📷 : Bob Johnson Photographer
With previous roles including appearances in Gossip Girl and Red Oaks, Kathy Searle more recently worked on LI Divas and Empathy, Inc with the latter being shown at film festivals last year. Kathy also enjoys voiceover work and has recorded for video games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption II. Speaking to us, Kathy discusses her role in Empathy, Inc, TV series LI Divas and her upcoming releases.
Can you tell us about Empathy, Inc?
It’s a black & white sci-fi indie thriller. Joel, my character’s husband, invests in a virtual reality company that provides “real experiences” for those wanting to learn or feel less, so they can be more empathetic, and then of course there are tons of unexpected twists and turns. Such a cool movie!!
Who is your character Jessica?
Jessica is a thirty-something woman trying to find her way after her husband’s previous company goes belly up and they lose everything. They then have to move back in with Jessica’s parents.
But, in the midst of all the chaos she goes back to her dream of acting. Facing the biggest challenge in not only her life but her marriage, she throws herself back into her first love and passion. She’s an incredibly supportive and caring wife, an actor who loves to become someone else and tell a story for an audience and a woman reinventing herself from scratch.
Did you attend any of the film festivals where it was screened and if so, what was the atmosphere like?
I did! I had such a blast at the film festivals that we’ve done so far! Unfortunately, I did not go to Cinepocalypse in Chicago but I heard the reception to the movie was really great! I attended the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival and the Philadelphia Film Festival! All were so different and I learned so much from each one. It’s super fascinating to be on the other side and hear producers and filmmakers talking about distribution, marketing, package deals etc.
Often times as an actor we do our pre-film work, shoot it and then see the finished product. When you’re lucky enough to do the festival circuit you can really learn about making a movie from start to finish, which I find so interesting and inspiring, especially for indie films that get a great deal and can be seen by audiences around the world! For me, the Austin Film Festival was amazing, not only because I’ve never been to Austin and love good barbecue food, but it’s a really cool festival for writers. I knew some other filmmakers that were at the festival this year and I got to listen to established writers and up-and-coming writers talking about the process of creating a script. It was cool to be an actual fly on the wall!
I always recommend actors go to film festivals if they can, you feel like you’re a part of the community. It’s good to be around people who all just want to tell great stories, truly inspiring and motivating to keep going!
Will there be any way to watch it in the UK in the future?
I SO hope so! The team behind Empathy, Inc are working with a sales agent who is looking into solidify a distribution deal!
What’s it like filming for the TV series LI Divas?
Long Island Divas is a trip to film! My dear friends, Catharine and Katie, created the series a few years ago. After their first season we all went out to dinner and discussed the possibility of me coming on playing Katie’s sister the character Caldor I jumped at the opportunity, as somebody who loves bad reality TV, I always dreamt of doing a parody of a real housewives type show! What’s great about the series is you know how to get from point A to point Z in that particular episode but you’re improving your way through the story. It’s such a collaborative process with the creators and producers! My true love will always be comedy, so whenever I’m lucky enough to get the chance, I jump in full force.
Also, it’s really fun to create with your friends! It doesn’t feel like work, it’s taking risks with improv knowing your scene partners always have your back!
And I love playing Caldor, she’s a crazy woman who chugs wine and takes her “xanies” aka Xanax five times a day and thinks she’s an amazing hair artist! I’ve been given the gift of my polar opposite so it’s fun to be soooooo far from who I really am 😀.
Who is Ms. Keyes in Pitching Tents and can you tell us more about the movie?
Pitching Tents is about a goddess, a guidance counsellor and a father who want to help Danny, a teenage boy, figure out his future… but he sneaks off to the woods with his buddies for a weekend of girls, beer and THE party of the year 1984!
I play Ms. Keyes who is a high-school teacher and clearly a virgin… and she’s not good at either! HAHAHA I’m actually only in the film for one glorious scene that still makes me laugh when I see it! It’s always great when you’re given funny material and a director, writers and producers who genuinely want you to run with the script and then make it your own! Again, an incredibly collaborative process! It was one of my favourite film experiences and because it took place in the 80s, it was heaven for me! I’m an 80s nerd who loves that genre of film… and of course the music!!!
Do you remember who you acted alongside and what your time on set was like on Gossip Girl?
I do, it was the very talented Ed Westwick. That was such a fun show to work on, my episode was a few seasons in and that set ran like a well-oiled machine! Everything ran very efficient and organised, which is not an easy feat when making a TV series!
What was so nice is that many of the cast members and I hung out in the makeup trailer just chatting. It’s always cool when you come in as a guest star with the series regulars and they treat you like you are a part of the show and the team. It’s great when you feel like you are included in the family even if it’s for a scene, a day, a week whatever it may be! In that aspect in my career I’ve been very fortunate that every set I’ve come on they’ve all treated me like I’m part of the gang and we are all in it together!
What was it like acting alongside British actor Craig Roberts in Red Oaks, and how long were you filming?
Sadly I didn’t get to work with Craig, but I met him at the wrap party and he was so nice! I was such a fan of his work, along with every actor on that show. My character was involved with the brilliant Richard Kind. What a gift to work with that genius, truly the best! I miss that show! I was a fan of season one and was thrilled to jump in on season two!
Have you ever visited the UK for work or as a holiday?
My dad’s side of my family’s ancestors are from the UK! I love it there, I haven’t been since I was a teen, and from that trip I always put it on my bucket list to book a film that shoots there. So picturesque and amazing history! It’ll always be my dream to do theatre there, talk about a life changing experience!
What’s it like recording for video games including the new release Red Dead Redemption II?
I love voiceover work!!! And video games are crazy fun! In most of my gigs I don’t know the full storyline because these amazing artists are working for years on making this epic game and they don’t want people leaking storylines of them to the public.
I’m given a character description, accent, brief history etc. and then lines from the script… most of the time they have emotions next to each line (sad, angry, scared and so on) I then have to make quick choices and hopefully have the characters come to life. I have such respect for directors who work on video games; they really guide the ship for us without giving away the full picture. It’s really a cool dance when recording.
When you’re not filming, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a total music buff; I see as many live shows as I can! I love all types of music, the characters I play, I always have a soundtrack for them, and I find music so inspiring! I also love seeing live theatre. I’m so blessed to be living in NYC which gives me access to all art forms! I try and take advantage of that.
Were you trained in anything other than acting?
I was only trained in acting. I took improv classes, standup, singing and sketch character work. I knew when I came out of the womb this is what I wanted to do 😀.
What’s your next project to be released?
I’m hoping 2019 will be a great year where films that I worked on the past couple of years will be coming out.
A beautiful ensemble film I did called “8 Slices” is also in the festival circuit. Next up, the Durango Film Festival in Colorado! And a western I did called “Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws” is premiering next month with VOD!
Do you have any current productions you are working on?
Right now I’m preparing for a film called The Driver which will go into production later this year! And God willing, more television and film that will come down the pike! If anyone wants to cast me… I’m available!
Are there any future roles you have lined up for the new year that you can say about?
To follow up with my future work feel free to follow me on Instagram for news.
Thank you so much! And for any future actors out there, know that everyone has their own journey, this business is about patience and perseverance. It happens when it’s supposed to; in the meantime live your life to the fullest! Be kind to everyone and enjoy laughing at this crazy world sometimes… laughter will always be the cure 😀.
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