KamenConnection : Fans Interview with Kathy Christopherson (Michelle Walsh)
First I would like to say to Kathy Christopherson, Thank You so much for taking the time to answer these questions from us fans, we appreciate it a lot, and keep up the fantastic work!
What are some of the other products that you have worked on, and how was your experience with them?
I’ve worked on all sorts of projects over the years, film/tv/commercial/theater.
Most recently I worked on a film with James Russo called “Dreams and Shadows” and an episode of Showtime’s “Dexter.” Every experience is different – different role, cast, crew, politics, freedom. I seem to have the most fun with film and theater, but the roles are usually more developed and we have more time.
Did you always want to be an actor?
When I was much younger, I had to decide between being a dancer and an actress. I spent much of my childhood in dance studios and loved it as well. But I had had the acting bug since I was a little girl, and it won. I was hugely influenced by my mother, who introduced me to classic movies. We watched old movies all the time, and we would laugh and cry and my mom would tell me who all the actors were.
Are you like Michelle at all?
Generally speaking, one might say that “Kathy” is bossy, loud and confident, much like Michelle. I’d like to think I’m a little softer in the heart, and I’m definitely goofier. Kathy is much sillier than Michelle. And is fond of her jeans and t-shirt. Michelle is on a mission, and she’s manning a huge project. She may seem annoying at first glance, but Michelle has the right intentions, and she is finding some order in an otherwise chaotic world. We are similar in that doing the right thing is more important than making friends. Capiche?
What's it like to be head of secret agents who are after the Kamen Riders, trying to decipher secrets about them?
It’s fun, exciting, frustrating, stressful and challenging. This is the biggest and most career-changing endeavor with which Michelle has been involved. She sometimes wishes she could do it all herself, so the job gets done right the first time. Unfortunately, she must rely on her agents to do the dirty work.
Who did you work close to on the set?
I worked very closely with Steve Wang, who executive produced the show and directed many of my episodes. Steve and I did “Guyver 2 Dark Hero” together, so it was like a grand reunion for us. I also worked with Yvonne quite a bit, and Taylor.
If there was another season of Kamen Rider, what would your reaction be?
I would love it. There are rumors floating around all the time about possible subsequent seasons and how it would play out. I’m not sure what will happen, but I’d be very happy if the American version lived on.
How did you first hear about Kamen Rider and what was your reaction when you got the part of Michelle Walsh?
Steve and Mike Wang were at my birthday party one year and they said “hey we should write a part for you in this series we’re doing” and I said “yes you should!” Then one day, I got called in to audition for the role of “Michelle Walsh.” I loved it! Though I said “so…this is how you see me, huh?” I was relieved that everyone was on board and was really looking forward to working with the Wang brothers again.
How's it like playing Michelle Walsh?
Hey Chica, I had a blast. Every role is a challenge to find that new layer you can bring to it. And Michelle Walsh was no different. I knew she’d rub people the wrong way because of her constant interference, but I wanted to find her higher purpose. I also wanted to have a little bit of fun terrorizing everyone in that subtle kind of Michelle way.
Are we gonna see more Michelle Walsh before KRDK ends?
You betcha. If you’re not careful, you may even develop a tiny soft spot for her.
Do you prefer playing Michelle Walsh when she's a reporter or when she's a No Man?
That’s a very good question. The truth is, I did prefer playing the “reporter” Michelle to a certain degree. In the beginning, Michelle had her own cross to bear, but it wasn’t “saving the world.” It was more personal and quirkier. In other words, she could be as snotty and fun as she wanted because the stakes weren’t nearly as high. The “secret agent” Michelle had to knuckle down a little bit and be professional. Nevertheless, she found the places where she could get her little digs in, i.e. “nice tie, Maya” but some of those digs were adlibbed on a gut reaction.
Now since most of us may not know you too well, could you tell a little bit about yourself to us? How long have you been acting?
