Close-Up: An Interview With The Power Star Anissa Matlock

Actor Anissa Matlock joins us on Close-Up Culture to chat about her breakout role in Amazon’s new series, The Power.

Hi Anissa, welcome to Close-Up Culture. 

Thank you! I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you. 

What excited you about this opportunity to work on Amazon’s The Power?

With The Power being such a huge international narrative, the idea of not only getting to work in another country on an incredible story but also to have that work enjoyed by a global audience was a huge draw. I’m elated by the feedback we’ve gotten on the show. It’s relatable in so many ways to so many people in different walks of life. It’s a beautiful thing. 

Can you tell us about your role as Cat and your experience playing this character?

Cat Cole exists in the Seattle storyline, as a bit of a bad influence on Auli’i Cravalho’s character Jos. She’s the first in her school to discover she has this special thing and, as a natural loner, she’s just been experimenting on her own until she spots a similarity with Jos at school. Jos being the mayor’s daughter, and Cat being a bit of a rebel — these are two people that would never have bonded if it weren’t for this thing that they both have, that is (at the time) unique to the two of them.

I loved getting to explore my own sort of youthful anger and rebellious energy with Cat. I was raised in a military household and never really acted out when I was younger. Cat was a fun departure from being a traditionally “good kid.”

What will be your biggest takeaway from your experience working on this project?

This role, working with these incredible people, in London, for Amazon — it was all very big scale and it felt HUGE the whole time. 

I think what I took away from the whole experience is that I can hold my own on a very big stage. It sort of made me look “imposter syndrome” in the eye and tell it to f*ck off. Haha. 

You are also working on a project, titled The Hunted. What can you reveal about this film?

Much like THE POWER, The Hunted is a female-driven narrative. It’s a genre-bending Action/Thriller that dives into the pervasive issue of human trafficking, but it doesn’t follow the traditional “final girl” or “Revenge” formula. Instead, it focuses on a partnership infiltrating and taking down trafficking cells as a form of vigilante justice. I tend to write a lot of horror, so it’s also got a pretty fun supernatural twist.

I co-wrote the script and will be co-directing it with my creative partner Leonardo Leonie (we operate under “Wretched Soil Productions”), as well as taking on one of the pivotal on-camera roles. We go into production on the short for festivals this summer and aim to develop a 90-minute feature film by early next year. For those interested in updates throughout production, we are on Instagram @WretchedSoil.

I understand you come from a military family. Can you tell us about your background and how you got into acting?

Yes! My parents actually met in the Army in their late teens. My mom got out when she had me, but my dad dedicated over 20 years to his military career and retired at the highest enlisted rank achievable: Sgt. Major. Throughout my dad’s career, we moved as often as every 2.5 to 3 years. I credit my adaptability in my work to those frequent relocations and having to navigate how to fit in with different friend groups across the U.S. while growing up.

I was always a little entertainer though. I’d re-enact what was on TV in the living room, learned my babysitter’s cheer routines, and once I realized standing in front of my parents’ camcorder put me on the TV it was game over. I just wanted to be in front of it. My parents put me in community theatre classes starting around 9 or 10 years old, along with piano lessons. I eventually branched into dance and singing in choir in my teens, but it all came back to writing and acting in college. I went to school for Theatre in Georgia and transitioned into Film & TV soon after graduating. 

What type of roles and projects would you love to work on?

I absolutely love dark and gritty stories. Anything Sci-Fi/Fantasy, or set in a post-apocalyptic hellscape is right up my alley. I absolutely adore The Last of Us. It’s been my favorite game series for over a decade and I am dying to appear in the TV adaptation in some way. 

What are your plans and ambitions for the future?

I want to keep acting for as long as I love it. Right now, I don’t see an end in sight, but I have also dedicated a lot of my focus and energy toward writing and directing my own stories. I think there comes a point in an actor’s career where they have to create the things they want to do and see on screen. Whether through writing, directing, or acting; I want to keep expressing myself through storytelling. I can’t see a future in which that isn’t my reality. 

Photographer: Daniel Cutts
Groomer: Amber Actaboski
Wardrobe stylist: Nicole Omuteku

Follow Anissa on Instagram – @anissamatlock

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