Kate Bosworth goes above and beyond when it comes to being an actor. She is a philanthropist, a humanitarian, a producer, a fashion designer, and yes, an extremely good actor too. How she got her start in Hollywood is the kind of story that makes me smile. She was a champion horse rider, auditioned for Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer, got the part, and the rest is history. Now, she's a champion for her husband/director Michael Polish's work. Nona is the couples fourth film together, with Bosworth backing as producer, and a supporting role. Nona is a beautiful and harrowing story, about a woman's journey from Honduras to America, only to be sold into sex-trafficking. It's an extremely current topic about the immigrant experience, a film that Bosworth and Polish worked on from start to finish. I had the incredible honor of interviewing Kate Bosworth for AMovieGuy.com, and left in awe of her inspiration and artistic passion. Read the interview here:
KATE BOSWORTH: Hi Leo!
AMG.COM: Hi Kate, thank you so much for talking with me today!
KATE BOSWORTH: How's it going? And thank you so much for your patience in the day. I flew in this morning from the Dominican Republic, I was shooting my new Netflix show there and it's been a domino type of day.
AMG.COM: You're probably a little bit exhausted.
KATE BOSWORTH: I'm in New York, so it was only one hour behind, but I've been away from, I say “civilization” in quotes, because we've been shooting in rural parts of the Dominican Republic, and I'm back to back with things to be done before the press day.
AMG.COM: Yeah that's a lot of maneuvering, a lot of back and forth.
KATE BOSWORTH: On this movie, Nona- I really utilize myself as the producer of the movie, but I'm clicking back into that gear of PR and back in front of the camera to promote it.
AMG.COM: Well, I loved the film and I'm excited that you are pushing so hard for it, because it's such a current and important film for audiences to see.
KATE BOSWORTH: Thank you so much, I jokingly say that this is Michael's and my first child. It really has been a labor of love. He conceptualized the idea of this movie in early January of 2017, right before Trump took office. He left to shoot Nona in Honduras, Guatemala, and all through Mexico in late February. And temperatures were running high then and they still are now. The discussions of this “wall” and “us vs. them”, filming in this crazy environment made it intense. In a way, I think the intensity worked in his benefit because it made him adamant to make the movie as authentic as possible. He made sure to travel through these countries, he wrote the film in Spanish, his own mother crossed the border when he was four, many years and years ago. He was coming from a very pure place, but we had no idea that it would coincide as topically as it has.
AMG.COM: This is your fourth film working with your husband, Michael Polish, what about Nona was different from the other 3 films you two made together?
KATE BOSWORTH: It's the purest film we have made together in any respect. We began this journey from a concept. Michael came home from work, and heard this story on the radio about a sex house having been busted not far from our home. There was forty-four known houses in the Los Angeles area. Who knows how many unknown? He was really moved by it and said, “I think there's a narrative story here that's important to be told and I want to tell it.” I said, “okay well let's talk about it”, and we sat at the kitchen table, discussed it, he went and wrote the script, and did it fast and furiously. We quickly realized that to make a movie in Spanish, in the way we did, with an unknown actress, with the kind of security risks we were willing to take as a group, we were going to have to be the ones to put our money where our mouth is. I self-financed the project, we had Michael with the blood, sweat, and tears of writing, directing, shooting, putting his life on the line; And for me, every penny you see on the screen is mine. It was a very intensive process, absolutely incredible, and one that were still in it, so it's hard to wrap our heads around this timely collision. We are this little movie and we want to do something that might make a difference in the world. It's colliding at a critical time and our hope is that people are seeing it. When you talk about human trafficking, sex trafficking, the humanity seems to be eclipsed by the statistics, and those statistics are incredibly important to understand, the magnitude of these issues, it becomes this faceless issue. What's ironic about that, is we are talking about human beings. Our goal with Nona was, let's make it about one person, so that when you think about sex trafficking, you think about that girl. She's painting mannequins in Honduras, she meets a boy who says he can get her out of here, she was vulnerable, and said okay. She thought, any kind of risk is better than where she was at. In telling this human “how” to the side of the subject matter, it was important to us. We felt that would connect best with the human nature and the empathy that is needed.
AMG.COM: Let's talk about the lead of Nona, Sulem Calderon. What was the process for casting her and can you talk a bit about her fantastic performance here?
