Known for her many roles in popular crime and mystery thrillers, Nebraska-born Jaime King has amassed an impressive body of work as an actor, writer, and producer. On the big screen, Jaime is best known as Goldie/Wendy in Sin City, as Lorelei in The Spirit, and as Sarah Palmer in My Bloody Valentine. In television, she is best known as Rose in the series Black Summer, as Solus Prime in the mini-series Transformers: Power of the Primes, and as Lemon Breeland in Heart of Dixie. She was also a regular in My Generation, Gary Unmarried, The Class, and Kitchen Confidential.
In the suspenseful crime thriller Out of Death, Jaime is Shannon, a lone hiker who witnesses a murder by corrupt cops. On the run, she must use the mental and physical survival skills her father taught her to outwit and outfight her desperate pursuers. In this one-on-one interview, King reveals her passion for acting and the challenges she faced in bringing her character to life.
You were a top fashion model at 16, what drove you to pursue acting?’
Jaime King: It’s something I wanted to do my whole life—be a filmmaker. I’m from Nebraska and I wanted to find a way to get into this city. So I started with fashion when I was very young and transitioned to acting, writing, and filmmaking when I was 19.
You wear very little make-up, you’re running and falling through a forest, and covered in blood. What attracted you to this particular crime thriller?
King: For me, it was important to explore the themes in it—the abuse of power, corruption, police brutality—these systems need to be broken up and held accountable. I also wanted to explore her inner journey—from a woman that’s really grieving and in pain—to what happens when she discovers her strength and perseverance. Not wearing makeup was a deliberate choice because I wanted it to be as gritty and natural as possible.
How did you prepare for the physical demands of this film?
King: I just finished a year’s training for Season 2 of Black Summer, which just came out on Netflix. So I was well prepared for this film and ready to kick ass.
Can you talk about your most challenging scene?
King: There’s a scene where Shannon is injured. A lot of the action scenes posed a challenge because I was running and it was so wet and rainy there.
Do you still do any modeling?
King: No. I haven’t done that since I was 19.
How have your health issues toughened you as an actor and person?
King: When I was in my mid-twenties, I did have some health issues and going through that really strengthened me. There were things I had to overcome. Thankfully, I don’t have them anymore. Again, that’s about endurance and perseverance.
You’ve paid your dues in acting, producing, and directing. What have you learned about this industry that surprised you?
King: I think it was the lack of diversity and opportunity for people. We need to tackle those issues. But the industry is taking a turn for the better. I wanted to be in a position where I could give storytellers the opportunity to tell their stories.
What advice do you have for young actors eager to succeed in this business?
King: Study, study, study. Watch movies, watch series. Read every book you can. Get the best teachers you can. And just really train. It requires an extraordinary amount of vulnerability and tenacity. You need a lot of dedication. And you can’t quit. You’ll be rejected thousands of times but that one time is what counts. Stay dedicated and keep learning and growing.
Out of Death is currently in Theaters & On-Demand
Most images courtesy of Vertical Entertainment