At the Monte Carlo TV Fest Stana Katic Shines As the Star of Absentia

The Monte Carlo TV Fest - Stana Katic

Photo: www.abstenia-tv.com

 

Actress Stana Katic was smiling all weekend at The 57th Monte Carlo TV Fest, and with good reason. The Sony Pictures Television series Absentia opened the festival and she’s its star – and one of the executive producers.  It’s a great place to be a little over a year after that strange business with the end ABC’s Castle.

Doing Monte Carlo Stana Katic Style

Stana’s always been a style queen on red carpets and she’s definitely continued the tradition at the Monte Carlo TV Fest!

Monte Carlo TV Fest - Stana Katic Style

Photos from www.absentia-tv.com

Aside from her red carpet looks, Stana also attended a Monte Carlo TV Fest Cocktail party on the arm of her husband Kris Brkljac.

 

(Photos: www.stana-katic.net)

I love the black lace – and did you catch her red shoes? They are the perfect touch!

What’s really beautiful though is seeing them so happy together. Usually we just get glimpses of Kris standing close by, like this heartfelt love-letter photo she posted of them on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

To the man behind the scenes: The privilege of a lifetime is loving you & being loved by you. Thank you my best friend, my rock, my love. #CupRunnethOver

A post shared by Stana Katic (@drstanakatic) on

The Monte Carlo TV Fest Interviews With Stana Katic

We love Stana’s fashion sense, and yes, she could have been a model. However, as beautiful as Stana is, she’s much more than a pretty face.  Anyone who’s followed her career knows just how passionate she is about her work.  During the Monte Carlo TV Fest she got several opportunities to share her excitement about starring in Absentia.

From the Absentia Group Sessions

Aside from the short red carpet and onstage questions fielded by everyone, there were a couple of formal group panels for the Absentia cast, director, and executive producers. This is a short clip posted by AbsentiaSeries on Instagram.   It’s from the Monte Carlo TV Fest “Behind the Scenes” panel for Absentia.  She’s just been asked what attracted her to playing the character of FBI Agent Emily Bryne.

So, Emily is: a lover, a daughter, a sister, and a mother. One can see how someone you thought was dead suddenly showing up would complicate relationships.  I think lover is going to be the toughest one though.

We know that the lovely Cara Theobold plays Alice Durant – the new wife of Emily’s husband. Said husband, Nick Durant, is played by the seriously handsome Patrick Heusinger‏.  Of course Emily still loves him.  As for Nick, if Emily hadn’t been declared dead he’d still be married to her. This tease suggests Nick’s going to be feeling some conflicts!

https://twitter.com/AbsentiaSeries/status/871785522645016576

Speaking of Nick, another tidbit from that panel came from Absentia‘s hot leading man.  

I had to do a chemistry read with her (Stana).  As luck would have it, we have really terrific on-screen chemistry, and, and, it’s some of the best scenes I could have ever shot, of my career, are with her on this show.

Wow, that’s saying a lot!  It’s not like this is Patrick’s first gig! Just last year he was “The Hunter” in the Tom Cruise film Jack Reacher.  Here’s a fun bit of trivia though.  Patrick was Raymond Vance in the Castle episode “Number One Fan,” but Patrick and Stana never actually met! Now he’s playing the guy who has the heart of Stana’s character. Pretty cool!

Talking One-On-One With Stana at the Monte Carlo TV Fest

Yes, there were also a few one-on-one interviews with just Stana.

Now, this longer video interview is from the day after the premiere.  It’s wonderful to see Stana so happy and animated about Absentia! It’s also nice to hear her take on being “a real” executive producer. She obviously has appreciated being a part of the collaborative process from beginning to end. Listening to Stana’s clarity about all the elements is a sharp reminder that she’s not just a physically beautiful women. She’s a very intelligent and articulate one.

 

When you watch any of the various video interviews that went on during the festival it’s apparent that Stana takes her work seriously.  However, that can’t hide the pure joy she has in doing it.  For instance, the way she reacts in the longer video when asked about her character is adorable.  As she pauses and thinks about Emily, you can see how much she loves and admires the woman she’s playing.

One interesting technical reveal from Stana’s interviews is about how Absentia was shot.  It wasn’t done like a TV series, filming one episode at a time.  Instead it was shot as a single piece – like a film.

That was only possible because the entire Absentia series is directed by a single person, the Israeli director Oden Ruskin.  At some point throughout the festival all involved with Absentia say wonderful things about him and his vision for the show. That factor will likely make Absentia feel more like a movie because it will have his visual stamp running straight through it.  (For more on the making of Absentia check out, Is Sony AXN’s Absentia a Sign of Yet Another TV Industry Evolution? )

Stana and her Fans!

