'ILAISAANE LATU VAIPULU GREEN: "Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a"
BRUTAL LIVES - MO'UI FAINGATA'A
'ILAISAANE LATU VAIPULU GREEN
Malo e lelei my name is 'Ilaisaane Latu Vaipulu Green. Yes, I had to put my full name and maiden name because I can already hear my mum saying "before you were a Green you were a Vaipulu" Hoi sai ke tau ilo/good to know. I was born and raised in Otara South Auckland. My Pacific heritage is from The Kingdom of Tonga. My parents are both from Ha'apai, Dad is from Lofanga and Mum is from Tungua. I still reside in the same house in Otara. I do acting as a full time job, but since covid happened I'm looking at other avenues for some side hustle.
What inspired you to get into acting?
Growing up I loved performing! Before acting I was a dancer and I was sooo passionate about it. My favourite styles were Hip Hop and Pasifika Dancing. I did it from primary all the way to high school. Throughout high school in each year I did both Polyfest and Bring It On. I was already set on the idea that I was going to finish school, be a back up dancer and travel the world with pop celebrities. Nek minnit I enrolled into drama class in 6th form and with the guidance of my Drama Teacher David Riley, everything changed. I also like to mention that I come from a musically talented family. My father is a Musician, Composer and Producer. He had a substantial musical influence in not only my life but on my siblings as well. He made (sometimes forced lol) me and my sisters to sing at church, family and social functions. I was obviously the Michelle of the group because I did not have all the spotlight, but that's how I wanted it. So, as you can already tell performing was in my blood and what a better way to amalgamate it all than with acting. I attended the Institute of Unitec graduating with a Bachelors of Performing and Screen Arts, Majoring in Acting.
You will be playing one of the lead characters in a new Tongan drama series called 'Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a'. What attracted you to the role & to being involved in the series?
When Vela Manusaute presented the opportunity to play the role of Lupe, I immediately thought to myself "My first Tongan role... this is it... nows your chance sis!" Honestly It could not have come at a better time. Interestingly enough I was in the early stages of my somewhat weight loss journey. Just the thought of knowing I could potentially play this role, got me walking on the treadmill to running full speed! Once I was offered the role I started doing roundoff back flips (pffft I wish) haha. However I did put a lot of effort and emphasis into my workout regimen. I managed to drop more weight, get in shape and build muscle. Oua!
We see in the trailer you do a lot of boxing in the movie - what training did you have to do for this to get in fighting shape for the role & did you do your own stunts?
I did cross training for a year and a bit. From weightlifting, calisthenics to aerobics. Anything you can name I'm definitely sure I've done. But the only thing I didn't touch was martial arts. When I started boxing training I was humbled real quick. It's a whole other level of method and technique. I couldn't quite grasp why I was so slow at picking up momentum, I wasn't sharp enough, my jabs weren't snapping, my footwork was off - it felt like I had two left feet, my body didn't flow and I felt so stiff. Vela told me I needed to have the form of a boxer. I think he even suggested I have a real spar and get knocked in the head to know what it feels like. Gaaamon I dont do method ok lol. Man I had to learn quick!
Shane Dawson was the Head Stunt Coordinator, and he alongside his fantastic team Ashlee Fidow, Stephen Grey and Tori Marsh. They created all the stunt choreography. And they are bloody amazing at what they do!
Note from the director Vela Manusaute: Saane, took her role as Lupe seriously even when she was in New York with "Wild Dogs" she signed up to the local boxing gym and the coach of the gym wanted to sign her up as a boxer! She would train after the "Wild Dogs" show and Bels would send me videos of her training in the snow in New York to correct her boxing form.
What did you love about the character you play?
I admire Lupe's straightforwardness. She has the quality of being direct and to the point. Not to say that as a person I'm passive or indirect, Im just not a confrontational person. That's what I loved about Lupe, she's feisty and speaks her mind even if it's the ugly truth. So watch out! Don't come for Lupe because not only can she run her mouth but she can also throw hands! (Haha jokes that's only for the ring lol)
What was one of your highlights working on this series?
The series as a whole was my highlight. Just being able to be a part of such a profound piece of work was a highlight. Playing a strong Tongan female character was a highlight! Having our Pasifika people create, direct and produce this story in it's most authentic form was a highlight. Point blank period!
What do you hope Tongan people will take away from the series after watching it?
We too are storytellers. We have so much more to offer and present to the world.
* Cover image and all 'Brutal Lives - Mo'ui Faingata'a' images - Photo Credit: Matavai Taulangau
Click Here to watch the Brutal Lives trailer