Kya Garwood is an actress to splits her time between doing double work with forging her own acting career. RED 2 sees her double for Mary-Louise Parker, while she has worked alongside the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer and Sandra Bullock over the years.
We caught up with her to chat about RED 2, how she got into double work and striking the balance between that and her own acting roles.
- RED 2 is has just been released on DVD so can you tell me a bit about the film for anyone who didn't see it in the cinema?
RED stands for retired and extremely dangerous, and so there are many agents who have retired but have come back into sorting out some unfinished business. They can’t bring themselves not to get back involved with this line of work (laughs).
- You are the double for Mary Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta-Jones on the film so can you talk a little bit about just what that entails?
I did a little bit of doubling for Catherine, but I stood in mainly for Mary-Louise Parker; she was the principle actor that I was working alongside for the majority of the filming.
It can be shots that don’t require the actor to be there in person; they can be off changing for the next set-up. They draft a double in to pick up a scene basically.
- You have done double work on many films but how collaborative a process is it between you and the actors? How did you find working with Catherine?
It is a funny kind of world really. I am an actress myself, and I find doing this work is the best training that I have ever had as you are working with professionals and excellent directors are directing you.
Some casts are very private and you just watch from a distance, but others you really do get involved with and they watch how you do the rehearsals so they know the move of the cameras. It really does depend on the film and the production.
Mary-Louise and Catherine are extremely talented ladies and they really were great to watch. They both have a great comedic side to them.
- This is quite an action packed role so did this involve stunt work? Do you ever quite fancy giving stunt work a bit of a go?
There is a scene in the film where a car drives around the aircraft, and I was doubling at that point. Most of the time they do get the fully qualified stunt team in - but if it is just for little moments and you are capable of doing that then they will bring you in.
This scene looks like we are driving around the aircraft at high speed - but it was not (laughs) - and ducking under wings of planes.
I would love to give stunt work a go. I do watch the stunt guys on set and watch how they work. My passion and dedication is method acting and getting into acting and so training for stunts is another level that requires further dedication to the disciplines that you need to have with that.
So as much as I would like to give it a go, it would take away the time to focus on the direction that I would like to go in. Along the way, I do try to learn little things; I go water-skiing and rock-climbing.
- You have worked on a whole host of big budget movies - including this one - so what is it like being on such a huge Hollywood movie?
Oh, my god it is surreal. You take it for granted, and the on the other hand you don’t. You go home and you tell your family and friends what you have been up to, and then you sit back and think ‘oh my god this is what I do’. It is a real surreal atmosphere and a very weird feeling.
- Red 2 is directed by Dean Parisot so how did you find working with him? And what kind of director is he?
He is a very quiet and private director and works very closely with the cast and the stunt team. It is hard to get into their heads and know what they want because they visualise what they are looking for: so it is about creating that vision for screen. He was a lovely man to work with; he was very polite as well as very professional.
- How did you get into double work in the first place? And how much have you learnt from this work over the years?
In 2005 an old agent of mine just happened to ask me if I had ever thought about standing in and doubling and I was ‘I don’t know what that is’. And they said ‘we would like to send you for a casting’. Three castings later and my first job was doubling for Michelle Pfeiffer.
I loved the experience and I loved watching and seeing what they do and how they work, Michelle took me on to her next film and it became word of mouth - I jumped on from film to film.
It really was my way of training - I had trained years ago, but this was my way of earning money and training and watching these professionals. Since 2005, I just thought ‘if I am out of work, this is what I want to go into because I am on a film set and in the industry that I want to be in’.
- You are also set to start work on Money & Grime so what are you hoping that this role will do for your career?
Money & Grime is totally different to the stuff that I have been doing. I play a police officer in this hip/hop, gangster kind of film. It will be directed by Sheridan De Myers, he is a great talent. He comes from a music background and so there is a great cast on board.
I am hoping that it will put me forward a bit further in the main frame of acting and will open a few more doors. I know that De Myers has a few more films lined up and hopefully I will be in consideration for.
I love doing everything that I can that is different; I don’t like going down one road as I like to explore all avenues. I auditioned for this role in June and it is in pre-production at the moment - when I finish on the movie I am on now I will be jumping straight on to that.
- You are working as a double where you have had lots of success, but you are trying to develop yourself as an actress in your own right so how difficult is it finding that balance?
It is very hard and it is very frustrating as you come to work and see all of these actors and wish that you were in their shoes.
However, every day to me is a learning curve. I do miss out on lots of auditions and opportunities as I do commit two, three and four months at a time on these productions.
I do think that what is meant to be will be and something will happen in the long run. I do think things happen for a reason and every day is a great opportunity as I am acting every day.
- I was also reading that you wanted to go to New York and study at the Lee Strasberg Institute, so is this something that will be a reality?
I was supposed to go there this year - I was accepted by the American Academy of Dramatic Arts as well - but I had to both of those schools on hold.
There is a new course starting in February next year, so I am hoping to get on board and get out there and do the training that I really want to do. It has been put on hold for a couple of years.
I just feel that I am on set quite a lot and I am learning, but I just want to go back into the method of it and really learn the groundwork.
I am definitely going to out there, but it is just a case of finding the time to do so (laughs). There are more films happening next year and I think I may be getting a phone call for one or two others.
- Finally, what's next for you as we go into 2014?
There are a few films in the pipeline, but no one has said anything to me as of yet.
I have recently worked with Kate Hudson, and when she is back in the UK, I have been asked to work on her new film; I know that is coming up, I just don’t know when. I will just carry on focusing, seeing what is about and doing short films and whatever I can.