Up-and-coming actress Kayli Carter was selected alongside Cory Michael Smith and Amandla Stenberg as the 2018 Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) Breakthrough Artists.
Carter, who stars in Netflix’s Private Life – which is screening at HIFF, can also be seen in Charlie Says, an independent film that premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Scott Frank’s Emmy nominated Netflix miniseries Godless, Rings, and Amazon’s Z: The Beginning of Everything.
We recently spoke with Carter about her budding career, the prestigious HIFF honor, her first time in the Hamptons, and more:
What attracted you to the role of Sadie in Private Life?
KS: When I got a hold of the script, I hadn’t seen anything like it. I’m a huge fan of Tamara Jenkins’ writing already – I loved The Savages and Slums of Beverly Hills, and honestly it was the best script I had read in a very longtime time – especially for someone my age. Often times the roles tend to be pretty one-note. There’s not a lot to play with or so much depth and complexity. She has thoughts that are her own and aren’t about anybody else’s story, they’re about her. That really appealed to me because I think often women are relegated to playing somebody’s wife, girlfriend, sister, daughter. That’s not really a personality trait, that’s just a role that women can play in someone else’s story. I loved that she was saying how she felt.
You’ve already worked with Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Shannon, Michelle Dockery, and Jeff Daniels. Did they impart any advice or was there anything that you took away from working with them?
KS: I think a lot of it is through the osmosis of working with somebody. Us actors don’t admit it very often but we steal all the time from each other. It’s riveting to me to watch those people work because they’re such incredible actors, so fearless, really present when they’re acting, and I’ve gotten really lucky that I’ve loved everybody that I’ve worked with so far. I’ve made lifelong relationships and friendships with these people and so more than just specific advice, I feel really lucky to have friends that are also incredible mentors.
What was you reaction when you learned you had been named one of HIFF 2018 Breakthrough Artists?
KS: That was very exciting. Any sort of situation where that title is put by your name, it’s both exhilarating and slightly scary – just because when you make something and when you really care about it, you want other people to enjoy that work as much as you did making it. To hear the response and know that people love this gal as much as I do, that was really exciting.
You’ll be attending this year’s Festival in support of Private Life and the Breakthrough Artist honor. Will this be your first time in the Hamptons?
KS: I’ve never been to the Hamptons before. I’ve very excited to go! I’m from Florida so any situation where I’m nearby the ocean, I feel I am returned to normal. Anywhere near a mile of saltwater, I can feel it.
This is your second project featured on Netflix. From an actor’s perspective, how has Netflix and streaming services changed the industry?
KS: I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you if it weren’t for Netflix. Whenever there’s an establishment and someone comes in who’s a disrupter, which I believe Netflix was, there’s a lot of panic because sometimes you get in a rut making movies and you just go this is what sells and they just keep making that type of movie. With Netflix, filmmakers are getting the total freedom to make whatever they want, cast whoever they want, which has really been the most important thing for me. I’m the type of actor I started in theater. It’s sometimes very hard to break through in film and TV when people are only looking at the dollars and cents of what actors can make them money. Any actor starting out can’t do that, that’s not how it works. So, Netflix saying to Tamara and the casting directors you can cast whoever you want, it’s the reason I’m sitting here today. Otherwise it would have been someone with a huge name already. It would have been someone who could have made them tons of money – if this was being made at a studio. Netflix just said find the best actor for the job.
Are you working on any projects at the moment?
KS: I am. I start filming this week on an independent film called Bad Education. It’s alongside Allison Janney and Hugh Jackman.
Tell me a little bit about your character.
KS: I’m playing Allison Janney’s daughter. It’s about the largest Ponzi scheme or theft from a public school system. The superintendent and this women who worked on the school board stole millions of dollars from the public high school and school system. It’s a real story that happened. I’m really looking forward to looking with her. I think she’s rad and I love doing anything that comes from a real place.
Private Life will screen at East Hampton UA (30 Main Streeat, East Hampton) on Saturday, October 6 at 1:30 p.m. The film launches globally on Netflix on Friday, October 5. The Winick Talks: Breakthrough Artists will take place at Rowdy Hall (10 Main Street, East Hampton) on Saturday, October 6 at 10 a.m.
For more information, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.