We had the ability to sit down with the amazingly talented Tetiana Gaidar about her work with Call of Duty: Warzone, season 5 as Mila! During our conversation we discuss everything from how dance impacts her acting, her journey from experiencing homelessness in LA to superstardom, and more! Let’s jump in!
Adam Moreno: Hello, and welcome to another “We Interview” video here on GamingTrend.com. My name is Adam Moreno, and today our special guest is Tetiana Gaidar to talk about her upcoming role in Call of Duty: Warzone and more. Tetiana is a dance choreographer, fight choreographer, model and actor! Welcome, Tetiana! How are you doing today?
Tetiana Gaidar: Hi Adam, I’m doing so good. I’m so happy for my season to be out there!
Adam Moreno: It’s so exciting. First of all, I want to say thank you for joining us. It’s always special to me specifically, but also just to our viewer base to talk about people and their passions! And, during preparation for a project , what are some things that you might do differently depending on if it’s for dance, if it’s for fight, if it’s for acting, and are there any big things that crossover between all of them, like in preparation, you do the same thing for all your different like venues, cause you do literally almost everything you could want.
Tetiana Gaidar: I try! Thank you, so nice to meet you. Thank you for having me!
In preparation. If I’m getting, like let’s say Call of Duty, audition for it. I kind of put all my focus on really working out on my weapons manipulation, on my special skills. You know, all this kicking stuff that makes me different from other people and I really focus on one thing that I think that that’s the key. I’ve been mentored by a lot of people and I think that’s the goal and the key is like if you want to get this part or if you were like prepping for this project, you have to focus 100% there. And not for anything else. Not to try, like so many things at once. And then you’re like, ohh, you’re all over the place and like OK, now I don’t feel ready.. but when I got Bosch: Legacy I was like you know studying for that character. Thinking about who I want to be. Then when I got the Call of Duty audition and it’s been quite a long process for me like to be honest with you because to get a game, it’s not like what people think. It’s not easy. Like, no matter how talented you are, there’s so many talented people. There are so many talents. Yeah, there’s so many other factors that they need every season and every game, you know, to have a different crew and all that. And there’s just a lot of talented people in LA. Like, let’s be honest. You have to work really hard in order to get that part and not to take anything for granted, by the way, (enters from Stage Left, is Taran Butler) come here. Come here. By the way you guys, I’m sure lots of you have seen John Wick, John Wick 1, 2, 3, 4 and Keanu Reeves and here a legend. Taran Butler himself from Taram tactical.
Taran Butler: Hi, how are you?
Adam Moreno: Very nice to meet you! Yeah, we just went through all of them. I had already seen the first three but the fourth one came out. So we just went through all of them again.
Taran Butler: Oh, cool, cool!
Adam Moreno: It’s so impressive, so insanely impressive.
Taran Butler: Oh, thank you. I was very blessed to be part of it and to add what I can and what I do in my shooting career to their character and stuff. It’s really fun.
Tetiana Gaidar: That’s a real John Wick right there! Yeah. I mean, man, like when I’ve seen him like, shoot for real, I’m like, “ohh man. You know what? That’s the real Wick and I want to be like that. That’s so ******* awesome, yeah.” And that was really I’m talking about preparation. Right, I was blessed to actually meet Taran and there was a time when I was prepping for Call of Duty. It was actually the Bosch: Legacy show, and he helped me so much to get ready. I remember we were like at night him and JR was just teaching me all the gun style how to put together how to do this and that. And it was so awesome. I had dreamed of being in Call of Duty since I was a child. So that dream was in my dream book, you know how people say, like, just be bold. Put your dreams out loud and just, every day, just keep doing it. One day it might happen!
Taran Butler: And it was cool, the show allowed the character to really, go next level on the weapons handling, usually in a movie or a TV show, they just fire a gun, running, and they reload. They cut, it’s loaded or whatever. And she did all kind of wild manipulations. And also I knew going into with the armorers on set wouldn’t have the equipment or stuff to really get the stuff set up. We taught her how to make the gun have the sling and all the stuff on it. So when she got there, there was no sling on the gun. No way to do the scenes so she starts breaking out tools, “like what the hell is going on around here and and the directors like they were more impressed almost with that than the actual weapon works it was pretty funny!
