Ciera Foster on becoming Livewire, Ninjak Vs, and the Future (Toylab Exclusive Interview)


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Toylab bloggers have made no secret that they are excited about the direction of Valiant Entertainment. With the launch of X-O Manowar comic, the upcoming Secret Weapons series and of course the upcoming live action Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe. We are thrilled to bring you an interview with one of the star's from Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe, Ciera Foster. Ciera Foster is playing one of my favorite Valiant characters, Livewire. When casting for Ninjak vs was going on I openly wondered if they would find an actress who could portray the mixture of intelligence and bad assness that is Livewire and with Ciera they just flat out nailed it. She is intelligent, beautiful, and a good person as well. On top of all that she brings a legit athletic and martial arts resume to the table. Toylab's Marvel Matt sought out Ciera on questions about playing Livewire and she kindly answered.

If you love Valiant, if you are curious about Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe then you need to read this interview. Ciera has an infectious enthusiasm for playing Livewire that has pushed my excitement for seeing her in action to 11.
Divinity #0 - Ciera Foster - Livewire Cover

As part of highlighting the Ninjak vs film Valiant is releasing a series of variant covers featuring the actors.  The Ciera Foster - Livewire cover will come out with Divinity #0.  It looks amazing!




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Ciera we are very excited to see you play Livewire in Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe.  What was the first thing that excited you as an actress about playing Livewire?

Firstly, thank you and the enthusiasm is certainly mutual!!! Thinking how to respond to that question is a bit tricky because it's a loaded answer. - The first thing that comes to mind is hands down the simple fact that I am a comic book, cartoon, video game fan. Yes, ME!!! I grew up with my older brother Nick and my guy cousins Keion and Cedric and we practically lived (and still do I might add) all things superhero,... seriously! But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I love playing Livewire not only because of what she is "a superhero" but because of WHO she is. Livewire is a natural leader with boundless compassion yet yields uncompromising strength. She's both admired and respected and hates wrongdoing particularly at the cost of the defenseless. Daily I'm blown away at the blessing of playing this character whose values are so aligned with my own. She continues to amaze me. With my background in athletics and my previous and current endeavors in the humanitarian field I couldn't have written a better character for me to play, which is a credit to the founding creators and the current exceptional team of writers working for and with Valiant.


 Speaking of Valiant I legitimately cannot answer this question without acknowledging how thrilled I am (Not to mention damn proud) to be a part of the Valiant Universe. I know I could easily sound biased but the fact is the more anyone delves into Valiant the more apparent it will be that there is no other major super universe with as much diversity in character, craftsmanship, and artistry plus overall badassness. From Harbinger, to Faith, to Bloodshot to one of my favorites Britannia (Just to name a few). I mean seriously it doesn't get more diverse than that! No slight on other comic universes but Valiant isn't creating a league of its own, it already is one. People are just seeing it on a larger scale and that makes me pretty damn excited to be your Livewire.


Livewire is the star of a comic series coming out called Secret Weapons have you been able to get a preview of that?

Valiant does a phenomenal job of providing us plenty of material. But it's no secret as Valiant continues to get bigger and bigger that our CEO Dinesh Shamdasani and VP of marketing Hunter Gorinson have made secrecy Valiant's "Secret Weapon" (See what I did there...) - I have a bit of a preview on the way from H.Q. but the hard hitting stuff I get to read with everyone else, which is cool with me. I get to share the journey as a fan and with the fans. I think that's important as an artist especially when playing a comic book character to be along for the ride at the same pace. Otherwise it's easy to project stuff onto to the scene or character that hasn't happened. Which I feel does everyone an injustice. - I've certainly done my research and since the book is about the emergence of the Harbinger program, I'm just as excited as the Valiant fans.

Livewire may seem like the star but I believe my character has the honor of being somewhat of a guiding force for some incredible new characters that will be introduced. I personally love that. It is my understanding Secret Weapons conceptually challenges the notion of being a "misfit". I believe the world could use a little more of that these days.

The Bat and the Sun is producing the series how did you meet them and get the part as Livewire?
Ciera Foster playing Livewire in Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe

Pure hustle. I went to audition almost two years ago for a role I submitted myself for. It was an extremely small, low budget, independent project. I have managers and agents of course but I like to search out new creative challenges for myself (Maybe that is the artist/athlete in me) because the role was pretty controversial and the project as I stated didn't pay much. I'd just gotten back from holiday, when I received the callback and I was pretty tired but I love what I do and I don't miss auditions so I went happily and did my thing. - I didn't get the part lol!

Apparently, I just wasn't right for the role, but the director liked my energy and work. He looked at my resume and said, "I gotta ask you about your martial arts and athletic background..." I filled him and the assistant CD in. Per usual I started geeking out over my love for superheroes. He told he might have a referral for me. I left and that was that. I had no expectations. I actually forgot until months later I got a phone call from Aaron Schoenke to play Storm for Bat in the Sun's Wonder Woman vs. Wolverine. After about 5 minutes of me talking about Ororo Munroe's history a little Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon and a dash of Mortal Kombat I got the part. Almost a year later I got another phone call out of the blue from Aaron, I remember his exact words.

