A Conversation With Multi Talented Actress Hannaj Bang Bendz For WRATH OF DRACULA And I AM RAGE | The Fan Carpet Ltd • The Fan Carpet: The RED Carpet for FANS • The Fan Carpet: Fansites Network • The Fan Carpet: Slate • The Fan Carpet: Theatre Spotlight • The Fan Carpet: Arena • The Fan Carpet: International

A Conversation With Multi Talented Actress Hannaj Bang Bendz For WRATH OF DRACULA And I AM RAGE

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Hannaj Bang Bendz is a multi award-winning actress best known for her dramatic and action roles in independent British films, such as “The Man Up The Stairs” (Best Actress, LA Film Awards) and “Glamour” (Amazon Prime, 2020).

Hannaj was born in London, England, to her English mother (Michelle) and Danish father (Henrik).

In 2008, Hannaj studied “Scriptwriting for Film and Television” at Bournemouth University, and in 2012, she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Animation Film Production from The Arts University at Bournemouth (AUB).

In 2013, she starred in her first Professional Theatre Production, “Dorian Gray” at The Lighthouse Theatre in Poole, and was cast in Docudrama “Black Ops: Operation Firemagic” directly after – which aired on both American Netflix and the History Channel.

In 2017, Hannaj’s performance as Julia in ‘The Man Up The Stairs’ secured several Best Actress awards across various festivals, most notably the LA Film Festival. In 2018, the short film “A Still Sunrise” premiered at Cannes Film Festival, in the ‘Short Film Catalogue Corner’, and shortly afterwards she featured as the lead role of Keeley Jones in popular small series “Seaside Town” (Amazon Prime, 2018).

3 Pints and a Rabbi” a dark comedy feature, playing opposite Amanda Abbington and Michael Maloney, and “God’s Whisper” a Biblical Vampire short, are due for release soon. In the meantime, Hannaj has branched out into writer and producer roles. She is completing post-production on short Marvel fan-film “Salvaje“, and is filming dark psychological feature “Jax“, in which she stars in the lead role of Jax.

Hannaj also regularly practices Mixed Martial Arts, in the forms of Kickboxing, Kali and Muay Thai and is a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She has had some training in Kung Fu and Bo-Staff, as well as live fire-arms – all skills she utilises as often as possible for the right projects. Her combat skills secured the lead role in action/horror feature “I Am Rage‘, which is due for American release/distribution in early 2023. Followed by Steve Lawson’s “Wrath of Dracula” in August 2023, where she takes on the lead role of Mina Harker.

In our interview, The Fan Carpet‘s Marc Jason Ali welcomes Hannaj to talk about her two films released this August; Steve Lawson’s WRATH OF DRACULA and David Ryan Keith’s I AM RAGE. She tells us what drew her to the films, how she got started in the industry and juggling her many talents…


Hannaj Bang Bendz as Mina Harker in Wrath of Dracula

If we go back to the beginning, was there a defining moment for you to get into the Entertainment Industry?

I’m not sure there was a defining moment as such… I was always theatrically inclined, loved movies and from about the age of 7 I would re-enact scenes from favourite films with my sister, that my mum would record on her camcorder. I suppose my interest and enjoyment of acting first turned to thoughts of career because of my secondary school drama teacher Miss J. She always made you feel like anything was possible.

Still, the Entertainment industry is hard to crack (although I think social media has made it nore accessible now in some ways) and it’s taken a lot of hard work, navigating a path that feels truthful to my personal character and the stories I want to be a part of.


You have two films out this month; I Am Rage and Wrath of Dracula, What was it about them that made you want to be a part of them, and what can you tell us about the story and your characters without giving away spoilers?

I Am Rage interested me because… Well, I’ve always loved and wanted to be a part of action films, and whilst the storyline isn’t necessarily the most believable, it’s a lot of fun. I play Erin, the lead character who is a little different – flawed, battling inner demons, some definite PTSD, and sudden outbursts, and generally trying (and often failing) to control her emotions. When Erin’s boyfriend takes her to his remote family home in the countryside, alongside his brother and brother’s girlfriend, Sarah, she soon discovers his family are part of an ancient cult who torture victims for their blood. Erin soon realises she needs to accept her demons in order to escape. Cue a lot of action and rage as she and Sarah try to escape their prison. The ability to switch immediately between calm and chaos was a challenge I was eager to accept, and the proposed fight scenes were pretty insane.

Wrath of Dracula – again, was sold to me as a slower-paced action film, but set in the late 1800s and based upon the tale of Dracula – with a ‘karate kid’ style twist.

I’ve been obsessed with vampires and Dracula since forever, I wanted to do more period piece work, and also wanted to brush up on my Kung fu, so this was a no-brainer for me.

It’s a totally different vibe, a little tongue in cheek at points and was honestly so much fun to film. I’m working with the Director Steve Lawson on another project very soon so keep your eyes peeled!


What does it mean for you to be a storyteller and tell stories in this way?

I genuinely believe Storytelling is my purpose. Nothing makes me feel more alive and more connected – to life, to people. It’s how we all learn and grow. I have also been writing a fantasy book series, I studied animation and scriptwriting at university, I’ve illustrated children’s books… So acting is just one of my storytelling outlets, and I simply can’t not engage in it.


