Motherless Brooklyn’s Katy Davis on mysteries, Avengers and Troopers

Movie fans just saw Katy Davis in Motherless Brooklyn, but that’s only one side of her. She tells Hidden Remote about her many adventures on the big screen.

Katy Davis just completed a supporting role in Edward Norton’s critically acclaimed mystery film Motherless Brooklyn. Yet, if she looks familiar to you, that’s because she’s been around in more TV and movie projects than you’ve probably realized.

Hidden Remote connected with Katy not only to discuss her part in Motherless Brooklyn, but also to chat about how she provided voice-over work for an Avengers film, and her other connection to the Star Wars universe.

Get to know Katy Davis in our interview below. Motherless Brooklyn arrives on digital Jan. 14.

Hidden Remote: What was your reaction to landing the Motherless Brooklyn role? That’s a film that had been in development, and that people had been waiting for, for some time.

Katy Davis: I have to say, at first, I didn’t realize everybody was anticipating it. It was only as I got into the world with reading the book, doing all the stuff, that I realized this was essentially 20 years in the making.

Edward [Norton] had read the book when it came out in 1999, and had been trying to get it going since then. I was not aware of all of that back story when I was auditioning [or] when I booked the part. I didn’t feel any massive amounts of pressure, because I wasn’t aware of it at the time. But it was an incredible job. Just with the caliber of talent that is in the film itself, there was just no way not to have fun and be excited.

HR: Once you booked the part, did you read Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn novel? And if you did, did it help you in filming the movie?

KD: I have been an avid reader since I was a tiny child. Reading is something that I really enjoy. I don’t think it was necessary for me to read the book; the script’s enough. I really wanted to, because that’s something that I enjoy. But I don’t think that it’s necessary. And certainly if it’s an adaptation of a book that’s very changed, I don’t know that it’s that helpful.

I think the only massive change that happened between the novel and this adaptation, is that Edward chose to set it in the 1950s, in New York, as opposed to being [in] present day which the novel is.

HR: What was your experience on the set? What did you take away from being part of the film?

KD: Honestly, the only actor that I was working off of was Edward himself. My experience of other actors was just in the makeup trailer, or around the place at lunch, or whatever. It was really an incredible experience and very different to any other acting experience I’ve had on set. Because this was the first time I was working opposite somebody who was starring in the film, but also at the same time directing it, producing it, having written it as well.

It was a very different experience working off of somebody who would finish a scene or finish a take, step out, and go behind the camera to make sure that the shot was being realized in the way that he wanted it. He was wearing all the hats at different moments, and I’d never experienced that before. That was really fascinating to observe and to watch.

HR: This isn’t the first time you’ve been part of a major movie. You also did some ADR voice work for Avengers: Age of Ultron. What was that experience like, because you’re part of this blockbuster—but you’re not on the screen.

KD: Another really cool experience to have that’s very different from anything else I would have done before. But essentially the same, because voiceover is voiceover. It just happened that there was just me in the room and I’m looking at Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner on the screen.

But essentially my job remains the same, and that’s to come in after the third beep and hit the right tone and say the right things, and improv in a way that’s appropriate. Obviously there’s an increased amount of security and appropriateness that’s needed around that kind of project too. Because voiceover is one of the last pieces artistically that’s done in the process. So the film hasn’t yet been released, but to do your job, you get to see some of it. You need to be very good about not mentioning anything to anybody.

Motherless Brooklyn

Katy Davis. Photo Credit: Yasmine Kateb/Courtesy of Katz PR.

HR: What have been some of your other favorite roles? Where can we see (or hear) more of Katy Davis?

KD: I did a show for CollegeHumor; I actually shot it, maybe six months after Motherless Brooklyn but it’s been out much sooner. That was called Troopers. CollegeHumor launched their own streaming platform called Dropout.tv and Troopers is one of their flagship shows. It was actually a reboot of one of CollegeHumor’s most popular shows. I got to come in as a new character called Valkyrian Prime. She was so much fun to play, just ridiculously fun.

It’s very much a Star Wars, Star Trek parody. The whole thing is set on an interplanetary spaceship…Havoc ensues and Valkyrian Prime, as the leader of the ship, I’m trying to keep stuff together. I’m very much the straight man in that scenario, but it is definitely a comedy and that is something I would love people to check out. If they don’t want to subscribe to Dropout.tv, I think at least two or three of the episodes are on YouTube, so you can watch them there.

HR: Do you prepare differently for a project depending on its format? Would your process for something like Motherless Brooklyn be different than a web series like Troopers?

KD: I just think of it as TV, film, stage or voiceover…That would more come into play during the audition process. Because if I was going to audition for a multi-camera sitcom for CBS, I would prep a very different audition than I would for a new half-hour show for HBO.

I think the genre and the given circumstances of the production are going to really inform the work that I do, but not necessarily these different streaming platforms. I find that I get my clues from the script itself, but if I’m ever in any doubt, I’m going to look up the network or the streaming platform, or the director or the producer or the writer, and just see the tone of what they’ve done before.

Next: Robbie Amell on the journey of making Code 8

Motherless Brooklyn will be released on iTunes and Amazon Video Jan. 14.