• Oliver Boon

Critic meets... Anna-Katharina Benz

CRITIC

So why don’t we start with how you first got into acting?

ANNA

That's a tough question, I feel like you get asked that so much as an actor but the only way, I can answer is that it's just what I've always done. When I was a kid I played with my dolls and acted out scenes from movies and scenes that I made up myself and would shoot little movies on my phone. Sometimes we would do a music video where we’d lip sync. It was where I had the most fun with growing up. And if something makes you happy, how can you not aim do it all the time?

CRITIC

What were the films that influenced you when you were younger?

ANNA

Harry Potter was a big one for me. I remember just wanting to be in them, in that world. They remind me of what Marvel is now. I am a kind of a geek in that way. And I know everybody has something to say about these movies but they're just so entertaining to me. As a little kid, I was just like, I want to do that. I can do that, too. So that was really the turning point for me.

CRITIC

Outside of acting, are there any other creative jobs you are interested in?

ANNA

I’ve been thinking about maybe producing. There's definitely one or two shows that I have in my mind that I feel just have to be made. I did a show at the Loft Ensemble’s Playwrights Playground that I was in, called Tailpipe. We performed it as a one act play but it would be so good as a short film. I have definitely had this drive in me to produce. Sometimes to get what you want you just have to do it yourself. I’m also very detail-oriented which helps. When I see productions, I’m always thinking “I could have done that” or like, “Oh, my God, I wish they did that”, you know?

CRITIC

Tell me more about Tailpipe!

ANNA

It was written by Jared Wilson, who is the weirdest guy but you love him for it. I was in a production of Wait Until Dark with him and he is just so talented at so many things. I read Tailpipe for the first time when he sent it to me and was like, this is amazing, we have to do this. I learned the part in a week and we rehearsed for only a week and a half and we just booked it. It was such an amazing experience and it showed me when you have a role that suits you, it’s better than anything I could possibly describe. The show was about a guy and a girl who meet and it looks like it’s going to be a regular hook-up, but it gets really weird. I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say it gets very dark…The play is named after a joke in the play. The guy asks the girl what’s with all the bunch of boxes and newspapers in my apartment and the girl says she has a cat…called Tailpipe.

CRITIC

Changing subject! What specifically brought you to LA?

ANNA

I mean, to be honest, what you think Hollywood would be like, is exactly what drew me here because I wanted to be in the film scene. I feel looking back now, it was definitely place where I needed to be right now.

CRITIC

What do you have coming up?

ANNA

I am in this show at the Loft Ensemble called Death and Other Girly Things written by R.J. Fontaine. It's really a fun show about this young woman who buys a baby skeleton after a divorce. It’s basically a dark comedy with a hilarious road trip with this professor that wants to write about death culture in America and women’s views on it. It's really awesome because it's very feminist, but not in a “shove it down your throat” kind of way. In my opinion, it has some of the best monologues for women in a play that I've ever seen. It's just so real and has such a new perspective on things, like there's this whole monologue about a girl that’s really high having her period. She’s on the toilet at a party and the way she talks about her period is so different. It’s so real and authentic. I play one of the daughters. There’s some family drama in the show but it’s a fun dynamic, and like all families, even though we can be crazy sometimes, we still care about each other. I think I have a tendency to kind of be the odd one out in the play.

CRITIC

What type of parts do you connect with the most?

ANNA

I like being a supporting character that comes in and shakes things up or like just does a weird thing and leaves. My friends always tell me that I have this deadpan comedy about me.

CRITIC

What actors inspire you the most currently?

ANNA

It changes all the time but right now, I love Florence Pugh. She’s simple in what she does, but so effective at the same time. That's something that you like can't teach. you either have it or you don't.

I really dig Charlie Hunnam in the Gentlemen. I love dry British humor!

CRITIC

Favorite movie you’ve watched recently?

ANNA

I loved Beautiful boy. I guess I just really like authenticity in difficult moments. I really enjoy real stories and just no lipstick on the pig. I like when it’s really raw and just not beautiful at all.

CRITIC

Is there a character or part you’ve always wanted to play?

ANNA

A type of role I’ve always wanted to play would be a ballerina. Exploring the struggles with physical and mental pain they go through. I like the determination behind it. It’s so compelling to me. I want to be in a movie where my character goes through pain and trauma, but they fight through it in the end. I think that’s so cool.

CRITIC

Favorite word?

ANNA

Bamboozled? I don’t know. I feel like if somebody says that just casually, and in a casual situation, you're just like… hey I like you, you know what I mean? Someone's just says, oh, that just really bamboozled me and I'm think, you know what, I like being around you. Bit of a random one.

CRITIC

Is there a favorite hidden gem of yours you could recommend?

ANNA

Rumi cafe. It’s great little café in Sherman Oaks. I love their Turkish coffee!

CRITIC

As a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, how would you rate the school as a whole?

ANNA

I wouldn't give that time I spent back for anything in the world. I was very honored to be the first student from Liechtenstein to ever attend the Academy. I think it taught me so much more that I can understand now and I know there’s going to be a moment 10 years from now where I'm going to think of something that happened to me. And I'm going to be like, “I finally get it now” There were very tough times where I was like, I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if I'm good enough. Not to mention the pressure when you come out of school and you're like, "oh, no, I have to do this by myself!". My 3rd year in company was one of the best years of my life. It was a blast and I got to learn so much about my routine as an actress and what works best for me.

CRITIC

Finally, do you have any advice you can give to other young actors starting out?

ANNA

Whatever happens, however hard It might be, don't let it make you want to feel less. Don't let it take away from your vulnerability and your softness. Don't think that you only have to be headstrong and stubborn. There's a beauty in softness and in weakness and I think that that's really what we want to see more of. Everyone softness is unique and it can be something that is incredible to some and stupid to others, but don't let that be the reason why you don't show it. Own it, stay soft regardless. Ironically that’s what real strength is in my mind.


https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10355639/

website: www.annakbenz.com

Instagram: @itsaaannak

https://www.loftensemble.org/tickets-events


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