If I ever get stuck in a time loop, I'd love to be on a film set every day of my life: Kathryn Newton
In an exclusive, Kathryn Newton talks about her new Amazon Prime Video sci-fi romance film The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, and choosing critically acclaimed projects like Big Little Lies, Ladybird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Kathryn Newton, 24, has been a professional golfer since the age of eight. But the actress maintains she doesn't choose projects with the same measured intensity that she putts the ball.
Having appeared in critically acclaimed films like Ben Is Back, Oscar nominations like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Ladybird, and Emmy Award-winning HBO show Big Little Lies, Newton claims she has picked up tremendously from every project she has been a part of. "I feel like you're always supposed to be where you are. Every project I've ever done has changed my life, and I always think it's the best thing ever. I never think it's going to get better. I just work with people who inspire me, and who I can keep learning, stealing, and copying from," she says, in an exclusive interview on Zoom.
While she is excited about her new film The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, she is also prepping for what could be her biggest breakthrough — playing Cassie Lang in Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, that she is tight-lipped about. "When I'm looking for my next project, I can't tell you what it's going to be because I couldn't have dreamt big enough. I couldn't have decided my new film was going to be so special when I first received a call to be a part of it. So I have pretty low expectations, and I just try to stay open to receiving directions. Because you win projects, you lose projects, but you're always supposed to be where you are," adds Newton.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things also has themes of familial bonding and conflict like the films mentioned above that Newton has been a part of. But at heart, it is a romantic story where her character Margaret and Mark (Kyle Allen) are two lovers stuck in an infinite time loop or a temporal anomaly, living the same day incessantly on repeat. Before she dives into the Quantumania, Newton travels through time in a far more modest and intimate space in The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, directed by Ian Samuels and adapted for screen by Lev Grossman from his short story of the same name.
Edited excerpts from the exclusive interaction with Newton below:
What do you think the sub-genre of deja vu or science fiction adds to a romance? Does it lend complexity to a genre infamous for surface skimming?
That's a really good question! I feel like movies tell the same story over and over again. The question always is: what's your medium going to be? How're you going to tell it? To me, this movie is about being young. You're in a time loop, and being young never ends. It's about the eternal teenage wasteland. I never experienced the same day happening over and over again. But when you're young, being bored seems like it's going to last forever. It's taking this feeling, turning it into something literal so that we can use it in a movie. But it's really how you feel when you're young. You're waiting for your life to start. And the lesson is really that it starts right now.
The premise of living the same day on loop saw a larger resonance last year during the Coronavirus lockdown. Do you believe this film then intends to remind the audience of the "tiny perfect things" around them?
I think this movie is definitely a reflection of the times we're in right now. It literally predicted the future. So weird, right? We started this movie on my birthday (8 February). Last night, the producers and I were all texting each other pictures from the first day of filming, and it's just crazy how the film is coming a full circle now. We started filming on 11 February last year. It went by so quickly! It's just our job to take every moment seriously. You can't take it for granted. We didn't know the world was going to be this way when we started filming. But thank god the movie is about looking for perfect things. There wasn't even a day when someone didn't go, "Oh my gosh, that's perfect! That take is magic!" So it definitely left me with feeling like it's my power to decide what is perfect. I think that's what life is about — your perception to make things good.
Speaking of the filming, was it as mechanical as the life of the character you play. Since there were so many long takes, were there a lot of rehearsals and retakes? The film looks quite spontaneous for one that is about the mundane.
The first time I met Ian, I talked to him about the long opening sequence. It's a very ambitious one so I didn't know how he was going to pull it off in one shot! I told him you're going to need a very talented guy to assist you in creating it. And he did! He found the perfect guy. Kyle is the only person in the world who could do that. This is a small movie with a small cast and crew. Everybody is working for the same goal but you don't have much time. So Kyle and I only had a couple of hours to shoot a long stair walk scene through the town. But it all came together really well. For me, I want to do more scenes like that. Since these are long takes, as an actor, you're in it. You've done enough rehearsals but then you forget everything and make room for mistakes and magic to happen.
Do you have a favourite from the films that fall under the time-loop sci-fi genre?
Groundhog Day! I played golf with Bill Murray this week. I was embarrassed to say it but since I was playing golf with him, I had to let him know that our movie was influenced by his. I told him, "You know Bill, you made a really great movie about living a day over and over again. And it was so good Hollywood decided to do it over and over again." He said, "That's what happens when you're so good!"
You have achieved commendable success at a very young age. There is a high chance you will be living this life, in and out of film sets, for the rest of your life. Is there ever a fear of fatigue like you will be stuck in a time loop?
I'd love it if I'm stuck in this day forever, okay? (laughs) I'd definitely consider myself the luckiest person in the world if I can be on a film set everyday. And then you know, play golf in the afternoon. Then I'd be really, really figuring out my life. But who knows what I'll be doing after 10 years? I don't know. Everything will be so different.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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