Adam Moreno: That’s so cool.
Taran Butler: You know, she’s putting on the flashlights and the QD attachments. And then all the slings and so it’s kind of fun.
Tetiana Gaidar: I know, like I’m really dreaming that maybe for the next character on Call of Duty something I’ll be able to, like, put the gun together like and do it together. You know, like in games, I haven’t seen that before, that was so awesome putting the gun together. (Does finger guns) “I’m ready to go. Let’s go.” It’s so cool.
Adam Moreno: That would be so cool. It’s so great meeting you!
Tetiana Gaidar: I’m sure like everybody who listens to this podcast would love to see Taran for a second. Cause everybody knows who Taran is, and yeah, and he’s also a good, very good person and you know him and Keanu, they’re just like… Man, they’re just the most humble people I have ever met, and it’s just nice, you know. To see that.
Adam Moreno: That’s so great to hear. Especially as fans of you know, the franchise and stuff, hearing that everybody kind of gets along and does all that. That’s great.
Tetiana Gaidar: I was honestly shocked, like when I saw Keanu coming, he was just so humble. He was like, “hey, Tatiana, what did my splits look like? How can I do better? Like I want to be better,” and Taran’s like, “OK, let’s do this and that.” And he was like a blank sheet. A sponge. He wants to learn more! And he was so open to it. And it’s like, for me as an actress, so inspiring to meet people of that caliber, that level, who are still very humble and who want to be better and who want to learn more and they don’t have you know any (makes hand motion.).
Adam Moreno: Yeah, any of the superstar ego that you can sometimes get.
Tetiana Gaidar: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Adam Moreno: Well, it’s talking about something that you, you were just kind of mentioning. How does it feel to be in one of the biggest games out there in Call of Duty? Did they happen to give you a back story about your character or was that really something that you got to come up with yourself? How did that all work with the capture and the voice lines and everything like that.
Tetiana Gaidar: So, uh, how do I feel about it? Well, I feel very grateful. Very blessed, and I feel like man, I mean, you have to dream big because it took me years and years and constantly trying to audition and putting myself out there and making content and working on my skills. it’s just constant work, work and trying and flying and doing auditions is like showing me new stuff. What is coming out and I was very happy when I got on. The producers of the game said on set they saw my videos with Keanu, shooting for him and stuff like that. And they were like, very, very impressed. And they’re, “ohh man, like we are grateful to have you as a real pro with weapons in the game.” (Makes a face) That was my reaction. Like, “Oh well, wow. Like. I feel very grateful, you know.” And well I was also very happy that I had my face in the game, that there wasn’t anything changed. Sometimes with games. It’s a video game world, probably most people don’t know, but when you’re going into the game… They can change anything about your appearance, about your face. It’s basically they can do whatever it is to make the character very good for the game. But I was very blessed that Mila – me – stayed, you know, me.
Adam Moreno: That’s so cute. I love that.
Tetiana Gaidar: And also like you know, Mila had some significant execution moves, which are all like kicks and like killing people with my like signature moves that I’ve been doing for years, you know, kicking and fighting. So I was very, very happy to see that. I mean, who knows what the future’s gonna hold. How the character is going to evolve, we’ll see.
Adam Moreno: So you got to put a lot of yourself into the character of Mila and like you were talking about your own, kind of like your signature stuff is kind of in there as that character. If you pick up the character, then you’re kind of playing as you in a way. That’s cool!
Tetiana Gaidar: And I can’t believe it’s up until right now. Like honestly. Because I know a lot of my friends were in video games before and most of the time it’s changed. Changed by the way they act. It’s changed by the way they react to things or do some kind of moves. But when I saw my Mila on YouTube. Doing what I’m able to do? I’m like, oh man, I am rolling with the gun, I’m doing a range. I am doing my ax kick and like killing? Ohh I might expose some secrets right now. But guys, you have to play the game. But I’m doing some signature moves that I’ve been doing in my YouTube videos. I’ve been so grateful. Ohh man, I’m so happy with my character. Everything that I’ve been putting for years into my signature moves and how I’m moving with the weapons and everything I know about the weapons. And it’s in the game and I hope for the future for my next video games, I’ll be able to add more and more things for the video games that you know me doing in real life would be so cool.
