Interview – Vancouver actress Beatrice King
– by Shawn Conner
It was either clever stealth marketing or an idea whose time had come. But when a fan-created short film called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, based on the Mortal Kombat video-game franchise garnered millions of hits on YouTube, franchise owners Warner Bros. drafted the film’s director Kevin Tancharoen into putting together a web series for the YouTube channel Machinima.com. Mortal Kombat: Legacy, which also stars Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan, places the characters in a storyline leading up to the first game’s Mortal Kombat tournament. Or something.
The series was filmed in Vancouver just this past February. Local actress/model Beatrice King landed the role of Queen Sindel whom, from what I’ve been able to glean, goes crazy later on (her hair goes white, always the mark of a person who’s gone nuts).
King, who is 26 and grew up in rural Alberta on an acreage (her parents keep bees!) outside of Edmonton, also has roles in the upcoming movies 50/50 with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Sisters & Brothers with Glee‘s Cory Monteith. She met up with The Snipe for an interview at a Vancouver coffee shop in May 2011.
Shawn Conner: Did a lot of people try out for the role of Queen Sindel?
Beatrice King: I originally tried out for the role of Mileena, the evil one of the twins. They had already cast Kitana [the other twin] so they were looking for a good match. So I auditioned for her and they really liked the audition I put together and then they cast me as Queen Sindel. I know it was a very extensive search for the twins and Queen Sindel.
SC: You’re also in a movie called 50/50 which I know nothing about.
BK: I play a girl on a bus who interacts with Joseph Gordon-Levitt when his character finds out he has cancer. I can play softer girl-next-door, but I’ve been doing a lot more fantasy and sci-fi, which I absolutely love.
SC: So when you’re writing in one of your “favorite eclectic coffee joints” [according to the Beatrice King bio on her website], are you writing science fiction or fantasy?
BK: I’m writing comedy. I just finished co-writing a short film with one of my writing partners. It’s a comedy but also has a very natural improv feel. It’s sort of the same feel as The Puffy Chair [movie, 2005] and Hump Day [movie, 2009], sort of off-the-cuff, very deadpan comedy. All the characters are very fleshed out and the storylines are quirky. I really enjoy writing in that way. I’ve done a little bit of comedy – I played an ex-girlfriend in Psych, and I did Sisters & Brothers which was comedic as well. It’s so much fun, I love comedy too.
SC: Who are your favourite comic actors?
BK: Jason Bateman is amazing. The whole Arrested Development series is one of my favourites of all time. I’ve seen them all probably three or four times, but you find something new in every episode – like a quick shot of a blue handprint that you never caught before. [David Cross's character walks around in Blue Man Group makeup for several episodes.]
SC: How much preparation did you do for Mortal Kombat: Legacy? Did you play the games or see the movies [Mortal Kombat, 1995, and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, 1997]?
BK: My brother grew up playing the old Mortal Kombat game so I was familiar with most of the characters, but not as familiar with Queen Sindel and that storyline. When I read the script, I noticed it occurs before Queen Sindel comes back from the dead, with the crazy white hair and the evil look.
I just looked at the scripts and what the director wanted to tell. I went back and researched how she came about and her relationship to the king. And because I’d already done the work on Mileena I knew the story-line surrounding that, so it was a natural transition from the twin to the queen.
SC: Looking at one of the scenes, it seems all you need to know is, “Okay, you’re going to wear this dress and you’re going to protect these two little girls.”
BK: Hmm. I don’t know… for me I wouldn’t be able to do that. I wouldn’t understand my character’s motivation for doing any of that.
I need to know why my character is doing things and flesh out all the relationships and how I feel about them, and why is it I look at Melina in that way, and what the back-story is on how I got to that place. Because I think you could just walk in and say, ” Okay, now protect the kids.” But I think you’d get a flat performance.
Watch – Beatrice King in episode IV, “Kitana and Mileena”, of Mortal Kombat: Legacy:
SC: Can you see yourself writing a parody of Mortal Kombat?
BK: For me it would be difficult to write a parody on something I’ve done. But I can see how someone would be able to write one. And most of my writing’s is based on original material, I really like to create stuff from scratch. It would be hard for me to do a parody on anything.
Locations really inspire my writing – a scene will come to mind based on the environment. Maybe this location might not fit in the film you’re writing now, but it might later, for something else.
SC: What kind of research did you do for X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
BK: This character was Japanese, so most of my research had to do with studying Japanese mannerisms and speech. I worked with a dialect coach –
SC: But your background is partly Chinese, right?
SC: You could play Hawaiian too I bet…
BK: I have auditioned for Hawaiian!
SC: Again, you don’t really need to know much about Wolverine if you’re in a movie with him. Unless you’re at a comics convention.
BK: Well, if you’re a main character and you interact with him quite a bit and there’s a big battle sequence…!
SC: Are there any pictures of you in a beekeeper outfit?
BK: No there isn’t!
SC: Because your parents keep bees…
BK: Yes, I grew up around bees. I’m not scare of bees but I’m scared of wasps. My parents own an acreage, and they have these wasps nests in the ground. One day I was going berry picking and there was nest in the ground and all of a sudden this swarm came up from the ground and I got stung seven times.
It was only a couple of years ago. It felt like I was getting shot in the back. Most of them were symmetrical, one on each shoulder blade and one on each side of my back. I’ve been stung by bees, too, but I don’t remember it much. But that one wasp experience…
SC: What other projects do you have coming up?
BK: Well there’s Sisters & Brothers, where I play Nathalie who is basically a wannabe actress in L.A. and is trying to schmooze with Cory Monteith and his brother. It was basically an improv-style film where the director just told us what he wanted in the scene and let us run with it.
SC: Uh-oh. Was there a script?
BK: They have a script in place where they know what’s going to happen but the director wanted us to inject not only what our character was thinking but just be more off-the-cuff. I loved having room for us to take the scene in the direction we needed to take in.
SC: Is this because the script was bad?
BK: [laughs] No, not at all. Not at all. You’ll find it’s really funny.
SC: Are there release dates for 50/50 or Sisters & Brothers?
BK: I know 50/50 comes out in the fall, and they haven’t released a date yet for Sisters & Brothers.
SC: They’re still improvising.
BK: [laughs] Exactly.