Screen Relish recently had the opportunity to talk to Kara Hayward, one of the stars of the upcoming thriller THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT. During the interview we discussed certain elements, themes, and plot points of the film that could be considered spoilers. Please be aware.
ScreenRelish: So let’s start off with a simply question. How was your overall experience with this film?
Kara Hayward: It was phenomenal getting to work on this film because this is only my second film, and my first film everything was really specific. Wes was really specific with everything he wanted you to do, and we use to joke that if you were suppose to be holding something in front of your face he would tell you how far he wants it from your face, and then if you moved it an inch he would come in and move it right back for you. So this film was a little bit looser, and they let us experiment a bit of improvisation, which I was, you know, really lucky to work with such a great cast, writer, and director. I learned a lot and got to play around a bit to become a bit more comfortable as an actress. It was a great experience because everyone around me was so cool. We all got to be great friends, and that is such a wonderful thing. So overall it was fantastic!
SR: Well I’m glad to hear that it was a good time, and that was something I picked up on. Since most of the cast is around that high school age, which I believe you are still in high school, everyone had this chemistry. Would you say that your high school experience impacted how you went into this film?
KH: Well really when I went into this film I was still in middle school. So getting on set, you know, everyone was very comfortable with each other, so I can’t say that it impacted how I performed because my character is kind of an outcast while everyone is so sweet. So I had to make that part up as I went.
SR: So then what was your prep for this film like?
KH: Um, well it was just more trying too… I’m actually trying to remember because this was such a long time ago haha. Well when we all first met at the offices, we all got to know each other and get comfortable with each other. We were all talking about what we were going to do on the weekends for our breaks. So really it was more just making sure I was comfortable with everyone there. Uh, because it was very much everyone playing off of each other a lot, so it was mostly just really getting to know the other members of the cast and crew.
SR: Well it sounds like it was a fun time!
KH: Oh yeah of course! It was so much fun.
SR: Well, obviously, the film is a modern retelling of the Salem Witch Trials, so I’m curious how much you knew about this subject before going in? Or was that part of your learning the character?
KH: That was something that we studied in school and everything, and I had read some books about it, but that isn’t something that I really studied on. Of course when I was, you know, acting on set it was something that I took very seriously, but it wasn’t something specifically for my role.
SR: That makes sense. As an actor you would rather adopt the character yourself rather than repeat something that has already been written on.
KH: Exactly! That is a good way to put it actually.
SR: Haha, but your answer had a bit more personality.
KH: Right, right. I was trying to bring this character’s actions ahead rather than trying to repeat what someone has covered historically. I wanted to make her my own.
SR: Something that all actors should strive to do. So earlier you mentioned your work with MOONRISE KINGDOM, um, which was a fairly lighthearted film compared to SISTERHOOD. How was the jump from that kind of tonally light film to this film, which was much darker?
KH: There was definitely some tense moments. I took it kind of slow; you know SISTERHOOD was my second film so I still didn’t really know what was going on. I was just trying to do my best. Really I can just say that it was a whole new environment, and I just went with it more. I didn’t really take into consideration ‘oh well this is how it worked on MOONRISE KINGDOM,’ and instead just took in this new atmosphere. I made this my own, and I made Emily my own new character.
SR: That makes sense, as you stated earlier that this film allowed you to have more breathing room to make it your own.
KH: Yes, exactly.
SR: Ok, so going off of that, obviously the film has a history with the crowd funding campaign that goes back to 2012. So with the films being funded by the people, is there a pressure or sense of obligation to give a stronger performance?
KH: I mean, of course I’m obligated to give the best performance I could possible give regardless of whomever it is funded by. To try my hardest, to make this character and bring her to life as best I can, to show as many of the layers I possibly can. I’m apart of this project, and of course it is going to be great because we have this great director, great cast. I’m going to try my hardest no matter who it is funded by.
SR: Ok, so as you stated this was your second film – with the first being MOONRISE KINGDOM back in 2012 – but between then you did some television work if I remember correctly?
KH: Yes I did. I was in WHITE COLLAR and LAW & ORDER SVU.
SR: How did your work on television, which is a wildly different production style, help with this work if at all?
KH: Well I learned as an actor from television, but I did SISTERHOOD before I filmed WHITE COLLAR and LAW & ORDER if I remember correctly. So I didn’t have that experience yet at all.
SR: That makes sense. I believe that SISTERHOOD was filmed back in 2013 so…
KH: Yeah that sounds right. It all happened such a long time ago. But I did take my SISTERHOOD experience and apply it to SVU and WHITE COLLAR. They were some intense scenes so I was able to bring some of that forward.
SR: Speaking of that, the one thing that really stuck out to me about this film [SISTERHOOD] was the message about our social-media culture. About how gossip can spread so quickly, especially within the high school environment. Do you agree with the message and how the film handles it?
KH: Well I definitely think that it is a very important, strong message about cyber-bullying and how the whole rumor is spreading. Basically, in the story, the Emily character has everything spiral out of control… and I do agree that that can happen really easily. I have never had gotten myself in this kind of situation or anything like that but, you know, I’ve seen it happen to people. Not necessarily to that extent, but I feel like it is very possible. I feel like the story handles it very well. It is written properly, and I feel like it can connect with teenagers at this age.
SR: Oh yeah I agree. It was handled really well, probably the thing that stuck with me the most once I finished watching the film.
KH: Good, yeah I’m glad. It really is important.
SR: Well I’m out of time so is there anything about the film that you want to talk about?
KH: I just hope that people can come away from it with the message that you had said. And really I just want people to enjoy it. I feel like it will connect well with audiences, teenagers, and really anyone who has been a teenager and experienced or seen things that happen related to the story.
Screen Relish would like to thank Kara for her time. You can see THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT in limited release and VOD on 10th April. You can also check out our review of the film HERE.