Endearing is a good word to describe actor Katie Findlay. Since some of her most notable roles involve a lot of death, tears and screaming, “endearing” may be a surprising term. However, Ontario native, Findlay lives up to the stereotype of Canadians being sweet-natured and approachable, even as she almost set her apartment on fire in the moments leading up to our call.
Findlay may be best known for playing Rosie Larsen in AMC’s The Killing, Maggie Landers in The CW's The Carrie Diaries and as Rebecca Sutter in the first season of ABC’s series How to Get Away with Murder. She has been working virtually nonstop since her debut and has many projects going on right now including Man Seeking Woman on FXX and Lost Generation is produced by New Form and available on the exciting new free streaming station Go90.
Katie spoke with TheCelebrityCafe.com about life in Vancouver, her previous work, her exciting new roles, what she can't possibly live without, her dream parts, what she likes to do for fun and more.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Hi. I wanted to start by telling you a cute story. I told my neighbor that I was going to be interviewing you, and he gushed, "You are? OMG, she's so pretty."
Katie Findlay: Tell him I said thank you [laughter].
TCC: So, you're popular with my friends.
KF: That's very sweet. That's so funny.
TCC: So what are you up to these days?
KF: These days, well, right now I just, as you were doing that, discovered that I almost set my kitchen on fire with my big fancy Breville coffee maker that I obviously don't know how to use well enough. So that's fun for everyone [laughter]. I'm just chilling. I don't know how to explain to you how much that almost happened. I've just been chilling out after this third season of Man Seeking Woman. I joined the cast for season three, and I was shooting there from September to the middle of November. So I always spend a month total then being a deadbeat whenever I finish a show because it's hard work. And, yeah, I'm hanging out here in my little apartment in Vancouver trying to remember all the stuff that I used to do before I was at work [laughter].
TCC: And trying not to set your house on fire.
KF: And trying not to set my apartment on fire, which apparently is harder than I previously imagined. Because there's a warming plate. There shouldn't be a warming plate. Nothing should be on fire quietly while you're not paying attention. That's not a good idea for children like me [laughter].
TCC: Let’s talk about your role on The Killing. What was the process?
KF: I was in a small room with a bunch of girls who looked similar to myself. That's the norm. Yeah, all seem scared and are all going in one by one and then screaming their faces off. And you can totally hear them [laughter]. I never thought to consider whether or not I had an attractive scream until that day. It turns out that I don't, but it doesn't matter.
TCC: Okay [laughter].
KF: But, yeah. No, it was just one of those things where they knew something that they were looking for and just a quality of being, which I think it comes down to a lot when you're working on camera. And I expected to be in. They told me, "Well, you know, you die at the beginning, so you might in a couple of days on the pilot." And it was maybe my third job ever in my whole life so I was really excited. I had absolutely no idea how involved I would be in that show and how kind that show would be to me. So it's a pretty exceptional gift for somebody to start again.
TCC: And how did you celebrate the role, getting it?
KF: Oh God, I can't even remember. I was like 18. I was super stoked. They told me that I'd get to run around and do stunt folds in Stanley Park in the middle of the night, so I was pretty excited [laughter].
TCC: Now, how do you prepare for a role?
KF: I mean, it depends on what it is. Most of my characters are a little bit like me. That's just sort of the way my career has gone so far. So I usually try to figure out what about them I understand and what about them I don't, and get to know them like they're friends of mine. And sometimes, I say it. It's like they're sitting on my ribs whenever I'm working as a character. So I find that once I have some empathy for them, and once they're somebody that I understand, especially when I play characters like Rebecca on How to Get Away with Murder, if I can understand what hurts her and what makes her happy, and maybe what she does first thing in the morning when she wakes up in her own apartment, then yeah, I find it much more comfortable to sit in that person all day long the way that we have to. But yeah, I wouldn't say I'm a super process-heavy person.
TCC: Is there a kind of film or TV project that you'd like to do that you haven't done yet?
KF: I would love to be a superhero. I would really have to go to the gym which [laughter]-- no, I would love to be a superhero. I would love to do more musicals. And I would love to be really, really, really, seriously evil [laughter].
TCC: Not just a little bit bad, but deliciously evil to the core...
KF: Yes. Not just a little bit evil, a lot more ambiguous. I'm talking bad to the bone, bring it on [laughter]. I want to be Javier Bardem in No County [laughter], that's what I want. We need more women doing that.
TCC: What was it like working with Shonda Rhimes?
