If you have a young family and want to take them to the movies it tends to be an animation. I don’t know any youngster that can resist an animation but I do know parents that would prefer more options. If a story is good it doesn’t have to be animated. There are incredibly talented writers and actors that can carry the story to the finish line in a rainstorm with the audience cheering all the way. The new movie, The Art of Racing in the Rain checks off all the boxes and also adds a few more that have been missing. In all honesty, there really isn’t enough films made for the entire family… unless its animated. Thank goodness for The Art of Racing in the Rain.
This film will make you cry, it will make you cheer and you will love your family that much more. It was filmed in Vancouver and one of the actors in the production was gracious enough to tell us about her experience in the film and about her role as a veterinarian in the movie. Karen Holness is a pro and started out in live theatre. She brings real presence and a je ne sais quoi to her character. Amazingly humble for an actor that has been in over 110 productions such as Blues Brothers 2000, Chicago, Smallville, Fringe, Once Upon a Time, Corner Gas: The Movie, Arrow, Lucifer, Travelers and The 100. Of course, I’m just scratching the surface of her bustling career.
Karen Holness is a force and a beautiful flower all in one. Her essence over flows with a positive energy that could power Disneyland. I was extremely privileged to be able to talk to her about the film and she was extremely generous and gracious with her time.
“How did you become involved in this beautiful film?”
“I went to an audition (laughter). Pretty much the usual procedure as past jobs. For this film I was actually auditioning for another role and was called back to come in for the role that I ended up getting.”
“How did you prepare for the role?”
“I actually teach acting on the side and one of my students happen to be a veterinarian. When I was booked for the role of a veterinarian, they had a real veterinarian on set to show me the procedure and it just so happened to be my student, so that was pretty fantastic and synchronistic to have a former student teaching me.”
“Where was the film shot and can you describe your experience on set?”
“It was shot in Kitsilano, Vancouver and it was quite magical working on the show; the premise, the story and also knowing my scenes were with Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us). He was so outrageously supportive as well as the director, Simon Curtis. In Vancouver we do a lot of Network TV and MOW’s (movie of the week) and not so much feature films, so I was a little nervous knowing that my face was going to be on the big screen (laughter). There was a bit of ‘oh dear’ emotions happening that doesn’t usually happen but they all made it so easy as well as working with someone that I was familiar with showing me the veterinary procedures.”
“After your audition, how long did you have to wait to find out you had the part?”
“It’s always relative to how close the audition was issued. In that instance it was a couple of weeks. You do all you can to distract yourself from thinking about the call.”
“We’ve all just seen the film. What are your thoughts?”
“There’s so many words… where do I begin. It’s such a beautiful story and heart warming; for me, being able to share it with friends and the people I love is amazing. It makes it that much more special because I’ve been impacted by the story but to go through that journey with people that are closest to me makes it that much more special.”
“Do you foresee a sequel?”
“(Big laughter) Let me check my schedule; I actually don’t know, I certainly hope so. My, it would be an amazing sequel.”
“Do you have any other projects in the works?”
“Absolutely, I was part of the 6th season of The 100, which aired on CW and Netflix. I love my character and we actually shot some stuff last season but things have changed, so I don’t know what’s happening now. Every season is a whole new world, a whole new storyline and the stuff that goes down… is so amazing! It’s been so exciting to be part of season 6. There’s also, Always Be My Maybe, which is such a ride and so much fun. It’s a twist on the song, Always Be My Baby with Ali Wong, Randall Park and so many other fantastic comedians.”
Always Be My Maybe is a Rom-Com that also has Keanu Reeves and can be seen on Netflix.
“What’s the best thing about your acting career?”
“Living the dream. ‘It’s not easy being an actor these days’ as my first acting teacher would say. ‘If it was easy everybody would do it.’ There are those days when you feel so exhausted, whether it’s auditions, shooting or travelling/driving to multiple locations. Aside from that, I’m doing what I’m passionate about and love. It’s the fuel that keeps me going.”
“If you weren’t acting, what else would you be doing?”
“I absolutely love the study of the human experience. One of my favourite shows is Criminal Minds where you’re profiling people and exacting justice. I also got hooked on the series, The First 48, so I feel like I would be in something that would investigate the human experience. Maybe a sports psychologist where you’re moving towards being the best you can be. Overcoming hurdles is very intriguing to me.”
“Do you have a specific genre that you prefer to be involved with?”
“I absolutely love comedy but I also love straight drama and things that touch your heart, like the film, The Art of Racing in the Rain. I really love all of the genres and being versatile because I feel like I’m being fed, my soul is fed by working in all of them. I also have another film coming out called Torn. It’s an independent feature that is still in post and deals with a very serious subject matter. I feel very honored to be part of this poignant story that needs to be told.”
“Would you ever want to play a kickass superhero?”
“Are you kidding? It’s at the top of my list. Spy 2 with Melissa McCarthy has comedy + spy, call me or my agency (laughter).”
“Would you rather try rock climbing or bungee jump?”
“That is a hard decision. Not at all. I wouldn’t be interested in either. If the option was sitting on a white sandy beach in Negril, Jamaica enjoying a pina colada, that’s the extent of my risk taking.”
“Where is your favourite place to travel?”
“One of my favourite places would be Negril, Jamaica or Honolulu Hawaii, I have family in Miami Florida, so it’s always nice to go there too. I’m also from Toronto and always love to go back. I’m looking forward to doing more travelling to places I haven’t been to yet.”
“Has your acting career allowed you to do some extensive travelling for film?”
“I’d have to say that my favorite place to shoot was in Auckland, New Zealand. I did a film called Riverworld. We were there shortly after Lord of the Rings had wrapped, so we had the privilege of working with most of the crew. It was so exciting, the waterfalls, the dunes and the location were otherworldly. I had left from Toronto and the flight took 24 hrs. door to door. When I landed, it looked exactly like Vancouver with the ocean right there. It was gorgeous.”
“Have you ever done theatre?”
“Those are my roots. I went to Performing Arts High School and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I then booked 3 contracts back to back that kept me working in theatre 8 shows per week, which is a Broadway schedule, working 400 shows a year for 5 years. The last show I did was Rent that I performed in for a year. There are 6 female roles in the show and I covered 5 of them. Jonathan Larson is the creator of the show and he died just before opening night on Broadway. It was amazing to honor his legacy by doing that show. We had a plaque by the stage door and every time we walked in we’d touch it and say, ‘we’re doing your show tonight’.”
“Can you tell me in one sentence what it meant to you to be in the film, The Art of Racing in the Rain?”
“I’m so honored to be part of this beautiful story and I plan to watch it again with more family and friends because it is such a family show that should be shared with people you love. It’s one of those films you’ll never forget because it is so poignant.”
I did have the honor of watching it and I echo Karen’s words. A beautiful film, an amazing story and one to be shared with family. Bring your Kleenex.