Casey LaBow plays Kate, a member of the Denali clan of Vampires in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1 & 2. She’s only seen briefly in Part 1 but in the upcoming sequel, you won’t miss her. Her character not only romances Lee Pace’s Garret but, more importantly, helps teach Bella how to use her new-found powers. Even though she said she wasn’t allowed to tell me too much about the next film, she did say that she thinks the fans will be “really happy.”
Casey went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts West, a place that she loved: “The best therapy” ever, she said. Right after graduation she landed an agent, a pilot for NBC and now, is in one of the most beloved film series ever.
Last year, I saw Casey in the film A Year in the Mooring at SXSW. The film, which also stars Josh Lucas, has been renamed Hideaway and when it’s released in May, I highly recommend you try and catch it.
I talked to Casey about working on Breaking Dawn, how she got her part, working with the cast and one particularly bad audition.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray tonight at midnight.
Follow Casey on Twitter!
For the full interview, click the audio link above or download it from iTunes How cool is it to be involved in a set of films that people are just nuts over?
Casey LaBow: Pretty awesome. Surreal, awesome, intimidating, magical… should I keep going? [laughs]
I was very, very nervous when I first go to Louisiana. I was, I think, a little overwhelmed. I totally was like shaky and had the jitters and felt freaked out and everybody was so there to do their job but I was put at ease very quickly by everybody.
How has this helped your career? Is it easier for your agent to get you in the door?
Casey LaBow: You know what? I think in some ways yes and in some ways no. I think that when the 2nd one comes out and I have more of a significant part it will make more of a difference. Let me rephrase that [laughs], I hope that when the 2nd film comes out and I have more of a significant role that it’ll make a bigger difference but it’s been sort of status quo.
Tell me about your audition.
Casey LaBow: You mean the 5 of them?
Sure, I’ll just sit back and listen.
Casey LaBow: Get comfortable. It took 3 months of them bringing me in and out. Come in with straight hair, here’s some different lines, we need to see it again, can you do this? And I was pulling my hair out. I was going to quit actually. I had come to the consensus at a certain point that, as I was crying on the floor of my shower, that I was not equipped for this kind of pressure. That I was just going to throw in the towel if I didn’t get the job. And I got it.
After the first audition, were you like, “This is awesome. I think I did great.” Why did they keep on calling you back?
Casey LaBow: You know, I think there were so many people that needed to get in line on the decision. The director, the writer, the producers. All these people that had to come together and agree. For whatever reason, initially there was some resistance for me. But I believe, I think it was Bill Condon the director who really responded to me right away and fought for me.
That’s a good person to have fight for you.
Casey LaBow: It sure is. I mean, I think. I don’t know for a fact, I didn’t ask him.
But I will tell you this, the very first day that I got on set – the entire audition process was video so I only read with casting. I never read for producers, I never read for the director. It was all video.
Does that make it easier?
Casey LaBow: You know what? It did and it didn’t. There was aspects of it. Like, “Maybe if they see me…” But anyway, the first day I got on set and I finally met Bill, the first thing he said to me was, “I’m so sorry.”
Your character has these powers. When you’re auditioning and you see the sides and it reads, ‘Kate has to do’ something with her powers. What did you to to get that across?
Casey LaBow: In the audition, the scenes were fake so there was none of that. And because everything was so secret they had you come in and they didn’t tell you which character you were reading for. They said you were one of the sisters or one of these sisters and they kind of gave you some brief light/vague description of what you were doing but I didn’t do any of the magical power stuff in the audition. I just did that on the day.
When you’re on set and it’s your day, do you come in with a specific idea of what you want to do?
Casey LaBow: It was a very collaborative process between Bill, myself, Guillermo Navarro and the special effects guys and Stephanie Myer who was on set the whole time, everyday. Which was really great because I got to be able to talk to her how she wanted it. It was a very collaborative thing.
Casey LaBow: So excited! I was like, “This is awesome”. So bad ass.
When you’re working with people like Lee Pace, Michael Sheen, Elizabeth Reaser and obviously Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, what do you take away from them?
