With roles in Paco Arango’s The Healer and Zak Hilditch’s 1922, Kaitlyn Bernard has proven herself to be one of North America’s brightest and most exciting young actors.
Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Kaitlyn to talk about her busy 2018, working with Johnny Depp, raising money for charity and more.
Q: 2018 looks to be a huge year for you. I want to start with your role in ‘The Healer’. How did you find the challenge and responsible of playing young girl with cancer?
A: Yes, it was quite a busy year for me! We actually shot The Healer in 2015, but it was just released in the United States this Fall! It has, however, been successful in other markets over the last year and to date has raised over 4 million dollars to support children with serious illnesses.
It was a huge responsibility to take on a role like Abigail but our director and writer, Paco Arango, was there to guide me and offer assistance throughout the journey. This project was especially close to Paco’s heart as he wrote my character based on a teenage girl he spent a lot of time with who lost her battle to cancer.
Q: ‘The Healer’ is available now on VOD and all proceeds go to SeriousFun Children’s Network. What does it mean to you to be part of such an impactful and powerful story?
A: The Healer was such a special project for me in so many aspects, but above anything it’s a huge honour to be involved with such an impactful film and cause. Paco is a huge philanthropist and has developed one of the biggest bone marrow transplant centres in Spain. He has then gone on to create this initiative with The Healer donating all proceeds to the SeriousFun Children’s Network.
In talking to him at length and visiting hospitals with children going through cancer treatment, I was prompted to start my own foundation in Canada called Just Breathe.
Just Breathe kicked off shortly after wrapping the film by donating the money I earned back into my foundation. The main focus of Just Breathe is to help kids to just be kids in light of living with a serious illness. To date we have raised over $100,000 which has been donated to Canadian Cancer’s Society Camp Goodtimes. To learn more visit http://cancer.ca/justbreathe.
Q: Also this year, you have a role in Wayne Roberts’ film ‘Richard Says Goodbye’, which is another story of terminal illness. Can you tell us about that and the opportunity to be on set with actors such as Johnny Depp, Zoey Deutch and Odessa Young?
A: The entire cast of Richard Says Goodbye was incredible and so talented, it was a really fun project to be involved in. The majority of my scenes were with Odessa and we both had a lot of fun with our two characters. Working with Johnny Depp was also an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to seeing the film when it releases next year.
Q: We just passed Halloween so I have to bring up your role in Netflix’s acclaimed horror film ‘1922’. How was your experience working on that project?
A: I had an amazing experience working on 1922! It’s always fun to do a period piece as an actor and the entire cast and crew were exceptional. Working alongside Thomas Jane, Molly Parker and Dylan Schmid on such a different and interesting project was a surreal experience.
Zak Hilditch was fantastic to work with and really allowed the actors to bring so much of their own interpretation to set.
Q: You bring up working with Dylan Schmid on ‘1922’ and you will also be pairing with him for two short films this year. What can we expect from those?
A: The first short Disorder premiered at the Catalina Film Festival in January. The film was directed by Nick Davidoff and conveys an important message around the mental health.
The second short is called The Loneliest Boy In The World, and was actually written, produced and co-directed by Dylan. It’s a beautiful story revolving around isolation and how ones thoughts are more powerful than any weapon. The short is still in post-production and will be hitting the festival circuit in the new year!
Q: I believe your love for musical theatre lead you down the acting path. Do you plan on doing more theatre work in the future?
A: I definitely feel like I will eventually go back to doing some theatre at some point. There isn’t a lot of theatre in Vancouver but if I were to move somewhere with a larger theatre community, I would love to get back into it.
Q: There are many exciting young Canadian actors emerging at the moment – we recently spoke to the wonderful Sara Waisglass. What is the landscape like for young actors in Canada? Are there any notable challenges?
A: I love being Canadian. It’s great to see so many amazing projects being shot here. I’m fortunate to be based in Vancouver which is not only exceptionally busy right now but also allows me to go back and forth to LA when I need to.
Q: Is there any particular genre you would love to work in or any particular person that you dream of working with?
A: There isn’t one specific genre I enjoy working on, however I do love psychological thrillers and dramas. My dream person to work with would definitely be Natalie Portman. I absolutely loved her performance in Annihilation and some of her earlier work such as Black Swan and Leon: The Professional.
Q: Do you have any other projects or ambitions you’d like to share with us?
A: Yes I do! I shot a feature film directed by Brian Duffield, which stars Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer last spring. It’s dark comedy called Spontaneous and involves a lot of blood. It was a ton of fun to work on and I’m really excited to see the end result!
Aside from that you catch me in two new Lifetime movies this year called A Father’s Nightmare opposite to Jessica Lowndes and Homekilling Queen opposite to Ashley Jones.