Adam Moreno: That’s so moving to a different part of your skill set, the wide range of skills you have. Dance is such a special way of performing, I think it’s so interesting and I find it extremely obvious when an actor has taken dance seriously because of how fluid they move as their characters in a way. So how do you think your experience with dance has impacted your acting and specifically with this character Mila being as, you know, “you”-centric, were you able to put some of your dance background into the way that they moved as well as your fight choreo and all that kind of stuff.
Tetiana Gaidar: Yeah, it’s a really good question and it’s good that you notice that. So Chad Stahelski, director of John Wick, said himself many times that he loves to work with dancers because when he does a fight choreo and you put some Kung Fu in it, like with guns and all that stuff. The answer is to do it in a way that other performers can do it. And I see myself when I watch my videos. I can kind of say I’m dancing through it with weapons, you know what I’m saying? It’s like, so fluid. And you add some moves. It’s like a choreo. I think dancing is very important. If you want to be an actor or any kind of performer, do martial arts, Kung Fu and movies and stuff like that, because it gives you that fluidity. You’re very smooth and then. You’re also very creative. On Bosch: Legacy, when I came on set, the first day of the rehearsal there was a scene I’m not going to tell if you haven’t seen my show yet, but you have to watch it. There is a scene where I’m kind of doing a three gun course at the range as my practice as an assassin and we came there and they’re like, OK, well, this is your stage. Go ahead, choreograph it.
I felt so awesome. They give me freedom on the show to do whatever I want to showcase myself the best I can. I mean, what else can I ask? Same with Call of Duty. When I came there for the audition and for the set. They were so impressed that I actually know how to handle guns. You know, safety, and how to hold it right because most of… The actors, they don’t know if they don’t train. So because I’m working with guns basically every day and I’m playing the characters like that on the shows and it’s so funny… The producer of Call of Duty said he saw Bosch: Legacy. He’s like, “Oh yeah. That’s right. I recognize the character. Why don’t you do what you’ve done there. And it’s great. It’s all that a performer can ask for is that freedom to create whatever I want. But coming back to dance. It’s like when you have this opportunity where you have kind of a stage as a dancer and as a choreographer. I’m right there in the choreographer mood, so even if I have guns in my hand or I have to fight people, I see the stage I see with the cameras and now I’m creating the choreography. So it’s, I don’t know, dance impacted my life tremendously and in acting. Because like. Talking about dance, what is dance? If you choreograph a routine on a stage like, “So You Think You Can Dance” and you have to perform, you have to have a story behind your character. You have to have a beginning and the middle and the ending and you have to have some kind of performance in your face so you can catch the audience because like the performance of dancers who are like covering their face and the mask or hair? Is it cool to watch? No, you can’t relate to them. We relate to the face, to the eyes, to the smile, to the tears. So actually being a dancer has already been an actor in a way, you know? So it helped me a lot.
Adam Moreno: I love that.
Tetiana Gaidar: Can I suggest anybody there for you guys listening and you want to be an actor and you want to be a performer or you want to do martial arts and all this like John Wick., Kung Fu kind of style: take some dance classes.
Adam Moreno: I went to school for theater and dance was the most challenging thing to me.
Tetiana Gaidar: Oh yeah?
Adam Moreno: I did jazz classes, I did tap classes, and I did like a generic dance thing. It’s the most challenging kind of class that I have ever done when it came to my acting stuff. And so anytime I see somebody that you can just see had done this stuff, it’s so great and so you know you being able to push this in such a cool way is such a cool thing.
Sadly, my friend, who was our big Call of Duty person, wasn’t able to join us today, but it was so interesting for him. He always gets so excited about that concept of just like new people coming into the world of Call of Duty and new people coming into the space and to have somebody that is so focused in different worlds is such a cool concept. So here’s another question that I just wanted to throw out to you and it’s kind of about your background, and how that kind of relates to you joining Call of Duty. Having it be a worldwide event at this point, so coming to the US, you had a very hard time, you know finding where you had to go and what you needed to do. Could you tell us a little bit about the kind of intense changes that your life had and how it led to you joining Call of Duty and getting into that and and kind of the start to the now cause you kind of had to go back to your family in Ukraine? For a little while, correct?
