Sana Asad talks ‘The Fight Machine’ & role model to Pakistani women

Sana Asad talks ‘The Fight Machine’ & role model to Pakistani women

Aug 18, 2022, 11:28:11 AM Entertainment

Growing up in Toronto, Canada, Sana Asad never truly knew what she wanted to do with her life. Her parents had immigrated from Pakistan before she was born, and though most second-generation children usually follow the pursuit of their parents and go after respectable jobs like lawyers, doctors, or engineers, Asad knew that path was not for her. She had always been a creative child, and when it came time to choose what to study, her instincts told her to pursue her interest in performing.


“Acting had always been there for me growing up and it wasn’t something I knew I was pursuing at the time, I was just following my gut,” she says.


That gut instinct turned out to be life changing for Asad, who is now an industry leading Canadian Actor. She has attracted fans all over the world for her role as Gianna in Amazon Prime’s Emmy-nominated The Boys, garnered praise for her fantastic comedic timing and improvisational skills as Jai in Wholesome Foods, I Love You…Is That Ok?, which received a striking 31 nominations and 6 wins, and received worldwide recognition for her portrayal of the ancient, Egyptian cat-goddess in Bast Starz’ production of the Emmy-nominated American Gods.

“I’m so grateful and excited that my dreams are coming true. It’s an amazing feeling to know that ‘you’re doing it’. I feel really brave and proud of myself because I know how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am, and truly hope this inspires other young Pakistani women to follow in their own footsteps, encouraging us to really have a sense of ownership over our lives. I’m so happy that my family immigrated to Canada where living my dreams is an actual reality,” says Asad.


Most recently, Asad’s newest film The Fight Machine premiered at Montreal’s famed Fantasia Film Festival on July 27th, 2022. The Fight Machine is a feature film adapted from the novel The Fighter, written by Craig Davidson. It tells the story of two young men from different backgrounds finding their destinies linked when they meet up in the world of illegal bare-knuckle fighting. The feature follows Paul Harris, who leads a sheltered existence. The son of a winery owner, his suits and cars are paid for, his career in the family business assured. He is insulated from the rough realities of life, until a vicious barroom beating sets him down a new path. Rob Tully also feels that his life is on a set course. A born boxer with natural talent, Rob trains with his father, Reuben, and his uncle Tommy, both of whom believe that a gift like his can change their lives. Rob and Paul’s fathers want so much more for their sons than they ever had themselves, but both sons are determined to find their own way. While Paul descends into the world of hardcore bodybuilders and boxing gyms, Rob struggles under the expectations set upon his young shoulders. Their disparate paths lead to The Barn, an underground fight venue where vicious and hopeless men brawl for cold hard cash. Asad was immediately drawn to how raw and real the story is.


“I love that the story has to do with fighting in both the physical and mental sense of the word. These characters are gritty with lives centered around hope, and I think that The Fight Machine embodies a type of unbreakable spirit,” says Asad.


Asad plays the role of Katy, the good-natured neighbor and friend to lead Rob Tully. Katie is often the voice of reason throughout the film and cares deeply for Rob and his career in boxing. She is Rob’s childhood crush and sees a side to Robbie that no one else has, which means she's the only one he's ever dared open up to. Their friendship provides a strong foundation for the film’s heart and you can really see that at the end of the day, they’re just kids. The casting of such a vital character was extremely important to the success of the film, and Director Andrew Thomas Hunt instantly knew Asad was right for the role after seeing her audition.


“During the casting process of The Fight Machine, it was clear that Sana was an initial stand out. Her ability to convey a convincing performance and draw attention to the screen in such an enigmatic way was truly special,” says Hunt. “There is such an undeniable stardom about Sana that is evident throughout her performances in her body of work. The role of Katie in The Fight Machine was elevated because of Sana’s performance and the chemistry between her and co-star Rob Tully played by Dempsey Bryk was such an exciting treat to view.”


The chemistry between Asad and Bryk is captivating and was exciting for the actors to explore. In such a cutthroat world as underground boxing, the film needed those heartfelt scenes for balance, and Asad is happy that she could help bring that nuanced and layered side of the movie to life.


“Working with the cast and crew was a phenomenal experience – everyone was so down-to-earth and we all were able to focus on the art. The work environment was lovely. We talked about our various interests in the film world and that’s part of the reason I love what I do, you get to connect and share experiences with different artists,” she concludes.

Published by Pooja Agarwal

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