I recently got the chance to talk to Katie Parker about her role in ‘Absentia’. Here, Katie talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and what made her want to get into acting in the first place…
Hey Katie. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Absentia’.
HI! Thank YOU! It’s always a pleasure to talk about film making and acting.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Absentia’ is about two estranged sisters, Tricia and Callie, rebuilding their relationship. Tricia’s (Courtney Bell) husband has been missing for 7 years. The pressure mounts to finally declare him dead in absentia. Callie (played by me) moves in with her older sister to try to help rebuild their lives. As Tricia tries to move on with her life Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near their house. As she begins to link the tunnel to other mysterious disappearances in the neighborhood, it becomes clear that Daniel’s (Tricia’s husband) presumed death might be anything but “natural…”
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Callie is a young, lost soul when the audience first meets her. She is just out of a rehab program and is willing to do anything to get her life back together. She has taken on Christianity as her new faith and jogging! I think Callie just really wants to be liked and forgiven and she especially wants those things from her sister Tricia. Callie is fun because she has a huge arc in this film. By the end of the movie she is total bad ass and risks her life to save her sister. Watch and you’ll see what I mean!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I am one lucky lady and the part of Callie was actually written for me by my dear friend, Mike Flanagan. ‘Absentia’ is a film created by a group of friends who care deeply about each other and each other’s careers. We all needed something to slap the industry in the face with to get out feet in the door and that’s exactly what ‘Absentia’ did.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
Oh, many reasons make this film different and unique. ‘Absentia’ is being marketed as a horror movie. Have you seen the cover art? It’s a cool picture but, not our film. It’s not a slasher, blood and guts and women in bikinis kinda movie. Sadly that’s what most people think horror is. This film is more of a psychological thriller with horror elements. ‘Absentia’ is character driven and grounded in the relationships the characters are in. The two leads are women! It’s hard to find movies with intelligent and complex female characters. ‘Absentia’ is also a slooooooow burn, which isn’t for everyone. I really enjoy this quality about the movie thought because it gets you really emotionally invested in the characters. Also most of ‘Absentia’ was shot using good o’l all natural light. I think some of the shots are beautiful and brilliant and unlike anything I’ve ever seen in film making.
The film stars your good self, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine, Morgan Peter Brown, Justin Gordon, James Flanagan, Scott Graham and Doug Jones – with Mike Flanagan onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It was fabulous and stressful and I wouldn’t change anything about it. Most people don’t know that the cast WAS the crew. We all wore different hats to make this film happen. I’ve known Mike and Courtney the longest. They are like family to me. I met everyone else in pre production for ‘Absentia’. Most of my scenes are with Courtney Bell. It was great and easy to act with her because 1. She’s a damn good actress and 2. I know her so well so our chemistry and relationship was just naturally built-in.
Doug Jones is an incredible man. Genuine, talented, kind, present, kind, kind, KIND. He is the nicest human being on the planet. Doug is incredibly easy to work with too because he’s just so prepared and professional and focused. He gave me great advice about how to have a successful and long acting career. Which is what my goal is. And then there is Mr. Mike Flanagan. Working with Mike is a gift. Not only can he direct, but he can write and edit. He knows how to talk to actors. He is very specific. He has a vision of the story he wants to tell. He knows all the shots. He is always prepared. When you work with Mike, you feel safe and taken care of. He makes it fun and easy to work. I’m a huge Mike Flanagan fan. Personally and professionally.
Let’s talk a bit about you Katie. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
Good God, I ask myself the same question daily! It’s hard. Now days, unless you’re dating someone famous or related to someone famous, it’s a real challenge to try to break into the industry. I just love acting. I love the theatre, I love great films. I love being around creative people. Being in an acting class with other actors or on set or in a play, just makes sense to me. I feel at home, I feel comfortable and normal. It wasn’t until I took my first acting class in college that I discovered this. I was a real shitty student so I knew I wasn’t going to pursue a career that required me to sit in a classroom all day. I find people fascinating and I’m drawn to and want to tell epic stories. Put those together and you get an actor. Originally I wanted to move to NYC or Chicago and pursue a career in the theatre. As fate would have it, I ended up in Los Angeles. I’m glad I’m here though. I’m starting to get tremendous opportunities. I am grateful.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
You just gotta LOVE to act. It must be your passion. Don’t have a back up plan. If you do, you most likely will end up pursuing it. Always stay in an acting class to stay warmed up. Read. Watch movies. Go to plays. Be in plays. Take care of your body. Have a great support system because the highs are HIGH and the lows are loooooooooow.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
My brother is a musician and I quite like his stuff. DanNY is his band. I also like The Black Keys, Incubus, Jay Z, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Glen Hansard… I mean the list goes on and on.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Kenneth Lonergan – I think he is a genius playwright and screen play writer. ‘You Can Count On Me’ is one of my favourite films.
- Barack Obama – I have a real problem with politics and the way money and religion dictates the way the USA is run. I want to know EVERYTHING this man knows. The good, the bad and the ugly…at least I think I want to know… I’m also a big Barack Obama fan, his health care plan changed my life.
- William Shakespeare – Of course to chat about all his plays but also because it would probably be the greatest achievement EVER to be directed by him.
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
I like to sit in front of the TV and plow through ice cream while watching ‘Game Of Thrones’ and ‘Party Down’.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Hopefully lots of auditions and I just got cast in a play called ‘The Idyllic World Of Lillian Cortessi’. Next year I will be filming another Mike Flanagan film called ‘Scare Dares’.
Thanks for the interview!