Kristanna Loken, Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King
, who held her own against Arnold Schwarzenegger
as an assassin from the future in Terminator 3
, plays a femme force from the past in the Sci Fi Channel original movie Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King
, premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET. (Part 2 airs Tuesday at 9.) TVGuide.com rang up the onetime supermodel to talk about her turn as Brunnhild, Valkyrie warrior queen.
TVGuide.com: In which country have I reached you, having dialed that long series of numbers?
Kristanna Loken: I'm in South Africa, on holiday. I have a house here, my "escape." It's beautiful here.
TVGuide.com: First off, will you be at all offended if I don't spell your last name with that "o" with the slash through it?
Loken: No, because that's not really how you spell it anyway. [Laughs] That's the Norwegian way, but that's not even really correct because if you're going to spell it that way, it's a "u" with an umlaut, the two dots over it.
TVGuide.com: I can do umlauts like nobody's business, but the o-with-slash stymies me.
Loken: You may as well put a regular "o" then.
TVGuide.com: It pains me to admit this, but I never got around to seeing T3. Did you kick massive amounts of butt?
Loken: It's always hard to rate your own performance, but... of course!
TVGuide.com: Dare I ask, did your character materialize from the future nude, like her bad-guy predecessors did?
Loken: I did, I did.... But that was the very last day of filming, so I had eight months of training to get in shape for it. My main concern was that I wanted to be in the best-possible physical condition, and that is the best me you will ever see. I completely changed my body for that, putting on 15 pounds of muscle.
TVGuide.com: Did Arnold offer any tips on wreaking Terminator-type havoc? Or was he all Method, like, "Do naht talk to me. You ahr my en-em-y."
Loken: He really kind of kept to himself. There were no tips per se, but by working with someone, you absorb their technique and apply it to yours.
TVGuide.com: Did T3 lead to everything that you had expected or hoped for?
Loken: I didn't really know what to expect. It definitely gave me worldwide recognition and it did open a lot of doors, but the acting business is funny. You don't necessarily know what doors are being opened even when they're being opened for you, if that makes any sense. It's constant reinvention, trials and tribulations. Even though the doors are open, you have to walk through them and show them that you're the best person for the job.
TVGuide.com: Dark Kingdom has a compelling little story: Celebrated male warrior falls in love with the queen of Iceland, who is nearly his equal in strength and fighting ability. And then a big twist keeps them apart.
Loken: I loved the story. I thought it was beautifully tragic. It was the first script I read after T3 that really moved me. I thought the character was very complex and there was so much going on internally with her. Hers is a beautiful, beautiful struggle — and a painful one.
TVGuide.com: It's always tough seeing two people destined to be together kept apart by circumstances.
Loken: Exactly. This is not too far off from life. You can meet someone and think, "This is great! This is it!" And for whatever reason you're uprooted or you meet somebody else.... Even though this is a medieval story, it can transcend that.
TVGuide.com: What new tricks did you have to learn for Dark Kingdom?
Loken: I mainly had to learn the choreography for and get comfortable with the weapons, which were varied and heavy. But I have a dance background, so it was like learning choreography for a dance.
TVGuide.com: I was going to say that I could almost see you on Dancing with the Stars. Want to give it a shot?
Loken: [Laughs] Umm... no. In one word, no.
TVGuide.com: At least Dark Kingdom has a love scene to remind us that beneath all the chain mail and animal hides, Brunnhild — like Julia Roberts in Notting Hill — is just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.
Loken: I guess you could say that, sure!
TVGuide.com: With all your martial-arts skills, were you ever tempted to unleash a can of whoop-ass on the gossip columnists who reported on that October 2003 nightclub "encounter" between you and Pink?
Loken: No. I don't have a lot of anger or rage. I don't do things that I don't know that I'm doing, so.... I like to think that I'm a fairly aware person. Although sometimes in traffic it would be kind of nice to have a weapon!
TVGuide.com: Your website says you're excited about an upcoming project where you're not playing a warrior-princess type?
Loken: Yes, Lime Salted Love, a film that I produced with a girlfriend of mine, Danielle Agnello, who wrote a short [Worn Like a Tattoo] that I was in and ended up winning each of us awards at the New York Independent Film Festival, which was a total surprise. Danielle won, like, $50,000 worth of camera equipment, and we used that to shoot this blood, sweat and tears project. It's a bit of a modern love triangle with people dealing with their sexuality as adults through bad childhood experiences. The plan is to hopefully find it a home on the independent-film circuit.
TVGuide.com: And is it your plan to quit the tough-girl thing cold turkey and get into more traditional roles?
Loken: I think that as an artist, you're initially looked at for your strong points, and one of mine was my height and my physicality. People saw me in those types of roles, and they have been great vehicles for me and I enjoy them, but I don't think that's all there is to me. I would like to explore some other things on screen.
TVGuide.com: Being 5'11", I take it you're not vying for roles with Parker Posey.
Loken: No, probably not. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Anything else on the horizon?
Loken: I have a film coming out this winter called Dungeon Siege: In the Name of the King — another big medieval epic, with Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Ron Perlman, Burt Reynolds, Claire Forlani.... I have a supporting role as a wood nymph who lives in the trees with her band of women, protecting the forest. Think of her as a 6-foot Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream!