The young actress talks about her role in the new film, Dean Cain and living in Canada
Britt McKillip is an up and coming young actress and singer, and her stock keeps on rising. She performs in the country music group Saving Grace and has also done numerous voice-over performances along with regular acting as well. McKillip's latest project is Ace of Hearts, placing her alongside Dean Cain. I had the chance to interview McKillip recently and here's what she had to say.
What essentially attracted you about this role and how did you first become involved with the project?
Britt McKillip: I first became involved with the project by my agent. She called me and informed me of my audition for Ace of Hearts and she sent me the script. I instantly fell in love. I adore dogs and the story is so touching. I really wanted the part so I studied my character religiously. I got a callback, and studied even more for that. I guess it paid off!
Your character, Julia, seems like a Nancy Drew or Penny from Inspector Gadget kind of character. Did you draw on those or other influences for the role?
Britt McKillip: That's what I first noticed about my character. She's so courageous and determined. She definitely embodies those detective-like qualities. She also has her vulnerable moments though, which made me think of her as more of an everyday teenaged girl. That made it easier for me to connect with her because she's still real and we are in some ways very similar.
This was based on a true Readers Digest story. Did you ever get to meet or consult with any of the real people this was inspired from?
Britt McKillip: I was never given the opportunity to meet the real people of the story, but the fact that it's based on a true story makes it that much more inspiring. I find that movies are much more gripping knowing that there's truth behind them.
I've always been fascinated by movie animals and the trainers that can get them to do exactly what is needed for the shot. What was it like working with the dog (or dogs?) and the trainers?
Britt McKillip: It was an interesting experience for sure. The trainers were so knowledgeable. I found it remarkable that you could ask them just about anything that had to do with dogs, and they knew the answer. The dogs were so well-trained and obedient. They had their moments, but I would say that they were some of the most professional actors I've had the pleasure of working with!
What was Dean Cain like to work with?
Dean Cain: I really can't begin to explain how cool it was to have Dean Cain play my dad. I feel so lucky to have worked with him. He's all around a great guy, not to mention how wonderful of an actor he is. I learned a lot from watching him on set.
Do you have any favorite stories from the set
Britt McKillip: Well, you can imagine how many stories there would be considering we got to work with dogs. I remember filming the scene where Ace jumps through a window of our home to save us from Torko. I was really scared that he would hurt himself because it was such a small space that he had to jump through, but it was effortless for him every time. I was pretty fascinated that he managed to jump through a high and quite small window, and dodge us in the process. What an awesome dog!!
This was filmed in British Columbia, where you were born. Do you still live in that area or are you out in L.A. now?
Britt McKillip: I still live in Beautiful B.C.! I love it here and you'd have to work pretty hard to get me to leave!
You've done a lot of voice work for animation along with acting for television, movies and singing. Do you have a favorite that you'd like to do full-time, or will you still try to keep a balance between them all?
Britt McKillip: I can't say that I have a favourite, because they are all quite different. There are separate things about each of them that I love. I hope I will be able to pursue all of them. Right now, I'm working on an album with my sister, Carly. We are a country music duo called Saving Grace, and making an album definitely takes up a lot of time. I still however try to keep up with voice work and acting.
What are your plans for your group Saving Grace? New record? Touring?
Britt McKillip: We are just about finished recording our debut album which we're calling "Big Sky." We are hoping that once we release the album, touring will follow because we love travelling. Our dad is on the road a lot because he is a musician/music producer, so it would be pretty rewarding to get to follow in his footsteps.
Is there anything you can tell us about Trick 'r Treat or the Dead Like Me movie?
Britt McKillip: I believe Trick 'r Treat will be out this upcoming October. I don't know much about the release date on Dead Like Me, but I'm very anxious to see how it turned out.
Finally, what sort of audience do you think this will reach out to most, and what would you like them to take away from the movie?
Britt McKillip: What makes me like the story so much is that I don't think just animal lovers will respond well to Ace of Hearts. It is the kind of movie that connects with people of all ages, and I think, and hope, that people will take the story with them as a reminder that anything is possible. This movie will send an inspiring message, along with courage and hope to every kind of person.
Ace of Hearts will arrive in stores on May 6.