Friday, September 10, 2010

Actress Katie Boland Returns to TIFF

A Q&A with some material from a media release:

Actress Katie Boland Returns to TIFF
in  Daydream Nation

Twenty-two year old Katie Boland's appearance a the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival in  Daydream Nation, Mike Goldbach's début feature film, isn't her first. In 2008, she appeared in 
Academy- Award nominated director Atom Egoyan’s highly acclaimed film Adoration, which screened at both Cannes and TIFF (among many others).

With a resumé that includes substantial and serious roles like that of an autistic savant in Dancing Trees, directed by Order of Canada winner Anne Wheeler, her 2007 Leo-nominated turn as a heroin-addicted hooker in the film Mount Pleasant, or her role as a possessed girl in The Salem Witch Trials, (for which she won Best Leading Actress at the Young Artist Awards in Los Angeles in 2004,) Daydream Nation sees her branching into a comedic role. The film tells the story of Caroline Wexler (Kat Dennings) who has just moved to a tiny, nowhere town. Caroline soon realizes she has nothing  in common with stoner kids in her new school and pursues the one person she connects with, her teacher, Mr. Anderson (Josh Lucas). A peculiar love triangle ensues between Caroline, Mr. Anderson, and a stoner classmate, Thurston (Reece Thompson).

Katie took some time out of her busy schedule recently for a little Q&A.

Q: Tell me about your role in Daydream Nation, what's the character all about?

A:  I play Jenny, a small-town girl who is the polar opposite to Kat Denning's character, Caroline. Where Caroline is beautiful and sophisticated, Jenny is not. Jenny is also head over heels in love with Caroline's love interest, Thurston (played by the wonderful Reece Thompson). Therefore, Jenny hates Caroline. The character was really fun to play - not self-aware and therefore, very clumsy and hilarious.

Q: After so many meaty, dramatic roles, was playing in a comedy a bit of a break, or more of a challenge? (or pretty much the same?)

A: What an interesting question! It was actually a relief to play Jenny. Comedy is a totally different part of the brain. Where I feel drama is looking at something from the inside, comedy is looking at it from the outside. You act almost as a scientist of sorts, thinking, what would make this funny? Why is this funny? If I moved this way here, spoke this way there, would it be funny? With drama, you think in such insular, abstract, feeling ways, you almost don't have the luxury of looking at it from the outside because you are so concerned with your character's world-view, your character’s insides. You are almost ignorant to other perspectives, where comedy is about everyone else's perspective; how do you make someone watching you laugh? Comedy is very self-aware. I would love to do more comedy and I hope this marks the beginning of a new phase in my career.

Q: What do you bring to your roles - do you have particular qualities as an actress, or are you more of a chameleon do you think?

A:  I believe I am more of a chameleon, or that's what has been illustrated by the roles I play. I certainly hope that I am a chameleon. There are a lot of acting teachers, a lot of powerful people that like to tell an actor that they have one thing about them, one specific quality and that’s why they're cast, that they only do one thing well. I think that's really wrong, and an almost dangerous way to look at being an actor. We have to believe we can play anything; it's up to other people to decide if we can or we can't. Where's the fun in thinking I can only play a modern city-dwelling brunette? But I also approach every role the same, because ultimately, we are all more alike than different. I can play a hooker, a girl-next-door, an autistic savant - although there are so many surface differences, ultimately, they all want the same things. They all want to be loved and happy and united with other people. A great lady and acting teacher, Diana Castle, once told me "There is nothing human that's alien to you," and I really believe that's true.

Q: You've worked with some prominent members of the filmmaking community like Atom Egoyan and Anne Wheeler, what do you learn from people with that kind of experience (if that can be summed up in a paragraph or two, lol)?

A:  I learned a lot from both of those wonderful people. Working with Atom, he fostered a real spirit of trying things out, doing whatever you wanted, that there could be no "wrong." I think he taught me that it's better to just play than to plan. On the other hand, he really knows what he wants and has a spectacular vision for the film he's making, he just gives his actors the luxury of playing, where he is very planned and very in control. He was also incredibly intelligent and unbelievably kind, the same goes for Anne. Anne and I shot the movie we did together, Dancing Trees, in something crazy like 12 days. It was a complicated film, and a complicated role for me, playing an autistic savant, but Anne never lost her cool, not once. She always worked so hard and kept her head, and led the set in a really wonderful way. I think she taught me how to be a leader, they both did, Atom as well. Anne has also led a really interesting life, which is a part of being a director. She spoke often of her travels to India, of going to Ashrams, and she inspired me to travel to those places. I haven't made it yet, but I really hope to! Lastly, I would give my right arm to work with Atom or Anne again. Truly fantastic experiences. I'm really lucky.

Katie will appear next in Die, alongside Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Die is a futuristic thriller feature film set for release in 2011. She's also been nominated several other times for a Young Artist Award: Best Supporting Actress for her role in Zack Files (2003); Best Leading Actress for Some Things That Stay (2005); and Best Leading Actress for A Man Who Lost Himself (2006).

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