I’m originally from Chicago, IL, been acting professionally for over 20 years, and reside in the Los Angeles area. Again, I was heavily involved in the dance world when I was younger, then segued to full time acting. Somewhere in there, I got an advertising degree at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where I was also a cheerleader. I come from a theater background, but work in tv, film and commercials as well.
Most recently, I have been very involved with the dog rescue world, promoting a friend’s local rescue, Dirty Dog Squad, and starting my own crusade for shelter dogs who are redlisted to be euthenized. On Nov. 12, 2009, I will be emceeing the fundraiser “Cocktails 4 k9s” which I recently promoted on CNN Headline News as a guest on their local edition.
I’ve also written some screenplays, i.e. “The Wind Effect”, and produced a fun web series “In the Bath With Kath” – www.inthebathwithkath.com
How did you first hear about KRDK? What made you audition for a role in this series?
Again, Steve and Michael Wang approached me about the series and the role, and I was very interested in working with them again. At one point, it looked like I might have a professional conflict, and I made sure that we worked it out so I could come out and play “Michelle!”
Were you surprised that you got the role of Michelle Walsh? What is it like to be playing someone that seems nearly as bad as Xaviax, yet have good motives for defeating the enemy?
I was not terribly surprised I got the role of Michelle, but I was very happy I got it. I wish Michelle was as bad as Xaviax, but no way! Xaviax and Michelle have the exact opposite intentions. Funny enough, Xaviax has a little bit more charisma than Michelle. She is so focused on getting the job done, she doesn’t take the time or energy to make nice. I maintain that Michelle is misunderstood! What kind of person do you want to be in charge of SAVING THE WORLD??? Do you want her to be telling jokes and making friends with all the crazy kids and filing her nails during her coffee break? Come on, now. Does anyone ever think about Michelle’s life? How do you think she feels, working 24/7 for the sake of the world? Michelle doesn’t get to go to the movies and eat popcorn, or have time for a boyfriend or walking her dog. She doesn’t have lunch with the ladies or go shopping for Gucci bags on Rodeo Drive. Michelle does what she needs to do in order to protect humanity. Let’s cut her some slack. She just may have a good side that you have not yet seen…
Who did you get along with the most while on the production set for KRDK? What impressed you the most about KRDK cast and crew? Did you ever wish that the production took longer than 116 days (which was how long it took to produce all 40 episodes of KRDK)?
Wow, you really have your numbers straight. Well, let me start by saying that the cast was as sweet as pie. I adored everyone. We had great fun throughout the entire season, and even went through the presidential political debates together. Everyone was lovely. Taylor and I had so much fun, we got in “trouble” a couple times for being silly. And what can I say about the Wang boys. It’s such a treat to work with them – it’s more like vacation than work. They’re really fun and supportive and hard-working and it feel very familial. I think their unique, cool vibe really trickled down to the cast and crew and made the experience particularly fantastic for all of us.
Have you run into any KRDK fans outside? If so, what do they say about your character? What is it like to be part of a franchise that has existed for 38 years and has been reintroduced back into the U.S.?
Most of the KRDK fans I run into are either fans at Sci-fi conventions, or pre-existing fans and their kids. Michelle Walsh didn’t show up consistently until the second half of the season, so it took fans a while to catch on to her plight. What I usually hear is that the kids love to hate me, or things like Oh Michelle Michelle Michelle what are you up to now? Or they just go straight to the B word. ;) Everyone seems to be having fun with her – evidently Michelle gets people riled up, which I love.
As far as the franchise, it’s a treat to be a part of it. Die hard fans have to bend a little for the differences in the American market – but it seems like kids really love our version. Some people won’t watch the American version of “The Office” because they like the British original version. That’s crazy to me because the American version if so great – it’s just different. I feel the same way about Kamen Rider.
Are there any favorite/memorable moments that you had while on the set (without spoiling)? What are your thoughts about KRDK in general? And if you had the chance to work on another KR series in the future, would you audition for a role?
