Actress Kate Kugler On Finding Redemption Through The Horrors Of Garth Ennis’ STITCHED

Last week, Bleeding Cool told you that Garth Ennis is about to premiere a short film called Stitched at San Diego Comic Con. The film is the first arc of a story that will continue in an ongoing comic book series and a planned feature-length movie. We’ve talked to Garth and Tank Jones about what’s going on with this ambitious project, and now we continue behind the scenes with the actors:

Actress Kate Kugler, who plays “Twiggy” in the upcoming short film STITCHED (written and directed by Garth Ennis), has also acted in the upcoming film Intersect, as well as numerous Phoenix-area productions.  She studied Justice Studies and Theater at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University.  Here, for the first time, Kate provides her unique perspective on the STITCHED film and working with Garth Ennis.

Keith Davidsen: How did you first come on-board with STITCHED?

Kate Kugler: I was sent out on the Stitched audition by my agent.  I knew almost nothing about the project – I just had character descriptions and some short sides.  It was the audition itself that piqued my interest in the project.  The casting team was professional and very, very engaged.  I could tell they themselves were extremely invested in the project, which is exciting.

What can you tell us about your character, Twiggy?

There’s a lot more to Twiggy than meets the eye.  Certainly she’s quite terrified and a little useless when we first meet her, but almost anyone under that kind of duress would be, as well.  She provides the “everyman” perspective.  The 99% of our audience who have never fought humans in combat (much less the terrifying STITCHED creatures) can empathize with her storyline.  However, this isn’t to say Twiggy is completely of everyday stock.  Underlying her terrified exterior is a strong woman with a lot of empathy.  Once she gets her bearings in the world of STITCHED, her own bravery and loyalty are certain to emerge.

What can you tell us about your experiences on the set?

The set was so full of energy!  It was clear the entire team was excited about the project, and everyone was so excited to be working with Garth.  It was impossible not to feel blissfully happy about what I was doing from the time I arrived on set to the moment I left.

Plus, there was the extra joy of being camped out in the desert, far away from real life.  I loved shooting on location.  By the end of filming, it felt totally natural to be decked out in army gear and clutching a pistol as I scrabbled around the desert!

STITCHED marks Garth Ennis’ first time as a film director.  So… how did he do?

Garth was a delight to work with.  It was clear right away that he has a wonderfully intimate understanding of his characters’ psychology, plus he has a gift for elucidating those inner works for his actors.  I can’t express how refreshing and helpful that is as an actor.

How did you prepare for your role as Twiggy?

I read up on the day-to-day life for soldiers in Afghanistan.  I had a bit of a jump-start in this regard, as my father has lived in the Embassy Compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, for the last year.  His stories about life there provided a lot of fodder for my imaginings of Twiggy’s daily life.  Lucky for me, Twiggy is pretty green in regards to combat and weaponry, so my own dilettantism was totally appropriate.

What was the most challenging thing about playing the role of Twiggy?

The most challenging thing about existing in the world Garth created for STITCHED was letting myself really believe in the gore that the world inevitably holds.  I myself am a bit squeamish – I don’t watch many horror films, and close my eyes during the gory bits of movies.  So, to really let myself believe in some of the grotesque images we encounter during our journey was an exercise in will power.

Had you been a comic book fan prior to the filming of STITCHED?

I don’t think I’d ever cracked the cover of a comic book before the film!  I was not familiar with Garth as a comic book writer, and it was quite a shock the first day on set to realize I was working with such an acclaimed writer.  I googled him as soon as I got home from our first day of filming and was floored.  Since filming the project, I’ve read several of Garth’s books, and very much enjoyed them.

As you know, STITCHED is going to continue as a comic book series.  What would you like to see for Twiggy in her upcoming adventures?

I have a sneaking suspicion that Twiggy will get her redemption.  She’s quite a mess for most of the short film – terrified, convinced her death is right around every corner (which isn’t too far from the truth) – but her day’s gonna come.  I think she’ll eventually shock everyone with some lioness-like bravery.

If STITCHED gets a green light for expansion into a full-length feature film, would you look forward to suiting up and crawling around in the Arizona desert again?

Uh… yes.  Yes.  And yes again!  I would love nothing more than to spend a couple months crawling, crying, fleeing, fighting, and hopefully eventually escaping the Stitches in the most bad-ass way possible… though only Garth knows the fate of our ragged bunch!  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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Stitched will premiere at SDCC and the DVD is available for preorder now. You can find out more at www.FearTheStitched.com.