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Post by Admin on Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:40 pm

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Austin at SXSW 2013: Heather Kafka Times Five
By Elizabeth Stoddard on February 25, 2013 - 1:30pm in

Austin-based actress Heather Kafka shows up in features Pit Stop, The Bounceback, Loves Her Gun, When Angels Sing, and short Black Metal which are all screening at SXSW next month. Let's just say that if you see a film with local ties during the festival, there's about a 75% chance that Kafka will be in it. You might have seen her previously in locally made movies like Lovers of Hate, Saturday Morning Massacre, Slacker 2011 (pictured above) ... and she's the woman trying to buy from the Carl's Jr. kiosk in Idiocracy.

Kafka took some time to talk to us (via email) about working in the friendly Austin film community and taking on roles that her grandma shouldn't see.

Slackerwood: You appear in a number of the films showing at SXSW this year. How did you become involved with these film projects?

Heather Kafka: Sometimes I'm lucky. When I came back home to Austin in 2007, it wasn't long before I was doing Lovers of Hate with Bryan Poyser. I simultaneously began that tempestuous relationship with Facebook and suddenly all these film people were sending friend requests. Then we were in the same room singing karaoke, at the same parties, meeting at SXSW or screenings. I met Bob Ray and Geoff Marslett, Bob Byington and the Zellners. Clay Liford moved from Dallas to Austin. I met Eric Steele, Frank Mosley, James Johnston; a whole Fort Worth contingent.

Arts and Labor opened up and all these filmmakers rented office spaces together: Jonny Mars, Kat Candler, Yen Tan, Jason Wehling, Kelly Williams. Casting director John Williams' daughter and my daughter just so happen to go to school together. Most of these people have been friends first who then asked if I would do their film. And that seemed to just repeat itself over and over last year. These specific projects? Bryan just asked (The Bounceback), Yen just asked (Pit Stop), Geoff Marslett just asked (Loves Her Gun), and Black Metal, I went through auditions.

Is there a character in one of these films that you particularly enjoyed playing?

Kafka: Loves Her Gun (SXSW screening info) was a blast. I'm your white trash Miss Messy from next door. I do white trash a lot but there was something a bit bigger and more playful in this woman's energy. She's trying so hard to cover her blemishes while making sure you know, everything's completely under control. Most of my women under pressure are so dark and heavy. And this gets heavy, don't get me wrong. But learning fight choreography and playing drunk; those kind of things are fun for actors.

What was your filming schedule like while working on these? Was there any overlap?

Heather Kafka as Lacy on set of JOEKafka: There was really no overlap but they were close enough together to make me feel a bit schizophrenic. In Pit Stop (SXSW screening info), I'm a conservative from a small town whose brother is in a coma. In Loves Her Gun: abused white trash neighbor.

In The Bounceback (SXSW screening info), I'm a smart-ass Alamo Drafthouse employee running the Air Sex competition and in Black Metal (SXSW screening info) I'm married to the lead singer in a metal band, so naturally I immersed myself in lots of metal. And those were just a few of the projects I was involved in last year. Much of it was co-starring or cameo; just brief beats in the stories, so it was often very quick, drop in and finish, then get out. It was a chaotic year.

As an actress living in Austin, what are your thoughts on making films in the Lone Star State?

Kafka: Yes, please. Make films in the Lone Star State. I'm around. Let's shoot something.

Are there any other recent films you've worked on that you want to tell us about?

Kafka: I did a day on the new Terrence Malick. If I survive the cut, I play a woman at a party who has cancer and has a brief but intimate encounter with Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling.

A film I'm most excited about is David Gordon Green's Joe starring Nicholas Cage. I play Lacy, a small town prostitute who lives in the whorehouse Joe frequents. We'll just say at some point, Joe comes for my services ... and then I found myself shooting a scene with Nicolas Cage that I could never have predicted for myself. It should be incredibly dark and unpredictable ... and yet another film I'm in that is NOT suitable for grandma (NSFG). My poor grandma.