— Absentia (@AbsentiaSeries) June 17, 2017

Stana is well known for being truly appreciative of her fans and going out of her way for them. That’s not just about being polite if she runs into them. After her performance in White Rabbit Red Rabbit she stayed and did autographs and/or photos with everyone in the audience that wanted to. (Of course that was the entire house of roughly 240 people.) The producers were in shock and awe. Apparently no one else who had done the show stayed so long after and did this!

With stories like this, it should be no surprise that she did one of the special Q&A’s for fans  that the Monte Carlo TV Fest had set aside time and space for.  The following quotes are all via the videos of lucky fans who were in Monaco for the festival and got to attend.  I’ve credited their twitter handles if you’d like to see their video clips and other festival-related fun.

Stana Answers Fan’s Questions:

On the differences between Emily Bryne and Kate Beckett

This one was probably on the minds of most people who know Stana from Castle.   In a video clip from @AbsentiaItalia,  Stana was asked if there were any similarities between the two characters.  The short answer is no.  However, her explanation really paints a clear picture about why there aren’t any. 

I don’t see a way of them connecting, or saying that they’re opposites because they’re totally different worlds. You understand? Uh…it’s like trying to compare, for instance, and I’m not trying to say that this is the genre or anything, but I’m saying you can’t compare Sex in the City with, for instance, Django Unchained.

No, you can’t. You can though enjoy each one based on its own merit. 

On what attracted her to playing Emily

Stana made the point that she wasn’t suggesting that Absentia was the same genre as Django Unchained.  If you know the movie you can see why she’d want that to be clear. Among several things, there’s no way Absentia is about American slavery.

However, Django Unchained is a violent, intense, action-heavy film about extreme circumstances & survivorship.  Below are some quotes by Stana about what attracted her to Absentia.  When I heard them I could see why Django Unchained may have come to mind. (The videos these quotes are from were shot by @Fantaskatic – thanks for sharing them!)

This is uh, a very strong female character, she’s a survivor, above all, and that was exciting, (…) I was very interested in finding out what it was like to be a survivor of something extreme.

I was excited by the physicality of the character, um, and they tried to make it, and they did, make it as safe as possible on set, so that was really exciting. (Humorously) There’s a lot of short breathing, you know, there’s like intensity and so forth.

On doing stunt work

Stana is well-known for liking to do physically challenging performance work, knife fighting, being waterboarded – stuff like that.  Given some of what she’s done in the past, I can’t wait to see what she takes on in Absentia.  Check out her reply to being asked if she did her own stunt work.

Most often, yes.  I’m trying to think if there was one….Oh, there was one.  The only reason they didn’t let me do this is because they were afraid that if I took a misstep that would be it, so…  But I wanted to do it! (Laughter) Yeah. Ah, but primarily I did get to do most of my stunts and that was quite fun.

However, I had a great stunt partner, and, uh, I’m very lucky like we as actors are very dependent on our stunt partner and stunt double (…) they’re always there and I couldn’t do it without them.

In other words kids, all the exciting stuff Stana will be doing on TV should not be tried at home!

On sexism in the entertainment industry

What is striking in watching the different fans ask Stana questions? The first thing is seeing her careful focus in listening to make sure she’s understood them correctly.  Then it’s her willingness to be so candid with them about her work. This next quote was part of an even longer discussion! 

Often times in film and television these characters (women) don’t have much to do other than “worry,” you know.  So they’re really just a function to tell the audience how to feel about a character that’s actually driving the story. And what was exciting about this story was even though she was a mom, she drove the story.  I thought that was a really important transition for us as filmmakers, as storytellers  – and we have often times in other films and TV, but I don’t see it often when I’m reading scripts.

We all know about the kind of sexism in the entertainment world she’s talking about.  The roles for women tend to be the wife or the girlfriend.  That’s why there’s been so much excitement about the breakthrough with Wonder Women.  Talk about having a woman driving the story!

The other issue Stana hints at is the industry’s catch-22 about beautiful women.  In show business there’s an overall pressure on performers to be attractive.  It’s especially exacting on women though.  At the same time, some actresses can find that being beautiful can mean being seen as not right for complex roles.  Even when a woman’s character is multi-faceted, it’s still usually as a motivator for the man in the story.  Stana loved that the script for Absentia bucked all of the above mentioned sexist trends!

The Wrap-Up: What a Fabulous Weekend for Stana & Absentia!

From start to finish The Monte Carlo TV Fest looks like it was a great time for everyone involved with Absentia!

From the way Stana described people reacting to the Absentia screening at the Monte Carlo TV Fest, this show lives up to the buzz. As it is her fans are getting excited about the entire cast, which is always a good sign.  It’s a safe bet that Absentia will be one of the hottest new shows this fall.  …It may also be responsible for a lot of Americans skipping over the border to Canada every week. Stana Katic fans are a determined bunch! Hopefully things won’t come to that and the show will get picked up in the U.S..  Stay tuned!  

 


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