Catherine Mary Stewart [Interview]


Today we have some amazing words from the renowned actress Catherine Mary Stewart who has been delightfully entertaining the world for the last 40 years. She has appeared in everything from cult classic films (one of which happens to include some old friends of ours!) to legendary sci-fi/fantasy films, and so much more. With such an uncanny on screen presence, it is extremely clear why Stewart has had a long lasting presence in the world of film, television, and the stage. She is also one heck of a nice person, which is always a plus!

Catherine was kind enough to take a look back a bit at some of the projects she has worked on that we are very fond of here at Trainwreck’d Society. We also delve in a bit into what she has been working on lately, and how she has become a favorite amongst the Con scene, especially in regards to her magnificent performance in the 1984’s The Last Starfighter, which has only grown in popularity in the 35 years since it was released. Yes, from blockbusters to indie darlings, Catherine Mary Stewart has had a truly commendable career that we are so happy to hear about here today in our digital pages.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words form the legend herself, the great Catherine Mary Stewart!




When did you first discover that you had a passion for the world of acting? What was it that initially drew you into this world? I understand you started in the world of dance, over here on this side of the pond in London. What prompted the transition?

What I discovered through dance was that I loved being on stage performing and expressing myself.  The first time I performed professionally as a dancer in a company, I knew without a doubt that that was what I wanted to do.  It had a life altering, tangible effect on me.  Along with my dance training I performed in lots of theatre projects in school and took acting and singing classes.  After I graduated from high school in Canada I crossed to your side of the pond and studied at a performing arts school in London.  It’s during that time that I got my first professional acting gig.  I auditioned as a dancer for this rock musical called “The Apple” and was asked to read for the lead female role. I ended up getting it.  It was all very new for me but in a way it didn’t feel overwhelming.  There was a sense of natural progression and with my background I had the discipline from my years of dance training to work hard, to learn the ropes quickly and enjoy the moment.



You are a renowned performer in just about every genre, from sci-fi to comedy to thrillers. In your professional opinion as someone who has worked almost 40 years in the business, what are some major common traits amongst the genres that you have noticed? And what are some vast differences between certain genres?

I think the similarities are that the characters in any genre have to be identifiable and to the audience on some level.  There must be a level of reality no matter how bizarre the story or the audience won’t invest in the character and as a result the film.  The differences are in the way the story is told or the genre, and what the overall effect is on the audience, emotionally, psychologically and sometimes even physically.

In 1987, you appeared in a wonderful film that was directed by our dear friend Penelope Spheeris and featured our new friend Daniel Roebuck, entitled Dudes. The film has achieved cult classic status over the years for very obvious reasons. And as somebody with experience working on the film itself, I am curious to know if you had any opinions on what it is that made this film such a classic? And when you were working on the project, could you tell you were creating something memorable?

Certainly two stellar people, both of whom I call friends along with Jon Cryer.  I think what makes Dudes stand out is it’s originality.  I’d never seen anything like it before and I haven’t seen anything like it since.  Again, I think the characters are identifiable for an audience on many levels.  The are relatable characters in an outrageous situation.  I love the concept of Dudes.  I was drawn to this independent, strong, gun-slinging, horse riding character of Jessie.  I’ve always had a romantic vision of westerns and I craved to be a part of one.  I love that it is unique yet for me my character really embodied my idea of a character in a western.  I loved working with Penelope, Jon and Daniel.  Everyone was 100% invested in this crazy thing and it shows on the screen.



And speaking of a filmmaker like Penelope Spheeris, who is one of our favorites, I am always curious to know from a performer’s perspective: what makes a great director to work with in your opinion? What sort of dynamic between filmmaker and performer do you believe needs to be in place in order for a project to be a success?

A director needs to have a clear personal vision of what the project is and what they want to say.  There must be unwavering belief in the vision, enthusiasm, integrity and communication with the cast and the crew to bring their vision to light.  Penelope knows what she likes, knows what she wants and knows who she is.  Those qualities are more than apparent in her work.

You have been known to make quite a few con appearances, whether it be for some of your cult classic appearances like Night of the Comet and Last Starfighter, which are HUGE in the sci-fi world, or maybe a Weekend At Bernies event. Overall, how has the fan reaction been to your appearances at these types of event? What type of folks have shown up to awe over your presence?

The fans at these events are the best!  There is no specific “type” that shows up.  Generally they are passionate about the genre, some dress as certain characters, but overall they are just big fans of the movies.  The impact these movies can have on people cannot be underestimated.  It certainly didn’t occur to me at the time we were making them.  I’m so proud of Night of the Comet and The Last Starfighter because I believe the impact they have had is positive and even inspiring.   There have been so many fans that I’ve had the privilege to meet that have shared their personal stories about how these movies influenced them as young people and through the years.  It’s truly lovely for me to hear all the accounts!



When you look back on your decades spanning career thus far, what would you say you are most proud of in a professional sense? What do you believe your legacy will be in the world of film and television?

I have so enjoyed my career and I’m proud of everything that I’ve done for one reason or the other.  I’ve never compromised myself for any project so looking back I have no regrets.  In terms of my “legacy” I have no idea and haven’t really thought about it.  What I do know is that I am not done yet so if there is any legacy per se it will change over time I hope.

When you are not on set somewhere across the globe, what would one find Catherine Mary Stewart doing for a little “me” time?

There is a lot of down time in this business so I have a lot of “me time”.  Mostly I’ve been planning what I’m going to do next.  I’ve been doing a lot of writing and working on getting a project or two off the ground.  I really enjoy the process of putting together a project and getting it to fruition.  I am looking to direct more and of course continue to act.

I love to travel.  I’ve travelled a lot in my life and I never get tired of it.  I find it fascinating to explore other places and cultures.  They are always so much more than you could ever read about in a newspaper or a book.  It is life expanding and educating on so many levels.  I encourage everyone to travel far and wide.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

Specifically I’ve been working on several screen plays that I hope to either act in or direct or both.  I’ve also been working towards producing a play here in New York.

To keep up to date on everything that I’m doing your readers can check out my social media:

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Well, I smile a LOT!  Life is good!  Probably the last thing that made me very happy was having my children over for dinner.  They tease me a lot and it cracks me up!  I always have a great belly laugh around them.  They inspire me every day.



Check out this lovely set of stills provide by Catherine herself from a variety of her work:










About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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