KF: Awesome. Awesome. She's a super busy lady so we didn't see her a ton because she perpetually needs a nap because she does everything in the world. But it was great, I had an amazing time on that show. We're very lucky in that we all got along and we felt like family very quickly, so on days 18-hour days sitting in court. We're about as pleasant as humanly possible, and Viola Davis is a force of nature and a wonderful, wonderful human being. And yeah, we have fun.
TCC: Now, who are some performers you admire?
KF: I'm obsessed with Marion Cotillard, because I feel like she's one of those people that when the camera gets in close you feel like there's nobody else in the room except for her, and maybe a little bit like she can see you and she knows you're there, because she has this really delicate way of controlling the space of the shot that she's in in kind of an old-timey, MGM 1940s kind of way. And I think that's incredibly rare, and you only really understand it once you see a person on camera and it's a really special quality. And yeah, sorry I'm just in the middle of my coffee, so my intellectual snapback is sadly lacking [laughter].
TCC: Caffeine can make us human.
KF: I would've had it before this interview if it weren't for the fact that I had to restart because I almost lit my apartment on [laughter] fire.
TCC: So what do you like to do for fun?
KF: What I like to do for fun. I'm a big fat nerd. I read comic books. I play board games. I listen to podcasts about murder [laughter]. I harass my little brother to come play Xbox at my house, and hang out with me and pretend that I'm cool. I shoot a lot of zombies. And I live in Vancouver, so I frequently go and play in the ocean. And that's what I do in my spare time.
TCC: How do you like fans to connect with you?
KF: How do I like fans to connect with me? I mean-- I was about to say something that would probably not [be the best thing?] to say [laughter]. I was going to say, "However they want," but I was like, "That's not good because some people are crazy." I don't know. I'm one of those people that actually reads my Instagram and my Twitter, so when people do fun stuff like draw cartoons or whatever I actually -- I bought a cartoon from a girl who sketched a little cartoon Rebecca and I thought it was the cutest thing in the world. And so I bought it from her. Now it's sitting on my desk which is awesome but, yeah, I'm on Twitter. I'm @katedangerfield on Twitter and the impossible to spell, @katicatronica, on Instagram. And, yes, I enjoy those communities. Also, occasionally on the bus, people come up to me and tell me they're glad I'm okay because I die so much on TV [laughter].
TCC: That's funny. Where can people see you now?
KF: Right now, I just got finished up on the third season of Man Seeking Woman on FX. It is on Wednesdays at 10:30 p. m. And right now, I believe, we're on episode four, and it's incredibly funny, and a dream job, and everybody should definitely watch it.
TCC: Please tell me about Lost Generation?
KF: Lost Generation is a new ten part musical series that follows a young woman (Hannah Cooper) on a journey through the Berlin EDM music scene in search of a missing childhood friend (Russell). As the mystery deepens and she extends her stay, she finds herself an unwitting part of a new band, a community of expats living the club kid dream, and a tumultuous romance with her vanished friend’s ex-roommate. Everyone in Russell’s community is touched by his disappearance and you get to see the emotional fallout work its way through an adventurous, restless group of kids. Things go crazy, faces are kissed, concerts are ass-kicking/horribly disastrous and someone may have been murdered. It’s written and composed by the highly EXCELLENT Kyle Jarrow and Duncan Sheik respectively. Being involved in singing so much of the score was not only a blast, but a wonderful gift to be given on a project like this. They took a chance on me being able to hold my own and helped me do it. I had no experience with shooting musical numbers, and if you’ve seen the first few episodes, you’ll know that each installment is basically half-story, half-music video. Learning how it all comes together was fascinating for me. Also, we were spoiled with our cast. A more fun group of humans you’ll be hard pressed to find.
TCC: Who is your character?
KF: My characters name is Hannah Cooper, or “Coop-Scoot-And-Boogy” as Calum started calling me halfway through. She works as a legal assistant with a passion for music that she keeps largely to herself until she hits the scene in Berlin and is coaxed out of artistic hiding. The difference between Cooper in Berlin and Cooper back home is night and day. Her journey is definitely one of self-discovery, which is always messy and terrifying and somehow wonderful.
TCC: Where can people see it?
KF: Lost Generation is produced by New Form and available on Go90 in the US. I believe it’s also being released on YouTube for everyone who lives in a far off distant land (myself included, O Canada).
TCC: Oh, great. Is there anything you'd like to add?
KF: No, I'm good, man, if you're good.
TCC: I wish you luck with all your endeavors.
KF: Aw, thank you. Aw, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Have a good day.
Do you think you have a Hollywood worthy scream?