Katharine Lee McEwan

Interview: Amy Bell

Photo Credit: Nicole Wilson

Katharine Lee McEwan is an award-winning British actress, writer, and producer committed to creating quality, hard-hitting and issue driven content. Her films have been invited to over a hundred film festivals world-wide, including screenings in New York, Moscow, Sydney and Toronto. Katharine's feature film Solitary, which she wrote, produced and starred in, won sixteen festival awards, and opened both the Chelsea Film Festival in New York, and the London Independent Film Festival, where it won Best UK Feature.

In addition to her on-camera work, Katharine is also an award-winning narrator, having lent her voice to numerous titles spanning genres such as fiction, fantasy, and drama, and including works by New York Times best-selling authors. As a writer, she has created and performed stories with Snap Judgement Live! and the Road Theatre in Los Angeles.

We talk to Katharine about her roles, her favourite character she played and upcoming projects she's excited to work on.

Hi Katharine! How have you been during this crazy year?

Hello! I’ve been well, thank you! What a crazy year it’s been for everybody. I’ve tried to stay grateful for all the blessings that I have, and find the silver lining in things, and I’ve definitely learnt the value of my friends and community. Some of the things I used to think were important have fallen away…

What was the first film you’ve got casted in?

The first film that I ever got cast in, in a “professional” setting (I was making all these avant-garde art films with my husband when I first got to LA) was a feature film called 'Sinners.’ It was written and directed by Tory Christopher and I played a DA called Katherine Novack who I believe was based on a real person. It's about these two young men from the Bible Belt who come to LA to commit a hate crime against the gay community. As the film unfolds we find out that the young men had actually had a sexual experience with each other, and the only way they felt they could right this “shameful sin” and avoid Hell was to act out in this violent way. The film looks at the devastation that homophobia can cause, and how religion can sometimes play a role in that. It was a meaningful film to be a part of and very close to my chest as I’m bi-sexual and grew up Catholic so I really related to the themes that are being explored.

What made you want to become an actress?

I was about five and my parents were in the front room watching an old movie called 'The Red Shoes' and I was standing in the doorway, kind of looking over their shoulder. The film culminates in a very tragic event and I remember running and throwing myself sobbing on the stairs - being very dramatic! I was so affected by it and I knew then that I wanted to be part of a make believe world that could move people like that.

What was your favourite character that you have played and why?

I think my favorite character was Nora in a film called 'Solitary' that I wrote, produced and acted in (it’s on Amazon and iTunes). I think a lot of writers want to explore things about themselves in their work, and I think Nora to me was fearless in a way that I definitely don't feel. She was probably one of the most flawed character I’ve played, but in a lot of ways the most courageous.

You won an award for Best Actress for a short movie in 2012. How did that make you feel and what did you do to celebrate?

Yes, that was wonderful! It was for a film called ‘Pluto’ that my co-star Jude Roth wrote - we played sisters. It felt good that we won because it was a deeply personal film for Jude and an honor to have helped her bring it to life. It was also validating because it was the first role I did with an American accent - I was so scared it would sound bad. I don’t remember how we celebrated but it probably involved some wine! 

Not only are you a successful actress but you also narrate as well. What got you into narrating?

My friend Steve West is an incredible narrator - if you ever get a chance to listen to his work, his voice is amazing! We met at a Netflix audition, and I had a side hustle at the time I wasn’t enjoying and he told me I should get into audio books because it's a great thing to do in between on-camera work. It’s ended up becoming a wonderful part of my career that I've come to really love. 

Lastly, are there any upcoming projects that you can tell your readers?

I just finished writing my follow up to ‘Solitary’ - a crime drama set in the North East of England. It’ll be a sort of homecoming when I return to shoot it as I haven't spent a lot of time up there since I left home. Also, a WWII film I co-wrote, ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ starring Nina Bergman, is coming out in theatres on November 5th so that’s exciting! 

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