When Katharine Isabelle first arrived on our cinematic radar playing a bloodthirsty lycanthrope in the cult-classic film Ginger Snaps in 2000, it was clear that the actress was destined for genre greatness. And after a string of minor roles in films like Freddy vs. Jason and the Carrie TV movie written by Bryan Fuller, the actress solidified her spot playing psychotic surgeon Mary Mason in the Soska Sisters film American Mary in 2012. Since then she has had impressive roles in shows like Hannibal and straddling dead bodies in last year’s See No Evil 2. Her latest film, 88, finds the actress playing a woman whose plans for revenge become derailed when she suffers a fugue state and must piece together her memories.
Isabelle recently sat down with The Mary Sue to discuss a number of topics – from her latest project, her most memorable roles and the horror genre’s treatment of women.
On the importance of strong female characters in the genre:
“Thank God I’ve been given a few of them! Even going back to Ginger Snaps days, to see women like us who are strong—who are independent, who are going to put up, you know, a real good fight and not just be victimized—reflected back to ourselves, I think it’s important. I’m not sure if growing up I saw women like myself, like April, like the [Twisted Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska], reflected back. You know, women who had things worked out, who had more integrity, who had more strength of character.
I’m thrilled when I find one of those characters on paper. And [to have them] supported by women like that as well? Ain’t nothing wrong with that!”
On her two most memorable characters to date – Mary Mason and Ginger Fitzgerald – the actress explained:
“Those two characters are very classic, they will never be out of touch with time and reality. Those two characters I was gifted with, and Flamingo as well in 88, they are so much more than what you can usually find available for women. They’re multi-dimensional. They might not have the most redeeming qualities, but I’m a fully-fleshed out, multi-dimensional human being and I like to see that reflected back.
I mean, Ginger is a timeless character. Even today, I have kids who were not anywhere near born when we shot that who resonate with that character. And the same with Mary. They’re timeless bitches that I love that are very dear to my heart.”
Timeless bitches indeed! You can read the interview in full via the link above.