By: Danny Templegod
Greetings valued Dan’s Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. In part two of our three interview series, actress and stunt performer Yessenia Cossio chats Netflix series Marvel’s: The Punisher. Yessenia had the opportunity to double actress Floriana Lima (Christa Shaw) and work as a stunt driver on a second episode. Yessenia chats at length about how she got involved, the stunts she had to work on, and her various training. Time to relax and get a little spicy, as the Latina heat is turned up to punishing levels, Yessenia, the stage is yours!
For our earlier interview on Ultimate Tag: https://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2020/05/yessenia-cossio-chats-ultimate-tag-on.html
DT: Chat about working on the Marvel Netflix series ‘The Punisher’, and how you got the gig.
YC: I would first like to start off saying being a part of anything from Marvel is a dream come true. I never imagined something like this would happen, but I hoped of course that at some point it would. I mean you dream of these things happening, but when it did I had to take a step back and say oh my God, I am on ‘The Punisher’.
Actually the way the reached out to me surprisingly was through social media,v(Ed note: see what I mean this is 2020, keep your social game clean and strong, if you want acting and stunt jobs!) they were trying to look for a stunt-woman who looked a lot like the actress Floriana Lima who played Christa Shaw. I basically matched her stats and the coordinator like that, I was someone who was easy to work with. I had the required skills for the stunt they were trying to do winch was a fighting scene, a big action sequence. It was a fighting scene we did in the kitchen with the actress Amber Rose. Also I did a jump out of a window, I remember the coordinator said to me on set Yessenia how comfortable do you feel jumping out this window? I was like as long as there is a crash mat I am good haha. It was my first time doing a scene where I had to go through glass, it was of course sugar glass, it was a lot of fun. Thankfully I did not get any cuts, even though the probability of getting cut is a bit hi, think of breaking up a piece of hard candy and stepping on it, yes the cuts would be minor, but it would still hurt. It was a very enjoyable experience. Floriana could not stop hugging me throughout, she was such a sweet girl all the time, she was constantly thanking me for doing this for her. She looked out the window where I was jumping from and said “how do you do these things that is crazy.” She also said “Oh my god are you going to be OK?” She was so concerned for me. The Coordinator laughed and said to she will be fine this is what she does for a living. Definitely having a parkour background helped a lot with the stunt team feeling comfortable with me, and me feeling comfortable with the stunt.
Discussing the stunt, I had to dive out the window, but there was a small ramp at the base that helped me jump out but there was this ledge that one could nip it with their feet if you do not jump up as you are flying out the window. One other thing is the glass itself if you do not go at it the right way there is a possibility of bouncing off of it and you will look awkward and not break the glass. The stunt team’s biggest concern was to make sure that I broke the window, I remember looking at Amber, and saying you make sure to grab me and give it your all, I am tossing myself out this window, and if you do not toss me, you are coming down with me.. The are both very sweet girls, and caught up on the choreography quickly as well.
DT: Great insight on working on the show and working with the actresses. How long did it take to shoot the sequence on Punisher?
YC: I would definitely say we took about a month. It took a while due to the pre-vis putting it together. Working on the fight scene and getting it approved by the director. Actually once everything was done, the director wanted to make a few last minute changes. That part took about two weeks. Then after that we did a few shots for the window scene, the first shot was me outside rigged up on a harness, outside an actual building, We worked on a 15 to 20 foot descent, to a padded concrete type area. Either way though if you fell off that you would hurt yourself really bad. We did that shot first, then a few days later we did the actual stunt for the window scene. I did a few jumps out the window, to feel comfortable, to make sure they had the shot.
DT: Wow the work took a lot longer than I thought, but I am sure there is just so much prep as you say. Shifting gears, chat about your downtime, while you were not on the set of The Punisher.
YC: I had a decent amount of downtime as I was in New York for over 2 months. I shot another scene as a utility stunt woman. I was a driver, it was just a small crashing scene. I had the opportunity to see downtown New York, I went to see the Twin Towers memorial and the tourist spots around there. It was so beautiful to see all the structures and cultures. New York is such a melting pot, I also went to see the statue of Liberty. I remember growing up and seeing the statue on TV, it was so surreal. Here I am working for a Marvel TV show and seeing the statue in person. I was not even told actually what show I was working on, I would not be told until I got to the studio in person. I got the contract and was reading through it and it said Marvel, I was like oh my Jesus, what show is it, then further down, it said Punisher and I was like ok this is pretty amazing. Actually it was one of the dreams and goals I had, I wrote it down on my phone. I am a firm believer if your writing things down and work towards the goals you set they will become reality. To see it actually happen, I literally said “Oh Shit” that was a very cool experience.
DT: What is your favorite Marvel character, who would you like to play in the Marvel Universe?
YC: Definitely has to be Deadpool, I love his sarcasm, and I love how he is a total bad ass. I feel like he is a character I identify with wholeheartedly, as a person and as a superhero, if I had to be a superhero, I would love to be the female version of Deadpool!
DT: I can see you as the female Deadpool! Chat about some of the stunt skills you have learned in the past couple of years?
YC: I definitely learned wirework, martial arts and weapon training, Wirework is the most enjoyable for me, I absolutely love learning so many different skills when it comes to wires. I love the feeling of flying on the wire. Martial arts is a completely different world from my background in parkour. Learning from many martial artists the way they think, their brain is tweaked different, It is a pretty awesome sport to learn and get into. The first martial art I started practicing a few years back was tae kwon do. I started after TKD into ‘tricking’ which is a combination of a bunch of different styles of martial arts. It has been a lot of fun and interesting at the same time. How your background on what you trained on, evolves and helps you on the next skill you try to learn. Weapon training is another skill I enjoy immensely. I have learned to work with short and long guns, I have a special preference with long guns and rifles, I like a heavier gun for some reason haha. Recently I have been working with bladed weapons, swords and knives. I felt more comfortable with knives than with the sword if I had to choose between the two. I am still learning the skills, and have much room and desire to improve.
DT: Do you have any strategic goal in mind when training? Do you have some skills you want to work on?
YC: I would not say I have a single goal, I have many goals, an agenda, skills I want to learn. I have a list of my strengths and weaknesses. I work on my strengths to refine them and make them even better. I work hard on my weaknesses to make them my strengths. This is the strategy I adhere to. I agree with that statement, the more you know and variety of action is very true. One day as a stunt person, you will get hired for a job and end up having to do a stunt that varies from what you were originally supposed to do, and may not know it, but a varied background will help in working through it. Your best bet as a stunt person is to learn to do a little bit of everything, even if it is not your forte. At least having that in your pocket in case you ever need it, at least your know the basics, thus learning the nuances of the skill quickly is easier from there on. Directors and stunt coordinators are constantly looking for performers that are well rounded with a variety of skills. Yes it is great to be a specialist at one particular stunt or action, but from my experience it is better to be good a several things, even if you are not great at something, if you are what I call good enough.. Actually I never learned so much in my life as it has a cascading effect constantly learning one thing after another. Something else in stunts, several of my jobs were rather last minute and even in the moment, I was asked on set, can you do this or that. Constantly training and adapting has really helped me hone my craft.
Thank you Yessenia for another amazing interview!
Check out Yessenia now on ‘Ultimate Tag’ on Fox, and like her facebook page @https://www.facebook.com/yesseniacossioofficial/and follow her instagram page @https://www.instagram.com/yesseniacossioofficial/?hl=e
Watch for a third interview later in 2020!
About The Author: Danny Templegod is the owner and operator of the all exclusive Dan’s Movie Report and is a part time contributor for Action-Flix.com