Your upcoming movie The Scarehouse - in a few words, what is it
about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?
is all about revenge and
the lengths we go to get it. Two sorority inductees are wrongly jailed
for a crime others were involved with and once they are released they set out
to take down everyone who wronged them. I play Jaqueline Gill, she
is the president of the sorority and the Queen Bee. Everyone bows to
Jacqueline and she uses fear and blackmail to keep all her minions in line.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of
Katherine Barrell can we find in Jaqueline?
loved playing Jaqueline – playing a villain is SO much fun and something
I don't get to do very often. I think there a little of Jacqueline
in all of us – the yearning for power, prowess and control.
However I find that the meaner someone is on the outside the more insecure
they are on the inside. What other reason would you have to bring
others down? Jaqueline’s got some deep set insecurities and she uses her
power to make sure no one sees her weakness. Thankfully I don't
think Jaqueline and I are very much alike – I get pretty shy around
large groups of people and just have a small tight-knit group of friends.
I definitely wouldn’t want to be president of a sorority!
How did you
get hooked up with the project in the first place, and to what extent can
you identify with the film's horror theme?
The funny thing
is that I can’t watch scary movies! I’m a huge wuss – I watched
the entire 2 hours of The Ring through the weave of a blanket!
I had been friends with Sarah Booth [Sarah
Booth interview - click here] for a few years and when I found out
she was auditioning for her film I sent in a self tape. They called
me back and I met with Gavin [Gavin
Michael Booth interview - click here]. Since I was in the middle of filming
My Ex Ex I didn't have time to memorize my audition material for the
callback. Gavin said “I don't care if you make up every single
word, I just want to see that you can handle the emotion.” I loved
that freedom as an actor, and it showed me that Gavin wasn’t precious
about his written words being exact – he was interested in performance
and story and I knew as an actor he would push me to get that performance.
What can you
tell us about your director Gavin Michael Booth [Gavin
Michael Booth interview - click here], and what was your
I really enjoyed working with Gavin and
since shooting The Scarehouse
we have become really good friends – Gavin
is currently editing a project I produced called Mature Young Adults.
Gavin and I collaborate well together – I always felt comfortable
speaking up if something wasn’t feeling good and we would work it out
together until we were both happy.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The Scarehouse was
a tough shoot! We had some problems with a construction site right
next door so the noise was terrible and we had to switch to night shoots
– which basically meant that no one saw the sun for a month!
Luckily I was only there for a week but it really messes with your
challenge for me as an actor was maintaining the high stakes and level of
intensity over several days of shooting and trying to match the same
levels you had on day 1 when you’re on your fourth day and still
shooting the same scene. The scenes are literally life or death for
these characters, so the emotions are through the roof!
have recently produced the short Mature Young Adults - so you just
have to talk about that one for a bit!
Yes we are in the
editing phase of Mature Young Adults. It's a beautiful project
about two fifteen year olds who fall in love but don't want anyone to know
for fear they’ll be ostracized in their small town. So they
imagine in detail the “horrible” things that would happen to the
entire world if they were to kiss. It's a fantasy story, and
as they imagine these things actually start happening around them.
Think Scott Pilgrim vs the World with a dash of Wes Anderson
aesthetic. My dear friend and business partner, Kent Nolan,
directed it. Kent passed away very suddenly during the editing
process a few weeks ago so I am finishing the film for him.
Thus, this film is extremely special to me and has taken on a whole new
meaning to honor my friend who was such a promising young director –
Kent was going to do amazing things and I am doing my best to celebrate
him with this film.
