Katherine Brooksby Toni
Katherine Brooks knows what it's like to have it hard. Oh dear, get your minds out of the gutter ladies I'll try and be more clear! She ran away from her small town home in Louisiana to pursue a career in television and film when she was 16. With only $150, and a large quota of charm, Katherine started out sleeping in her car in the parking lot of a Hollywood motel. Now, a decade later, Katherine has directed some of television's hottest shows and will begin shooting her second feature film, Waking Madison in August.
Katherine's awesome list of television credits include three seasons of the Emmy-Award winning show, The Osbournes, Newlyweds which starred the sexy but somewhat blonde Jessica Simpson and The Simple Life with Paris and Nicole.
LoveGirls caught up with Katherine to give her a thorough going over.
LoveGirls: Why did you become a director?
Katherine: I've always loved to tell people what to do so I knew it would be the perfect job. And I have a huge ego and have to be in control all the time or I go nuts. And the hottest women will sleep with you when they know you are a director. Kidding! Well, no I'm really not, but I wanted to be a director because movies made such an impact in my life. A director gets to have their hands in everything. Music, photography, wardrobe, actors, sets -- it's just an amazing and beautiful job and I can't imagine doing anything else.
LoveGirls: When you first moved to Hollywood you were sleeping in your car outside a motel, was there ever a time you felt your dream was out of reach?
Katherine: I never felt it was out of reach, but I did feel hopeless so much of the time. But, I couldn't give up.
LoveGirls: How did you get your first break?
Katherine: I had many breaks - the first one was when I was working as a trail guide on horse back in Malibu and one of my clients was a producer / writer. She asked me what I was in LA for and I told her I was a writer. She read some of my stories and asked me if I wanted to co-write a script with her. That was my first break and then I got a job working as a camera assistant on an Animal Planet show.
LoveGirls: What suggestions do you have for someone who wants to be in film?
Katherine: Live in Los Angeles. So many people live outside of LA and want to make movies, but it's really hard to be in the business when you don't live here. You don't meet people, can't go to meetings, can't intern. I would say the first goal would be to make a planned move to Los Angeles and then either get an intern position at a studio or an assistant job.
LoveGirls: You've directed a lot of fly-on-wall TV shows such as The Osbournes, Simple Life and Newlyweds. What was your most memorable moment from these shows?
Katherine: The day I realized I would never have to direct reality again. This was the best day of my life.
LoveGirls: I remember the episode of The Simple Life when they changed the sign outside the Burger place to "Anal Burgers" were moments like that unscripted and spontaneous?
Katherine: I don't remember that specific moment whether it was scripted, but most of reality is scripted. We set up the scenes and the "real" people improvise.
LoveGirls: I heard a while back you were looking at making a TV Series similar to Friends / Sex In The City but with Lesbians lead characters, is this still something you are looking into?
Katherine: No - we made the pilot and it was really cool and then the L Word swept into town.
LoveGirls: What do you think of the lack of Lesbian content in Movies and on Television?
Katherine: I think it's getting bigger and bigger! Shit, when I was 17 there wasn't LOGO, there wasn't Queer as Folk, there wasn't the L Word. I think we are making great progress and will continue to.
Katherine's first feature film, Loving Annabelle is a must watch. It's a story about a 16 year old catholic school girl who pursues and falls in love with her teacher. As storylines go, it doesn't get much more controversial than that. When watching the film I couldn't help but root for the two of them to get together, and no, not just to see some action! Although incedently when "that scene" comes it's well worth the wait. We got straight down to the nitty gritty when we asked her about the film.
LoveGirls: You wrote as well directed Loving Annabelle. Which comes more naturally to you writing or directing?
Katherine: Directing by far. It's like second nature. I love it. Writing is a struggle.
LoveGirls: Were you ever worried about the controversy the story could generate?
Katherine: Not really. I knew it would, but I wasn't worried.
LoveGirls: Do you believe that if two people are in love then circumstances are irrelevant?
Katherine: It always depends on the circumstance -- but generally, yes.
LoveGirls: At what point in the film would you say Annabelle's flirting with Simone becomes something much deeper?
Katherine: At the beach. When she sees Simone show emotion the game is over for her. Simone was just a little game, a conquest, but at the beach she gained real feelings for her.
LoveGirls: What date is Loving Annabelle due to be released in the UK.
Katherine: I hear very soon, but I don't know an exact date - people can always contact our distributors at Wolfe and get them to get it there faster.
Katherine's next movie, Waking Madison, is a story she wrote and will direct about a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder. The movie has already gained a huge fanbase due to the "Making Of Waking Madison" website, where Katherine posts video blogs that follow her through her personal life and through the movie making process.
LoveGirls: Tell us about your new film 'Waking Madison'?
Katherine: It's a movie about suicide and a woman who has multiple personalities and the connection she has to her psychiatrist. Another taboo topic. The subject matter is dark in nature, but the story is one of hope. After people have watched and experienced Waking Madison, I want them to feel that whatever they have endured in their life, they can rise above. The message for me is universal no matter what the circumstances of our pasts hold. You are not alone and you don't have to make this journey alone. This is what Madison is waking up to.
LoveGirls: A story about Mental Health is far removed from Loving Annabelle. What was your motivation for tackling a film about such a sensitive subject?
Katherine: I've been surrounded with mental health issues in my family and suicide and it's something I wanted to explore in depth.
LoveGirls: How's the project coming along? When do you begin filming?
Katherine: We start shooting the first week in August.
LoveGirls: How seriously do you take reviews of your work?
Katherine: I try not to read them....
LoveGirls: If you could have written / directed any movie of all time what would it have been and would you have done any of it differently?
Katherine: Mary Poppins - I would have made her a lesbian.
LoveGirls: What was the last movie you paid to see?
Katherine: Gracie and Knocked Up all in the same day.
As for her future films, only time will tell. Maybe Paris Hilton will play the alcoholic lesbian Mary Poppins that gets arrested for being naked and drunk in charge of an umbrella?
Loving Annabelle is yet to be released in the UK, when it is we'll let you know. In the meantime we have a Region 1 version of the DVD to give away, leave a comment letting us know if you worked in casting for a feature film that 2 chicks were going to make out in who you would cast for you leading ladies.