Q&A: Katie Cassidy on “THE SCRIBBLER”Features/Interviews,Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
It’s an exciting landscape these days in independent filmmaking. Thanks to advances in digital filmmaking, more ambitious yet reasonably affordable films are being greenlit every day. Yet in these films, not only do we get to meet new, resourceful filmmakers but we get to see more established actors experiment with their craft as well.
Among these actors and actresses of late is Katie Cassidy, known to genre fans from her work in the remakes of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, BLACK CHRISTMAS and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. But in her new film, the off-kilter genre flick THE SCRIBBLER, Cassidy shows a side of herself yet unseen by audiences as she fully embodies the bold and brash antihero Suki in John Suits adaptation of Dan Schaffer’s cult graphic novel. Cassidy spoke to FANGORIA about playing a character with multiple personality disorder, the lengths of her preparation and keeping a character grounded in a comic book world…
FANGORIA: What attracted you to the role of “Suki” in THE SCRIBBLER?
KATIE CASSIDY: Well, I’d been looking for something and had been reading a lot of scripts. Nothing I read really moved me or left me with a good impression about the project. But then I read THE SCRIBBLER and this character, to me, was an actor’s playground.
I mean, with Suki, I’d be playing a character who was challenging and whose voice I heard immediately. I wanted to play a character who was like that and had multiple personality disorder. I felt really passionate about the film and I said, “I have to do this. They cannot hire anyone else for this part!” [laughs] I certainly got the role and it paid off in a huge way.
FANGORIA: Suki is really a character that requires an actress who can jump from one extreme emotion to the next. As an actress, how did you find an emotional center for the character?
CASSIDY: Honestly, for me, I take everything one step at a time and one day at a time. So when I was done shooting the film, I was absolutely exhausted but I didn’t allow myself to go there and think about that. I just throw myself into it and give as much as myself as I can to whatever scene that they called for.
I did a lot of preparation for this character. I worked a lot with my acting coach to develop each of the seven different personalities, including backstories for each one. I also did screen tests as the personalities and script analysis. It was grueling, but that preparation was a huge help and made playing Suki that much easier. It made it possible for me to live inside of her, if that makes any sense.
FANGORIA: When you first learned of the project, did they only send you the script or did they also send you the graphic novel for reference?
CASSIDY: Well, interestingly enough, I went to the filmmakers after my agent sent me the script. THE SCRIBBLER was something different than anything I’d ever done, so I told my agent and manager that I wanted to do it. But they actually went to the producers and the director and were told, “No, we don’t think she’s right for it.”
So I told them that I just wanted to have one meeting so I could sit down with them. I overly prepared for the meeting and just went into it as myself. I told them my views on Suki and my vision for her, and by that point I had no read the graphic novel; only the script. But with everything I was saying, they were confident that we were on the same page.
I just remember telling them, “Listen, please, I know this is different than anything I’ve ever done but I can do this.” And they let me do it! I appreciated that John [Suits] was trusted me and let me do what I wanted to do on set because he knew I knew the character.
FANGORIA: THE SCRIBBLER is a really different genre project than the projects you’ve worked on in the past, especially in regards to the world the story exists within. Did that make the film more challenging to work on as an actress or was it more fun to play around that way?
CASSIDY: Oh yeah, it was fun. What was great about that was I could keep Suki and all of her alter egos very real and very grounded, except for The Scribbler. I mean, they all exist in this world that’s very high concept and sci-fi. But by keeping my characters grounded, that made playing The Scribbler so much fun because I could go bigger and all out.
I was so detailed when I was playing The Scribbler, too. Like, even with holding a pen, I had to hold it in a very specific way. Another example would be how I laid in bed; I laid in bed upside down and backwards. I thought that would be really cool, and with The Scribbler, she is one of the more comic book-esque elements of the film.
FANGORIA: With THE SCRIBBLER in limited theaters and on VOD, is there anything else coming up for you at the moment?
CASSIDY: Well, season three of ARROW debuts on October 3rd; I’m shooting that at the moment. I also have my lifestyle blog, Tomboy KC and I’ll have an announcement with that soon but I can’t talk about that yet. And I’ll be going on hiatus from ARROW in April, so hopefully around there I’ll have an action or comedy movie to work on.
THE SCRIBBLER is now in limited theaters, VOD and iTunes. Don’t forget to RSVP to FANGORIA’s free NYC screening of THE SCRIBBLER tonight here!