Katheryn Winnick Hollywood’s Action Diva
MODERN DAY WARRIOR. Katheryn Winnick has the looks of a Hollywood diva and certainly the acting skills that go along with it. She also has two black belts. She chats about career and shares a bit of her personal life with DA MAN
Katheryn Winnick can probably wipe the floor with just about anyone of us, both on and off the screen. The fact is, she was already running three martial art schools when she landed her first role. Of course, she can probably out-act a lot of her fellow thespians, as is evident by her extensive filmography, her upcoming appearance in the movie “Geostorm” (playing alongside Gerald Butler, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia, among others), as well as the everincreasing popularity of her current TV series, “Vikings.”
Da Man: hi katheryn, glad to have you on board. So, how are you doing?
Katheryn winnick: I’m great! How are you doing? Thank you so much for this interview.
DA: If we’re not mistaken, you’ve just wrapped up filming for “geostorm”, right? can you give us a brief outline of what the movie’s going to be about?
KW: Dean Devlin is the director, and it’s a Warner Brother’s film, one of those big action adventure movies that take place here and in outer space. I’m really excited about it because we have a phenomenal cast. I play the ex-wife of Gerard Butler, who is absolutely fantastic. Andy Garcia, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Abbie Cornish are also in the movie, so there’s a good group of people, and I’m really excited for you to see it.
DA: Going by what’s been released so far, some people think that “geostorm” is a scifi adventure, some think that it’s a disaster movie set in space, while others speculate that it will also be a conspiracy thriller. which description do you think would best fit the movie?
KW: Well you’re going to have to wait and see! It’s pretty much all of the above, and that’s what makes it a great story.
DA: You were added to the cast about a month before principal photography on the film began. how did you end up getting the role?
KW: I read the script about a year ago, but I’ve been busy shooting “Vikings” in Ireland. I remember thinking that this was a really fun project, and I would love to be a part of it. I got a call from my agent saying that there was interest, so I did a self-tape while in Ireland. Dean Devlin and his wife recognized me from my work in “Vikings,” so they asked me to be a part of the movie. Once I finished shooting the last episode of “Vikings,” I went straight to New Orleans to film [“Geostorm”].
DA: Some scenes for “Geostorm” were filmed at an actual NASA facility. How was it like filming with actual space technology?
KW: I love shooting in NASA. I was really excited to see where the spaceships are being built. Security is really strict and it is super tough to get into the NASA facility, but I am lucky enough to be an American citizen as well as Canadian, so I was able to go through clearance much faster than other actors. Of course, we shot in a different part of NASA where it’s more of a production studio with the set we built and everything, so we didn’t really get a chance to hang out with the astronauts, if that’s what you’re asking.
DA: Speaking of “Vikings,” it looks like the third season is off to a great start. and it would seem that your character is going to play an increasingly prominent part, is that correct?
KW: In Season 3, Lagertha is now an Earl in her own right. She’s a free woman; she doesn’t necessarily need a man although she can choose to be with one. It is a strong position; you’ll definitely see her in a different light. She also shows a lighter, flirtier, fun side that people have never seen before, which was a challenge to play. A lot of my scenes were with King Ecbert, whom Linus Roache plays, and then we added another cast member to my storyline: Kalf, my second-in-command, whom Ben Robson plays. Having to work with both of them brings a different side of Lagertha that you haven’t seen before.
DA: What else can the audience expect from this new season? especially where the new Earl Ingstad is concerned, of course.
KW: Expect the unexpected. There will be fighting; everybody’s storyline gets more developed; and we have some great new cast members. We even ended up invading Paris, with the whole group of actors and new set designs, which will be pretty remarkable to see if you come to Ireland.
DA: Overall, however, what do you think is it that makes “vikings” stand out compared to other historical or medieval fantasy tv series?
KW: First of all, this isn’t a fantasy show; it is historical fiction. I think what makes it stand out is that it has really good writing. Michael Hirst is a brilliant writer. We have an extremely talented cast, and everyone brings something different to the table, which works very well together as a whole. For people who are interested in the history of Vikings, they can see a realistic view of how Vikings lived, how they built a boat, how they ruled, how they raised children and all the mythology in their world. The show is multi-layered and very rich, which makes it so worthwhile to watch.
DA: What’s the craziest thing you’ve had to do on set for “vikings” so far?
KW: I ate raw meat and raw fish!
DA: And what would be the most challenging thing you’ve had to do on the show?
KW: This year, having to learn to speak a new language was very challenging. As with every new language, it was very hard to master speaking Old Norse. In season three, I speak a good portion in Old Norse, which is similar to the Icelandic language that actually exists today. Even though only a small percentage of viewers actually understand it, I have a very type-A personality so I want to get it right. I spent hours and hours studying the language to not only get the precise pronunciations right, but also to understand what I am actually saying.
DA: How do you pump yourself up before shooting battle scenes?
KW: We actually have a chant with the background actors. I usually shout “Shield wall!” and they will scream back “Shield wall!” and we end up screaming back and forth at each other, and this really gets everyone super pumped up.
DA: Besides “geostorm” and “vikings,” are there any other movies or tv series you’re working on right now?
KW: I’m looking at a lot of different projects right now. I do have several different scripts on hand, but I’m still trying to decide what I want to do next. I’m really excited to find that next project.
DA: Do you still actively teach martial arts?
KW: I do; I teach women’s self-defense. My program is called Win Kai Self-Defense, and I’m currently working with another company to try to get it out to the mass market. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@KatherynWinnick) to find out in the next few months how we’re going to get the selfdefense program out there.
DA: When you’re not kicking butts and taking names on screen or on the mat, how do you usually spend your time?
KW: I really love participating in outdoor activities, such as hiking and going to the beach. I also like learning about wine, traveling to different places around the world, but, most importantly, I just love enjoying life and spending time with the people I love.
DA: One last question: where do you see yourself in, say, five years from now?
KW: Hopefully working on great film projects with actors, directors and writers who will inspire me.
Makeup: Fabiola at Tracey Mattingly using Mac cosmetics
Hairdo: Ryan Randall at the only agency using Oribe
Retouching: Jon Norris
Photography assistant: Austin Anderton
Styling assistants: Jaz Jenkins and Jess Esguerra