The Arrow interviews Katharine Leis
Canadian Native, model, actress , director, producer, writer, editor and all-around groovy chickadee Katharine Leis is definitely carving up a niche for herself on the indie scene. Her name is synonymous with "ambitious" and I gotta respect that. I had the chance to spar with the DDG (drop dead gorgeous) Miss Leis and here's what came out of it.
Arrow: So what’s your favorite horror movie, sugar pie?
KAT: Gosh, there are so many great ones… it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I think the ones that stand out are the ones that gave me the most nightmares afterward…The Shining, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the 13th were all just wonderfully horrifying. The greatest thing about them is that they remain scary as hell no matter how many times you watch them.
Arrow: So when did you yourself catch the acting bug?
KAT: My first performance was at the age of nine as the lead in a school play. I was kind of a boring kid, but in a role I was suddenly interesting. I then grew up to be a pretty darn boring adult. I actually worked as a sleep therapist for awhile. People who couldn’t sleep for days would hire me and I’d tell them about my life. Within a few minutes, they were cured and sleeping soundly. Acting kind of breaks that up a bit, which is nice.
Arrow: Of all the parts you have played, which was the more challenging for you as an actress and why?
KAT: I played one character who was a real pushover. She let people dictate her fate and make all of her choices for her. That was kind of tough, because I felt very frustrated with the character’s inability to stand up for herself. I like characters who are proactive, even if they are bad people. At least they are doing something and not just bouncing through life on the whims of everyone around them.
Arrow: You’ve recently acted, produced and directed “There's a Caterpillar in My Bok Choy”. What prompted you to wear so many hats? Didn’t you find it hard to direct yourself?
KAT: I found that there were more auditions than jobs, and that there was more waiting than shooting. Maybe it was a control issue, maybe a lack of patience, but I decided to give it a whirl. It was a lot more work than I imagined, but producing was well worth the effort. As far as directing, yes, I was a very difficult actress to direct and never listened to me. I often showed up late and didn’t even have my lines memorized half the time. I will probably never work with me again.
Arrow: Can you tell us a bit about the premise of "There's a Caterpillar in My Bok Choy"?
KAT: Bok Choy is a look at the white lies and miscommunications we all face and are guilty of on a daily basis. Whether it be through television and the media, how we are with our friends, parents, or co-workers, we’ve all become very used to assumption as the basis for truth rather than hearing or telling it straight. Bok Choy is also a twisted sort of love story, with the main character Bill resorting to stalking rather than having to deal with the possibility of rejection by the object of his affection. Finally, it’s a look at low budget moviemaking and the shortcuts and goofs that occur in the absence of the dollar almighty.
Arrow: You’ve mostly worked on low budgeted films, shorts and Indies thus far. Is your goal to eventually pierce the “A List” market?
KAT: Of course I’d like to, but I wouldn’t say it’s a die-hard goal. I think once anything hits “A-list,” it’s a lot more about business than about fun, and about what sells versus what one would like to do. In the low budget format, I’ve managed to write and direct three short movies and a feature. I’ve learned a ton, and my original ideas are very close to what ended up on the DVDs. A very smart individual recently enlightened me on the terms “show business” and “entertainment industry.” Without the words “business” and “industry,” you have “show” and “entertainment.” I have the business sense of a winged frog. I like to tell stories, and my goofy movies allow me that.
Arrow: You’ve acted in two features, one called "The Uninvited" and the other "We’re Coming to Help". Any idea as to when these films will get home distribution?
KAT: Distribution is a funny thing…full of definite maybes. The Uninvited is probably one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen…every frame looks like a prize-winning photograph. Greg Rivera directed and shot that one, and he’s a real artist. The DVD for We’re Coming to Help is currently being authored, and there’s a really big definite maybe for distribution. The director for that movie, Joe Casey, is probably one of the most hardworking and determined people I’ve ever met. I’m sure both of them are slicing through red tape and filling loopholes to try to get the movies out to the public as soon as possible.
Arrow: What’s the oddest job you’ve ever had to take to support yourself in the name of art?
KAT: Security guard. Yep. I did that at a golf tournament for three whole days. I’m not sure how intimidating I was with my 5’7” chicken-arm frame, but the rent was paid and no bones were broken.
Arrow: What’s next on your plate? Any projects in the works?
KAT: I am currently working on several…shorts and features. Two of the features are horrors. One is a serial killer movie but it goes more into the minds of the victims and the public. Anonymity and hysteria are so commonplace I think we don’t even notice them anymore and I’d like to bring them into that story as much as possible. The other horror is based on some little critters that would be terrifying if they weren’t so darn stupid. That one will be a fun one to do, and the critters are the creation of an extremely talented horror effects person, Bill McCoy. I’ve worked with him a few times and am very excited that he is on this project. The others are shorts, one drama called “Indifference” that I’ve been dying to do for some time, several comedies and a film noir for good measure. Those will be announced and updated at my production site, www.ikoproductions.com
Arrow: What would your advice be to any young women who want to enter show biz?
KAT: I think with anything, if you want to be successful at it and really enjoy it, you have to make it your entire life. Figure out what you like and don’t let other people tell you what you “should” do all the time. Also, films are forever, so if you are not sure about something or have a gut feeling you should not do it…don’t. The only prevention for regret is to not do something in the first place.
I'd like to say mucho thanks to Katharine for dropping by the site and livening things up with her charismatic presence and yes...let's face it, hotter than hell good looks! Good luck in all of your future projects Kat and keep kicking that cinematic "derriere!"