Katherine Castro talks about her movie ‘American Violence’ (INTERVIEW)

I had the pleasure to interview the star of the “American Violence”, VOD movie, Dominican actress, Katherine Castro. Born and raised in Santo Domingo until age 5, Katherine and her family moved to New York City, where she went to grammar school. She moved back to DR to finish high school and college. She came back to pursue her dreams of stardom and currently resides in Hollywood.

We have very similar backgrounds, so immediately we started to reminisce about New York City life, the chimi trucks, and the excitement of living in New York City. Even though she’s a vegetarian now, she still remembers how tasty and delicious a chimi (Dominican burger) from the New York city food trucks are. It was a bit of a bonding experience for two Dominican girls from New York city!

Katherine talked to us about her experience in Hollywood as a Latina actress, about the audition process, and what it was like filming this movie.

Latina Cool: What attracted you to this project?

Katherine: I liked a few things about it- the way it was written. It’s very creative, dark and gritty. I liked that it’s different. And even though the characters are all flawed, like people in real life, you also get to see their good traits. My character, for example, she’s an exotic dancer. But she also has a personal story of struggle with her relationship with her dad, which she’s trying to mend. It also shows the loyalty and respect between families. At the end of the day, the film is about a human story where people are struggling with their demons. And in the midst of all this, there’s a serial killer on the loose that brings all the characters together. I really like my character, Isabella. She is more than meets the eye. We have the tendency to judge a book by its cover, which I think it’s a mistake. Isabella, when you get to know her, you see that she has some dreams. And some broken dreams as well. And she wants to have a better life and wants to be back with her family. And she’s a poet. On top of that, she’s a beautiful artist.

Latina Cool: That brings me to my next question, how do you relate to your character in the film, and how are you different from her?

Katherine: Well, I relate to her in the sense of her being a dancer, even though she’s an exotic dancer, I grew up dancing. And I know what dancing feels like. I relate everything to music and dance. I started dancing when I was five years old. So I’ve always been very artistic. I can relate with her in that. I can relate to her in fighting for her dreams. She’s a poet, and she’s finally going to have her book published. I can also relate in the struggles with her relationship with her father. There was a point in my life where my relationship with my father was somewhat estranged. So I know what that feels like. How am I different? Well, I’m not an exotic dancer. hahhh I don’t take off my clothes, you know, in a strip club to dance. But also we are different in a sense that I still have all my family around me. My brothers, my mom. My mom is actually here with me visiting from DR. We are all very close. But more than the differences, we have a lot more similarities. We both don’t like violence. And we are both very passionate and fight for our dreams. I think that’s beautiful. Everyone should always fight for their dreams.

Latina Cool: Absolutely! There’s great satisfaction on never giving up and fighting for our dreams. How was the auditioning process for this role?

Katherine: Oh, that was interesting! I had to put myself on tape. The directors had already cast the entire film, and my character was the last to be cast. They had been working on casting this character for a year. The husband of a friend of mine contacted me and said that he thought I would be a perfect fit for this role. And so he went ahead and put me in contact with them. The director emailed me the script, and the scene that they wanted to see me perform on tape. At that point, I spoke with my acting coach, Aaron Speiser- a phenomenal coach. He’s on set with Will Smith. That should tell you how amazing he is. He’s very detailed. We worked together one on one to get me prepared to put this audition on tape. And so we did, and I sent out the audition. The directors emailed me saying they were blown away, and they would love to have me be part of the film. So that’s how it all came together. It was my first audition that I had to send out of town because they were in Atlanta, and I was in L.A. It was really exciting to get that email, because mind you, I didn’t get the email the next day. I got the email like three days later. So after I delivered, I was like o.k., what’s going to happen? At some point, I let go, and when I let it go, because I was focusing on something else, I got the email. That was a big lesson for me.

Latina Cool: Funny! That’s usually how things work, right? I’m working through that because I can be neurotic at times. Hah!

Katherine: No, girl! You have to let it go. In the end, everything that happens, happens for a reason. And it happens in perfect timing. So don’t stress about anything, it’s not worth it. We don’t want to get wrinkles and get old. Hay que cuidar la piel. Hahh

Latina Cool: I know! Hahh Tell us about your experience filming, any interesting anecdotes?

Katherine: OMG, yes! First of all, I had never been in Atlanta, where we shot. I also figured that they would have wardrobe and stylist ready for the opening scene. I, of course, every time I do a film, even though there’s a stylist taking care of the wardrobe, I always bring some of my things, just to make it more personal. But I didn’t buy anything for the dancing scene. So here we are, the producer and I went to a store, where all they sell is clothing for strippers. So that was kind of awkward because I would have to try it out and show the producer, and the director because the movie has a lot of color and tones, so I couldn’t just wear anything. We are in the store, and everyone is looking at me, and the guys were like, “no! no! no! she’s not really a stripper, it’s not real, we are just doing a movie.” Hah! That was hilarious. These guys are all very respectful, so it was awkward for them. They are so sweet and such professionals. They possess a sense of innocence that you don’t’ really find in this industry much. I call them, “the boys” because they are sweet and innocent.

Latina Cool: That’s really great! So tell us, how is it being Latina in the industry. Do you find yourself being type-cast, how does that dynamic work also being up and coming?

Katherine: Well, with me something occurs very particular that it doesn’t allow me to be typecast. No one sees me here as Latina or Dominican because even though it sounds a bit ignorant, the conception is that all Latinas are dark skinned, have dark hair, and they all have an accent. So when they run into someone like me, I don’t look like typical idea of Latina that they have here. If you go to DR you see tons of people like me. But here, I have heard people say, “You’re Dominican, but you are white?” And for me is just like, o.k., breathe! And well, you know, then I find myself giving them a little bit of Latin American History (lol) I’ve been submitted for roles where they are looking for a Dominican girl. Often times, the reply is, “she doesn’t look Dominican.” I have to let them know that I was born and raised there. I’m the real thing! You don’t have to hire someone to act Dominican because I am Dominican. But in a sense, it’s also a blessing because I can’t be put in box, and for an actress, that’s ideal. Though there’s still a lot of inequality, especially being a man’s world. We also have a lot of great representation like, Jennifer Lopez, even though she was born and raised in the United Sates. Sofia Vergara has broken barriers- having an accent. There’s also Zoe Saldaña, another Dominican that’s successful. So even though we have come a long way, there’s still a lot of barriers to overcome. And we have a lot of work to do for the future generation.

Latina Cool: We are aware that there’s a lot of room for growth. Know that you have a platform here at the magazine, and we always encourage and love to promote up and coming Latinos. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and share your experience as a Latina and artist. Ya sabes, when you come to NYC and visit, you have a tour guide in us. I’ll take you to The Heights.

About the Movie

Katherine is the star of “American Violence,” which is a movie in digital form, available on VOD. The movie is about a serial killer causing havoc in the lives of the characters and also serves to bring their lives together. Katherine’s character is an exotic dancer and a poet, named Isabella, who is trying to help provide for her family. The movie tracks a crooked police that teerrorizes the city, and a Russian mafia family who is at war with a Mexican cartel group. But these two families have no idea that these chain of events will lead to life threatening encounter with the notorious serial killer. If you love “Tarantinoesque,” dark, action thrillers, full of roller-coaster excitement, you will love this film. There’s also a hot and steamy dance scene by Ms. Castro, for the boys. And lots of eye candy for the girls. 😉


Check out the trailer here:

[vimeo 140988390 w=500 h=281]

American Violence Teaser Trailer from Katherine Castro on Vimeo.