Interview With Katherine Brooks


Consider the journey of out writer-director

Katherine Brooks. While still a teenager, she left her home in Louisiana, drove to Los

Angeles, and spent her first night there sleeping in her

car in a motel parking lot. Eventually she landed in the world of reality television,

directing and sometimes producing shows following the lives of an incoherent rocker

(Ozzy Osbourne in The Osbournes), the

inexplicably popular (Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey in Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica), and the insipid leading the inane (Paris

and Nicole, respectively, in The Simple Life).

Photo credit: Louise Carey

Thankfully, Brooks left that world

and turned to writing and directing her own films. In 2006, she debuted her first

feature, Loving Annabelle,

the story of a rebellious, passionate and preternaturally self-assured Catholic

school girl (Erin Kelly) and the object of her desire, Simone, a guarded yet smoldering

blond teacher with a tragic past (Diane Gaidry). Loving Annabelle went on to win film festival awards from Long Island

to Melbourne, and two years later is still a top-selling DVD with a legion of devoted


Brooks recently met with me to give her first in-depth interview

about her new film, Waking Madison, which

reunites her with Erin Kelly and also stars Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Roemer (Disturbia) in the title role, and Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under). We also talked about what

she would change today about Loving Annabelle and why

she’s drawn to story lines about terribly inappropriate lesbian relationships. Waking Madison is set for release this fall.

What’s it about?

Katherine Brooks:
It’s about a young woman, Madison, who suffers from multiple

personality disorder. She’s suicidal and has really just given up on life. She decides

to lock herself in her apartment for 30 days as a last resort.

The movie is the lead-up to the 30 days, and footage of her using

her own video camera to observe her other personalities as they come out.

Brooks with Sarah Roemer on the set of Waking


AE: Is it true you locked

yourself in your apartment for 30 days as Madison does in the film?

Yes, I, too, had just kind of given up on life. I’d been in therapy my whole

life, tried medication and nothing really worked. I was always really sad and felt

very disconnected to the world.

AE: That sounds like it

would drive you insane, rather than cure you of insanity.

I think that we live in an insane world. And to actually lock yourself away

from that, you would go through stages of feeling insane, but you when you come

through it, I think you cure yourself of the insanity of the world. [You] become

sane, if that makes any sense. [laughs] I mean, it did for me. I’m not in therapy

anymore or on medication, so I guess Madison was a bit of a cure for me after all.

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