We caught up with the lovely Katie Amess about her latest work.
British beauty Katie Amess is making her mark in Hollywood, after being named one of BAFTA LA’s Best Newcomers, she proved them right by starring alongside Tim Roth, Frances Barber, Stephen Berkoff and David O’Hara in William Friedkin’s adaptation of Pinter’s The Birthday Party. Katie is about to appear in two primetime drama’s Bull and Criminal Minds: Behind Borders.
Bull is an American legal television series starring former NCIS star Michael Weatherly and Katie plays the self-involved juror Kendall Nagel. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders follows an elite team of FBI agents of the fictional International Response Team (IRT) tasked with solving cases that involve American citizens on international soil and this talented actress plays Sandie Weeks, a British tourist whose luck has run out on the island of Jamaica.
Amess was the recipient of the Helen Mirren Award for Acting and trained at the highly regarded Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. As well as The Birthday Party, Bull and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, she recently worked alongside Chris Evans in Captain America.
What was it like to be named one of BAFTA LA’s best newcomers?
So many wonderful actors I respect and admire are BAFTA members – it is a fantastic organization. The competition for Newcomers was definitely tough so it really was an honor to be selected. Being in LA it is a great feeling to know you are part of a strong supportive community away from home.
Were you star struck when you were cast to play opposite Tim Roth and Stephen Berkoff in William Friedkin’s adaptation of Pinter’s The Birthday Party?
I wasn’t star struck so much as excited to learn and get to work. They are both phenomenal actors -everyone was in the cast. Frances Barber and David O’Hara were also genius. We even studied Stephen Berkoff’s plays at school and here I was about to work with him! I would call them all living legends!
What was it like working with them?
These were people I respected and admired and I was so excited to actually get to work in the rehearsal room with them. Being directed by William Friedkin (who obviously directed The Exorcist) was such a great learning experience for me as well. I couldn’t have wished to have worked with a more talented respected cast. I learned so much from all of them and loved how willing they were to me and my ideas as well.
What started your passion for acting?
When I was about 5 I was watching ‘3 Men and a Little Lady’ and I decided I wanted to be the girl who played Mary. I would watch the film over and over again and knew almost every line. (I also had a crush on Tom Selleck as I told everyone ‘I just loved his mustache’). I would make my sisters put on shows for our friends and family. They definitely weren’t as into it as me but since I am the oldest sister they were kind of forced into it teehee.
You studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, would you say that has helped you shape your career so far?
Most definitely. Getting into Central is one of my happiest memories. The alumni list is out of this world – Sir Lawrence Olivier, Dame Judy Dench, Harold Pinter, Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave to name but a few. Walking the halls you just feel this electric energy from being around so many talented people knowing that some of you are going to be right up there with the greats that walked the halls before you.
Who do you aspire to be like within the industry?
Goldie Hawn, Helen Mirren and of course Meryl Streep. Helen Mirren actually went to the same high school as me in Essex. I think they really paved the way for actresses today. They helped create a breakthrough in a male dominated industry and fought to be respected and look at them today. Their roles are so varied and challenging. I love people like Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders (who also went to my drama school) as they create and produce their own work. I don’t think you can get much funnier than those two – especially their parodies of Titanic and Lord of the Rings!
You recently have starred in the hit show Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, what was that like to be part of such a well-known series?
I had a blast. Being chosen for the role was really exciting for me! Everyone in the cast was so lovely – especially Gary Sinise. I loved my storyline too.
What can we expect from your character on the show?
She is a British girl and into nature. She gets into trouble away from home but there is a plot twist I won’t give away – you will have to tune in!
You’ve also starred alongside NCIS star Michael Weatherly in upcoming US legal drama Bull, what was it like taking on the role of juror Kendall Nagel?
Amazing – not least because I got to fly to New York to film it and I just love that city! Michael Weatherly was hilarious and the way he used improv was hysterical! I had the best time there.
Do you enjoy playing roles based around crime?
I do. My roles in Criminal Minds Beyond Borders and Bull are totally different but are both from crime shows. What was nice about Bull was I got to also show off a comedic side as I love comedy as well!