Dark side magazine (Issue 93) interview
by Sloan Freer

A wolf in teen clothing.

As Low Costello once observed, plenty of hot-blooded males turn into wolves when the moon is out. But actress Katharine Isabelle reverses that trend in Ginger Snaps. Sloan Freer talked to her about her creepy career to date.

You might have thought that after playing lycanthropic lovely Ginger Fitzgerald, actress Katharine Isabelle would be well used to male attention of the amorous variety. After all, as the metamorphosing Gothic siren she’s screen cuteness personified, easily out-Buffying any vampire slayer with her kick ass antics and classic good looks. But unusually for an attractive female working in an industry where ego reigns supreme, 18-year-old Isabelle finds the idea of being a pin-up horrific as anything you’ll see in the claret-drenched Ginger Snaps.

“It wigs me out entirely,” she says, her voice rising in an enchanting mix of disgust and amazement, “It’s just SO weird, some-body having a picture of you. I can be a bitch, why do they want a picture of me? They don’t know WHAT I’m like!”

Of course we like to THINK we do though. Flicking through her CV reveals the credits of a girl who’s been in the business since about the tender age of four. Her appearances include kid’s TV creep show Goosebumps and that perennial spooky favourite The X-Files. Surely that suggests Ms. Isabelle has a personal taste for the dark side of entertainment, both professionally and in her leisure time?

“Not really. Everyone brings up those things and says oh, you must REALLY like horror,” she explains. “There’s not been an ongoing aim in my career towards horror movies. It just came up. People are asking me if I wanna audition for, like, Halloween 8 (laughs). If you do one that’s popular, everyone assumes that you wanna do a lot of them. It’s kind of weird, and I’ll try not to get stuck into that.”

Surprisingly, she reveals that she hasn’t actually seen any big horror movies. “Except  The Blob, when I think I was eight. And the make-up artist on Ginger Snaps brought in a couple of horror movies for me to watch, like Alien. I guess I’m not a horror person. I like old films, Casablanca, anything with Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn. I’d love to be like a 1950s movie star. It would be SO fun.”

The Vancouver based actress doesn’t consider herself a horror queen. Yet given the strength of her performance as Ginger, you’d imagine the two girls had a lot in common. Isabelle agrees: “I liked Ginger a lot. She’s really not that much of an exaggeration of my bad side, on a bad day! I’m always the psycho or something in my roles. I like that. The normal, happy person doesn’t work for me.”

While never a death obsessed Goth or a high school outcast like Ginger and her younger sister, Bridgette (the awesome Emily Perkins), she also fully understands the raging hormones and anger that shaped her role. And she particularly loved the sense of empowerment that the transforming Ginger’s superhuman strength and sensuality gave her. “It’s so fun to dress up in all that stuff,” she enthuses, “and do all these    things when you’re really kicking butt.”

The role had its downside though. At it’s most elaborate, Ginger’s highly effective werewolf make-up took a tedious five hours to put on, and two and a half hours to take off, during which time Isabelle confesses her thoughts centred on murdering people! “It was horrible!” she groans, recalling days covered in blood, unable to move, sit or walk. “Because it was all over my face, it blocked my skin from breathing. So my nose would run a lot and I’d have to stick Q Tips (cotton buds) up my nose! I couldn’t see anything and the gloves cut off circulation to my fingers and they turned purple!”

Having suffered for her art in Ginger Snaps, Isabelle continues her masochistic streak, getting traumatised with movie legend Al Pacino, in Christopher (Memento) Nolan’s    upcoming remake of the Norwegian thriller Insomnia.

“I have a really long scene with Al Pacino, screaming and swearing and crying,” she recalls. “He’s screaming and swearing at me and I’m screaming at him, and it’s really interesting.” And was Mr Pacino as charmed by the reluctant babe as Ginger Snaps audiences will be? Isabelle smiles, “I was terrified, because I’d heard these stories of ‘look at him and you’ll get fired’ and all this stuff. I ended up being invited to his penthouse hotel room to play poker with him and all the producers, and he’s really a cool guy.”

Spooky stuff, more questions from Sloan.

What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
A sailing accident. It was just a lot of us. We were young, about 13, got caught in a huge storm in these little dinghies. It really, really, really taught me to respect nature a lot. It was a sailing class, we were going to have a picnic around the point as soon as we got there, it was like 35 knots of wind, and boats were starting to sink and the coastguard had to rescue us. I just realised about a year ago that I didn’t remember how I got out of the water. I remember up to a certain point and then I have no idea what happened. Kind of weird, your brain blocks out things.

Do you believe in werewolves?
One has never come up and bitten me yet, so I can’t say that I do.

What about other supposedly mythical creatures such as vampires or the Loch Ness monster?
I don’t know about the Loch Ness monster. I like to think that’s around. And the Sasquatch too. I think there are vampires in the world. Maybe they don’t quite follow the Hollywood rules as much as we think they do, but they’re probably out there.

Have you had any paranormal experiences?
I saw a UFO. I was in Alberta in the mountains and we were looking into the sky and there was this star that kept changing colours. And then it started just tripping out, going all over the sky really, really quickly in different colours. Then is disappeared. A few years later I met a friend of mine, and her mom had seen the exact same thing in Boston, on the same day, and had written it down in her journal.

Do you believe in ghosts?
Yeah, I have to say. I live in a senior citizens apartment building and it’s quite haunted ’cause they die all the time. There’s lots of stuff in this building, I think.