LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview with Kathryn Leigh Scott, star of TV horror classic Dark Shadows
By James Whittington, Sunday 12th November 2006 Kathryn Leigh Scott is a true icon of cult television. Her career has been as varied as the roles she’s played, but for lovers of daytime TV she will be remembered for one television show in particular, Dark Shadows. Now, as audio drama specialist Big Finish release new Dark Shadows plays onto CD we decided that we should catch up with this charming actress and discover what it was like to return to a character she’d played decades before and how she started her own publishing company.
ZH: Kathryn, you’ve had a prolific acting career appearing in many cult shows such as The Incredible Hulk, Police Squad and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but why did you go into the acting profession in the first place?
KLS: Yes, lots of cult TV . . . and don’t forget Space 1999! I have always had twin career goals: acting and writing. I wrote my first story in second grade, and wrote a school play about George Washington. I played Martha, of course. When I was 16, I applied for the Cherub program in both the Journalism and Theatre Departments at North-western University, and got a scholarship in the Theatre. Later I go got a scholarship at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Obviously, one follows the career path that comes naturally, although I still kept writing. Dark Shadows came along soon after I graduated from AADA, and was really a huge break. I was thrilled to be working, but soon realized what an exceptional opportunity Dan Curtis had given me
ZH: Is it true you got your big break on Dark Shadows?
KLS: I loved working on Dark Shadows. There wasn’t a day that I couldn’t wait to get to the studio. I even dropped in on my days off . . . and the fact that I was at the studio the day Producer Bob Costello was filming a taped segment involving the ghost of Josette is how I came to play that character. What luck!
ZH: So what was the original outline for your character of Maggie Evans? Did you have any input?
KLS: I read several times for the role of Victoria Winters, and screen tested only once for Maggie I think Dan wanted me in the series and gave me that role even though it wasn’t a natural fit. Maggie was originally a wise-cracking, wrong-side-of-the-tracks waitress in the Collinsport Diner, and I had a tough time developing that character. Lela Swift, our director, worked with me, but the role did not come easily. In some ways I’m sorry, but then the direction I took that character made me a natural to replace Alexandra when she left the show. I’ve always been mystified what qualifications a waitress brought to the job of governess!
ZH: What was it like working on a daytime show that relied on special effects? Was there much pressure on the cast and crew?
KLS: There was huge pressure to make all the special effects on the show work, and sometimes scene rehearsal was sacrificed to give the crew more time. For the younger actors, it was fun and exciting. I think some of the more seasoned actors found it gruelling and quite scary to perform live with little rehearsal.
ZH: What did it feel like when the show came to an end in1971?
KLS: I had been living in Paris six months when the show was cancelled. I was shocked when I read about it in a fan magazine. I think I always thought when I tired of Paris; I’d be brought home from Windcliff!
ZH: Have you ever tired of being associated with Dark Shadows?
KLS: I made it a point in my eulogy for Dan Curtis to mention that ALL of us wondered (like poor Superman) if we weren’t doomed to always be associated with Dark Shadows rather than some of our other accomplishments. Eventually all of us, including Dan, came to terms with it . . . . and relished it! There was a time when I didn’t want to be known as a former Playboy Bunny, too . . . but at a certain age it’s quite wonderful to think back on.
ZH: How were you approached by Big Finish for Dark Shadows Reborn and were you reluctant to return to such a famous acting role from your past? Did you feel that you’d “moved on” as an actor?
KLS: All of the Dark Shadows actors were thrilled to work together again. I agreed immediately, without having the least idea what we would be doing. I know Stuart Manning and trust his taste . . . and Jim Pierson had vetted the project. That is all I needed to know. Lara and I were both sitting in front of microphones ready to do our first scene together when we whispered to each other: are we getting paid for this? I think we’d all like to see these audio stories become a big success and record more. I’m sure Dan would have got a kick out of hearing these stories . . . they really are good!
ZH: How did your publishing firm, Pomegranate Press come about?
KLS: I started publishing in 1986 when I wrote My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows. Dear friends Joel Crothers and Grayson Hall died within months of each other and I was asked to write a magazine piece . . . . I just kept writing. I loved doing the book, and I really took to publishing. I named the company after the tree in our garden, and just kept signing up more authors, more books.
ZH: Tell us about “Murder in Primetime”, what’s it all about?
KLS: I’ve always wanted to write mysteries and was nearing the end of Murder in Prime Time when I realized how fun it would to introduce it at the 40th Anniversary of Dark Shadows Festival. I certainly did not want to publish another book about vampires . . . been there, done that . . . and I was sure the Dark Shadows fans would embrace something new. They’ve always been so supportive of all of us! SYNOPSIS: MURDER IN PRIME TIME - Actress Meg Harrison, best known as TV detective Jinx Fogarty, faces a real-life mystery over the disappearance of her newly-wed husband Paul. Fearing he's been kidnapped on a business trip, she's horrified to discover that Paul is a lifelong con artist with ties to the Mafia. Worse, he's bilked many of her well-heeled Hollywood friends and colleagues. They, along with the FBI and the media, suspect she was in on the scam. Destitute and heartbroken, her own life in jeopardy, she sets about tracking down her husband using her experience as the intrepid sleuth, Jinx but without the benefit of a legion of TV writers. Along the way, she unleashes a string of betrayals and at least one unexpected romance.
ZH: What future plans do you have?
KLS: This is a lovely time of life . . . . one begins to see how things turn out! I intend to keep writing and acting, but won’t take on any new publishing ventures. I’m already at work on my second Jinx Fogarty mystery, and have two non-fiction projects on my desktop. I drop everything when an acting job comes up, and then get back to my laptop. I’m also travelling quite a lot . . . Dublin, London, Prague and Paris this summer. China next year. Check my website for further news . . . and to order any of my books, including Murder in Prime Time and the Dark Shadows books. I’m always happy to sign books . . .
ZH: Kathryn Leigh Scott, thank you very much.
For more information on the new range of Dark Shadows audio dramas from Big Finish go to www.darkshadowsreborn.com
MORE INTERVIEWS Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.
Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?
It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.
HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.
HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.
HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!
Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.
HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?
MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.
HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?
GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?
CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.
HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?
SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.
Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!
HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?
SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.
HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?
SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.
HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?
RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?
DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.
HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?
FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.
HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 29th September
Wednesday 29th September
Wednesday 22nd September