Actress Dawna Lee Heising Talks to TVGrapevine

Tell me about yourself and career. 

I am a working actress and member of SAG-AFTRA.  I have worked in over 50 feature films, and have been fortunate enough to work with legendary actors such as Tom Sizemore, Michael Madsen, Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Tommy Wiseau, Nicolas Turturro, Lorenzo Lamas, Olivia Hussey, Coolio, Aki Aleong, Mel Novak, Rebecca Knight, Mark Patton and many others. 


I am also the Vice President of Aki Aleong’s Mustard Seed Media Group, and am an Associate Producer on his epic feature film “Railroad to Hell: A Chinaman’s Chance.”  I have a B.S. in Business Management and MBA from Pepperdine University and an A.A. in Theatre Arts from Fullerton College.  I was a member of Sal Romeo’s Friends & Artists Theatre Company in Los Angeles for many years.


What projects are you working on now?

•  Lead in Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman 2: The Rampage”, executive produced by Aki Aleong, with Mel Novak and Brinke Stevens

Lead in John Reign’s “Latent”, with Maria Olsen

Monologue for Lady MacBeth in Brian Barsuglia’s documentary “A Bard for the Ages: Shakespeare’s Timeless Effect”

Lead in Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman”, executive produced by Aki Aleong, with Aki Aleong, Mel Novakand Brinke Stevens

 Esmeralda, Lucifer’s wife, in William Lee’s “Black Mamba”

Lead in Dustin Ferguson’s “Nemesis 5”, executive produced by Albert Pyun, with Mel Novak

Special Agent Hunnigan in Colten Dietz’ “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” with Tom Sizemore

Marilyn in Aki Aleong’s “From Chile with Love” withSean Stone and Michael Madson

Medusa in Albert Pyun’s “Cyborg: The Rise of the Flesh Eaters”

Deana in Ron Becks’ “Las Vegas Vietnam” with Eric Roberts, Branscombe Richmond, Nicholas Turturro andLorenzo Lamas 

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Connie in Richard Rossi’s “Canaan Land” with Rebecca Holden

Winney Swinney in Adam Steigert’s “The Horrific Evil Monsters” with Bishop Stevens

Melanie in Gregory Blair’s “Garden Party Massacre 

Executive Producer and Host of “Eye on Entertainment” on Amazon Prime


What attracted you to them?

I loved the scripts and the directors of all of these projects!  I try to always stretch my acting range and grow with each role that I do.  I loved combining horror and comedy with my roles of Melanie in Gregory Blair’s “Garden Party Massacre” and Adam Steigert’s “The Horrific Evil Monsters”.  The role of Lucifer’s wife Esmeralda in William Lee’s “Black Mamba” was a very powerful role that also required comedy and action.  I loved my role of Barbie in Dustin Ferguson’s “Nemesis 5” because it required powerful acting and was my first real on-camera fight scene.


The role of Vivica Steven’s in Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman” was very special.  It required powerful dramatic acting along with martial arts, fighting and gun skills, and I learned so much from playing her.  It is the role where I probably look the worst on camera, since I am brutally attacked and left for dead in the beginning of the film.  I have no eyes and one arm is destroyed and my hair is a disaster, but I am very proud of my performance and am grateful to Dustin and scriptwriter Mike Reeb for creating such a wonderful story and character.  There will be two sequels to “RoboWoman” and I am very excited to make RoboWoman even more powerful.



What do you hope fans like about it?

I hope that fans will be able to tell how hard I worked on my role of Vivica Stevens in Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman”.  I have been enrolled in Matthew Arkin’s professional acting class at South Coast Repertory, and I have taken kickboxing and Tang Soo Do martial arts for many years to train for “Nemesis 5”, “Black Mamba” and “RoboWoman”.  It has been a blessing to be allowed to grow from sexy roles to powerful action roles, and I am very grateful to great filmmakers Dustin Ferguson and William Lee to give me these amazing opportunities.

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What are some memorable moments from your career?


Reita in Gregory Hatanaka’s “Revenge of the Samurai Cop” with Tommy Wiseau

Joanna in Ted V. Mikels’ “Ten Violent Women: Part Two” with Francine York

Mrs. Lipschitz in Alexander Wraith’s “P.A.S.S.”, with Aki Aleong, Sean Stone and Bianca Brigitte VanDamme

Cleo the Snake Dancer in “Magnum P.I.” with Tom Selleck

Lon Yet in “Railroad to Hell: A Chinaman’s Chance”with Aki Aleong, Danny Trejo, Timothy Bottoms, Coolio, Olivia Hussey, Lorenzo Lamas, Michael Madson and Reggie Lee

Miss Hawaii in “Fantasy Island” with Ricardo Montalban

Cage Dancer in “Blade Runner” with Harrison Ford and Daryl Hannah

Music Videos:

“Puff Daddy” by Jpegmafia & Kenny Beats

 “Rickman’s Cobs” by Alan Wagner

“This Head I Hold” by Electric Guest

“Golden” by Travie McCoy and Sia

“Your Type” by Carlie Rae Jepsen

“Torn Apart” by Bastille

“Big Data Infomercial 2” by Big Data


What was the biggest challenge?

Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman” was the biggest challenge because of the action required.  I also had to act throughout the entire film without the use of my eyes because they were destroyed in the opening scenes.  I hope that people can see her despair, anger and desperation through the visor.


What would be your dream project?

“RoboWoman” was my dream project, and I am very grateful to Dustin Ferguson for coming up with the idea and giving me this amazing opportunity.  I would love in the future to be able to play RoboWoman with my eyes intact as the eyes are the window to the soul and they are a huge part of acting.  I am so grateful, excited and happy that Dustin will be doing RoboWoman sequels!

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Who are some people you would like to work with?

I love the amazing directors I am working with now!  My goal for the future is to get roles on cable and network television again.


What else are you working on?

I am working on Lady MacBeth’s monologue for Brian Barsuglia’s documentary “A Bard for the Ages: Shakespeare’s Timeless Effect”.  I am working with KaroleForeman, who is an expert on Shakespeare and who has written an urban opera based on Shakespeare’s “Antony & Cleopatra” entitled “Rule My World”.


What is a fun fact that would surprise fans?

I am a former Vice President of Marketing and Publicity in technology companies.  I am also a pole dancer and have taken ballet my whole life.  I am taking a Twerking workshop next month.


What are you watching on tv these days?

I just finished “Narcos: Mexico” and am currently watching “El Chapo”.  The violence in the drug wars is horrifying, but these shows are riveting and so well-made.


Anything else you want to tell America?

I take my acting career very seriously and am grateful for the opportunity to play powerful roles that require time and effort to perfect.  I am already training hard for Dustin Ferguson’s “RoboWoman” sequel, and I want to work closely with Dustin to make her a character that people remember!  Thank you for this interview!

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Author: Sammi Turano
Sammi has been a journalist for over a decade, specializing in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and celebrity news. She is the owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels and the Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi.

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