Interview with actress Kristin MinterOctober 4, 2015
From television to movies, Kristin Minter has been part of the acting world for twenty five years. Recently, we had a chance to talk to her about her career, which included a long stint on the hit TV show ‘ER’, and all the ups and downs that make up an actors life.
Did you always want to be an actress or was it something you just sort of fell into, like a wonderful accident?
Kristin: Well you know, when I was little I always said I wanted to live in a trailer and as it turns out I live in a trailer a lot! (Laughs) And then it was a happy accident because I came out to Los Angeles for, it was a bad relationship kind of thing, and then when I got out here I was at a barbeque, just being funny, and this guy said I really want to help you out and that’s how it began. I knew I’d get myself in trouble though if I didn’t go to acting class to basically understand what I was doing, so I went to acting class and fell in love with it and that’s where it started for me.
At what point did you realize that acting was something you could make a career out of?
My acting teacher was trying to get everyone to do this exercise and they were all having a specific reaction and I raised my hand and said ‘That’s not the reaction that I’m having’, and he said right then and there that I could move up to the intermediate class. I don’t know, I think it was when I learned to listen and respond to somebody and I actually had a full experience doing it, almost like living a full life in another scene, I just really loved it and I can’t imagine not being allowed to do it.
You’ve done a lot of work in both television and movies. Do you have a favorite medium to work in?
I actually enjoy theater the best but I haven’t done it that much because there’s not a lot of theatre here. Honestly, my favorite medium to work in is the one with nice people who are respectful and encourage good work instead of trying to make you nervous and on edge. I’ve seen some actors who have to ‘win’ there scene, do you know what I mean? I don’t look at a scene as winning or losing or trying to beat somebody, I’d rather feel what someone is feeling and get through the scene and move on to the next one.
You did seventy on episodes on the hit TV show ‘ER’, one of the more successful shows in the history of television. What was it like auditioning for the show and what was your experience like for you?
Well, when I auditioned for the show I was running fifteen minutes late so I didn’t even have time to get nervous when I got into the room. I knew my character was very ‘off’ but I didn’t have time to second guess myself so that audition went really well! (Laughs) On the set, it was so incredibly stressful and out of the stress I would do these really funny things, so in that particular environment being stressed out was part of my character. I was really such an odd character on the show, I don’t even know where some of the things I did came from.
It was an enjoyable experience in the sense that I discovered a lot of things about myself and my character. It was really a lot of pressure but a great thing to be a part of. There were times where I would literally sit in my dressing room and cry, hoping not to screw up. One of the best things was I got to meet literally every actor on the planet on that show! I ‘worked’ the administration desk so Alan Alda comes through me first, James Cromwell, Marg Helenberger who is one of my all-time favorite actresses from one of my favorite shows China Beach. I got to work with her, Sally Field as well, just so many fantastic people, I was so lucky.
You have a new movie coming out called Fire City: End of Days. Can you tell me a bit about the movie and the part you play in it?
Fire City is basically a movie about demons feeding off of human misery. I’m at my finest in this one, as an alcoholic mother and I can’t tell you how much fun that was! I asked them to put some yellow on my teeth and bruises all over my legs. It was actually very hard because in the movie I was not very nice to my daughter and I would cry in between takes. Then I got to play this other woman who was the polar opposite, a very together woman who is basically emotionally resigned to being rather peaceful. It was really a fantastic opportunity because I feel like I’m playing three different people but its all aspects of one person. It just makes me want to play more parts that aren’t obviously in my wheelhouse. I didn’t know I was going to be as mean as I was in that one scene but I had to be as ugly inside as I was outside.
What was it like working for Tom Woodruff Jr., this being his directorial debut?
He was so fantastic! He would just let me run with the role and see where I took it. I really appreciated that and I got to work with some people who I’d known from acting class, Tobias Jelinek and Eric Edwards, so we were comfortable with each other and were able to feed of one another so it was great. Tom didn’t get in our way, he just cast it very well and let us all run. I’m of the school that if it’s not broken don’t fix it so he didn’t say that much to me and just let me do my thing.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
I guess right off the top of my head I’d have to say my dad. He was very successful and would say things to me like ‘If you don’t take risks in life you’re not living’ and he’s the one who always gave me the quote about persistence. My mother was always a very strong woman as well, no one messed with her. Also, my husband is a really big influence on me because he always remains calm and he’s so smart and I wish I handled myself the way he does! As a kid I was a real loner and spent a lot of time in my own imagination so you would think that would lend itself to looking up to or being influenced by an actor but it really didn’t, I just kind of fell into some of the things that I’ve done.
Besides Fire City, what other projects do you have coming up?
I have a movie coming out called Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey where I play a sixties mom and again, I’m just not a really good mother! (Laughs) Seriously, I get these roles where I have to hit my much younger co-stars and it’s very emotional for me. I can’t imagine doing that to any child. I also just did a movie called 7th Secret, back in my home town of Philadelphia with Natasha Henstridge, Stacy Dash and Lukas Hassel.
I want thank Kristin for taking the time to talk with us.