THIS JUST IN: KATHERINE BROOKS ON THE DEACON’S DAUGHTER
For those of you still obsessed with filmmaker Katherine Brooks‘s last film, Loving Annabelle, you’ll be happy to know that she’s embarking on another project that just might meet all of your cinematic forbidden love needs.
In an exclusive interview, Brooks talks to us about her new project, The Deacon’s Daughter (the working title), which will begin shooting soon in New Orleans, and the challenges of wearing writing, directing and acting hats on a project.
AfterEllen.com: What’s the inspiration behind The Deacon’s Daughter?
Katherine Brooks: This past Thanksgiving, I was really sad and I wanted to watch a great love story between two women. I quickly realized there aren’t very many out there and the ones that are of substance and depth, I had already seen a dozen times. So, I sat down at my computer and I wrote the love story I wanted to see. Two days later I had The Deacon’s Daughter.
AE: Can you give us any additional information about the film?
KB: My character, Katlyn, is a well-known painter and photographer that lives in New Orleans. She had a very dysfunctional upbringing and therefore has a hard time connecting with and trusting people. When she is out one night, she hears Anne, a singer/songwriter, sing and she falls madly in love. When she meets the singer, they have an instant connection, but Anne is already married. Both of them have tremendous obstacles to overcome in order to be together, and the movie explores them in a very raw and realistic way. It’s about timing and how you can’t choose who you fall in love with.
AE: You’ll be playing the title role in the film, but who is playing opposite you?
KB: Anne, the character opposite of mine, is a very original and quite soulful singer/ songwriter in New Orleans. Not many women could play her. So, I am currently workshopping it with an amazing singer/actress just like I did with Erin Kelly who played "Annabelle" in my last film. We hope to be announcing her involvement in the next few weeks.
Why did you decide to take an acting role in this film?
KB: I always enjoyed acting and for a while thought I would go that route. Then I realized I could do both and neither had to take away from the other. I’m also really turned on by the challenge of playing a character this complex and deep. I connect with her because I wrote her, but I will still have to push myself to experience levels of intimacy and intense emotion on the screen.
AE: You also acted in several other films. What did you learn from those experiences that you’ll put to use in Deacon’s Daughter?
KB: I learned early on that I don’t believe in acting. I was terrible at the start of my career because I was just acting. I feel the performances that are the most truthful and powerful are the ones where the actor is just being … being honest, being real, being the character.
AE: What’s the most exciting/difficult thing about directing and starring in a film?
KB: The most exciting thing is that it’s one less ego I have to deal with on set … that is until I realize that mine is the biggest of all. Joking. But honestly, I am more terrified by life than I am of making my art. I’m just excited all around that I get to do what inspires me every day of my life.
AE: Aside from the fact that you’re a Louisiana native, why did you decide to set the film in New Orleans? Do you expect to face any particular production challenges (or advantages) shooting there?
KB: I’m currently living in New Orleans after being in Los Angeles for 17 years, so naturally as I wrote The Deacon’s Daughter, I set the movie here. How could I not? This place is magical and mystical. It’s like living in some sort of artistic dream world where everywhere you look there are rich characters and soul. No wonder they have over 100 productions here in 2011. There are so many advantages to shooting here. They offer a huge tax incentive, have the best crews, amazing local music, great food, it’s visually breathtaking and the vibe here right now is electric. All that makes for a great experience of making a movie.
AE: What do you think fans of Loving Annabelle will appreciate most about the film?
KB: The chemistry between Anne and Katlyn and the depth and richness in their connection. I think so many of us are terrified of real love and intimacy. Sex is easy, it’s when it goes to that deep place we get scared because we don’t want to get hurt. I think people will appreciate the raw honesty of how these two women come to love each other.
AE: Why do you think that the story of a lesbian entering into a romance with a heterosexual woman continues to hold such allure and resonance for lesbian/bi filmmakers and audiences?
KB: I believe that when you meet someone, whether they are straight or gay or bi, it’s the heart that connects you. If I meet someone, I know right away if I connect with them or not. And I’m not thinking, is she straight, is she gay, is she bi, I’m only following what my heart feels. I’m sure for many lesbians it can be about the challenge of converting someone, or maybe the validation of being special enough that you would be the "ONE" they would be with for the first time. All in all, sexual attraction is hot and ESPECIALLY when it’s taboo.
AE: What’s the status of your film The Boys Club, about famed female horse racing jockey Julie Krone?
KB: I will shoot it after I finish The Deacon’s Daughter.
AE: Filmmaker Cheryl Dunye recently explained why she thinks attending film school isn’t a necessity for budding directors anymore. Do you agree?
KB: 100%. Spend the money on a camera and get out there and tell stories!
AE: What advice would you give to any of our readers who have aspirations to be television or film writers/directors/producers?
KB: "No" just means they don’t understand.
— by Karman Kregloe