Katrina Durden blasted across the big screen in Doctor Strange, her intense performance, coupled with the intricate movie, warranted an detailed interview. After watching Doctor Strange three times in the theater, and of course buying a Blonde Zealot Funko toy, haha, I knew the time is right to go in hard and fast to interview this talented and humble lady. Today we will be discussing Doctor Strange, her role in the new Street Fighter series, and of course her extensive action training. Katrina is a wonderfully inspiring young, and talented lady, ready to work hard in the action world. Get ready folks, a worldwide exclusive interview with the dangerous BLONDE ZEALOT: Katrina Durden!
Chat about your childhood, and how you caught the action bug so to speak, was there a person in your life when you were a child that had a profound impact on your life?
My parents were creatives so I was left to my own devices. I became fascinated with films, cartoons, comic books, and video games, their stories and characters; particularly the strong female ones. Their abilities and self confidence, something an awkward kid that never really felt like she fit in, yet aspired to have. At the same time, I was a bit of a tom boy, and back when kids still played outside, the only kids that made me feel at home were largely boys with their simple philosophy, and rough and tumble way of handling things. It made sense to me. Then slowly I was exposed to the likes of Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, 80’s and early 90’s action films and was of course, like pretty much everyone you must speak to, was fascinated.
What can you remember from one of your early Sensei’s teachings that still sticks in your mind today?
Its not really a particular lesson, but the discipline and diligence that’s instilled from being involved in martial arts, and sport as a whole really, is so important. I would never say I’m particularly innately talented. But I’m super passionate about what I do and will put everything I have in to improving and developing, and supporting others on their quest around me – I think paying it forward is one of the most important things we can do.
Chat about your acting training ,and what made you decide that you wanted to be in front of the camera?
I’ve been performing, on my own, since I was 13, whether it be dance, amateur dramatics, poetry, or music. I studied at school, and did two years of performing arts at college, did Summer schools and workshops at places like Sylvia Young’s and Moscow Arts Theater, was part of a theater company, and was fortunate to do a placement at a theater in Paris. During this time, my dad passed away which put my future into a bit of a tail spin. Performing had to be put to one side as I attempted to build a viable career in Sports Science and Human Performance to support myself and my family. But that itch wouldn’t go away. Fast forward a couple of years, and a few more experiences, and I met some incredible people in the world of film-making and action who reignited and helped me add fuel to the the flame and made me realize that itch was there for a reason. If I didn’t give myself a shot, if I didn’t know, I would forever wonder “what if”. So I got to work studying anywhere and with anyone I could. My uncle is a film, TV, theater and ex Royal Shakespeare Company actor, and also sat on the admissions board at the Central School of Speech and Drama so he coached and mentored me, as did actor and film maker, Joey Ansah. Life is a people experience, and this is a people industry and I’ve been so lucky to have met and learned from some great ones. Other than that I still take classes and seek to learn continuously; I’ll always be a student of my passions.
Please expound on your area of study: Human Performance, describe to my audience the training and classes you have to undertake in that curriculum, how does it make you a better actress, and more well rounded person?
When I originally decided to study sport and human performance, it was almost as a response to what had happened in my life. What was the closest thing to the things I loved? Performance, action, martial arts, human ability. It seemed the smart choice. Again, from my early influences, I was fascinated by the human body and its capabilities, and elite sports people and movement artists, are an example of the closest thing we have to super humans. I had also studied psychology in college because I was also fascinated by human behavior and the human mind and how far it could go. It was a close toss up. But studying sports science gave me a clear understanding of the functions of the human form, how to improve performance and fuel and look after oneself physically. That’s an important part of training, of action and indeed of the modern industry. I think, like anything really, it is another page in my story, another chapter in my book to draw on, and I think the art of acting is also developed in the art of living life, experiencing different situations, vocations, meeting people on all different paths and listening to their stories and adding to your emotional intelligence. I’ve spent time as a trainer, a coach, a kid’s teacher, a journalist and so on, and I’ve learned from all of those experiences, and the people I’ve met along the way.
Thanks for the sharing your diverse background, delving right into Doctor Strange, chat about the audition process, if there was one, or how you were selected for Zealot character.
I was recommended to the casting director, Reg Poerscout-Edgarton, by a friend of mine who knew and had worked with him previously, one of my closest friends and fellow actors. I went in, did the audition, and then came out not thinking too much of my efforts. About 4 weeks later, I get a call to come in for a stunt assessment and then training began, about a month after that I was confirmed for the role.
Once you landed the role, did you undergo a lengthy training process? What are some of the things you had to learn for your Zealot part?
