Keena Ferguson talks Redline

RLCurrently out on DVD and digital download is the thriller ‘Redline,’which was directed by Robert Kirbyson and stars Nicole Gale Anderson, Kunal Sharma, Kevin Sizemore, Mark Saul, Keena Ferguson, and John Billingsley.

A Los Angeles subway train is brought to a slamming stop, the tunnel partially collapsed, and several people injured. The survivors must figure out what caused it, and must deal with the greater danger that soon faces them.

Ferguson plays Rubina, an American Muslim woman, who despite the tragedy they are living in this film, is also dealing with the issues of religion and race. Jamie Nieto, the 2012 Olympian, plays Ferguson’s husband in the film and their opening scene is heart wrenching.

The Jefferson City, Mo native can also currently be seen in films The Marriage Chronicles, Back Then andPoolboy: Drowning out the Fury. recently spoke with Ferguson as she discussed her role and her ongoing projects.

Can you describe the character you play?

Keena Ferguson: I play Rubina, an American Muslim woman. She is very traditional when it comes to marriage, she is strongly connected to her faith and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Rubina is a quiet woman with a quiet strength that can easily be mistaken as weak. However, she is dependable and will never go down without a fight.

What attracted you to the role?

KF: I was very attracted to her quiet strength. She isn’t the loudest or most vocal person, but an observer and stands firmly on who she is and what she believes. I loved that in a lot of ways she is a woman of few words that she mostly speaks when needed but that when she does it matters. I enjoy becoming someone that is different than me. I am very outgoing, bubbly, and love to talk to everyone and Rubina is not. She is guarded, not as open and hesitant to trust new people. Considering that she is dealing with many levels of grief under tragic circumstances was fascinating to explore because the truth of who we are always comes out under pressure.

How often do you see a black woman playing a Muslim and did you do any research on the culture to be authentic?

KF: Is it often we see a black woman playing a Muslim? No its not super often but its there and has been seen. I have to admit it was very new to me because honestly I didn’t know a lot about the Muslim tradition and what that really meant. Also, looking at what it means to be an American Muslim woman vs a traditional Muslim woman. I definitely did a lot of research as I always do on a new project. It was perfect because we shot this film in San Diego and it just so happened a Muslim family had just moved in next door to where I was staying. How fantastic is that! I spoke to a lot of Muslims and did a lot of research on the culture. More importantly, I looked at who Rubina is as a woman and how we were similar and dug deeper into myself to find those parts of me that weren’t as familiar. I believe that a piece of every character is already inside of you, its just about if you’ve explored those areas within yourself. Not to get too “actory” (LOL)but after getting past the religion aspect; its just about a woman who is scared of losing what she believes makes her who she is. We can all relate to that!

With the recent bombing in Boston and 9/11, who is the target audience for this film?

KF: Well of course I believe this film is for everyone! But, this film is also for audiences that want to see a good story of how complete strangers can come together and unite under tragic circumstances. It’s unfortunate that sometimes people from all walks of life who may never come together only do under horrific times. But to answer your question, this film has something for all audiences.

How was working with the cast and filming in a small environment?

KF: The cast was really amazing to work with and everyone is super talented! I loved them all so much and we had a blast on this project. I started shooting a few days after most of the cast did so I was the new kid walking in, but everyone was very welcoming and warm. When I arrived Rob Kirbyson, the director, wanted to have a pow wow with everyone about acouple of scenes. As soon I stepped in the room John Billingsley started joking with me and I knew it was going to be a great shoot and a lot of fun. We laughed a lot on this project and had many silly and goofy moments between us. Everyone was delighted to be there and each actor was so giving to one another during every take. You could feel the support of everyone; no diva or selfishness just love.Working in a small environment was actually fine. With 95% of the movie taking place on a subway that train became your home. We became real cozy there. I think the worst part was being covered in dirt, blood and sweat everyday. Guess it was a good thing we all did really like each other. This film was unlike any other because 90% of the crew were college students and they were so dedicated to seeing this film through and making it the absolute best it could be.

Having worked in the business for some time, are you finding roles challenging to get or are you picky about the projects you want to do?

KF:Wow, that is such a loaded question! Can roles be challenging to come by?Absolutely, especially the varied and complex type of characters that I would like to play. Sure I wish there were more roles but the bottom line is I can’t sit around and complain about what’s not there because that isn’t moving me forward. I have to make the best out of what the reality is and find ways to create more opportunities for myself. I have produced feature films and choreographed for projects and stepped out to pave the journey that I want.Yes, I am specific on the types of roles and/or projects that I want to be seen in and how I want to be viewed as an artist. Film is for life and I want to tell stories that touch, inspire and move people so I’ve learned that I have to be more selective. When I first got here I would say, “I just want to to work,” but then I became very clear on my purpose and my bigger picture as an actress/artist so I had to make better choices. I am always prayerful that the right roles will come my way and that any projects I have to pass on are always setting me up for those roles that are meant just for me.

What’s next for you?

KF: I am currently starring in a wonderful period piece called “Daughter of Fortune”, written and directed by Dawn Kamoche. I just completed a very successful run of my brand new one woman show “Keena UnBranded The Solo Experience” and some exciting things are happening with that. I am also starring as Leslie in a new series called “MOMS” created by Saadiqa Muhammad and I am the director of the play “Sunday Mourning” that will be going on tour in October.


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