INTERVIEW: Alisen Down of ‘Gracepoint’
For those of you looking forward to the upcoming show Gracepoint, you are in for a real treat. I had the pleasure of conducting a phone interview with Alisen Down who stars in the show as the character Kathy Eaton. Alisen was kind enough to take the time to chat with us and talk not only about her character on Gracepoint, but also about breaking away from feminine stereotypes, her love for writing, and her passion for helping endangered elephants. Guys, she’s pretty cool. She also loves Batman, so I might be a little biased.
Check out the interview to learn more about this wonderful actress!
Tell me about your character Kathy on the show Gracepoint.
Kathy is the editor of the local newspaper and I kind of see her as the cautious editor of the newspaper. She’s sort of the voice of Gracepoint. She’s very strong, very smart, and not to be underestimated, but also very kind. I admire her quite a bit as a person, actually.
What has been your favorite thing so far about being on the show?
Many things, really. From the very beginning when they aged me up to play her to meeting Anna Gun and David Tennant and Jackie Weaver and all these amazing actors to working with all the producers who have been so fabulous and working with such well written material. The entire show was a gift.
Was that a strange sensation when you saw yourself for the first time with the aged up make up?
It wasn’t too bad. The strangest part was when they aged me I originally had long hair and they cut it. They cut it into sort of a shag and they put gray in it. We didn’t have to do too much with make up because we decided to do an early to mid forties look because that make up would have been more believable looking than anything older. So the biggest thing they did was cut all my hair off.
As someone who has long hair I think I would be traumatized by that!
At first I was sort of thinking, “Oh, my hair,” and then I had an inward cry and trying to not show anyone (laughs), but once the show ended I had it cut again into more of a style I would wear myself and I really love it now. I feel like I’m a little freer actually as a person and an actor with short hair. It feels like I lifted a blanket off of myself.
Yeah, I really love my hair now. Now I’m like, “Long hair? I don’t need that!” (laughs).
It sounds like it was a blessing in disguise.
It really was. It’s interesting because I spent so long growing my hair out because that’s how I thought I was going to get work in this industry, to have long flowing feminine hair, because if you have long hair you seem youthful and feminine. It’s always associated with that, so I thought I had to look a certain way. When Gracepoint came along and said that they wanted to do this to my look it was actually a huge blessing because now I feel more like myself now than I did with longer hair.
That’s awesome because you’re able to be feminine and yourself while going against this feminine stereotype.
Yeah and proving that you can be quite feminine and quite sexy and pretty even if you have shorter hair and I actually feel that way with my short cut now. It’s a neat lesson I feel like I was given.
What are some of the things you like to geek out over/ are really passionate about?
I’m quite passionate about and consumed with elephants. I’d like to make a documentary about the plight of the African elephant at the moment. They face quite a challenge with the amount of poaching that is happening. A big dream of mine is to go to Africa and work with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, study the elephants and what is happening with them, and then go over to China as well because there is a huge ivory industry over there. That’s a dream of mine, to put together and shoot an elephant documentary. I tend to geek out a little over writers because I really love and admire writers. If you’re a writer and it doesn’t matter if you’re a journal writer or a blogger or you write scripts or books, I will admire you right away. I tend to geek out a little because with my son and my life I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like, but another dream of mine is to write a book and blog more. If you write anything, I will be a fan! (Laughs).
That’s awesome! I hope one day you are able to write that book.
Yeah, thank you me too. It would make me feel very accomplished. I took a magazine writing course and whenever I finished an assignment I felt really accomplished in a different way than acting. It’s like a different sense of accomplishment.
For my last question, what is your favorite comic book movie and why?
The original Batman.
Ah, Michael Keaton and Kim Basinger. I’ll tell you, in the ninth grade (if you want to talk about geeking out) I geeked out over that movie big time. I got a Batman jacket, Batman shirt, Batman earrings, I think I had a Batman bag, and my Batman jacket was like a jean jacket and I wore it all at the same time. Oh, I think I even had a Batman watch. I was obsessed, I wore all of that stuff at the same time and I imagine how I must have looked. I really loved that movie and I don’t think anything has come close to that since.