Tetiana Gaidar: Yeah, man. All right, I’ll be honest. But if I recommend doing what I have done, I don’t know, I wouldn’t probably recommend it to people because it was very brave and a lot of things could have gone wrong. I guess I was lucky. Protected. But I saw X-Files when I was a little child with my family and I fell in love with David Duchovny and I had a dream right away for some reason. I just loved the idea of being a FBI agent or a spy, and I, you know, I’m in Ukraine like, yeah, right, like telling my mom and dad, 10 years old. I really want to be a spy. I want to work for the FBI. I want to be an agent like Scully and Mulder and my mom and dad. Like, yeah, right it’s like, you know, stop. Stop dreaming, child. You’re from Ukraine. It’s never gonna happen. But I had this dream, it was so vivid since I was a child. And then you know Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Dark Angel? And for some reason, all these characters, they they impacted me like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, like inspired me to try martial arts, then dark angels. Like ohh man. I want to learn the motorcycle. She’s such a bad***. Not because she all does all that, but because… All of these characters have a bigger purpose, right? That they’re saving good people. They’re trying to make the world a better place. And I love that idea more than just having, you know, any other. So I want to be a spy. But then when I was 18, my boyfriend died. And it kind of impacted my entire family, really like a lot like my life had changed, has changed completely. When I was 18 and I just entered university, I had such a hard time. In the university to have a good time as a student to do things that students do. I thought, alright, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to be a spy. Like I’m just gonna be an FBI agent. I’m gonna, like, keep learning English from movies. Please, I’m gonna, not tell anybody my dream because I couldn’t find anybody who would relate to me. Like, who would have the same dream or believe in me as much as I believe in myself, so honestly, the biggest impact in my life was movies. I found mentors through Keanu without him knowing that when I saw John Wick first in Ukraine. Like man, this is, this is exactly maybe what I will do because. I don’t know if I will ever be able to join (the FBI) if I am not a U.S. citizen. I mean I am now, but before I was in.But maybe I can be an actress playing these characters and being able to talk to the real agents and know their stories and tell their stories in the movie. It’s kind of fascinating to me. So when my boyfriend died, when I was 18 I took a dance class at the therapy. And ohh man, it really helped me like therapeutically to go through this kind of brutal trauma in my life. And if you guys go through anything hard in your life. If you listen in this podcast. I would suggest if you don’t believe in therapy or therapists, just take something physical like take martial arts classes. Take dance classes. It helped me so much to tell the stories through the dance without telling that to the world or anybody else you. Kind of private.
But then OK, then I started dancing. Right. And I was working with a Ukrainian singer and we had a concert in Philadelphia and we got a Visa. And we were like, yes, we’re going to America because it’s really, really hard to get a visa to come here from Ukraine. It was really hard. I tried 5 * 5 times, it was rejected. Yep, yeah, but I keep going and going every opportunity and then you know what else sucked? Most of my students in my university got student visa and I got rejected. Everybody approved and it’s like seeing everybody getting your dream like all of my friends going to America now and I was like, “well man why I’m so unlucky.” But I’ve got to keep going and I got the visa to come with Ruslana to dance in Philadelphia. It was a 5 days visa come, rehearse, perform, pack and leave. Yeah, but at the border they give us a special permit to stay in the United States for six months. But I can’t go back home. So here I am in America. I don’t have any luggage because I only packed for five days. I mean, I didn’t know it’s gonna happen. I don’t have any money here, I don’t have anything. But after the concert I talked to you know, my friend, the singer. And she told me, “if I were you, you’re young and so determined that I had a big dream. I’m going to give you cash for the concert. I’m going to change your tickets. Ukraine to LA and I wish you the best.” So here I am. I didn’t tell my parents yet, like that I’m not coming back. It was really hard to tell them. I’m in LA. I’m texting all my Facebook dancer friends like, hey, can I stay with you? Can I like couch surf? Can I stay on your couch? Please like, I’m here. And nobody was here. Everybody was touring, vacationing, rehearsing, whatever. And one of my dancer friends sent me to his friend who owned a car dealership, and the guy was super nice. I told him my story. I was very honest, like very direct, like, no bull**** behind. Like, this is what happened. This is where I am. I’m dreaming to be like the FBI. Or in movies like I’ve seen with John Wick. And I’m so inspired. And when I try it, I barely speak English. I just was like, “Hey, like, you know Google Translate?” Trying to say a few words here and there. And he was so impressed by my honesty, and he gave me a car. He gave me, like, an old car. He’s like, “listen, I have this very old car. It’s gonna get you for some time to go by in LA. You have to have a car. Otherwise, like you’re not going to get anywhere. So here’s your car and good luck. So I stayed for some time in the car and then the rest is a long story. This kind of couch surfing, surviving like, finally meeting with people working, who knows what jobs just to get by telling my parents I’m not coming.
