Katie Walder and Nathan Keyes star in the recently released horror/thriller COME BACK TO ME from writer/director Paul Leyden. In it, these two actors face off against one another in a terrifying story filled with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. I had the rare opportunity to speak with not one, but both of them on the phone to talk about their short but memorable time working on a film that’s quite dark and mesmerizing.
Corey Danna: So how did you guys get involved with Come Back to Me?
Katie Walder: I knew Ann (Clements) the producer, I had worked with her on a film in 2007 called Shelter, and she wrote me an e-mail and tried to offer me a different role in the film The role (played by Laura Gordon) of Sarah’s best friend and then she thought about it and had me come in and read for the role of Sarah. I came in and met the director and the next day I found out I got it. It really happened quickly, so it was just one of those things and that’s how I got cast.
Nathan Keyes: I had a very similar, quick turnaround when I had gotten a call to come down and after meeting the director and reading the script I was just really excited. We met and talked about the script then I read for him the next day then I think we started shooting about a week later.
CD: Can you talk a bit about the motivating force behind your characters?
NK: When you’re playing someone as interesting as Dale, I kind of went back to a child-like mentality, like being stuck at a certain level or age. The wounds he has are obviously pretty deep, then from there I kind of really thought out how he would be as an adult. I was also inspired by a lot of different music so that’s how I came to that.
KW: I knew she had had a major accident and I kind of put myself in that place, you know, like having just been through a trauma and starting from there with my anxiety level, dealing with that and wanting to have a child and not understanding why my husband seemed a little resistant. Because Sarah was already on edge, I think that the next thing to happen just set her even further over the edge. She’s already in a super-vulnerable place from the accident and wanting to have a baby then this other thing is happening so she just starts out as really, really vulnerable.
CD: People seem to overlook in horror films and thrillers is how strong the female characters really are. What are your thoughts on the subject and how it relates to Sarah?
KW: I loved the turn that she took, in terms of like when she found out she wasn’t falling apart and like, “Oh no!!”. Instead, she just turned around and was ready to kick ass. I feel like I went to the strength in myself. We all have both sides, just not everyone believes they have it in them. I loved that she took that approach instead of being the victim.
CD: Now this might sound a little funny but the thing that freaked me out the most was watching Dale eat cookies.
NK: Oh my god! I ate so many of those cookies. It was like how many cookies can you stuff in your mouth in x amount of seconds.
NK: I think they were good cookies.
CD: At least they were good.
NK: Uh, yeah. (still laughing)
CD: The two of you have some pretty intense scenes together, how did you approach those and how emotionally draining were they?
NK: I think that part of it was we were very fortunate to a degree to shoot the really intense stuff on the first couple of days of shooting so we didn’t really know each other at that point so it was a lot easier for me to just kind of go into a zone. As the filming progressed we became closer and now are actually friends so it helped to shoot that stuff at the beginning, at least for me.
KW: Absolutely, I agree! I don’t know if you’re finished.
NK: Yeah, totally.
KW: For me, it was the same thing, I didn’t know anyone, we had met once at a table read type of thing and we didn’t know each other at all. So we could actually project whatever we needed to onto the person and for me, we did it so perfect and wasn’t it your first day?
KW: So it was much easier in that sense. Then we actually shot the stuff in the bedroom later after there was so much stress already and I was feeling that level of stress and because we bonded and became friends, the trust helped so much in that scene because without that, I mean, yes, it’s scary no matter what, seeing yourself in that vulnerable position, but it helped so I wasn’t really scarred (laughing). That was like a crazy intense scene so there had to be something there, it was really physical.
CD: Nathan, did you draw from anything in particular for Dale and how you portrayed him?
NK: Little pieces here and there from people throughout my life. But as far as something in particular, there wasn’t any one thing.
CD: Since this was Paul’s first feature film as a writer/director, how do you feel he handled the pressure of making a film?
NK: We shot on such a short schedule that we were moving so fast and Paul knew exactly what he wanted. Being the writer/director he was really instrumental in the whole arc of the Dale character. I had a great time working with Paul.
KW: Yeah, it was very, very fast, and very intense. It was a seventeen day shoot and the first five days I shot twenty six scenes a day so that in itself was a very high-pressured situation and I didn’t get a chance to do too many takes. Paul could feel the intensity in everyone’s performance coming from all ends and I think everyone could feel the pressure to get it done quickly. I think what he wanted and he was able to articulate exactly what he wanted so we moved quickly and we moved quickly well.
CD: It was such a small, intimate group of characters so how was it working with Matt, Laura and keeping it small?
KW: Because there were so few characters, I was able to grow close to everyone and have some great conversations whenever we had time or during lunch. We all got along really well it just felt like this tight-knit little cast, you know?
NK: It really was like this family unit and we bonded together pretty quickly. You’re all there for the common good and you’re all there with each other. I had a great time!
CD: With all the different themes running throughout the picture, which did you guys find to be the most terrifying?
KW: The scene for me that was most terrifying, but I don’t know if I can speak of it since I don’t want to ruin anything, the whole gift that Dale has, if you want to call it that. It’s so incredible, so powerful, and so frightening that for me was it. And the end, seeing everything unravel, that was just like “Oh my God!”.
NK: Those hit me when I read it. All the reveals I read in the script were just jaw-dropping. Everything is just so unexpected.
KW: What you did to me is by far the most frightening and I can’t even imagine anything scarier than that scene.
CD: When I watched the film with my wife and we got to the last moment, she started yelling, “No, no!”. It seems like that moment people will either piss people off or they will totally find it brilliant. I thought it was brilliant.
KW: Are you talking about the very last scene.
CD: The very last scene.
KW: Yeah, it’s hard for me to separate myself from work when it’s something this intense, I’m really sensitive and I get affected and it took some time for me to shake it off, I’m not gonna lie! You probably didn’t have any problems walking away from it.
NK: I did! For me going into it I never saw it as something wrong or bad while doing it so then the drive home was actually like a forty five minute drive, and to be able to just put my windows down and just let it go.
KW: It took me awhile to let it go. I couldn’t let go until after shooting. It was too intense.
CD: Do you guys have any current projects you’re working on or anything you would like to promote?
NK: There’s a bunch of stuff coming out eventually. I’m getting ready to go to Kentucky and shoot a film called BURNING KENTUCKY so that’s something to look forward to.
KW: I have something on TV that’s really top secret coming out next year in 2015 but I had to sign a NDA and I’m not allowed to talk about it, it’s really exciting! I did a pilot for Comedy Central, I’m not sure if it’s picked up yet. I have a guest spot on the Comedy Central series KROLL SHOW. Do you know that show?
NK: Yeah, it’s awesome!
KW: I get to be Kroll’s love interest and it’s very funny. I have a few things coming up, we’ll see.
CD: I just want to thank you guys for talking with me and you were both great in the film.
KW: If you were really excited about seeing it you’d see it in the theater when it comes out.
CD: Yeah, of course! Thanks again!
Come Back to Me can currently be seen on VOD. Check it out!!