TV - Interview with Kate Davies

With the Horizon series 2 crowdfunder kicking off today, here's a  reminder of Barnaby Eaton-Jones interview with one of the lead actresses from series 1, Kate Davies ...

Read Barnaby's review of the first episodes here.

How did you become involved in 'Horizon'?

I had previously worked with the director Paul Dudbridge on a short film called 'The Levels' back in 2013. I really enjoyed his straight-forward directing style, we worked very well together instantly and we often discussed all sorts of film and TV-related topics when we were off set. It didn't take Paul long to discover my obsession with playing strong female roles and also my love for action, sci-fi and thrillers. When we went out for the wrap party on 'The Levels', Paul approached me officially to tell me about the concept of 'Horizon' and that - if I was interested - he had a specific character he was writing for me. This is any actor's dream and of course I jumped at the opportunity. The film-making scene in Bristol is particularly close-knit and I had heard of most of the cast and crew who were also being employed and I knew that I wanted to be involved in something they were working on.

What was the reaction like when you viewed an episode with the completed computer effects placed in?

I was treated to this by total surprise during the launch party this past weekend. I had thought that I knew what the show would end up looking like but I have to say that the finished result (with CGI and sensational sound work) really blew me away. To say I was proud would be a massive understatement.

How do you think you'd react if you were put in the same situation as your character?

As much as I like to think that I would be really brave and a 'leader' attempting to save the human race, I think - in reality - it's more likely that I would lock myself in my flat with my games consoles until I died of starvation! I do own a samurai sword though so maybe I could defend my nearest and dearest?

As you're a Bristolian yourself, how important is it to set series in different landmarks to the usual cliche of London?

I just love seeing familiar places and faces making a mark in the Indie Film/TV scene. I rarely get to work in Bristol as I'm often expected to ply my trade in London or abroad for acting work, so it's refreshing to stay close to home and to show off the talent that Bristol has to offer.

Is this a series that you think would fit a longer and larger format or are you happy with the story it told in this unique way?

I would obviously love for the series to be bigger (as I would work on it day in and day out given half the chance). However, I think that it was a brilliant challenge and achievement for everyone to be able to convey the story and character dynamics in such tiny bite-sized episodes.

Can you watch yourself in projects or do you prefer not to watch what you've done?

Horizon is one of the first projects that I've done when I've not been too embarrassed of watching myself. I credit that to the work of everyone working so well together and none of us standing out from each other, more like a tight unit than anyone grabbing the attention. I do get VERY nervous before a screening of anything but obviously it's lovely to see how projects turn out too.

As an actress at the beginning of a no-doubt successful career, what roles interest you most and are you actively looking to stay in certain genres or explore things you haven't tried before?

I tend to brand myself a little as being an Action Girl as I do admire those types of women. I do this in order to pop into people's minds when castings take place, admittedly. Though, I absolutely adore playing dramatic roles with emotional weight, I like characters with varying character arcs and many layers; hopefully this comes through later on in Horizon too. It is my main desire to be involved in an on-going TV series role, this is because I would love to play out several dimensions in one single character. I love showing the vulnerability in a strong woman and the strength in someone who seems weak. I love being challenged emotionally and physically (I use my knowledge as a personal trainer to play about with the physical aspect of characters that I have played). The biggest challenge that acting has presented me would be from dealing with phobias during film shoots - climbing huge heights (in Horizon) and even abseiling 120ft into an underground mineshaft as well as potholing (in The Mine). Doing these things makes me feel like my acting career has pushed me as a person and enriched my life.

Kate phone

Is Nicole a character with layers we'll unravel as the episodes pile up and, if so, does that change your motivation for playing certain scenes early on?

That was certainly my intention when playing Nicole. I wanted her to come across a certain way at the start but for her to become more likeable (vulnerable) once she allows herself to let her guard down. If people get this from my performance then I'll be very satisfied. I am pleased that the episodes skip between the past and present as it will make these character layers look more interesting when they happen; you'd see her in a different light after seeing one episode and then you may decide not to hate her as much when it flashes back!

There's a sort of John Wyndham feel to the series - is that something you think was intentional or was there anything specific you were told that became the vibe everyone was going for?

As far as I know the team wanted Horizon to have slight nods towards several films and popular TV series, I'm certain that they would have had a degree of John Wyndham influence in there. I know that 'The Walking Dead' and 'Lost' were strong influences for the show.

What's your favourite 'alien invasion' movie?

As a huge horror fan I would have to go with 'ALIEN' (I know it's not an invasion as such but I just love it). I also enjoyed 'CLOVERFIELD'. Now is probably a bad time for me to admit that I haven't watched many alien invasion films!

In terms of actresses, who do you aspire to and what sort of career would you like to have, if possible?

Sarah Lancashire inspires me as a performer, her gritty realism is something that I aspire to achieve. If I could poach anyone's career I think it would be Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckensale or Gemma Arterton

Have you always wanted to be an actress?

Not really, I wanted to be a video game character designer. I only really got into acting when I accidentally landed a lead role in West Side Story when I was 18. I haven't looked back since, though. I would say that I discovered a new love for acting when I started making films a few years ago, it feels like a whole different industry altogether and one that I've quickly fallen madly in love with.

Were you allowed to mould lines of script to your character or was the script locked down and unchangeable?

I think the team would have allowed some flexibility with the script but I didn't really see anything that didn't work for me, usually once you find your character you can tell if things don't gel but in this case I got lucky.

How was the atmosphere on set, as this was such a highly-charged and frantic situation to play? Did you all get on really well or find yourself morphing into your character's relationships?

We all got along brilliantly, as with all of the best film-shoots I like to think of the Horizon team like family, I really did enjoy every moment. It was frantic and hard work, long shoots and some personal challenges but I wouldn't change a second of it. The toughest thing for me was to be so nasty to Alicia's character Chloe so soon into shooting, I kept wanting to reassure Alicia that I wasn't such a cow-bag in real life.

What's on the - ahem - horizon for you next after this?

I am shooting another SciFi in Sweden later on this year, a TV Pilot called 'The Lifelines Chronicles', I also have a few other Indie projects lined up as well as a Scare Attraction job to carry me into the next working year. I spend all other free time working as a fitness instructor and working on networking, helping other actors and attending auditions. I have big aspirations and often plan specific, ambitious goals for shows I'd like to end up on... No harm trying, right?

Kate Davies, thank you very much.

Kate plays the character Nicole in the 10-part 'Horizon' web series, which you can find here

Support the series 2 crowdfunder here - IGG.ME/AT/HORIZON2

Images - Official Website
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