In a relatively short amount of time, actress Katie Cassidy has steadily made a name for herself on both the big screen and small. She has starred in a number of major studio movies such as When a Stranger Calls, Click, Taken and A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, while starring in TV shows such as Harper's Island and Melrose Place. For the past two years, she's taken on the role of Laurel Lance in the popular CW series Arrow, but, starting this weekend, fans will be able to see her in a role unlike anything she's tackled before in The Scribbler.
The talented actress stars as Suki, a young woman with dissociative identity disorder, a.k.a. multiple personality disorder, who has been trying to eliminate her destructive identities through a device known as The Siamese Burn. As she successfully eliminates these voices in her head, one by one, a mysterious identity known as The Scribbler remains, as Suki begins to wonder which identity is really hers. I recently had the chance to talk with Katie Cassidy over the phone about The Scribbler, debuting in theaters and on VOD and iTunes formats September 19. Take a look at what she had to say below.
I had a chance to see this last night, and I really enjoyed it. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, from the trailers and everything, but it was quite a trip.
Katie Cassidy: Yeah, right? I'm glad you enjoyed it. That's awesome.
Suki is obviously a much different character than Laurel Lance. Do you pursue roles that are this different, or is this something that just came to you?
Katie Cassidy: As an actor, I feel that my craft has evolved. I've been doing this for almost 10 years, and taking on a character like Suki, it was perfect timing, because I don't think I would have been ready for it before, taking on a character like that. I felt as though, as an actor, I was ready for something that challenging and I was really passionate about the character. I look forward to, hopefully, playing more characters like that, diverse, interesting and something I can just really sink my teeth into. Also, I like the fact that people can see me in a different light. It's my job to try and form myself to play these different characters, as an actor. That's what we do. When I originally read the script, I went after it. I sat down with the director and the producers and, they, basically, at first, said no. They told my agent, 'We don't think she's right for it.' They had this image of me being this girl on the red carpet who's glamorous all the time, and, obviously, Suki's nothing like that (Laughs). I said, 'Ask them if they'll just take a meeting with me,' and they agreed and I definitely did a ton of preparing before I went in. I went in as myself, meaning I'm not always wearing a ton of makeup and dresses. I went as myself, and I gave the my take on the character in the script, and explained to the that I wanted to develop different backgrounds for each character, because she had multiple personality disorder, I think they were impressed with the amount of work I had put into it, without having the job yet. When I left that room, I ended up getting the offer. After the table read, they felt very confident and trusted me and kind of let me do my own thing, which was great. I loved the fact that Suki is so different than any character I've ever played, and I like to do different things, new things. It was definitely cool to play another character that's so unexpected.
You talked about how much you prepared to play Suki. Did you end up speaking with anyone who had dissociative memory disorder?
Katie Cassidy: I did, actually. I sat down with this woman, and it was really, really interesting to watch. She came in and she sat down, and immediately had transferred into, I want to say, Natasha. Her name was Natalie, but her alter, was Natasha, one of them. Natasha was kind of like her narrator. The transition was very, very subtle. I don't know if I sat next to Natalie until the end, but Natasha was very calm. She actually transitioned several times when I was in the room into a few different personalities. I'm sure they all have names, I don't know. At one point, she got into this very deep voice and was speaking Native American out of nowhere. It was really interesting, and the main thing I wanted to do, was keep the transitioning from Suki into another alter as real as possible. Sitting down with her was really, really interesting, and I learned a lot. It was crazy. I can't quite explain it, but I was really grateful that she allowed me to sit down with her. At the end, Natalie, herself, said she didn't even remember walking in the room, because when you transition and you split, the host goes into this... she said it was like being underwater. You can hear people talking, but it was really dark, and she can't make out what they're saying, so it's like a blackout period. She didn't even remember being there, but she was like, 'It was nice meeting you.'
That's one of the things I enjoyed about this, the transitions. With a movie about multiple personalities, it can be pretty easy to get cartoon-ish, and have these wildly different personalities, but like you said, you wanted to keep it grounded. You could definitely tell who these different alters were, and I thought the transitions were done nicely and it didn't go off the rails.
Katie Cassidy: Yeah, for sure. That was very important to me. You're in this high-concept universe, but I wanted her to be grounded, and her alters to feel grounded and real. But then, this alter of The Scribbler, that was the only alter that is sort of heightened and in a different universe, but, for the most part, I wanted to keep it as real as possible.
In the scenes where you can see Suki is struggling, and she hears all the voices in her heard, did they actually have people on the set, obviously not in your own voice, but did they have people on the set saying these different things?
Katie Cassidy: Yeah. I obviously had to use my imagination, but I did ask the script supervisor or the A.D. to read it out loud. I just wanted to hear the words, so I could react accordingly. They were saying the words out loud, for sure.
There were also a couple of scenes where you had to write backwards as The Scribbler. Was that tricky to unlearn everything you've been taught during your life?
Katie Cassidy: Yeah, definitely! I practiced it quite a bit beforehand, but it was tough. I certainly did not master it.
Can you talk about working with director John Suits, and the style he brought to the set?
Katie Cassidy: Yeah, it was great because we all had the same vision and we all came together. What I had kind of came up with worked very well with what his vision was. We were clearly all on the same page, making the same movie, and I loved how unique it was, and interesting and different. I just thought it was cool.
Excellent. That's my time. Thank you so much, Katie.
Katie Cassidy: Thank you.