[Still at top from Slacker 2011, photo on right from set of Joe, both courtesy of Heather Kafka]

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Post by Admin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:39 pm

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Clifton Collins Jr. Gives You A Peek Into 'Widow'


March 10, 2013

When an actor who was worked with auteurs like J.J. Abrams, Stephen Soderberg and Terrence Malick signs up for a television series, it demands your attention. This year, Clifton Collins Jr. has selected ABC's Red Widow, a drama about one woman's descent into mob-madness following her husband's murder.

Collins plays James Ramos, an F.B.I. agent whose personal struggles could carry their own show, but is tasked with trying to keep the titular bereaved on the straight and narrow. ETonline caught up with Collins to find out what excites him about Red Widow's journey, what fans can expect from his role in this summer's monster mash-up Pacific Rim and why everyone will be talking about Terrence Malick's new movie, in which Collins co-stars with Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling and Natalie Portman.

ETonline: What attracted you to Red Widow?
Clifton Collins Jr: A combination of two things: the authenticity of how the piece was written and Melissa Rosenberg. Her integrity and her collaborative spirit is so rare in TV. It's something I did not experience on my last show, which might have been part of its demise. This show feels like a family. There's so much love and respect for the collaborative process, it's been amazing. ABC is pushing the envelope in the most beautiful of ways, and it's not something an actor would normally expect.

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ETonline: I feel like Ramos' arc on another show would simply be to eventually get Marta to turn on Schiller. But the pilot revealed his wife has a heroin problem, so obviously there's a lot more to this man. What excites you about the character?
Collins: Melissa promised me exciting things would happen with Ramos, and she delivers. I love what I do and to bring a reality to the screen, so doing the research on heroin and heroin addicts was so amazing. I also did a lot of research into the agents. They take on a lot in their careers, which means a lot of them have PTSD, which is one reason so many of them retire at young ages. It really is that demanding and I am passionate about bringing that reality to TV. I'm excited my process has been embraced by the producers.

ETonline: What can you tease about Ramos' journey?
Collins: You can't be a good cop by simply following the rules. The majority of cops do have an honest, moral core, but like any job, we're all human and susceptible to temptations. That said, you're in for a ride because the writers do play on all those real moral issues and dilemmas. Just know that you're not going to have any so-so episode. Every episode will make you scream and has huge cliffhangers. It's exciting to do press for this project because I love talking about it so much.

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ETonline: Well, I'd imagine you won't have any trouble promoting Pacific Rim this summer for similar reasons.
Collins: Oh my God, yes. To work with a modern day Hitchcock in Guillermo Del Toro was such a milestone for me professionally. Guillermo wrote this role for me and the honor was totally mine. I can't say enough magical things about that magical person.

ETonline: You've been in a lot of testosterone-heavy movies. How does this one stack up?
Collins: It's up there, for sure. There are so many great moments with the monsters and the robots, that it really was pretty testosterone-y. Although, there were some intensely magical moments in the second Malick movie I made that I had to journal about. Like watching Natalie Portman sashaying in a tight dress, while back-lit by the sun setting in Austin was enough to set off anyone's testosterone.

ETonline: There have been rumors that Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling share a threesome in that movie. What can you say about its sexual content?
Collins: Oh yeah, the whole thing is very sexual. It's definitely led to some moments of me wondering, "Where the hell am I?" I mean, Benicio [Del Toro] and Fassbender are there while Natalie is looking sexy and this beautiful woman is straddling me. It gets pretty intense.

ETonline: Every actor has a story about working with Malick. What's been your experience?
Collins: Malick is very much an impressionistic filmmaker. It's almost as if the entire world was created just so Malick could shoot it. It's fascinating as an artist to work with him because he's always working in such different styles; it's almost like I worked with three different directors. He's loving and kind and considerate and a lover of film. He's not an egomaniac and there's something so precious about how true he is to his artform. The whole world is Malick's stage. It's like the Jimi Hendrix of directing.

Red Widow airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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