There was the first war in Ukraine at that time in Crimea already. So my parents kind of was OK with me being here because they didn’t like what was going on or going on already with my country, but they were very, very scared of me, like of me being here without anybody or anything. And then you know, it takes time to find the right people to settle down, to learn English, to start booking jobs. And my first action film I was sent to Taran Tactical to train. I met Taran. I was so inspired, you know, like he was on my first A-list to meet. Because, you know, he trained Keanu. Who inspired me to become an action actress and the long story short, it’s just a lot of try and fail and try and fail and try and fail until something comes along and somebody gives you this opportunity and you really have. To be ready for it, you have to be ready for it.
Adam Moreno: That was so special that that, that you were able to do that and and you know, thank you for sharing that. I know it’ll impact a lot of our viewers on that now coming full circle. Let’s talk about this as a question that I like to ask all of our guests, but I really want to hear something about your work with Call of Duty at this point, what is one happy memory that you have that will stay with you for the rest of your time when it comes to your work with Call of Duty and your work with the gaming industry?
Tetiana Gaidar: Ohh man, it’s when I received the call unexpectedly out of the blue like I just received a call and like hey, are you available to come out for a shoot like this Sunday like in two days I was like.
Just because that and just pick up a call and. Oh, oh, oh, yeah. Yeah, that was kind of the biggest. And then the second memory, obviously when the game was posted online and the producer called me and he’s like, “hey, you’re on the poster. Season five. You’re in the game.” Because, like, one thing that people don’t know when you’re getting a job, like acting or anything, right, you’re coming to the movie. You can’t get super excited because unless the movie came out and you are in the movie and you’re not cut out or your character because there’s so many things that can. You know, change during making movies or games and it’s not, it’s not personal. It’s like a lot of factors. It just affects the game, so I was very happy when I received the call and I will never forget that. But I wasn’t like, you know, putting all my excitement to it, I’ve learned. With time to not be excited before things come out. That’s where the excitement and being grateful and you know, humble. But yeah, I think… Two memories first, when I got a call and second when I opened. Instagram like ohh man I’m in the game!.
Adam Moreno: That’s so special!
Tetiana Gaidar: More to the special, it was the day… You know my parents. You saidI went go back home and there was Ukrainian war last year. So last year it was the entire year of, like, rescuing my family, which is another story for another podcast. But it was very special because only now, like a month ago, my mom and dad are here. So I was driving my mom and dad to show them the ocean for the first time. They never, you know, they never been here. They never traveled. My family has never traveled and they’ve never seen an ocean. And I was so happy to finally find it time to drive my mom and dad to the ocean when I got the call and I opened Instagram. Like Mom, dad, look…
Adam Moreno: …I did it.
Tetiana Gaidar: That was it, yeah.
Adam Moreno: That’s so good!
Tetiana Gaidar: And my mom and dad was like, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
Adam Moreno: That’s so amazing. Hey, you’ve been such a blessing to talk to, we just want to thank you for joining us on our “We Interview” series. It’s been so special getting to hear about you and your journey and everything, and you guys can play as Mila. And as we’ve learned. It’s very similar to our special guest right here. So make sure that you are picking up season five of Call of Duty: Warone so that you can play as Tetiana’s character. Thank you so very much for joining us!
Tetiana Gaidar: Yes, thank you so much for having me. You were so fun to talk to. You have such a wonderful energy and personality. It makes me very open with you, I guess, and I hope you guys can enjoy season 5 and Mila. And if you do play my character, I’m very, very social on Instagram. Just tag me in the comments and I’ll talk to you. And I wonder what you think and if you like my Mila.
Adam Moreno: Thank you so very much!
Tetiana Gaidar: Thank you so much, Adam. Thank you!
Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, Mass Effect, NFL Football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.