Casey LaBow: Everybody is so normal and so comforting and you’re all sort of in the trenches together, so to speak. It was a lot of long, hard days of shooting and it can be taxing. Certainly Michael handled things with such grace. And Liz who has obviously done the three movies before this, so her perspective or her way of handling things was so like water off a ducks back. It was inspiring.
I was super in awe of Kristen. She is severely talented and professional and committed and cared a lot about what was happening. I think she did a 10-month shoot and she worked like 6-days a week? I gotta hand it to her. And she’s so young!
What happens with your character in the next film?
Casey LaBow: I’m not allowed to tell too much.
Yes you can. I won’t tell anyone.
Casey LaBow: [laughs]I end up developing a relationship with Bella which is obviously in the book and I help her harness her powers. There’s a lot of cool scenes that I’m really excited about and I think the fans will be really happy.
How did you get your start?
Casey LaBow: I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and before I even graduated I went and found myself a commercial agent. As soon as I graduated, she ended up sending me to a manager who started sending me out on auditions. I booked a pilot for NBC that never saw the light of day because of the writers strike and some other reasons. Right before I went to test for that pilot, I found my agency. I’m not with that management anymore, I am still with that agency. Which happens.
Had you always known you wanted to be an actor?
Casey LaBow: I did. I did from a very young age but I was always told ‘no.’ So I ended up following some other passions first and then I had one of those moments where I looked at myself in the mirror and went “What are you doing? You’re living a lie. This is not what you want to do. Go do what you want to do. Go study. Go get good at it and do it.”
How was the American Academy?
Casey LaBow: The best therapy I ever had in my life. I went home crying every day for the first 3 months. It was brutal. But I think I had gotten so in my shell at that point from being told ‘no’ for so long but it was great. I needed it. I desperately needed it to get myself into my body and understanding my craft. If people can afford it I highly recommended going and studying, I think it makes all the difference. I kick myself that I didn’t go to Julliard or UCLA or something with a big drama program. But American Academy was great.
Do you still take classes?
Casey LaBow: I did. I was for here and there for a while but then I got so busy that it ended up being that I was cancelling and my scene partners were like, “This is annoying. Why are you torturing me?” It becomes something that you cannot do if you’re super busy and then if you can find a class that you can go in once in a while and just flex the muscles. I’m still looking for that class right now.
What’s the worst audition you’ve ever had?
Casey LaBow: Well, I’ll tell you one that ended in success and one that ended in failure.
I did a commercial audition to play Eve in The Garden of Eden for this Dutch Insurance company. I had to be in a bikini and there was this man telling me, “Now you see a white horse and there’s a butterfly that lands on your hand. There’s white bunnies! You’re in the garden of Eden.” In a bikini. I ended up booking that job. The commercial is hilarious.
And a bad one was, I went in one time… and you know how you can really sense the energy sometimes in a room with people when they maybe have found the person they like or they don’t want you for their project? I went in and read for The Roomate and the director just was glaring at me. I thought that was funny and I left and I got a phone call from my manager and she said, “I don’t know how to tell you this but the director said that you should really stop getting your lips injected.”
So, I went home and scanned a photograph of myself in a Minnie Mouse dress at the age of four. I’m all lips, just to prove it, and had them e-mail it to casting. Cause I was like, “No, I’m not injecting my lips.” If that’s the excuse that you’re using? You didn’t even pay attention to my performance because you were so busy being concerned with the fact that I injected my lips.
You should have scanned a picture of your middle finger.
Casey LaBow: That was next. [laughs]
What’s your advice to actors?
Casey LaBow: Oh God, I still need advice. Like I said before, school. Craft. Go to classes. If you can’t go to a school, find a class that really suits you. Do shit that scares the shit out of you. Force yourself to do these things that are outside of your comfort zone.
What’s coming up next after Breaking Dawn?
Casey LaBow: I have Hideaway coming out May 25th and then in April I go shoot a movie with Abigail Spencer, she wrote it, and James Franco, he’s in it and he’s producing it called Wrong Number. It’s an indie romantic comedy and I’m very excited about that.