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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Interview with actress Kate Alden & producer Matt Medisch from The Device (2014) - Part 1

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece on The Device, a new Alien abduction yarn from Seattle-based production company - The October People. If you haven't read the review then you can also go HERE to hear how rather darned good it is (the movie, that is, not necessarily the blog article). John Portanova (producer and October type person) has read it, in fact once again he attempted to flatter me by stating just how much he enjoyed the piece. Now it could we be that John is simply a silver tongued sweet talking devil or maybe he is simply being sincere - of course I'm going for the latter, he's a nice guy. 

So his suggestion that some involved in the making of The Device would be available for interview quite naturally fell on receptive ears - particularly when I was told I could name my potential interviewees. I decided there and then who I wanted, as it were. John had mentioned that writer and producer, Matt Medisch (another October type person) would probably be available - which sounded good to me. An Interview with the marvellous Mr Medisch will appear in a future blog piece.

So far so good, but I also wanted a bit more as I was feeling just a little greedy in terms of pretending I was someone important and who warranted speaking to. I therefore decided to chance my luck and ask whether one of the cast members were free - specifically the very lovely and talented Kate Alden, who plays the emotionally haunted Rebecca. 

I was pretty sure that her availability for interview depended on two things; Firstly, that she wouldn't be too busy doing some filming type stuff whilst on her sure-footed way to international stardom; secondly, that she hadn't yet read my recent review of The Device in which I may or may not have mentioned that I had been just a little bit smitten with her. Of course I did also mention that her performance was also excellent (I'm not completely shallow and superficial.....not completely). 

As luck would have it she graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions - which means that she either hadn't read the article or had read it and in the process mistakenly believed that I would remain objectively professional - well there's always a first time for that I suppose.

Q) So, the clichĂ©d opening question – How did you get into acting?

I started with a theatre company that my mom was involved with when I was very small. I think I was about 4 years old when the company cast me in Peter Pan, but I didn’t end up performing in the show because I got such bad stage fright.
It wasn’t until a couple of years later (playing an orphan in Oliver!) that the acting bug really bit me and from there it was performing arts schools and acting degrees!

Q) Were you familiar with the work of ‘The October People’ (such as the wonderful ‘The Invoking’ before you went for the part of Rebecca in The Device?

Unfortunately I wasn’t! I’m fairly new to the Pacific Northwest, and to acting in the horror genre itself, so I was introduced to their work after auditioning and landing the part. ‘The October People’ are such a wonderful group of creative people that I feel very lucky to have stumbled into working with them! 

Q) For those who don’t know (e.g those who haven’t bothered to read my blog review of The Device!), can you briefly describe the plot & your role of Rebecca in it?

The Device is a steadily burning thriller about two estranged sisters who come together after a decade to spread their mother’s ashes, and in doing so they discover a strange device that creates all sorts of chaos. I play Rebecca, who is the younger of the two sisters. Angela Dimarco plays my older sister, Abby, and her fiancĂ© Calvin is played by her real life husband David S. Hogan. Through the course of the film, Rebecca is brought back into the nightmares that she has been trying to cope with and escape from since she was 16. 

Q) One of the notable elements of The Device (As with The Invoking) was the subtle & measured build up of tension – which is almost old-fashioned in approach. How did this impact on you in preparing for and acting out the role?

The incredible tension of this film is completely thanks to the script written by Jeremy Berg and John Portanova, and the editing by Autumn Lisa Mason. The prep itself was unique because we were able to rehearse before going into the very quick shoot schedule. Jeremy was tremendously helpful in making sure that we had enough time with the script and with each other beforehand. 

Q) Tell me about the experience of shooting with Angela DiMarco and David S.Hogan, I know them both (just a little) via Twitter – there seems to be a genuine chemistry between you all which has contributed to a fine ensemble piece.

Angela and David are such wonderful actors and genuine people. I felt very lucky to get to know both of them during shooting and it felt like our relationship dynamic came very naturally. Because Angela and David are married and have worked with ‘The October People’ before, I automatically felt like the younger little sister coming into a new family environment. Angela and I would run around the set during downtime, much to the chagrin of the crew I’m sure, goofing off and singing about being “siiiiiissssterrs,” which we continue to do whenever we see each other.  I just think the world of the two of them and it was a very giving environment to work in as an actor.  

Q) How do you as an actress balance the demands of an emotionally challenging role such as the one of Rebecca?

When I’m filming a role like this one, I generally keep myself very clean emotionally and physically (eating even more cleanly, abstaining from alcohol, downsizing the social calendar) because I have found that it’s easier for me to work like that. I really enjoy working on emotionally challenging roles, so I felt grateful to get a chance to delve into Rebecca. I think there’s a very complicated psychology to the things that Rebecca has experienced, and she has had time to process a lot from her past, so I wanted to bring in that calm aspect to the emotional turmoil of the film as much as possible. 

Q) Can you turn off at the end of the day’s shoot?

Most of the time, yes. I have methods of winding down, but I usually feel pretty wiped out after an especially emotionally charged shoot day. Bubble baths. Bubble baths are my secret weapon. 

Q) You have also recently appeared in a film called The Darker Path – another role of sisterhood turmoil. What can you tell us about the release & can I review it?!

Yes, I’m sure the team at Compulsion films would love for you to review it when it comes out! We’re actually about to head into another couple of days of pick-up shooting, and then it’s off to press fairly quickly I hope! The Darker Path is a thriller that involves two sisters and some weird family history, but the script is quite different from The Device, and I think that’s about all I’m allowed to say!  

Q) Any plans/desires to visit and work over here in the UK?

Oh yes! I have been over to the UK on several occasions, and I am absolutely in love with all of it! Any opportunity to work over there, I would snag in a hot second! 

Thanks again Kate for taking time out to talk to me - it's been a blast!

Thank you so much Stuart!!! 

The very lovely, talented and Bubble bath connoisseur can be contacted via Twitter on @thekatealden

You can view her website RIGHT HERE.

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