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Kara Killmer Interview – Revolutionary Feminist in Beyond the Mask

Beyond the Mask is a Revolutionary War action thriller spanning England and the New World in the years leading up to the 1776 signing of the American Declaration of Independence.

Through the politics of rebellion, classism, racism and religion, it paints a picture of the struggles that beset the British making inroads into the eastern seaboard, the Native Americans whose culture the British compromised and those whose loves changed dramatically. There’s plenty of action, adventure, romance, drama and historical authenticity and it’s highly entertaining.

Chicago Fire’s Kara Kilmer plays an Englishwoman torn between two cultures. She lives with a Native warrior until her English fiancé arrives, on the run from his criminal past in England.

Kara Killmer and Andrew Cheney in Beyond the Mask
Kara Killmer and Andrew Cheney in Beyond the Mask


One of the notable things about the film is that it looks at the lives of diverse, complex characters like Charlotte.
One of the things I liked about Charlotte is that she has this arc of starting out as young girl who is traditional and very rooted in that but of course by the end of the story she’s gone the whole journey straddling the Americas, falling in love with a criminal and she becomes a swashbuckler!

But I think what’s great is that she holds onto her core values throughout the film. That was one of the things I liked about her. She was really getting her hands dirty.BTM_Still_8
And Charlotte was an early feminist.
In terms of feminism this is such a great time in the industry for women. There are a lot of female role, lots of stories about heroines and I think that Charlotte fits right up there, but I think she also does it in a great way by being respectful obedient and resourceful.

She brings a feminine heart and her feminism isn’t measured by how like a man she can be. It’s unique. There is forgiveness – she doesn’t turn up her nose at William when she finds out what he’s done.

She grieves for his circumstance and doesn’t turn her back but holds him to an expectation – these things are destructive, these things give you life and I’m here for you whatever you choose.BTM_Still_5
The film manages to bring into its already dense fabric a steampunk electricity subplot.
Our set designer Nick Burns did some great things. He studied everything, the mechanics and construction and everything that Benjamin Franklin had been studying at the time. He utilised every single bit of technology of the era and figured out ways to use it.

There’s that great line “Finally, a use for electricity” when they’re rigging the bomb to fight the British. It was hilarious! It was good comic relief because there is so much heavy action that you’ve gotta take those moments.

You and William spent a lot of time in the water one way and another!
I didn’t even realise until watching it a few times it is a joke we were really in the water a lot counting how many minutes before his hair’s wet again. That’s why the first time they fall in she can’t swim because women didn’t do that then.

You’re an American from Texas, but your English accent is terrific.
I was pretty sure accents would be hard for me to take on, a little distracting but for whatever reason the British accent comes very easily to me. I would love to say I trained with a dialect but I’m really just copying Keira Knightley.

How is Chicago Fire / P.D. coming along?
I just finished my first season on Chicago Fire, Season 3 but we do a lot of crossover stories with Chicago P.D. and now they’ve added a third Chicago Men and I’ll be doing crossovers with that.

I’m from Texas and lived in LA and now Chicago. I had my first official winter. You can survive if you have enough coffee!

Beyond the Mask opens in theatres on August 14th.

Visit the official site for more on the movie and you can follow Kara on Twitter.

Award-winning writer and reporter Anne Brodie has covered film and filmmakers on television, print and online for more than 30 years. 20 year member of... read more

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