The Hunger Games and G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation star Tara Macken is in a league of her own.
ISSUE: Summer 2012
STORY: Courtney Hong
Tara Macken is a good ass-kicker, but you wouldn’t hear that from her. “It’s harder to be good at dying,” says the Filipina-Irish American actress/stuntwoman, who plays District 4 Tribute Girl in The Hunger Games and Elodie Yung’s stunt double in the upcoming action-fueled G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation. “Everybody can play the strong character, but it takes somebody else to be the one getting royally beat.”
Macken is that somebody else. The boba milk tea enthusiast and self-proclaimed ninja grew up in Manila, Philippines, rock climbing, dancing, doing gymnastics, and going on jungle runs with family members. Since moving to Los Angeles and discovering stunt work, Macken’s powerful moves have exploded on films and TV shows like Sons of Anarchy, Hawaii Five-0 and Glee.
To keep herself on her toes, Macken trains daily, honing skills like stunt driving and proper high falls, and — perhaps someday — being lit on fire. “When you’re a kid, you think, ‘I want to be a superhero,’” says Macken, adding she would love to play one in the future. “How would a superhero train? I basically try to do that every day.”
Surprisingly, the greatest challenge Macken has overcome was not a tough stunt, but her first nerve-wracking table read with Sons of Anarchy cast members. “There was Ron Perlman and these amazing actors that I’ve watched growing up,” says Macken. “Being in the room and trying to hold my own … was pretty scary for me. My hands were [shaking],” she laughs. “I said [to myself], ‘Relax. I’m here, I’m still good.’” Indeed, she is.