about it is the best thing you can ask, really. It’s really great to see audiences who might not be familiar with the franchise be really excited by the property. Then there are fans who are so enamored with the lore and history of the game, no matter what emotion they have, it’s great because it’s inciting an emotion. And that’s what art is all about, so I’m excited for them to see it.

You’ve said that you were obsessed with Resident Evil (the game) growing up. What’s that like, going into a project for a franchise you’ve admired for so long?

The beauty of Resident Evil—this iteration of it—is that it follows the DNA [of the original], and the world-building has already been done for us. We know that there’s a zombie apocalypse. We know there’s an outbreak of the T-Virus, and we know you don’t wanna get the T-Virus. Because of that, it meant that a lot of season one is not exposition. It’s straight into the action, you’re just thrown straight into it—quite literally. So that was really cool, especially as a gamer coming onto set, knowing all of the who, what, when, where, why of the whole thing. And just feeling like every decision I made was really informed. Staying true to it. And I can’t take all the credit! All of the writers, and Andrew Dabb—he’s our showrunner—he knows the ins and outs beyond even my knowledge. Also all of the directors that we have on board, such as Rob Seidenglanz—he is such a Resident Evil fan. It was so cool—there were these really dark sequences, and he was so ambitious. He’d be like, ‘Right, let’s do this in one take. Or, ‘Let’s make it feel like the visuals when playing the game, looking around corridors and you’ve got a restricted view.’ He was really able to implement that knowledge into the creative decisions. It was really cool.

I saw that Dabb has said the show stays quite true to the games, even more so than the films—I look forward to seeing that play out on screen. And obviously you shot this show about an outbreak during the pandemic, so it’s all very meta.

You hit the nail on the head—you know how weird it is, running for your life, being like, ‘Ah, pandemic! Cut, and then, Ah, pandemic!’

What was that experience like, both as an actor and as a human, living through a global pandemic? Did it create a sense of catharsis, or just make that time even more taxing?

You know, it’s interesting because it made me dip into a process that I hadn’t really explored before. I like to make sure that I’m fully focused in my character during the day, but that when I get home, I’m back to being just Ella Balinska, watching Alice in Borderland on Netflix. But, the thing about this is that, like you say, it was so meta. So a lot of the feelings that I was feeling as a person—South Africa was so beautiful but I was so far from home, and I couldn’t go back. So using some of those emotions to feel the character was an interesting choice that I made, which I think really paid off. My character, Jade Wesker, she’s been separated from her family, and she’s trying to get back, which is similar to Ella Balinska, who had also been separated from her family. Definitely the emotional connection to this character, on a very visceral level, was really authentic. So drawing from that experience I think just adds to the truth of my character’s plight to survive.

As you’ve said, you’re very into gaming. How did you initially discover that hobby—and do you think that interest now influences your acting, and the types of roles that you do seek out?

My mum used to go and get her hair done, and that used to take a while—nothing better than two empowered Black women chatting whilst hair is being braided, needless to say. That hairdresser had a son, and I used to play video games with him in his room. We used to play Mario, Smash Bros, we’d play Tekken, all those kinds of games. I think that was really cool because with those games, you could always personalize your character. Especially something like Tekken, where, once you unlock them all, there are so many characters to choose from. I remember I’d always be picking characters like Raven, or in Street Fighter, Cammy, because she was British. Just because they felt like me.

I’ve got a video game coming out as well, which is very much in the gaming realm. As is Resident Evil—I think maybe it does sway my choices a bit just because I have more of an affinity towards it. But also because, just gradually, I’m in this place where I’m building a really amazing loyal fan base, and it’s great being able to make them happy too.

Resident Evil is somewhat of a spin-off, and you got your first big break in Charlie’s Angels. How does it feel to get not only to recreate, but also to change the game, from those original iterations?

I always talk about the little eight year old inside of me that wanted to go and do, you know, this. And when those opportunities present themselves, obviously you want to make choices which make sense for your career, and where you want to be in the future, what roles you want to take on. But it’s also about love of the art and love of storytelling and doing what you want to do. Resident Evil came and I was like, ‘I want to do this.’ Similarly with Charlie’s Angels, I was like, ‘What an amazing opportunity to play this awesome, empowered, near-superhero character who has such raw emotions’. And this is different to the other Resident Evil’s because you get to see so much about family, and what that toll has in the universe. And Jade is a survivalist—the difference being from when I played Jane in Charlie’s Angels to when I played Jade in Resident Evil, is that she’s not a trained professional. She’s a human being, like you and me, trying to get home without dying. And that adds an extra element of thrill and horror and challenge for me, because having been so perfected and crafted and stunt-trained to bemax for something like Charlie’s… to then strip that back and really just get down to my bare hands and surviving, was really exciting.

