Ioannides kicks it up in ‘Into the Badlands’
Many Park City residents may remember Ally Ioannides performing YouthTheatre productions on the Egyptian Theatre stage nearly a decade ago. Other Utah residents know her from roles as Susan Waverly in the Pioneer Theater Company’s "White Christmas" in 2010 and as Louisa Von Trapp in the Hale Center Theatre’s production of "The Sound of Music" in 2012.
Still more people have recently seen her in the TV series "Parenthood" as Dylan and as Heather Manning in "Law and Order: SVU."
Now 17, the former Parkite is taking on a new character, Tilda, a teenage assassin in the upcoming AMC series "Into the Badlands," which has completed six episodes to date.
The post-apocalyptic martial-arts drama that will premiere on Nov. 15, is loosely based on the Chinese novel, "Journey to the West."
The story is about Sunny, a warrior played by Daniel Wu, who wanders a future devoid of guns where the feudal caste system has been restored.
Ioannides knew she wanted to be part of the show when she heard about the main female lead.
"I heard that there was a Widow character (played by Emily Beecham) who is all about female empowerment and has all of these ‘butterflies,’ who are assassins who kill people for her," Ioannides said during a phone call to The Park Record from Los Angeles. "When I heard that, I was sold. I thought it was a strange, awesome cool thing to have this kind of character and I absolutely had to get the part of one of the assassins and kept up on wanting that part."
The actress sent in her audition tape and got the role of Tilda, who Ioannides says, is a lot like herself.
"While I relate to every character I play, I can really relate a lot to Tilda," she said. "One thing I love about her is that she is so strong, but still very vulnerable and that’s something that has always been with me."
To get into the right mind space for the role, Ioannides and the cast — which includes Martin Csokas and Sara Bolger — participated in a six week martial-arts fight camp with executive producer and martial arts director Stephen Fung and DeeDee, (real name is Huan-Chiu Ku) who is known for his stunt work in "Thai Chi Master," "Black Mask" and "Once Upon a Warrior."
"That was a really intense camp, but so helpful for the part," Ioannides said. "I have done some dancing, but no martial arts and fighting experience, and what I thought was interesting as we were working on martial arts is that it is similar to dancing.
"It feels like choreography, especially the work we do on the show," she said. "Obviously, it is different than dancing, but it has that beautiful rhythm to it."
The actress said her theater training in Park City and Salt Lake City is invaluable because it prepared her for the demands of her profession.
"I think the way it’s helped me most is that if I had never done theater in Utah, I would have never known how much I love it," she said. "The training helped me find my passion and taught me to be disciplined."
Each role Ioannides has played since she was in elementary school has tapped into her different traits and personalities.
"I did Dylan and loved her," she said. "Then I finished her and got into Tilda, but I don’t think I needed to make any adjustments except that they are very different characters.
"They do bring out something different in me, but I’ve learned how to be comfortable in my own skin in all of my characters," Ioannides said. "For example, my role in ‘Parenthood’ has taught me to be myself and be my own person. As for Tilda, I think I have gotten in touch with a nice vulnerability with her. And you will see that later in the series. So, these roles have helped me embrace all of my different parts."
AMC’s "Into the Badlands" will premiere on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. on DirecTV and Dish and 11 p.m. on Comcast. For more information, visit http://www.amc.com/shows/into-the-badlands.
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