There are many controversial topics in the world today that have impacted our generation and the future generations. Gun violence is one of those subject matters that have affected myself and the people around me over the past twenty years. Natural Selection is a film that tackles that title in which individuals must survive in catastrophic events which leads to good vs. evil. Can violence and darkness conquer our soul to get the best of us, or is it simply the evolution of mankind in the 21st century?
Today, I sat down with the very talented Katherine McNamara and discussed her role in Natural Selection, filming under the controversial premise, and the upcoming season of Shadow Hunters: The Mortal Instruments.
Cinephellas (CP): Hello Katherine! I’m a huge fan of your work and had some questions for you in regards to your film, Natural Selection.
Katherine McNamara (KM): Hello Logan, I am wonderful! Thanks for the kind words.
(CP): How did you get involved with this project?
(KM): We started this project almost two years ago while I was working on Shadowhunters and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. I got the script and instantly fell in love with the story. It’s a prevalent storyline today and isn’t talked about much because it’s scary and dark and people don’t want to think that this could happen in their neighborhood. It’s a real issue and with nonchalant conversations, opinions, and statements. What I love about Natural Selection is that it humanizes everyone in this situation, you see the problems, and the problems in their closet. The whole of the film is you see the parents, the security guard at the school, the popular kid, the new kid, everyone has a dark side and have to deal with. And more importantly how you deal with those problems and who you are as a human being.
(CP): You play Paige Thomas in Natural Selection. What was the process of getting into this character and are there any similarities with Paige and yourself?
(KM): Absolutely and that’s why I love acting! I always find something in the character that relates to me if it’s a horrible villain, a demon, or what have you. There’s always a part of yourself that you find in that character and with Paige, she’s very loyal to the people she loves. She has confidence and throughout the film she learns to trust herself and be true to herself. As Paige grows up and has a world view, she has a choice to make on who she wants to be and who she wants to associate herself with. More importantly she needs to learn to close doors in order to open herself up to the possibility of a new opportunity.
(CP): This film is a psychological thriller that portrays some controversial topics. Do you think this film will speak to a younger generation in a positive way?
(KM): I do simply because it presents a situation in a very simple and realistic sense without necessarily commenting on that. It’s providing an opinion that allows the audience to interpret it any way they can and it brings awareness. If the film makes a statement that would be life is a series of choices. If you look at the characters Tyler and Indrid, they’re both similar at the core, and are both young men that are trying to find their place in the world. They want to be loved and find where they belong, but it’s all about their outlook. Tyler tries to find the good in people where Indrid has given up on his family and the world around him. It’s all about finding the good in the world and creating an environment of positivity.
(CP): There were some intense scenes with Indrid played by Ryan Munzert. What was it like filming these scenes in such an extreme atmosphere?
(KM): We shot the movie in the high school that the writer/director Chad L. Scheifele went to and the script is written around this specific school. Working with Ryan was interesting because he is such a warm, awesome, and wonderful human being. But with the character of Indrid, he’s a very dark person, and Ryan brought that character to life every time. There were lots of laughs in between takes, but once we got into the zone of filming, it really flew by. He absolutely brought his game into that moment and we dove into the deep end where we found some interesting things. Ryan is the complete opposite of his character in Natural Selection because he is so grounded and at peace with himself.
(CP): Natural Selection has an excellent ensemble of actors/actresses. What was it like working with the seasoned veteran, Anthony Michael Hall?
(KM): Anthony is absolutely fabulous and I adore him! I didn’t get to work with him much on the film because our characters never cross paths. We did press for the film and he was such a warm, fabulous, and generous human being. It’s really lovely to see that in an actor that has been in the industry for this long. Someone that isn’t jaded and someone that has been able to complete his career in a such a memorable way.
(CP): With the buzz surfacing around this film for some time, are you happy with the final product?
(KM): Of course, obviously we filmed this a few years ago, and I’m hyper critical of my work and a perfectionist. And that’s what I love about being an actress because I am always growing and evolving. Each project teaches me something as I grow and hopefully improve. I think the overall film and especially our director Chad, it was his first time directing a feature film. It was a collaborative process and almost like a workshop. We were all playing and finding things to see what would work and what wouldn’t work. To have it all come together in the final product was quite impressive for all of us and not to mention a first time director.
(CP): Have you gone to any screeners with a live audience?
(KM): I was at one of the screenings because of my schedule with Shadow Hunters and traveling. I went to the screening with the cast/crew and was amazing to see the project that you worked so hard on with the people you worked with. It’s much like a nostalgic process to remember all the memories and fun times you had making this film opposed to judging it from a critical standpoint.
(CP): You are quite the busy actress with Shadow Hunters: The Mortal Instruments TV series and working in film. Which medium do you prefer to work in and is it to easy to transition from working in TV to film?
(KM): I am one of those actresses that doesn’t like to do one thing for too long and I like to switch it up. For me, this career is about pushing myself and trying things I thought I would never do. I like to switch between TV and film because each medium brings different challenges and it’s a completely different process.
(CP): Do you have any upcoming projects in the works that we should be on the lookout for?
(KM): I DO! I am shooting Season 2 of Shadow Hunters right now that will be released next year. I have to say season 1 was really great and we made a really great show, but with this season, it has been elevated to another level. We have made a lot of changes, there’s a big difference between these two seasons, but it’s for the better. You can be apprehensive when you make changes with something that has been successful, but every change has been for the better. It’s at a level that I am very excited to share with the world! And I have another film coming out at the end of September called “Is that a Gun in Your Pocket.” It’s another topical subject like Natural Selection is very grounded and realistic on the topic of gun violence. This film is the rom com version of that and has an all star cast. It’s about a small town in Texas where these women decide that guns need to go away. Of course, the men resist, and the woman decide to withhold certain things from the men until they give in. It’s a really fun comedy that I am looking forward to.
Special thanks to Katherine McNamara for taking the time to sit down with Cinephellas. We’re really excited about Natural Selection as well as the upcoming season of Shadow Hunters: The Mortal Instruments! Natural Selection hit theaters on August 26th and is available on iTunes.