As of late, when it comes to indie films, a name to look out for is Katie Burgess. Having been acting for a decade now, she has appeared in films such as Gremlin and The Jurassic Games. The hard work has paid off as she scores her first lead role in the upcoming action film Agent Jade Black, coming to DVD and On Demand on January 7 from High Octane Pictures.
WorldFilmGeek had the chance to talk to Burgess about her first lead role in an action film.
Katie, it’s great to be talking to you about your first lead role in an action film. I just saw the film and I have to say, you did really well for your first lead role.
Thank you so much! I haven’t had a chance to see the final film yet so I’m pretty excited to see how it comes out. But thank you! I had a lot of fun working on the film.
How did you get approached for the titular role of Jade Black?
I worked with Terry [Spears] on The Jurassic Games and he said he had this script he wanted me to look at. He wanted me for the lead role, so I took a look at the script and I loved it. What I was attracted to the most was that this was going to be a real challenge not only because it would be my first lead role, but one that’s really physical. I did some physical work in The Jurassic Games, but on this one, they worked me like a dog (Laughs).
What was it like working with Terry Spears? Did he allow you free reign when it came to bringing the character to life?
He did actually. He offered me a lot of freedom to work with the role and I think it’s beautiful when a director is open to allowing the actor to explore their craft. So, I got to make a lot of decisions when it came to the character, but Terry also wanted me to do a few things that stuck with the script. What stuck out was that he wanted Jade to be more intimidating through her actions rather than using words. So, I didn’t get much dialogue as one would expect, it would be more of someone who lets her actions do the talking for her.
I did notice that in the film and when you did talk, you sounded pretty intimidating as well.
(Laughs) Yes, I did but it’s great to show Jade as someone who is all action.
Speaking of the action, did you undergo any training to prepare for the action scenes of the film and if so, how was the experience?
I did go through some training. It wasn’t extensive though. I trained with the Oklahoma SWAT team for the film. It was a one-stop shop for both weapons training and learning basic fight moves. So, when we did the film, we had to find a way to make these basic moves look more complicated. The SWAT team was great to work with and they did make fun of me. I was running and one of them said, and I do remember this, “you look like a baby horse who is just learning how to use its legs” (Laughs) and I said, “Thanks”.
That’s pretty funny and I saw in one fight scene, you are fighting and throwing low kicks in high heels and for some reason, I tend to always cringe a bit when it comes to fights where high heels are used because I think to myself, they can actually hurt the opponent for real. (Laughs)
It does get very cringing when you are fighting in high heels, I can tell you that. (Laughs) In the fight scene, I’m throwing punches and when you’re throwing kicks with high heels, you do think about what would happen if you impale the person by accident. I was throwing these low kicks and I was panicking, thinking “Oh my god! What if I impale and hurt him”? Funny enough, this was the first time I actually did dress up like a girl, wearing a dress and high heels! (Laughs).
I felt the film had a bit of a Black Widow-vibe, especially because both Jade and Connie Franklin’s Elle come from the same program and yet Elle is the main villain. Even though the two of you don’t have much screen time together in the film, the chemistry when you do appear together really shows. What was it like working with her?
She is great and very interesting. I agree, it does make a difference because Jade is a younger woman and Elle is the veteran. It could have gone through a mentor-student relationship turned sour. But, we decided to make it simply a hero vs. villain film. Connie and I had worked together before on Gremlin so we knew each other quite well. We trained together with the SWAT team for the film so we were able to handle the physical stuff well but at the same time, we did have that chemistry that worked as well.
Would you consider bringing Jade Black in a sequel or even take the lead in another action film down the road?
I would love to do either or both! I would love to do another action film and maybe even bring back Jade Black. This film really pushed me as an actress because I didn’t know what I was getting into. But, we had a fantastic cast and crew and we did what it took to create a realistic action film. It was a great experience, so yeah, I would love to do another action film down the road.
Finally, are there any new projects in the works that you can talk about?
Well, right now, I am attending Pepperdine University so at the moment, I am not working on anything. I might be doing something in the summer, but it’s not official as of yet, so that’s all I can say about that.
Agent Jade Black comes out on January 7. If you want a break from the high impact A-list films and want an alternative, this is one worth looking at. Katie, I would love to see you in more action films as I enjoyed this one and I hope the film is a success.
Thank you so much! It was great talking to you!
A Special Thank You goes to October Coast PR and Katie Burgess for making this interview possible.