Mary Kate Schellhardt [Interview]


Hello Folks! I hope today finds you well & mostly isolated. It’s a very weird time we are living in, that is for sure. During this time of isolation and confusion, we here at Trainwreck’d Society are hoping to simply continue to bring you some valuable content for you to enjoy and maybe take your minds off of the madness for at least a few minutes.

And with that, we have an absolutely wonderful interview to share with you all today. Today’s interview subject is an absolutely amazing actress who just so happened to appear in one of my favorite films of all time. It’s Mary Kate Schellhardt! Mary Kate notoriously portrayed one of the members of the illustrious Grape family in the absolute gem of a film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?. Even as but a young child, she shown through greatly in her performance in this legendary film. And her work beyond this one film that originally drew me to desperately wanting to have her on the site is nothing to scoff at as well. Shortly after her appearance in the aforementioned film, she appeared prominently in our friend Dwight H. Little’s film Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home. And since then, she has done some incredible work on the stage and on the silver screen, making appearances on insanely popular series like Scrubs, New Girl, House M.D., and more!

And as we have come to notice as a trend here at TWS, Schellhardt proved to be an incredibly cool human being. She gave some amazing A’s to our Q’s, and I am so excited to share them with you all today! So Folks, please enjoy this incredible interview with the wonderful Mary Kate Schellhardt! Enjoy!




What was it that initially inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? I know that you began at a pretty young age, but when was it that you personally decided that this was the life you wanted to be involved in?

I sort of fell into it. After my first ever acting class, I knew that I loved to perform. When I was cast in [What’s Eating] Gilbert Grape, and in front of the camera and a part of that set life, that’s when I knew I wanted to do this as a career. The people around you on any set become your family and you are all just telling a story. And once that was defined for me, I knew telling stories was going to be my pursuit for life.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work today?

When I was eight or nine, my acting teacher put me up for a commercial for “Dad’s Gourmet Blend Cat Food.” It was a TV commercial where I see a cat out in the cold rainy night and we bring it in and feed it. That was the first paying gig that I ever got. On that set, I learned about being professional. I learned that you had to be ready to say your lines when they wanted you to and that you needed to listen and be as prepared as you could be. I also learned how to hide my nerves. I was very nervous, but also elated and I just acted like I knew what to do. Which was far from the case. All of those lessons relate to my approach to anything that I do today. It’s ok to not be sure of yourself as an actor, I think. What’s important is trust in yourself and the time you took to prepare. What’s important is to just breath and jump in.



In 1993, you appeared in one of my favorite films of all time, which would be the incredible What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? I am curious to know how your experience was working on this now legendary project? Was it as fun to be a part of as it is to watch to this very day? Anything memorable you could tell us about?

Awe. I’m glad that you like that movie so much. I am honored to have been a part of it. The whole experience was magic. We filmed it in Austin, Texas. Leonardo was not a household name yet and he could get around anonymously. He was able to just snap into Arnie’s character without any notice. He was that good and so young. I loved watching him work.I only knew that Johnny Depp was Edward Scissorhands and I was starstruck immediately. He was calm and deeply sensitive. Everyone took me under their wing for that film because I was thirteen, and I never felt as new as I was. Darlene Gates who played momma was one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met. I remember when they blew up the house at the end, we were standing pretty close to it. When it exploded into flames, I remember thinking, “this is my job, to stand here and watch this house burn.” I fell deeply in love with making movies on that set and it changed my life forever.


You have done some great work in the world of film, television, stage, and beyond. I am curious to know which type of performance you enjoy the most? If you were forced to work in just one of these fields for the rest of your career, what would it be? 

Thank you! This interview is doing wonders for my confidence! Well, it’s a tough question to answer. I love television and film so much, but stage is actually where you can really flesh out a character. Doing eight shows a week as one person and traveling from the beginning to the end every performance really allows for the character to grow around you. I find myself taking more risks on stage as I get comfortable exploring my character. It’ll sound strange, but the characters start to take over sometimes and I love it when that happens.

Today, I’d love to tell a story on television. It’s the golden age for television and stories are made now that impact lives in a way like never before. I’d love to be a part of a show like that, one that reaches far and wide, where the character lives only for a short time. I really love the idea of limited series where once it’s done, it’s done.


If you were handed the opportunity to portray any legendary figure in American history, who would it be? Why?

That is a great question. I’d like to play Stevie Nicks. I’m a huge fan of hers. I’m interested in telling the stories of women who were at the top of their fields in professions dominated by men, and Stevie was one of them. Music is a huge part of my life, and the expression of it in the rock and roll world for Stevie Nicks seemed like she was riding mountainous tides.



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

I’m heading into directing, as well as continuing to tell stories as an actress. I want to be at the helm of the stories I make. I’m inspired by Issa Rae, Lena Dunham and Greta Gerwig and all women filmmakers. I want to tell stories the way I’d want to see them. So the answer to your question is look for me behind the camera as well as in front of it.


What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was this interview. Thank you so very much for reaching out and for allowing me to share a little of myself with your readers. Thanks for being fans and for making something positive. I wish you great success in all that you do, Ron!

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

6 Responses to Mary Kate Schellhardt [Interview]

  1. Thomas says:

    Great stuff. I really like her style and command of the various roles I’ve seen her in. I want to research her roles, if there are a few, on- or off- the Broadway stage.

  2. Sara Ostrowski says:

    Mary Kate Schllhhardt
    My name is Sara Ostrowski and I am a big fan of Free Willy The Adventure Home and I have it on video. To me that I think of you as determine and completely in love with Jason James Richter as Jesse and he is mine because we are the same age. I will really like to meet you and I am so sorry about your loss.


  3. Denny says:

    Mary Kate, wherever you are, you’ve earned a place in my books to be part of Star Wars, Wizarding World (Harry Potter), and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And I’ve always felt you should’ve been a Power Ranger.

  4. Linda lee JEFFERY says:

    Hi I loved Mary Kate more in free willy 2 I can watch it over and over and never get bored of it and she’s still beautiful

  5. Lisa says:

    Thanks for this interview! I just re-watched Apollo 13 (my favourite movie) and was struck by Mary Kate’s performance as Lovell’s daughter. She shines! Looking forward to seeing more of her work in the future. (Lisa in Melbourne, Australia) 5June2020

  6. Grant Stephens says:

    Mary Kate Schellhardt should be more famous than she is. She’s played any type of role in every type of movie. Perhaps her best roles are still ahead of her. Good luck!

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