One of my favorite moments was the very first day of shooting. No one really knew how “snotty” I was going to play Michelle, so it was great fun to see their faces. Some of the greatest fun I had came very late in the season, so I can’t tell you about it – I’ll just say that we had some painfully great laughs in between takes. I also got a real kick out of the “get smart” shot where I walk across the white room.
I think Steve and Michael Wang did a fantastic job on KDRK. They really turned lemons to lemonade, making the series look like a much higher budget show. Also, they maintained a little bit of the darkness in the storyline, which I think makes this series unique. I would love to work on a future KR series – I guess we’ll just have to see what happens!
What was your reaction when you learned that you got the part of Michelle Walsh?
Excellent! I can’t wait to terrorize and boss everyone around! I had never worked on a kid’s show, so I was looking forward to experiencing it.
What was the first day on set like for you? Were you at all nervous?
Not nervous, just enthusiastic. I had such a fun time the first day, experimenting with Michelle’s idiosyncratic behavior and snappiness.
Do you like portraying "evil" characters or good characters in TV Shows / Movies?
I like portraying anything, to be honest, but evil characters can be more fun. An evil person always has at least one redeeming quality – and on the flipside, most “good” characters have a bit of a dark side or secret. It’s really about exploring all parts before simplifying a whole person.
Do you have an official site, or a place where fans can contact you?
Yes, I have an official site, but my facebook fan page seems to get updated more frequently than the official site. But they are both pretty full of information.
Anything else you would like to say? Any SHOUT OUTS to your fans?
Hey you guys (and gals!) Thanks so much for watching and supporting the show. Sometimes it’s tough to accept a translation of a series that has been a legacy in another country. So it’s really cool that you are on board and following the American version of this fun show. I’m really happy to have gained Michelle’s infamous reputation, and hope you enjoy her more and more as the season continues. Join my facebook fan club page where you can ask more questions, make comments and get updates on upcoming projects.
More Awesome Interviews
KamenConnection : Exclusive Fans Interview Chat with Kathy Christopherson
*Feel free to post a comment(s) to Kathy Christopherson, thanks.
|From: ^^ ||Rex|
|Sent On: ||11/13/2009 02:40 PM|
|Message: ||did you enjoy the filming of the show|
|From: ^^ ||Paris Benjamin|
|Sent On: ||11/09/2009 08:14 AM|
|Message: ||Nicely done Kath!!!! Keep on rockin\' girl!|
|From: ^^ ||JN|
|Sent On: ||11/04/2009 07:44 PM|
|Message: ||Kathy, You\'re hot. I want you.|
|From: ^^ ||johnnyk tha rock-it scientist|
|Sent On: ||11/04/2009 02:42 PM|
|Message: ||Kathy, I love so much how you have with such excellence applied to Michelle\'s role the multiple layers of depth and the \'mirror-imaging\' and \'into the looking glass\' that I see thread thru-out the fabric of the entire storyline\'s tapestry.
Your myriad of talents and the refinement of your craft you have accomplished in your career really show through in every scene we all so enjoy seeing you in.
For me, the mark of a really brilliantly written and produced \"kid\'s show\" is when adults \'get it\' also - your dedication to executing this role with such wit, passion and polish has this rocket scientist awake on Saturday morning and enjoying these sci-fi twists in a way I never expected I would have.
|From: ^^ ||Huy|
|Sent On: ||11/03/2009 11:40 PM|
|Message: ||Lol...I love the answers. I wish she could have been more comical than Michelle, but she had her reasons. Great interview and thanks for taking the time out to answer our questions!!!|
|From: ^^ ||CHiCA Kosaka|
|Sent On: ||11/03/2009 06:00 PM|
|Message: ||I agree with DK09!That was fast!Hahaha!Great interview! ~Love&kisses,CHiCA Kosaka|
|From: ^^ ||DK09|
|Sent On: ||11/03/2009 05:48 PM|
|Message: ||Sweet Interview! Thanks for answering our questions Kathy! And so fast too!|