KATE BOSWORTH: Oh my god, she's a revelation to me. For Michael's entire career, he doesn’t audition actors, he just meets with them. He gets a sense of their essence, their spirit, and if there's something he sees that aligns with the character he casts them. He's a very confident filmmaker, and he's the actor whisperer, it's true, I've seen it up close and personal. He met with Sulem, and he met with a few different people, each one special in their own way, but Sulem had the spirit that we knew right off the bat. I remember Michael sending me a photo of her and telling me, “I think we found our Nona.” I knew just from that photo that she was Nona. It was a no brainer. She filled in fearlessly, she walked the trek that we've seen the immigrants walk on the caravan, that these girls and boys walk, to try and obtain a better life, putting themselves in extreme danger. What was really interesting about making the movie was that I think she, and all of us, felt aware of the fact that this mission we were on was bigger than the movie. It gave us this otherworldly strength, a fearlessness, and we just went and did it. Michael said that he was going to come back with something special. I couldn't go into some of the higher risk areas, but I did go across the border from San Diego to Tijuana, where they were shooting the crazy bar scene with the smuggler-coyote and the loud pop-song. We finished that and then went back across the border to finish up the final scenes in Los Angeles, so it was a complete experience for all of us.
AMG.COM: What has to be mentioned is that Nona is gorgeous to look at, shot by Michael, written by Michael, directed, and it still has that authentic look. I saw you retweeted about Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, mentioning that Michael too did everything with his film and it's important to tell our audiences, your audiences, that Michael is doing all of those things.
KATE BOSWORTH: Oh yeah, I scream it from the rooftops because I think it's just remarkable. He's an absolute genius. Sometimes I feel, because I am his wife, it is somehow misconstrued that I'm just being supportive. No, I'm saying this as an artist, as a calling, that he really is a total genius with what he does. He didn't have twenty-five million dollars to make this movie. He had a shoestring. All he had was his talent, and a few limited resources. I think he is the ultimate cowboy, that's why I love him as a filmmaker, it's why I love him as a wife, and I do think he's one of the most prolific filmmakers working today.
AMG.COM: In 2016, you and Michael had the privilege of Michael's film Northfork playing at Ebert Fest. That's a festival that celebrates cinema that moves us and creates empathy. Would you say creating empathy is something you and Michael strive for in films?
KATE BOSWORTH: Yes, I think it's our responsibility as storytellers. I really do. When I read words that fill me with that kind of connection, or I watch a scene, or a film in its entirety, it's that kind of connective tissue that moves me the most; leaves the greatest impact. That is one-hundred percent what we strive to do. It's how we communicate, how we differentiate ourselves as human beings. To say, this matters, let me tell you why this matters, let me make you feel. From there on out you can say, hey I'm going to do something about this, you have to see this, all of a sudden you get this movement from the heart. I think Michael and I both take that very seriously and that empathy was our pure intention with Nona.
AMG.COM: You also had a fantastic horror film come out this year, The Domestics, I loved that movie. You have quietly had a career of making horror movies, is that a genre you have particularly grown to love?
KATE BOSWORTH: Oh thank you, yes, I love creating that tension, I loved horror movies as a kid. I am a horror movie junkie. I watch everything from The Exorcist, to Poltergeist, to The Blob, to The Dark Crystal, anything I could get my hands on, I wanted to watch. If it had magical realism, or weird dark fantasy, or horror I watched it. As a kid, if we drove by a cemetery I would ask my parents to pull over so we could explore it. I was a bit like Lydia in Beetlejuice type of girl. I think that to make those movies it scratches that itch. I loved making The Domestics, on a smaller scale it had that crazy Mad Max feel, when we shot the sequence of the Russian roulette was one of the craziest things I've ever felt, it was mental for sure.
AMG.COM: It felt almost too real, of where the world could go, people creating factions, hiding from one another.
KATE BOSWORTH: Oh, tell me about it, I was in it thinking we were walking that line for sure. I'm actually excited for you to see the new series- The I-Land- I just finished with Netflix, it has a sci-fi tone, but it has an interesting grounded feel. The character I am playing, if you dig The Domestics, you will enjoy this for sure.
AMG.COM: Well thank you so much for speaking with me today.
KATE BOSWORTH: Amazing, thank you so much. Thank you for supporting this movie, I so much appreciate you.