"Are you available next month to work? ... There is a thing...Its cool....really cool....you'll like it...I can't tell anything else but if you interested I think you should audition for it....that's all I can say.  I'll be in touch."

Yep, it was at that moment for exactly 17 seconds I thought I'd finally got the call to be a real life spy LOL. Auditioning for Livewire was actually not too far off. A week later I got another call then another with limited info. I was sent audition sides (1-2 pages of material) I was told to send them back the same day as soon as possible. Reading the small bit of information I was given about the character (Still almost nothing not even a mention of Valiant) I had to make choices based off of a combination of training and instinct. I even overrode some of the direction I was given. As I worked on it with my older brother Nick we let our knowledge and passion of superheroes guide us. We had so little info we worked on it all over about three hours straight (discussing it constantly) until it felt right. I sent in my taped audition to Aaron and Sean at Bat in the Sun. After that Bat in the Sun sent it to Valiant in New York. About ten minutes later Aaron texted me I got the part - No better feeling. I know I didn't know someone, there were no favors, just my hard work paying off step by step. The best woman got the job. I was (am) Livewire.

The Valiant Universe is full of bad asses and Livewire is one of the biggest bad asses of them all, what was it like to film action sequences in Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe? 


What a fun question. It's literally a dream come true. As long as I can remember I've pretended to be a superhero, ninja, secret agent, etc. This is a lot cooler because its for real! I LIVE for this stuff! As you mentioned being such a powerful character one of the most powerful in the entire Valiant Universe especially as a woman is beyond exhilarating. When we film the fight scenes in particular I enter into a whole other zone. It's like a shark when they smell blood ...Was that too crazy LOL. I spent ample time on set not only on Livewire as a character but her characteristics in combat which is a huge part of the storytelling. As an artist but above all as a fan, I can tell a lot about character by the way they fight. I think a lot of comic hero heads would agree.

I fused my knowledge of the character with martial arts, artistry, and comics together to give Livewire an action personality that is so dynamic. I truly hope our fans and viewers enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed portraying it. Ultimately, a large part of Livewire is her fighting because that’s when you see how powerful she is when it all becomes unleashed. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

None of it would be possible without the involvement of the Valiant heads Dinish Shamdasani (CEO) and Joshua Johns (Dir. of Digital Media / Development) giving me the freedom to be an artist and working so collaboratively with Bat in the Sun. All of the fights in Ninjak Vs would be a nothing without the full cast and crew (Seriously you've seen our cast, athletes for days.) Credit is especially due to our director Aaron Schenoke he was born to create epic fight and action sequences. The direction let alone the vision of Aaron and his father Sean Schenoke combined is priceless. Lastly, but certainly not least our special affects composer Nikolay Zamkovoy is just a beast and creative genius that kills it every time.

You were an NCAA athlete and have trained heavily in martial arts.  Can you go into you're training in martial arts and did that help you land this role.


My dad is a 7th degree black belt and Tang Soo Do master. He was also sparring partners with the legendary Chuck Norris. My father trained me in his dojo where I had to attend classes until I was about eleven. We also trained at the park outside of class. After a break my mother kept me involved in Taekwondo and Karate. When I was twelve I was recruited to play basketball. I traded theater club at the time for basketball practice in hopes of earning a scholarship. I played basketball for eleven years straight including competitive national and international summer leagues. As my skills developed I began to only play "up" on teams with athletes older than me. The same happened in high school by the end of my freshmen year I was on varsity already and playing in regional finals. Club or school ball I was always on regional, sectional, or state championship teams. I also played competitive softball two years, track and field for three years (undefeated), and was recruited to play volleyball at the collegiate level. More often than not I was the captain on many of my teams especially through college. I was a COAA California State Championship finalist. From there I was recruited to SoCal where I became an NCAA athlete and received a scholarship to play basketball.

Afterwards I returned to martial arts mainly Taekwondo testing for my black belt, while also pursuing my acting career. During both regular school and acting school I also attended two film fighting schools. I attended Theatrical Academy of Combat under the instruction of Dan and Jan Spreaker who choreographed the films Hook and Master and Commander. There I learned my film fighting foundation and weapons technique. My best weapons are the broad sword, quarter staff, and the cutlass. After that I attended Film Fighting LA under the instruction of Robert Goodwin who helped train Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man. There was a big emphasis of the three points of Shaolin Kung Fu Martial Arts Method which I fell in love with. The school incorporated several art forms of camera fighting, stunt work, wrestling and firearms.   I've also had to do various training for a variety of roles and I still take classes and workshops. I will never stop learning and improving, I love this expression of the body and I'm blessed with the physicality to do something dynamic with it.

What does it feel like to join the ranks of Super Heroes? Playing Livewire makes you into a role model how does that change your mindset?

