Actress Caity Lotz is ready to make a explosive impact on moviegoers with powerful debut in director Nicholas McCarthy’s debut film, THE PACT. The film mixes genre elements to breathe new life into the classic haunted house genre. The story focuses on Annie, who after her mother passes away, is persuaded to return home and pay final respects. Sleeping in her childhood bedroom, something ominous and unfamiliar in the house rattles the tough-as-nails heroine. Enlisting the aid of a local cop and a clairvoyant to investigate, Annie soon finds these mysterious disturbances only serve as a catalyst to bring forth long-repressed nightmares that reveal a disturbing secret about her family’s history. With an assured hand, director Nicholas McCarthy tactfully cranks up the tension and carefully peels away each twist to build toward a blood-tingling finale. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Caity Lotz to discuss how she got her start in entertainment, her big screen debut in ‘The Pact’ and the challenges that presented themselves along the way.
We want to give everyone a little background on you. Where did you grow up and how did you get started on your journey in the entertainment industry?
I grew up in San Diego, so I am a Cali girl. I started with dance. I started dancing when I was 7 years old and I truly fell in love with it. I started dancing professionally when I was 17. That led me into the entertainment world. From there, I was actually in a singing group in Europe for a couple of years and that led me to acting and now here we are! [laughs]
Who would you cite as your biggest professional influence who helped shape the person we see today?
There are many actors I look up to. Of course, I love Angelina Jolie! She is just a badass woman! I say that because she always plays really interesting characters, not just the set, straight and narrow romantic comedy kinda deal. I always enjoyed her work growing up. She is a great influence to have and someone who I find very inspiring both on-screen and off.
We are talking with you today about your latest role in “The Pact.” What attracted you to this project?
My agent had sent me the script, along with the short film that the director Nicholas McCarthy had made. After I read the script, I fell in love with the character! A lot of the stuff I had played before were lighter characters, you know, So Cal, California Girls. Annie had this darkness, this toughness to her and she was so strong. She is such a strong character and has to go through so much stuff in the film. I really thought the script was great and when I was reading it, it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat! I didn’t know what was going to happen — it was such a smart script! After I read it and experienced all of that, I went in to meet with Nick and it all took off from there!
Although you have done a lot of acting work in the past, “The Pact” is your first starring role. Did you find that a daunting experience at all?
Not at all! I have actually been asked that quite a bit and I think that might be because people think that there is a hugely different thing you have to do when you are the lead in a movie, like you have to do something different to carry it. To me, there is no difference, there are just more scenes. I do the same amount of work for every character I play. It was definitely tiring on set because I never really had any time off, it was shoot one scene, onto the next scene! I loved it! You get the opportunity to take that time and really dive into it! I think it is the same process if you are the lead in a movie or not, you bring the same level of commitment. It feels that way to me anyway.
You mentioned preparing for each role. What do you do to prepare for a role like this one?
Most of it is finding her in you. All of my characters, at least so far, have been a part of me. I definitely have an Annie side of me where I can definitely be closed off and can put a wall up and be a little bit tougher. It was really a process of tapping into that and finding out why she is the way she is and how I would feel and react if I had grown up the way she had and experienced the history she had. From there, after you find the character, then it is a process of finding out how it moves and how she changes scene to scene.
They say every actor learns something from each project. What did you learn from your character in this film?
From the character, what I learned was that Annie runs away from everything. She doesn’t want to deal with anything! She is tough but she just doesn’t deal with it. The whole film is about forcing her to deal with things. No matter what she tries to do, all of these things just keep coming back and she would rather just bury them. I can kinda see that in myself where it can be easier to move on from things than to deal with them. I think I learned a little lesson from her on dealing with your problems head on rather than running away from them.
What did director Nicholas McCarthy bring to the table for this film?
Nick brought everything! He wrote it, he directed it and it is his vision completely! I had a lot of fun working with him. He is a really sweet guy who is really easy to work with and supportive and calm. He was never stressed out and I never heard him yell. He was very calm, which made it easy for me to go there and focus on the tasks at hand. I loved the whole experience of making the film.
You had the opportunity to see the film with an audience at this point. What was that experience like for you?
The first time I saw the movie was at the office of the producer, Ross Dinerstein, with my two managers. That experience was definitely not the same as when I saw it with an audience in a theater at Sundance! [laughs] That was the first time I saw it in a theater. It was crazy to see it with a crowd! I guess I didn’t realize how scary the film was until I watched it with 100 people and you see and hear them screaming and jumping! I already knew what was going to happen, of course, but to see the crowd react was really amazing!
A lot of our readers will recognize you from your role on MTV’s “Death Valley” series. What was the most exciting part of that project for you as an actress?
“Death Valley” was one of the most fun projects I have ever been a part of! Literally, every day was like being in elementary school where you are so excited to go to school because you get to hang out with all of your friends. When we got on set, it felt like we were just playing because so much of it was improv. Improv was encouraged and we could play and have fun. The whole cast was fun and I was really good friends with everyone involved. I still keep in touch with a lot of people from the cast, the producers and our showrunner. It was really an odd thing how much fun we had on that set!
Now we are seeing you in even more diverse roles, I was curious to know if there’s a particular type of film or genre you are anxious to tackle in the future?
Well, my next film is a sci-fi action movie and I am very excited for that project! Sci-fi stuff is something that I really love! The film is called “The Machine.” One of the characters I play, I play two different characters in the film, is not human. I am really excited about that because I have always wanted to play a dual role. The aspect of doing two completely different things in one film is something which has always intrigued me! After that, I would really like to do a really strong, dramatic piece.
You have another interesting project on the horizon, “Battle of the Year: The Dream Team.” You can harness your past as a dancer for that project. How do you prepare for a part in a film of that nature?
I started breakdancing when I was 16, so the dance part of it — I was prepared! [laughs] I had to get back in the groove of it. I would go out to the clubs and dance just to get back into that whole vibe. The acting part of it was an interesting process because the script was constantly changing and evolving. Actually, my character got added later because the script was all boys and they realized, “Oh wait! We have no girls in this movie!” So, they wrote my character in later! [laughs] It was constantly changing and evolving which made for an interesting learning process!
Best advice someone has given you so far in regards to your career you can pass along to aspiring actors?
I would say never get stuck on just one idea. If something makes you curious and you want to try something, do it! Anything that interests you! You might think, “Oh, I am not a photographer.” But if that is something you want to do, try it! Keep following it to see where it leads. At first, I was just a dancer and dance is all I would ever do but then I started singing and that brought me to acting. I think you have to be open to all ideas and it will bring you to where you are supposed to be. If I would have closed the door on different opportunities that came to me, I would never have arrived at the place I am today. I think there is always a bigger plan that is waiting for us, so my advice is — don’t limit yourself.
Where is the best place for people to catch up with you online and follow your adventures?
Awesome! Thanks for your time, Caity! We look forward to spreading the word about your great work in “The Pact!”
Thanks so much! Have a great day!