Jan 05, 14

On My Radar: Stana Katic’s Cultural Highlights

Born in Canada, Stana Katic’s early career on television saw her appear in sci-fi drama Heroes and play information broker Collette Stenger in season five of 24. She landed the role of was in the 2007 filmFeast of Love before playing Corinne Veneau in the 2008 Bond film,Quantum of Solace. A year later, she landed the role for which she has become best known: playing NYPD detective Kate Beckett in the ABC crime drama, Castle. Katic has also launched her own production company, Sine Timore Productions, and founded The Alternative Travel Project, which encourages people to go car-free for a day. Having starred in his 2011 film, For Lovers Only, Katic reunited with director Michael Polish to play the poet Lenore Kandel in Big Sur, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance film festival. Castle returns on Alibi, 9 Jan, 9pm.

Film: August: Osage County
I recently saw this film, which stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Benedict Cumberbatch, and is directed by John Wells. It’s about a family who live in a grey zone of morality and their family dynamics. It started off as a play and it’s an incredible watch – I’m sure it’s an Oscar contender. They’ve got the best actors working on this film and it was really a wonderful pleasure to see. There’s no one type of film that I like watching: I loved Tropic Thunder and the first Austin Powers, and then The Godfather Parts I and IIThere Will Be Blood, Wes Anderson films… and now this.

Art: Alex Gross
Alex Gross is an LA artist who has become a friend. His work is really compelling. It’s always a tad haunting, with a bit of whimsy and humour, but also a streak of something [else]. A friend of mine on Castle introduced me to his artwork, and then to him. His work feels like a surreal advertisement sometimes, they’re almost like historical paintings, but with a huge twist. He has lizard people in his paintings, but then he also has geishas and samurais. He kind of mixes worlds and realms of reality.

Book: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
This is a story about post-revolutionary Russia, when everyone’s supposed to be an atheist. No one believes in God or the devil but the devil comes to town, he comes to Moscow, and creates havoc. In addition to that story, Bulgakov also writes the story of a woman and her lover, and how she goes on a journey to save him. It’s a beautiful, surreal, woven tale – one of my favourites. I try to read as much as possible and I’ve got a book to hand all of the time.

Music: King Krule/Pearl Jam
I downloaded his song Easy Easy and then, more recently, Foreign 2. I think he’s got this reckless-man voice that speaks to those moments of inner rebellion where you just need to let loose for a bit. I also just went to aPearl Jam concert on the USC (University of Southern California) campus and it was FUN! What an incredible voice. Pearl Jam were a part of my growing up. I was actually kind of anxious seeing them for the first time live because I have so much invested in them and I didn’t want to be let down, and I wasn’t. They just kept going – the lights went up in the arena and they were still singing.

Country: Mongolia
I went to Mongolia with my mum and we lived in a yurt for almost three weeks. We travelled north via Khövsgöl and we also travelled in the Gobi desert in the south. We drank every sort of milk, from yak’s milk to camel’s milk to horse’s milk, and experienced the local traditions – they have an annual festival called Naadam, where they showcase archery, wrestling and horseback riding… We also participated in a child’s hair-cutting ceremony (Daah’ Urgeeh). It was wonderful to be able to share the experience with someone close to me. Mongolia hasn’t fully transitioned into commercialism, so some of the authentic, older experiences are still available to people travelling through the countryside.

Opera: The Tales of Hoffmann
Every time I go to a new place, more likely than not, I end up seeing an opera there. It’s ended up being a part of travel. Now, I’m a regular attendee at the LA Opera House. One of my favourite operas is The Tales of Hoffmann – I saw that in Prague. There’s a duet where two females are singing (Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour) which is absolutely incredible, as is the story itself. It’s about a man searching for redemption: he doesn’t realise that he needs it, but in the end he discovers that he does. It was a beautiful performance in the middle of this very old city… It brought me to tears.