How did you gear up to take on your first big lead role in Charlie’s—and such an iconic one at that?

Funnily enough, for Charlie’s, I wasn’t overly stressed like you’d expect me to be. Simply because it felt like the shoe fit. When you’re auditioning, especially in the early stages, you’re always wondering about what casting wants, and what you think the director’s gonna like, instead of just giving your portrayal of the character—which is exactly what I did in my audition for Charlie’s. So it wasn’t like I was trying to remember what I did once upon a time ago when I went to go do my screen tests and meet with the producers. It was like, ‘Hey, this is what I’ve got, hope you like it!’ So when I went on set it wasn’t as stressful because I was just being truthful to the portrayal that I’d originally created. I always say that you are your strongest asset. Everything that you come up with, everything that you bring as a creator is so unique, and to always stand by it. One hundred percent.

You mention Forespoken, your video game—what was the experience of creating a game, versus that of filming a movie or TV series?

It is an amalgamation of everything I’ve ever learnt in acting, put together into one medium. It has the pace of film and TV, it has the world-building of film, and also the similar production schedule. Yet it has the imagination of theater. It is nothing else but you and your brain, covered in dots, all over your face and your body, with the headgear, with cameras recording your every movement. It’s in what is called the volume, which is nothing but space in a room. The volume is being recorded by infrared cameras picking up your movements as you go. So if there’s a giant dragon flying across the room, you’ve got to be the one imagining it and making sure that you and your peers are all on the same page. You all talk about it beforehand—it’s like make-believe when you were a kid. In the best way. You’re so connected physically with the character—it’s almost like you have to exaggerate some things so that it reads in space. But then, when you’re filming TV and film, you have a 100 MM lens looking at you giving an emotional performance. However, you don’t know how it’s going to be cut, so there are some things you can get away with, so you’d think! With Mocap [Motion Capture], there is nothing lost. It’s on your face the whole time, tracking every movement. There’s no hiding.

You’ve spoken about seeking out projects that allow you to help increase inclusivity—the gaming space is certainly one which has lacked diversity. Could you speak a bit about what it means to you to play the lead in a video game?

I mentioned before about the power of being able to pick a character that looks or sounds or even has a sensation of you. And to know that I am potentially that person for an entire generation of people is really heart-warming for me, because it’s something that I would have adored to have seen when I was younger. And even for people who aren’t gamers, it’s knowing that we’re taking up that space. Knowing that I can use my platform in an amazing way, and choose roles in my career that push the needle in the right way, in the right direction, is very fulfilling.

What would be your dream project—is there a particular type of role that you’d like to tap into in the future?

I’ve got quite a lot in the pipeline now, I’m very excited. The pandemic has been an interesting one because there has been a sort of industry bottleneck of stuff that was supposed to be made a few years now that’s being made now. But it has allowed me to really sit down and think about the choices that I’m making: read scripts, take time, speak to the creatives without the pressure of there being a production deadline. I’ve got some really great things lined up which are just different; different to the action. I’ve got a drama, I’ve got comedy, I’ve got this survival film [The Occupant], which is probably one of the most visceral performances I will potentially ever give. We’re filming in the snow—enough said.

On the topic of ‘trying it all’—what’s one thing you hope to try for the first time soon?

On the point of relinquishing control, I think over the last couple of years we’ve all had time to sit and reflect and learn more about ourselves and each other, and how we negotiate everything around us. I’m really excited about being more present. Thinking ahead is an amazing quality, to be able to sort of act preemptively, and have things all figured out. But I’m finding a lot of joy in savoring the small things—waking up every morning and having the opportunity to try something new. And making sure I mark those moments! Celebrating with friends and family. That’s very important.

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Official Ella Balinska Links

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Current Projects
Forspoken (Video Game)
2022
A young woman named Frey Holland awakens in the land of Athia and must embark on an adventure and endure treacherous trials to uncover the mystery the land hides.

Resident Evil (TV Series)
2022
Nearly three decades after the discovery of the T-virus, an outbreak reveals the Umbrella Corporation's dark secrets. Based on the horror franchise.

The Occupant
2022
When Abby, a guilt-ridden engineering geologist in transit to her remote Russian assignment survives a mysterious helicopter crash, she must try to escape the harsh environment. But she is not alone.