We spent a good few months training under the most awesome Jojo Eusebio and Vincent Wang in a mixture of martial arts styles, including Silat, Cali, JKD and Kung Fu, and of course the choreography itself. We spent a lot of time previzing the action sequences. We had a lot of wire work to do so we spent lots of time rehearsing and getting comfortable with the stuff we were going to do on screen – the whole thing was a lot of fun – a lot of hard work, but an incredible learning experience.
Curious when you started filming, what some of the instructions given to you to get in character, did they give you the menacing stare directive, and how did you approach your character, did you sit with the script and act it out?
The script had it all – it was our bible. The script showed us our place in this Strange universe. And Mads was such an incredible commander, and Scott Derrickson, our general. They led, we followed.
Share a strange ahaha, and or unusual story from the set of ‘Doctor Strange’
So many! We had so much fun on those sets – from magic tricks, to dance battles and general douchebaggery – it was just incredible to be part of the wild ride. Wouldn’t even know where to start. I will say that one of the hardest things I’ve had to do is try to keep a straight face standing in front of Benedict Wong as he’s chuckling himself at the end of the Hong Kong section.
Chat about working with your friends Scott Adkins and Zara Phythian, does it make things easier when mates are on set?
Ah most definitely. The dream is, and has always been, to do what you love with the people you love and respect. And I’ve been so lucky to have done that. Both Zara and Scott are such talented performers, both in action and drama, and had been an inspiration early on as pioneers of the U.K. action industry, so again, getting to work with people you really respect as human beings and professionals is always great. Particularly when they’re mates.
What are your thoughts on the film, I am sure that you liked it, but curious if you watched it and are thinking if you did this and this differently etc…?
The film is phenomenal, a real visual masterpiece and a testament to the team that made it happen. I don’t think I’d ever be presumptuous enough to think id change anything, but I guess, with a great story and so many great characters it would have been awesome to just see more of it all.
Shifting gears, chat about Street Fighter: Resurrection and your bad ass character Decapre, what is her origin and her strengths, judging from your reel, she is a relentless bad girl.
Decapre is a character that was first made playable in SFIV and she is one of Bison’s personally programmed female army, The Dolls. Her appearance resembles that of Cammy, however her face is scarred from the experimentation done to her by M Bison. This is a sore spot for Decapre and reason for her wearing her trademark mask, and also the reason for her intense hatred of Cammy, although raised as sisters. Her programming, some say was too good, bringing about certain robotic mannerisms and way of speaking, however it had also left her volatile. Calm, then berserka style rage when provoked – made her such an interesting character to step into. And I’m such a fan of Street Fighter, that getting to be part of that universe was also a dream come true.
You are a glorious bad girl! Do you like playing the antagonistic characters, you are such a kind lady, so this is real acting?
Ah, thanks man! I think it’s always great playing bad girls. People are an interesting mix of light and dark and exploring the darkness in an appropriate setting is always fun. Especially when antagonists are multi layered. For example, Decapre was doing the bidding of her chief and commander, M. Bison, a man that then abandoned her and bid her to die as if disposable, bringing about a different mix of emotions which was great to explore.
Who are some of the directors, producers, and actors you would like to be given the opportunity to work with in the future
There are so many, I could be here forever. There are so many actors, directors and producers that inspire me constantly I almost don’t want to limit my answer. I just love working with passionate, talented people and I’ve been lucky in having done that so far, I hope to be fortunate enough to continue to do so.
Speaking of the future what are some of the projects you have coming that you can discuss?
Well, Street Fighter: Resurrection should be getting a wider release very soon and as for upcoming work, I’m hoping 2017 will be a bright year… 😉
Katrina in 10 years is, A. acting, B. Producing, C. Teaching, or D. A combination, what are your long term goals?
Hopefully all of the above. Film making fascinates me. But for sure, longevity, to survive and create. First and foremost, I want to be the greatest actress I can be, and I am always learning. The more and more I grow within this industry, the more I would like to expand into directing and writing given the experience and opportunity.
You have much experiencing for such a young lady, do you have any advice to young people wanting a career in the entertainment field?
Do it. With all your heart and everything you have. And love the process. The destination is less important than the path itself, enjoy the twists and turns. And invest in good people. They will make the journey amazing.
Final thoughts, let us wrap up this interview so you can return to your training:
Thank you for having me Danny :-), always a pleasure, and thank you for your support!
For More information on the amazing Katrina Durden blast your browsers to her official Social Media Pages, watch for a Katrina Durden autographed photo contest in 2017! @