Wednesday, August 10, 2011
KATIE BOLAND: DIRECTOR, DAREDEVIL, DREAMER.
She’s been deemed “reminiscent of a young Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster.” “In a movie called Mount Pleasant, she put in a heartbreaking performance as a prostitute and is, hands down, the best thing in the picture, as she so often is.” In 2009, Katie Boland was selected by Elle Canada as one of the three Canadians to watch. And when Eric McCormick (Will & Grace) is the one who compared you to a “young Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster,” people have good reason to believe it. Publications like The Toronto Star have held Katie in such high regard for her acting that they have even allowed her to display her impeccable writer’s craft for their own use. Over the past decade, Katie Boland has morphed into a triple threat: a Canadian writer, actress, and director.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Katie Boland is the offspring of Canadian film director Gail Harvey and retired journalist Kevin Boland. Inheriting her parents’ artistic talent and creative hunger, Katie – even as a little girl – dreamt of becoming an actress. When Katie was eight, her mother sent her to an agent. Katie landed her debut in the CBS mini-series The Third Twin (1997), starring Kelly McGillis and Jason Gedrick. At only 11, she began collaborating with her mother as a director in Striking Poses (1999), starring Shannon Doherty. Katie then made her big break on the children's puppet TV series Noddy. One guest appearance on the Disney Channel series In a Heartbeat led to her main role as Gwen on YTV/Fox Family Channel's The Zach Files. The program, with their vast demographic being pre-teens, completed two seasons and created another opportunity to work with her mother, who directed a few episodes. Katie also squeezed in another CBS TV movie called One True Love (2000) starring David Hasselhoff.
But, was this too much for a growing girl to handle? Katie doesn’t think so. “I think being in the industry as a child instilled in me a strong love of being productive. It really fed my desire to be busy, working, and successful. I feel working as a child taught me to juggle many things, and that is a wonderful skill in this industry. Finally, I think being a child actor taught me to have a sense of humour about the realities of this crazy industry.”
Even though Katie stayed positive about her real life hectic work schedule, she could reach into the hypothetical yet realistic and negative mindsets of very dark characters. She played a younger version of Ellie Nesler, a woman who kills her sexually abusive camp counsellor, in Judgment Day: The Ellie Nesler Story (1999). Katie also converted into prostitute Nadia for Mount Pleasant (2006).
“What has stuck with me the most is that people are just people. I love doing a lot of research, and after having spoken with people who were molested/raped/worked in the sex trade industry, I was struck by how, at the end of the day, we weren't so different. Having something horrible happen to you, having a dangerous job - it definitely shapes you and molds you, but when you get right down to it, everyone wants the same things. We all want to be loved and happy. The sameness of the human condition is so moving, and if being an actress has taught me anything about people and life, it's that we're all in this together and no two people are as different as we'd like to think. I could relate to everyone I spoke to on a very human level. Lastly, I learnt that people can be victims of horrible circumstances (abuse) or wonderful circumstances (fame and fortune), and at the end of the day, it's their choice what they make of it.”
Her first starring film role was in the independent feature Some Things That Stay (2004), which was also directed by her mother. In October 2004, she traveled to Sudbury to film a role as Shania Twain's older sister Jill in a CBC biopic about the singer then relayed back to Toronto to act in a new drama series titled Terminal City. Playing Annie Putnam, the ringleader of a group of girls who suspect adults of witchcraft in the CBS miniseries Salem Witch Trials, opened doors for Katie to work with actors like Kirstie Alley, Peter Ustinov, and Shirley MacLaine. Katie also then snagged a 2004 Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries.
Katie has most currently starred in Lost Girl, Murdoch Mysteries, and “Daydream Nation” (alongside Kat Dennings). She is now also concentrating on her journalism career; her work has been published in The Toronto Star, Blog TO, SheDoesTheCity and TChad Quarterly.
Not surprisingly, Katie prefers to ink about those much like herself. “I really love writing about people. I love writing columns about women I admire and how they've chosen to live their lives. I also love writing articles where my subject focuses on their past, what they wished they'd done different, what they did right, what they learnt and how they've changed. I am fascinated by the idea of past and future selves; who we once were and how we became who we are.”
Katie also pens her own novels. “ Although I love journalism, I really feel that I am best writing fiction and creative non-fiction, like personal essays based on my own life. I love writing short stories and novels. I love the leaps that you can take while creative writing. It just feels more free.”
Could she ever choose between writing and acting? “I never would have pictured myself saying this a few years ago, but the funny thing is, no. I love them equally and couldn't picture my life without either one. They also feed one another. I use the same part of my brain, the same tenderness and separateness to write and the act, and I think they rely on one another. I always thought I loved acting more than anything, but now it's tied with writing.”
Katie Boland travels and resides between LA and Toronto. “I just finished working on the new Paul Thomas Anderson movie called The Master, which starts Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. It was a total dream come true and a joy to go to work everyday. All the people were amazing, and I'm so grateful I got to be apart of it.”