What is your preferred genre, and do you have any favourite films?

I mean… I love horror and action. Especially the more psychological horrors. I also love fantasy. My favourite genre would combine all three. Sprinkle some love interest in there and we have a corker. But I don’t think that’s a unique opinion: I think there’s a reason films like TLOTR have such a huge fan base.

Favourite films… Ooooh… Girl, Interrupted. Edward Scissorhands. The Mummy. Interview with the Vampire. Memoirs of a Geisha. Resident Evil. I’m trying to think – there are more!

It depends on my mood. It’s eclectic.

More recently I loved “Bones and All”. I’ve actually been writing a script with similar themes so that one hit me nice and hard. In tears.


Hannaj Bang Bendz as Mina Harker in Wrath of Dracula

Are there any other aspects of the Film Industry that you would like to pursue?

I’ve tried my hand at directing a short film, and genuinely loved it. That’s definitely something I want to do more of in future. One script in particular that I’ve been writing is so close to my heart… I’d love to direct it.

I’ve also done some producing, and whilst it’s very rewarding I think it takes a certain type of person with better organisational skills than me to successfully execute it full-time. I’m more on the creative side of the film making industry.

Are there any genres that you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?

It’s not that I haven’t done them, but I do enjoy comedy. I’d like to spend a bit more time on something funny. My horror characters are usually very serious, but I actually love to laugh. My whole family has a great sense of humour.

You’ve worked with some great talent both in front and behind the camera, do you have a wish list of who you’d like to work with?

Ed Harris. Can I be in a film with Ed Harris please? Also Emma Thompson. Keanu Reeves. Viggo Mortensen. With Angelina Jolie directing. Or Luca Guadagnino, or Denis Villeneuve. There are a lot of people to be honest, and for many different reasons. Then again I’m very driven, but I’m also pretty laid back in that I trust the process and the natural outcome. What will be will be, and I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Like you said, I’ve already worked with some great talent. So I’d love to work with them again too! I just love telling stories, and I’ll keep finding ways of doing just that.


Who inspires you within the industry?

I think the women (even a lot of actresses like Margot Robbie/Nicole Kidman/Charlize Theron etc) who are now taking on more producer roles and making an impact and a dent in the usually male-led industry are people to be admired. I’m seeing more and more women take the helm and call the shots, and it’s really inspiring, of course.


Circling back to I Am Rage and Wrath of Dracula, do you have any memorable moments from filming that you’ll take with you for the rest of your career?

This is a hard question. So many memorable moments from both, it’s hard to choose.

I am Rage – I have to mention waking up day 1 with a raging eye infection. That was horrific! Nobody’s fault, but it was a nightmare to try to work around it. That haunts me! Also the scene where I kick Billy and he flies backwards and onto the floor. Nate absolutely killed it! He was only wearing some briefs, so he scuffed his backside up so badly, but it looked perfect!

Wrath of Dracula… the chemistry on set that my character and Van Helsing had was just magical. I truly loved all of our scenes. Mark is such a beautiful and funny person, and I think the scene where he’s talking excitedly about Dracula and he inadvertently made it sound like he had the hots for Dracula became one of the hardest moments to film – because I just kept cracking up! It was so sweet and so funny.


Hannaj Bang Bendz as Erin in I Am Rage

Fandoms are a big part of the industry, who or what are you a fan of?

What’s a fandom?

Just kidding. I don’t know who or what I’d say I’m a major fan of… I love Keanu Reeves. I think he comes across as a really genuine person and I’d love to meet him.

Hans Zimmer’s work inspires me a lot in my writing and painting and even some of my acting. You can do pretty much anything to Hans Zimmer music. I’m a solid fan.

Is there a book that you are a fan of that hasn’t been adapted to film or TV or Netflix yet that you’d love to be a part of?

Ooooh… The Empire books by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts… I’ve loved them since I was 15. But I did hear something about them being made, so maybe dreams can come true!

Also there’s a kids fantasy series called The Edge Chronicles. If they were to be made into films or animations I’d love to be a part of them. I’ve adored the work of the writer and author since I was 11.


With the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ etc. what do you think the future of Cinema is?

I think Cinema is still a magical place. I still go when I can, because it’s more engrossing than watching it on your little flatscreen at home with the cat miaowing in your face, or your partner pausing it to go to the toilet, or somebody knocking at the door. It’s an experience. I know a lot of people are put off by the sheer prices of tickets. It can easily cost a family £100 to take their kids to see one film, buying popcorn and drinks etc. Didn’t cinema trips used to be pretty cheap?

Streaming services have offered outlets for more films to be seen, especially lower budget ones. But I think there’ll always be a demand for a place where people can congregate to watch stories unfold and together. It’s a very social experience.


Where can we find you online to keep up with everything you’re doing?

Honestly I’m terrible at maintaining my online presence. I very rarely post, because I’m super chaotically busy and I don’t hire a social media person (maybe in the future) but when I do post anything it’s usually on Instagram: @hannaj_bang_bendz_actress

I think most people think I’m just a fan account though, because I don’t keep up with myself enough!

Wrath of Dracula Film Page | I Am Rage Film Page


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