For the past couple years Katie Parker has become a rising star. In 2011 she starred in the hit movie ABSENTIA as Callie, the main character who is battling with addiction in a Lovecraftian story. Katie played a very challenging role and impressed a great many people, both audience and critic alike. Katie has also appeared in the films THE FAMILY, OCULUS, and ALLEYCAT. She has shown to be a very talented and capable actress. I had the opportunity to correspond with Katie and talk to her about her life and career.
You received a B.A. in Theater from Christopher Newport University. What was one of your favorite plays you were involved with?
When I was a sophomore in college I was cast as Claire in David Auburn’s PROOF. It was a big deal for me because the 3 other actors were seniors. I was so intimidated by the rest of the cast as well as our director who was the head of the theatre department. The rehearsal process and performances were pivotal to my development as an actor. I fell on my face quite a bit but also had a few breakthroughs. Having a breakthrough as an artist feels like winning an award of recognition. You feel yourself growing, thinking beyond yourself and making bold choices. I think every young actor ends up working on PROOF at some point in their career. It’s a great story with lots of dramatic action and interesting characters. PROOF was a very intimate and special experience for me.
What made you decide to go into film acting?
There was no decision, I just went where the work was for me. I had an opportunity to be on The Young and the Restless and the casting director at the time suggested I pursue a career in film. This was 2008. I wanted to move to Chicago or New York City and pursue theatre but once I had the connection in LA I thought, “Well, I should go there!”
What was it like to work with an actress that was pregnant at the time of filming?
Courtney Bell WAS SUCH A TROOPER! I mean, we dragged that woman on the floor! She was just amazing. Courtney’s a phenomenal actress, pregnant or not, but her emotional capacity was extraordinary while she was pregnant. Everything was right on service. She could deliver in every take.
In Absentia you played a character struggling with addiction. What did you do to prepare for the role?
There wasn’t a lot of time to prepare. I have some family members who struggle with addiction so I’m familiar with their journey towards recovery. That helped. I also thought a lot about what she would wear. Baggy clothes. Courtney and I also talked a lot about the back story of Callie and Trisha and their relationship.
What are some of your favorite movies?
This is always so hard to answer but right now:
Singing in the Rain
Tree of Life
When Harry Met Sally
A Muppets Christmas Carol
What are your future show business goals? Would you ever want to write or direct?
I want to work with exceptionally talented people- actors, directors, writers, cinematographers. I want to work with the best people possible. It’s such a lucky thing to be able to work with professionals, masters of their craft. I will only get better if I’m working with people who will push me.
I’ve been working on a script. Not quite sure where it’s going but I’d love to direct it. I directed in college and learned a lot about actors and how important a specific vision is.
Do you have any good stories from the set?
Our DP Rustin picked up a virus from his son who was a toddler at the time. We were shooting on a sound stage in Laguna Beach CA and all of a sudden Rustin became violently ill and vomited everywhere! Naturally, he had to go home and Mike Flanagan took over. Thing was, he didn’t know how to operate the camera! Everyone was a bit freaked out but Mike really took control and figured it out. He had to! The interrogation scenes in Absentia were shot by Mike. I think he did a really nice job!
What was it like to meet Doug Jones?
Doug is like sunshine. He is so charismatic and kind. He’s a true talent and professional. He really took me under his wing while we were filming and gave me some acting for the camera pointers. Absentia was my first film so I really appreciated and needed the advice! He was nurturing to the whole cast and crew.
You have appeared in a number of horror films. What frightens you?
It frightens me that some people don’t believe in Global Warming. This Earth is all we have and we are destroying it everyday. I think a lot of people think they are invincible. Truth is, mother nature is going to kick our ass one day and it’s probably going to be our fault. It frightens me that some people don’t seem to care.
What do you enjoy doing when not working?
Hiking, reading, yoga, wine, theatre, museums, painting/drawing, dinner with friends!
Show business is incredibly hard to get involved with. Do you have any advice for people attempting to get into the industry?
Make sure you really want it. No, really. You have to want it more than you want anything else in your life. Truly. There is so much personal sacrifice that goes along with this job. That sounds dramatic, but it’s true. You miss stuff. Weddings, funerals, births, relationships, family trips. Especially while you are building your career. I’m sure it gets a bit easier when you have more control. Also, finances are a hit or miss. One year you have no trouble paying your bills, the next.... This industry is all about perseverance. Keep working on your craft, take care of mind and body and just stay in the game.
If you could be involved in any movie throughout the history of film what would it be and why?
This is such a hard question, Ryan! There are too many brilliant films that I would have given my limbs to be a part of! I’ll just say that I think director Steve McQueen is a genius. He understands the human condition, the good, bad, and the ugly. His films are gorgeous and brutally truthful. I want to be a part of work like that. It would be an honor to work with him and act in one of his films.
What are some of your future projects?
I recently wrapped, ALLEYCAT, MOVE ME and had a brief cameo in a short film called TRIBUTE. Projects coming up are, CLOUDLAND, DAISY DELIVERED, SLEEPWALK, SCARE DARES and WHISPERS FROM THE SHADOWS! Lots to look forward to :)