Kat Gellin is a British actress of Norwegian descent who began acting age 6 and by age 14 was already directing stage productions. As well as currently being a producer and scriptwriter, she has recently stepped behind the camera as director, and is fast becoming a recognisable face on the Brit-Indie circuit, as well as making her debut internationally in The Inbetweeners movie.
How did you find directing your first short last summer, and did you draw on your experience of stage direction from an early age?
It was this winter actually…but yes! The stage experience helped insofar as a director, you should really know everything that goes on, in front of and behind the camera – and the storytelling’s the same. I was very fortunate in having a super talented DOP who supported me on the technical side.
What directors do you particularly enjoy, and would like to work with?
So many, on different levels! For the big league, I’ve been a lifelong fan of Joss Whedon’s work. I grew up with Buffy and watched it far before I was allowed; he’s really paved the way for strong women in film and TV. Angelina Jolie’s steel strength and idealism I really look up to.
In terms of my roots, Morten Tyldum (Headhunters, The Imitation Game) is a sterling Norwegian talent who’s shot skywards. I’d probably sell an organ to work with any of them…
My Hero has a fascinating plot, reminiscent of classics such as A Perfect World, Tsotsi and London To Brighton. Can you tell us a little more about your character?
Kim is a strong girl and probably the only character in the film that hasn’t grown up on an estate. She’s started dating Jake (the main role) and knows he makes his money in illegal ways. She’s at the age where she hasn’t thought so far yet as to realise their differences might break them apart, but it’s a steep learning curve…
What was it like working with veteran character actor Ralph Brown, famously known for his role in Withnail & I as the inventor of the ‘Camberwell Carrot’?
Ralph’s a legend. He flew in from New York for about 48 hours just to film with us, so hats off to that. He’s a really down-to-earth, nice guy, despite now working regularly in stuff like “Elementary” and “Babylon”.
Sean Cronin, who also appeared in Hackney’s Finest, has a role in My Hero. Does he play a nicer guy this time round?
He does, actually! Terry is a boxing trainer who helps local impoverished kids find other things to do than fall outside the system, but he himself does make a little money on the side…and unfortunately falls foul of the biggest fish in the local waters.
Which genres do you generally feel most at home in?
I’ve done drama, comedy and rom-com…I love all three, but the genre where my heart lies is great quality action. Nobody’s asked me to use my martial arts skills yet – I’m still waiting!
You’ve proven to be as versatile in comedy as in drama, having played alongside the Lads from The Inbetweeners. Would you like to do more comedy work in the future?
I’d love to! I’ve got some funny bones I’d like to exercise. I’ve done some comic stints in Doctors and Hollyoaks, and I’d love to do more films too. I’m a huge fan of female funnies like Sarah Silverman and Melissa McCarthy. I’m nursing a secret desire for stand-up…I can only hope I work up the courage one day!
Can you tell us your top 5 films of all time?
Lost in Translation
The Matrix (the first one!)
My Hero is released later this year, keep your eyes peeled also for the upcoming Krish And Lee.