Playing Livewire doesn't change my mindset in regard to being a role model its quite the opposite, it affirms it. I've always had something inside of me pushing me to help others and to inspire. Its simple really, acting is my passion but helping others is my purpose. As I reflect on my career and life up to this point it adds up to this moment, this platform. When I was in college I was a paid activist for the CAA California Teachers Association I fought for educational rights, teacher rights and fair tuition costs. I was one of three student activist ambassadors hired by the CAA to represent SQE Students for Quality Education in which I was trained on activism techniques and school reform. My job was to bridge the gap between legislation and student rights.

In athletics as an NCAA athlete I was the captain and placed in charge of the team community service out reach programs. As an artist I've been to Haiti as an ambassador to Artists for Peace and Justice founded by writer/director Paul Haggis. I'm also an ambassador for the Water Underground Project and supporter of Children International. Now more than ever I feel these experiences have been part of a greater purpose which supersedes fame and popularity and has everything to do with passion. 
I say all this only to make the point that now I am Livewire,  I am just getting started. Be it a student athlete captain, activist, ambassador, acting class, or even growing up at home I've always been held to a higher standard. Livewire just raised the bar. I'm apart of something much bigger than myself.   As you stated I realize that makes me a role model, especially for little girls and young women. Challenge Accepted.

There have not been many black female super heroes in live action media?  Halle Berry comes to mind as Storm in X-Men but mind is drawing blanks on others.  At any rate it is a very small club of actresses that you are joining, does that add meaning to portrayal of Livewire.

I know what this means and I don't take it for granted. I'm humbled and honored, I think about it daily. People write me and post things about me regarding that very point. It's a blessing and a privilege. I always wanted to be a superhero but besides Storm there were no other heroes in all of the great universes that looked like me. It was a bit disheartening as a kid. Naturally, I assumed I'd play Storm if there ever were a Strom Origins film developed. This was my goal. By the way Alexandra Shipp is killing that role. But I realize now I was only thinking at the level of what I was shown possible. In the emerging age of the female lead heroine / superhero and with me as Livewire as a lead female superhero of color I take great pride and happiness in knowing that girls and boys of all races and backgrounds will see me and other upcoming heroes, and know that anything is possible. The best part is one day it won't even be a thought and the word "Black" or "Female" hero won't be a big deal. We will all just be superheroes from all walks of life representing everyone. That said let me clearly say in this moment in time I'm extremely proud to hold the torch for both female heroines and heroes of color until the goal of visibility amongst both is reached.

What is the future of Livewire?  We know that Valiant has a variety of film projects in the future.  Will Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe lead to role in those projects?

All I can say is that I'm blessed to be a part of something very special. I'm the face of Livewire for the first time, ever. To be so well received playing a character that was seemingly physically designed for me and virtually my whole life has been preparing me to play is pure joy. I'm certainly enjoying every minute of it. Since my character reveal and trailer premier/panel discussion at NYC Comic Con reception and the over all presence of this remarkable character continuing to expand. As you noted for the first time since the dawn of Valiant a series highlighting Livewire is being released now in Secret Weapons. That's major. Additionally, you mentioned its no secret Valiant is developing films. Eric Heisserer the Oscar nominated screen writer for Arrival not only wrote Secret Weapons but is writing the Harbinger film as well. To me what that says for not only the future of my character but the future of Valiant Comics and comics period is not lost on me. Playing Livewire as an artist (Especially a woman) being considered a fan-favorite character and being a fan myself means the world to me. I would love to play Livewire in the Harbinger films. I am Livewire. I was born to do this. I also look forward to continue to expanding and growing with the fans. We have the best fans hands down, period. I feel we are in this journey together and I mean that with everything in me. - Ninjak is something special, the Valiant Universe is special. The fans are beyond special. Valiant Entertainment / Valiant Digital are doing amazing things in both entertainment and comics. Valiant is so creative they plan things out far in advance. I think we will just have to stay tuned to see what unfolds.

What is the coolest moment you have had at a Convention since becoming Livewire?

When Bobby Leet a father of two recognized me walking around Comic Con NYC during my press day. The trailer and character reveal were not until the following day but he was such a big Valiant fan that he already knew who I was and asked for a picture. That memory sticks out to me as clear as day. He was the first one, we still follow each other on Instagram. By far to me the most impactful moment was the next day at the trailer premier and panel discussion. A guy (granted he was dressed as Armstrong lol) came up to me with tears in his eyes. He said he'd grown up reading the original Valiant Comics when he was a kid. He was so overwhelmed he could barely talk. He said Livewire was one of his favorite characters and he was emotional because I was everything he'd imagined her to be and more. The man said my being Livewire and the entire Ninjak Vs. experience was overwhelming and surreal for him. He assured me his tears were that of joy. I could feel his emotion then and now. I gave him a hug and thanked him. I still have the picture we took. I have many incredible moments with Valiant fans but that one will always be in my heart. It was at that moment that I truly realized what it meant to be and "Stay Valiant".


As you can Ciera is already a real hero and doing great things with this role I recommend checking her out on social media and her website.  Also look for her at Cons as I expect her to be going to a few.

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