Mary Elizabeth Winstead on Why Netflix’s ‘Kate’ Is Unlike Any Assassin You’ve Ever Seen
Netflix’s latest action movie Kate poses a big question: If you were poisoned and had less than 24 hours to live, what would you do with your remaining day on Earth?
In the Tokyo-set thriller, assassin Kate (Mercy Street’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead) chooses to get revenge on those who did her in. And she’ll do it with or without help from her handler and mentor Varrick (Woody Harrelson), who groomed her into a killer from a young age. “[Kate’s] this very violent, seemingly unfeeling woman who’s able to carry out heinous acts and not really feel the consequences,” says Winstead, “but somewhere in her, she carries the weight of what she’s been doing.”
Her softer side is triggered at the 11th hour by rebellious teen Ani (Miku Martineau), the niece of the crime lord Kate holds responsible for her condition. Though Kate initially kidnaps Ani as part of her revenge plot, “she starts to actually enjoy being around the obnoxious kid,” Winstead teases. She adds: “There’s also a history between the two of them that Ani doesn’t know about, but Kate does. And that’s something that builds over the course of the film, this tension alongside this blossoming friendship coexist together.”
As the ruthless Kate makes her way through Japan’s underworld, her body fails. She gets bloodier, raspier, and more bandaged. Still, she fights on. One of those scenes pits Winstead against Japanese singer Miyavi, who plays one of her targets. The actress calls the moment “a bit more raw” for its lack of stunt doubles. “We totally hurt each other,” she admits. “He headbutted me; I scratched him up really good — I think I scratched his eye at one point. We really went for it.”
Kate shares a stunt team with DC’s Birds of Prey, where Winstead played vigilante Huntress. The connection, admits Winstead, was one of her major factors for signing onto the project. And while the Miyavi-Winstead battle is just a fraction of the vicious fights ahead, Winstead promises there’s more to the film than just its gratuitous violence.
“On the face of it, it might seem like, ‘Oh, it’s another movie about an assassin,’ but there’s something about this film that’s really totally unique as an experience,” she says. “The way that it was directed, the music, the location, the characters — it’s really a huge adrenaline rush, but it’s also emotional and I think it’ll take you to unexpected places.”
Kate, Premieres Friday, September 10, Netflix