Katrina Bowden always brings her A-game to the horror genre, whether if it's played for laughs in films like Piranha 3DD (2012), Scary Movie V (2013), or the underrated classic Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010), or in this case the shark survival film Great White. The film follows a fun-filled flight to a remote atoll that turns into a nightmare for five passengers when their seaplane is destroyed in a freak accident, and they are trapped on a raft, 100 miles from shore with man-eating sharks lurking beneath the surface. I spoke to the star, who plays Kaz, about what attracted her to the Martin Wilson film, how efficiently he ran his set, facing her fears on set as an action lead, and bonding with her co-stars prior to filming.
Why Katrina Bowden Decided to Play Kaz in Great White
"I've always been a fan of horror and thriller genre films," the Bold and the Beautiful star said. "I've never seen anything quite like a shark movie, and that would be really cool. When I read the script, it was I just love how it took a classic shark movie concept and really focused on the characters and really focused on those like quiet, suspenseful moments in between the action. I love the character of Kaz, and I was excited to play such a strong female character. I just thought that the whole script was really good. When I spoke with Marty, our director, I just loved his vision for the project. I had to sign on to be a part of it."
Bowden was taken on how meticulous Wilson ran his set despite it being his feature film directorial debut. "Marty was one of the most prepared directors I've ever worked with," she said. "He really wanted to focus on the characters and the relationships. He obviously wanted everything to be as grounded and realistic as possible. He worked so hard in pre-production that it really made our lives so much easier once we started shooting. He wanted to make it fun, exciting, and lively, but he really wanted to really make sure that the actors had a lot of time to get our things right, which I know myself and other actors. We just appreciate it so much, especially sometimes when we are shooting an action type of movie like that. There are so many different parts and moving components. So to have that the time to make sure that our performances were spot on was just so foreign to all of us."
The star remarked that the key to making Great White work was how grounded he kept the characters and the story. "I think the isolation was a really big challenge because I've never been in a situation like that," she said. "I find sharks pretty terrifying. So it's not very hard to act scared of a shark. There was that feeling of just you're just absolutely helpless. We tried very hard to capture those moments and make them as important as the big scary shark moments. There are just so many parts of this movie that were a challenge. Physically, it was a very demanding shoot for all of us. The actors are all so game for anything. We really did put in a lot of work ahead of time with scuba training with breath-hold training. We worked with our stunt team so closely, and we relied on them so much because we were not underwater experts. So there is a lot to this whole movie to bring it to life and make it what it was."
Bonding with Her Co-Stars
Bowden noted social prep was just as important as physical prep to prep for the role in Great White. "We all got there two weeks before we started shooting," she said. "We got to know each other really well because obviously, we're in tight quarters, and we had to be around each other pretty closely, like every single day. So it was important that we all really got along, especially Kimie [Tsukakoshi], who plays Michelle, and Aaron [Jakubenko], who plays Charlie. We just wanted to make sure that on-screen relationships really shined. So we all hung out all the time and got to know each other really well. We also talked a lot about the script in different scenes and really worked everything out a lot before we started. I think it made the shooting process go a lot smoother. Marty, our director, worked hand-in-hand with us to make sure that we all knew our characters so in and out that we could really bring them to life and make them complex, layered characters."
Written by Michael Boughen, RLJE Films' Great White also stars Tim Kano, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Jason Wilder, Tatjana Marjanovic, Patrick Atchison, and Kate Jaggard. The film comes to theaters, VOD, and digital on July 16.