This the last set of Squaresville interviews. 😦 I’m really sad about that, but what are you going to do. It’s with star of the show, Mary Kate Wiles.
Courtesy of Mary Kate Wiles
Getting to know Mary Kate
For those of us that don’t know much about you, tell me a little about yourself.
Well, I love Lord of the Rings and cats and coffee and sweet tea and good stories and good friends. I went to USC and got degrees in Theatre and English Literature and studied abroad in London. I like to dance, to sing, to read, to write, to draw, to craft, to talk, to laugh, and to generally live life to the fullest.
Word on the street is that you’re from Fayetteville, Arkansas. What was it like growing up in a small town?
I am indeed from Fayetteville. Fayetteville is a great place to grow up and live—but as I grew up and became aware of my desire to do something with my life, much like Zelda does. I knew that I needed to venture out of it to pursue my dreams. I wasn’t often bored because my friends and I found fun and silly things to do, like Zelda and Esther, but I was knew that I needed to go elsewhere to accomplish what I was longing to do.
How did you get started in acting?
I had always been in dance classes and choirs growing up, so I was not a stranger to performing. It was when I saw The Lord of the Rings for the first time that I remember distinctly thinking: “I want to do that.” And throughout high school I continued to pursue it by being in plays and going to Arkansas Governor’s School for Drama. And when I got into USC for theatre, I kind of thought I would be a tiny fish in a big pond, and I was, but I held my own. I continued to get cast in things so I continued to go further. And the same after I graduated. I just have been really thankful to get greenlights along the way, and hopefully they continue coming.
What are some of the shows and films you were in?
Some of the shows I did while in school were The Pajama Game (Poopsie), Bat Boy: The Musical (Shelley Parker), Hello Again (The Nurse), and Brigadoon (Jean MacLaren), among others. After school I also did The Winter’s Tale (Perdita) and Anne of Green Gables (Anne Shirley), as well as some others. The films I have done are Dark Woods, Murder in the Dark, Dreamworld, The Sound at the Shadow; the short film Prism; and of course the webseries Squaresville and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD).
What were some of your favorite projects and why?
Oh, I can never pick. I have been exceedingly lucky to have been in some very fantastic projects and hardly any bad experiences. Murder in the Dark was amazing because it was a completely improvised film shot in Italy; Anne of Green Gables was wonderful because it was a marathon of a musical and such a learning experience for me; Squaresville has been fantastic because it speaks to me so strongly and has lead to so many other projects, including The LBD, which, of course, has been great in its interactivity and brand-new format.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing as a career?
The only other thing I ever saw myself liking at all was writing, but that wasn’t enough of a love to sustain me. I have no other thing that I could do–acting demands your everything; if there was an alternative I would be doing that. But there isn’t, and I’m quite happy.
Dream project and why?
I don’t really have one, because every new project I do finds some way to be my favorite thing. I have always had a fondness for epics, though.
If you could work with any actor/actress living or dead, who would it be and why?
Cate Blanchett. She is my ultimate idol. I look up to her in every way. Although if I really did get to work with her I can’t imagine I’d be any good because I’d just be in shock.
Tips for beginning actors?
Never stop learning, never stop trying. Never take no for an answer. Work hard. Love what you do, or do something you do love.
Tips for people who want to create their own web series?
Go for it! The web is such an open forum and a great way to get your name out there. There are no rules and there’s complete access to getting your work out in the public—why wouldn’t you?
Tips for surviving auditions?
Know that ultimately, what you get or don’t get is out of your control. Just do your best and trust that you will get the jobs you’re meant to have.
Quick Fire Questions
Coke or Pepsi?
Cats or Dogs?
Summer or Winter?
Hugs or Kisses?
Fame or Fortune?
Success? [I’d say totally valid answer.]
Which is worse: Speaking in front of a crowd or writing a paper?
Writing a paper, definitely.
Time travel to: the past or the future?
Celebrity magazine or newspaper?
Tortilla chips and guacamole.
Ultimately: David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens. Recently: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. [editor’s note: The Fault in Our Stars and anything else by John Green is a must read. Do it. Do it now!]
The last part of this series of interviews are coming your way next week. So until then, keep checking back for new content.