Adults isn't the first film you've produced. So how do you pick the
projects you want to produce, and how would you describe yourself as a
really love producing! I would say I am a creative producer –
since I come from an acting, and thus story-driven background, I like to
be very involved with the creative choices around the project. I
hate the paperwork – but I think everyone does! Being a producer
gives me the power to create my own work, and I am a much better actor
because I understand so much more about how the business works and what
happens on the ‘other side of the table’. One of my favourite
parts of producing is the casting process! Also, getting to watch
your final project and think ‘I made that happen, I gave all
those people jobs and a chance to do what they love’ – that's pretty
special. For all the projects I produce it's the story that
has to grab me. The script must be very strong. So many people
are in a huge rush to shoot because that's the exciting part, but if the
script isn’t ready the movie will never be any good. I’d say 80%
of the problems bad films face can be fixed in the script stage – before
you’ve spent any money other than the $2.75 for the printer paper!
future projects you'd like to share?
am just about to fly to Ottawa to shoot a feature called Definition of
Fear. It a psychological ghost story about a group of friends who
set out to study the science behind fear and end up face to face with the
supernatural. I am starring alongside Jacqueline
Fernandez, she’s an extremely talented actress and
her movie Kick just broke Bollywood box office records!
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
memory of understanding what an “actor” actually was, was when I was
about 5 years old. I had a VHS of Disney’s
Beauty and the Beast
that I would watch over and over again. One day I guess I got
distracted and the end credits rolled through. After the credits the
“special features” came on, it was behind the scenes footage of Angela
Lansbury in the sound booth voicing Mrs. Potts. I remember that
moment so clearly thinking, “wow - those are real people doing
those voices.” Of course I don't think I had any idea what a job that even was at the time but I told my mother I wanted to be “the voice of
characters” one day and that's when it all started!
It is a definite career goal of mine to voice a cartoon – that would be
a dream come true full circle moment!
I trained at
both Sheridan College in Musical Theatre then went on to study Classical
Theatre at George Brown College in Toronto. There I studied all the
classics – Shakespeare, Shaw, Ibsen etc. I got to work with some of
the most acclaimed Canadian theatre directors. Now that I’ve
graduated I continue to study privately and do on camera coachings,
especially if I have a big audition coming up. Acting is a physical
job – like an athlete you have to keep training and sharp. You
can’t run a marathon feature film mentally or physically without
Can you still remember your first time in front
of a camera, and what was that experience like?
I can – its very vivid! I had just come out of theatre school and
I booked a guest star part on a huge ABC pilot called
is still the biggest set I’ve been on to this day but at the time I had
nothing to compare it to! I was playing opposite huge actors,
Natalie Dormer (The Hunger Games, Rush, Game of
Thrones) who I was
absolutely in awe of from watching her in HBO’s The Tudors, and
Kevin McNally (Downtown Abby, Pirates of the
first scene I shot I had to stab a man in a bathtub wearing next to no
clothes and juggling a fiery-lit candelabra! Once we finished the
first take the 1st AD called out “back to ones!” which is a
common term telling everyone to go back to their starting places so we can
do another take. But I didn’t know that term at the time so I just
sat there there, soaking, squished into a tiny bath tub with a poor actor
“playing dead”, holding my flaming candlesticks starring at the first
AD in total confusion. It’s probably good that I was so green and
didn’t understand the magnitude of a shoot like that or I probably would
have been too nervous to speak. I spent 9 days on that set and every
single one was absolutely magical.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to The Scarehouse?
Scarehouse was my second feature.
I had just come off of shooting My Ex Ex a week prior, which is a
romantic comedy, so it was a total gear shift!
How would you describe
yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
project is different and my approach is different depending on the style
and character. That being said I am a very “outside in actor”;
meaning I try to find something physical that helps me tap into or trigger
the emotional world of the character. Often I try to find their
posture, how they move physically through the world, where they hold their
tension. Sometimes its breath – is this a person who is very
nervous and flighty and never takes a deep breath, or are they grounded? Working with the costume team is extremely important to me. I often
find once I put on my character’s clothes it tells me so much about
them. So I use outside things to help me “tap in” and then the
emotional connection is there.
Actresses (and indeed actors) who
Cotillard, Robin Wright,
Kristin Wigg, Cate Blanchett, I
admire how fearless Jennifer Lawrence is, and of course Meryl Streep – I
watched her movies over and over again when I was struggling through
Your favourite movies?
I absolutely love period pieces! I love the magic of living in a
completely different world. I also love history so doing research
for these projects is a blast! I am a sucker for Sophia
Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. I also love anything Wes
Anderson does. I tend to gravitate towards films with high art
concepts and very stylized pieces. I guess I like a bit of
theatricality in the medium.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!