Katherine McNamara – A Sort of Homecoming
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What was it about the film A Sort of Homecoming or the role that made you want to be a part of it?
A) As soon as I read the script, I knew it was going to be something special. There was something about the story and its realism…It was how it shed its light on this sport that connects so many people. It was the parallels to life and a coming of age story. It was something I instantly connected with and thought it would be great. So, I had to be a part of it in some way.
Q) What was it like working with costar Laura Marano?
A) I adore Laura! She and I had been friends for a little while before filming, but she and I got closer while shooting this. I just adore her. She’s just a fun, happy individual. She is a really genuine human being and that is always amazing to work with. There was so much girl power on the set. Between our director Maria Burton who is absolutely fabulous and such an intelligent and informed director…We had a female Director of Photography and a lot of our producers were women. It was really a film by women, for women, about women. Something about that just really struck me.
Q) What qualities of Rosa’s do you think you have in common?
A) Rosa’s confidence is really what drew me to the character. It was her confidence, spunk and her straightforwardness. These are all qualities I took too immediately. She was just a fun character for me to play. It was a lot of fun for me to bring her personality into the story. She’s the exotic one from a small town heading into the big city and sort of shaking things up. That’s always a fun character to play.
Q) How did you prepare to be a master debater?
A) Actually, we all did a lot of research. Myself in particular. Rosa is a master debater and supposed to be one of the best so I wanted to make sure I had enough knowledge to bring that to life in a realistic way. I watched a lot of documentaries and a lot of interviews with debaters. It’s not something I ever did growing up so I did a lot of practice. Luckily, I did a lot of Sondheim in my musical theater days so I’m able to talk quickly.
Q) Was there anything you added to Rosa that wasn’t originally scripted for you?
A) That’s interesting. It always happens. When you are playing a character, you always bring your own experiences and you always add a little bit of yourself. That’s why casting is so important and what actors do bring to our characters. That’s what we can bring, a little bit of ourselves to inform these roles and bring them to life in a way that is different from anyone else who can bring them to life. I guess it’s kind of silly, but the one thing I did bring to the character was her playing guitar. She had a guitar she carried with her all the time. My grandfather had built me a guitar as a holiday gift the year before and I brought it with me to the location where we were filming. Maria decided to have me use the guitar that my grandfather built for me as Rosa’s guitar. That was sort of a really special touch for me. That’s something I brought to the character!
Q) What advice did director Maria Burton give to you while filming that you took to heart?
A) Something that I love about Maria is the trust she put in each of us bringing these characters to life in a way that was very true to us and our chemistry off screen. We were able to bring a lot of that on screen. But what is so great about Maria is that she will come in and add a layer or give a different thought or perspective on things. It just shifted it enough that made it extra special.
Q) Talk about your song “Wait For You.” Was it always meant to be in the film or had you recorded it and shared it with producers?
A) That song for me was something that a friend/producer/writer of mine wrote. I heard the song and thought it was fantastic. I’ve been working on music for a while so that was a song I had recorded as part of my own musical journey, separate from the film. I ended up showing it to the producers when we were talking at dinner one night. They thought it would be great for the film and I agreed. The message of that songs speaks to the connectivity of all the characters. When you connect with someone and get that close, that connection never really goes away. Whether you don’t see each other for five days, five months or five years, you are still connected to that person. I think that’s what the song is about – that support, connection and always being there for someone you care about.
Q) Will you be releasing the song on an EP or for iTunes?
A) Maybe! We’ll see! Time will tell.
Q) What were some of your favorite moments from filming?
A) There were so many moments! We had a lot of fun on set, but off set were probably some of my favorite moments. We spent a lot of time in the hotel hanging out together. We had a lot of movie nights and just catching up on television that we hadn’t gotten to watch. Myself, Laura, Parker [Mack] and Shayne Topp sat down and watched “Game of Thrones,” Twelve Years a Slave and the first season of “True Detective.” It was a really fun experience because we all had the same taste in entertainment and making this movie together. I think the time we spent together off screen really informed our time together on screen as well.
Q) Is there a vital lesson you hope young people take away from watching the movie?
A) I think the vital lesson is that every choice you make does matter. Especially in this stage of life that the movie highlights, where all of us are growing up, every choice you make sort of starts off a chain of events that in a sense really can effect the rest of your life. Your choices have effects not only on you, but on the lives of other people. The people you grow up with and the people you are close to, everyone is connected in more ways that you think.
Q) Is there anything else really want fans to know about the movie?
A) The film is about more than it seems. Yes, it’s about debate, growing up and high school. But it’s about so much more than that. It’s about humanity, connectivity and the resilience of relationships. So, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this film.