In August of last year, The Blood Sprayer did something very special by paying tribute to women who kick major butt in horror. As part of my tribute, I did a list of female characters in horror who have helped me become the young lady I am today. You can read it here if you’d like: Hear Me Roar: Ten Female Horror Film Characters Who Have Made Me the “Woman” I Am Today. Included on that list is the one and only, Catherine Mary Stewart. She is probably best remembered for her work during the 1980’s, starring in the sci-fi favorites, Night of the Comet and The Last Starfighter. Catherine is one of the queens of ’80s cult cinema, not to mention being one of my favorite actresses of all-time. She is a very gifted actress and having her agree to do this interview is a major thrill for me.
Having starred in several horror/sci-fi films, are you a fan of the genres?
I have become more of a fan in the last few years. I didn’t realize the power and fan base of the genre until relatively recently. I had been somewhat removed from the business in general as I raised my children. In the last few years I’ve been in re-entry mode and that’s when I started getting attention for these films from the past. I’ve been involved in several conventions, film festivals and symposiums. I’ve learned a lot! There is a chance that I’m in a new horror movie to be shot in 2011!
Do you have a favorite horror/sci-fi film?
One of the first “horror” movies I saw was “The Birds”. I was at my friend’s house for a sleep-over and we watched it on TV. It scared me to death! I also thought “The Adromeda Strain” was very cool. That scared me too, but I just loved the premise.
What was it that made you decide that you wanted to be an actress?
Well, I had always been somewhat of a performer. I loved acting in school and as a teenager I was a serious dancer. When I graduated from high school I decided to pursue dance in London, England. It was there that I auditioned as a dancer for the futuristic rock musical called “The Apple”. I ended up cast in the lead female role, and that determined my path as an actor. So, to answer your question, I didn’t have a chance to make a conscious decision to become an actress, it was kind of made for me.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to an aspiring actress?
Determination and perseverance are essential! Be prepared with a rock solid foundation with as much knowledge about the business and the art as you can. Confidence in yourself is paramount and having a strong foundation supports confidence. Do not listen to naysayers, surround yourself with supportive people and network, network, network. Never stop learning via websites, blogs, union events and publications. Put together a demo reel, resume and good photo and then get them online. Everything is online now. Get meetings with reputable agents or managers and be prepared with hard copies of your demo, photo and resume. There are websites that list agencies and managers. Make sure you know who you are meeting with. Check them out through the union and check out their client list. Try to get someone to introduce you that knows them. It is an incredibly difficult business, but NEVER compromise yourself on any level. It is absolutely NOT necessary and will do nothing to help you, it will only hurt you. The up side is that casting directors are always looking for the next big thing and there is no reason that it can’t be you. Don’t try to be something you think they want. If you look at the best actors today they are all unique. Believe in your own uniqueness. Good luck!!
Night of the Comet is one of my favorite films of all-time. How was it working on the set of that film?
It was a real collaborative effort. We knew we were shooting on a shoestring budget and we all contributed in any way we could. I loved my character of Reggie. It’s what attracted me to the project in the first place. It was a tough shoot but the attitude of the set was very positive so we all looked forward to going to work. I had no expectation of the longevity of this movie. I’m in awe at the following that persists, and very grateful. It’s fun to be able to enjoy the attention now.
Do you still stay in touch with your Night of the Comet co-star, Kelli Maroney?
Kelli and I met up again for the first time in probably 15 years, a couple of years ago. We’ve had very different life journeys in that time, but we picked up basically from where we left off. She is such a talented actress.
You are are a hero to many, including myself. How do you feel about being an icon?
Honestly, it’s a little hard to compute. What I have learned is that if you happen to be an actor that is privileged enough to make it on screen, whether it’s TV or movies, it can wield a lot of power and even responsibility. The exposure is so enormous and can be extremely influential on an audience, even if that’s not necessarily the intention going in. I never really thought a lot about that side of it early in my career. I certainly do not take it for granted and I’m grateful that I never felt like I compromised my principles just to be on screen and I’m proud of all my work in one way or another. If my work has had a positive influence on an audience I couldn’t be prouder!
Which one of your films would you like to see be made into a sequel?
There has been quite a bit of discussion about a sequel to “The Last Starfighter”. Nick Castle, the director, has a script that he has been trying to get produced. I think it would work beautifully and would love to be involved. Keep your fingers crossed. Perhaps an online campaign could stir up some interest for the powers that be!!
Are we going to see you any horror related projects soon?
Well, I have had a very casual conversation with a friend of mine who plans to produce a horror film in 2011 and he asked if I would like to be involved. I told him I would love to. We’ll see how that unfolds.
What would you like to say to your fans and how can we keep up to date with you?
To my fans, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for all your amazing support over the many, many years. I feel like the luckiest person. I hope you will all become fans on my Facebook Fan Page at: http://www.facebook.com/catherinemarystewart All the latest information is there. I also have a website at: catherinemarystewart.net I plan to open a new website at catherinemarystewart.com in the next month or so where I will be able to keep it more up to date. I also have a blog where you can order photos. My blog is http://catherinemarystewartblog.blogspot.com/