Interview with Keegan Connor Tracy
– by Elana Shepert
She plays the Blue Fairy on the whimsical ABC drama Once Upon a Time, and Robert Redford’s secretary in The Company you Keep, which was the Official Selection this year at TIFF. She also has a Best Supporting Actress Leo award under her belt, for her role as a heroin addict on Da Vinci’s Inquest.
Canadian-born Keegan Connor Tracy’s latest project is A&E’s chilling series, Bates Motel, which will air in 2013. A prequel to the the popular Alfred Hitchcock film, Psycho, the story focuses on a young Norman Bates, and his disturbing relationship with his mother, Norma. Keegan will play his teacher, Miss Watson. With a degree in social psychology, she is eager to explore the dysfunctional dynamics in the epic Bates tale.
We sat down with the lovely Ms. Tracy to discuss her newest role, motherhood, the Blue Fairy, and the perks of performance – like dress up!
Elana Shepert: So was the role of Ms. Watson a natural choice for you? Are you a horror fan?
Keegan Connor Tracy: I wouldn’t say that it’s my first genre. I’m sort of one of those die hard foreign film junkies. But I think I tend to bring humor to these kinds of shows that are dark. I think that’s where I often fit in with them. I like left-of-centre characters that have some kind of problem, some kind of issue.
ES: What is this interpretation of the Psycho story going to be like?
KCT: We’re about to shoot episode three. I think that, based on what I’ve seen of it, the time period is different. They’re not placing it back in the time period it was, the 60s or when it took place, it’s modern and so there are all these modern issues with the students around him and him. The city where they live is ultimately going to play a bigger role in what goes on in his life than in the film. It’s not just his relationship with Norma – it’s the whole community that they live in. It has this whole underbelly of secrets.
ES: With the producers of Lost and Friday Night Lights on board, will there be a lot of suspense and mystery?
KCT: I would say that’s a pretty safe bet. There will be a lot of trap doors, and already in the two scripts that I’ve read, I’ve been going through it going, What! No way! I think there’ll be a lot of the no-way element, and if they can pull off what I’m seeing on paper it’ll be a great show.
ES: Of course you’re also in Once Upon a Time, how powerful do you think the Blue Fairy is?
KCT: She’s kind of like the pope, but like old-school. Remember back in the time when the church, and the popes, and the Vatican, they were really really powerful on the grid, differently powerful, than kings and queens, and I think think this the same thing as the Blue Fairy. They’re in sort of a separate category of power. But no one who has power wants to relinquish it, and that is something that as an actor I want to explore, and we’ll see what happens now that magic is in the city. And I think the Blue Fairy wants her place in the sun again.
ES: Do you like playing dress up?
KCT: Oh gosh yeah. I keep hoping the Blue Fairy will have another costume. I just shot Revive Magazine, their cover shoot for their winter issue and that was great. I was wearing tens of thousands of dollars in diamonds. I also love hats. When I went to my grade eight graduation [in Sarnia, Ontario] I actually wore this perched hat with feathers all off the back of it. I’ve always worn hats. I was wearing a pink, ruched dress with one sleeve, with feathers – it must have looked like I was going to a wedding.
ES: You’ve said that this is the right time for fairy tales. Why is that?
KCT: I wonder if Once Upon a Time could have had this success had it come at the height of the dot com boom[word missing: wWhen everyone was feeling really good and had lots of money. They didn’t need that, but now things are bad. They can’t afford to go out and they can’t afford to get divorced sometimes.This is like romance and fantasy and fairy tales. There’s nothing in Once Upon a Time where you find David sitting at his desk saying, “I can’t pay the bills”. I think there’s something about that and I think that’s why people are really gravitating towards this stuff.
ES: You’ve said you role in Da Vinci’s Inquest as a heroin addict was one of your favorites. Why is that?
KCT: I loved playing her. I remember standing on the corner of Main and Hastings with all the junkies around, and I swear when I was standing on that corner it was like channeling when that girl came out. She really had her own voice, she had her own thing that she was doing, and those are the roles that I love. And you don’t get to do them that often. The ones you can really inhabit, they don’t come around all the time.
ES: How has motherhood affected your career?
KCT: I felt very disappointed in myself that I was not a big star, for a long time, and then I had my kids and I kind of stepped back from the world, because I wanted to be there for them, and I kind of realized that if I had been a big star that I couldn’t be home with my kids. It changed my perspective on my career and what I deemed to be successful. My career didn’t change but my attitude about it did, and suddenly with that these roles started coming.