In an impressive career with over 100 credits to her name, Catherine Taber has given a voice to some of the most memorable characters in recent television and film history, including Padme Amidala in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a role which cemented her spot in sci-fi geek history. This actress is much more than her voice, however, as she proved in her recent appearance on The Walking Dead: World Beyond and her starring turn in director Chris Ethridge’s film Haven’s End.
With the latter’s recent release on DVD and VOD, Taber happily agreed to answer a few questions about working with Ethridge and creating a sci-fi/horror film for the 21st century.
Taber and Ethridge had worked together before on the director’s previous film Attack of the Morningside Monster, and they were eager to team up again when Haven’s End came into play.
“Chris brought Michael Harper on to write the script based on a pitch he had given,” Taber explained. “Michael came back with the first draft for Haven’s End, and I said, ‘I’m in!’”
In the film, Taber plays Alison, a surgeon who—along with the rest of the world—finds herself in a terrifying situation as the major cities around the globe suddenly find themselves under attack. Unsure of what to do, Alison, along with her military boyfriend (Anthony Nguyen) and good friend Jessi (Megan Hayes), flees the city to hide out on her family’s land in southern Georgia until they can figure out what is really happening.
Upon their arrival, they discover Alison’s brother Kevin (Alex Zuko) and his girlfriend Hannah (Hannah Fierman) are already at the isolated location. Tempers flare, and personalities clash as the five find themselves surrounded by unexplained lights, dangerous strangers, and an unexplained threat that may be the most deadly factor of all.
Alison offered Taber a lot to sink her teeth into as an actress. The character was raised by a survivalist father, and it’s interesting to watch the surgeon become the warrior as the film plays out. This was precisely what drew the actress to the role, however.
“I grew up around firearms, and I really enjoy the whole concept of ‘apocalyptic preparedness,’” she said. “I am a fan of those narratives, and I think the question of ‘how would you and the people around you handle the ‘expletive hitting the fan’?’ is really intriguing, and in some ways turns out to be more timely than ever as something to consider. I did not have the medical background, though, so I was calling my sister, who is an amazing nurse, and asking questions to help make things as realistic as possible.”
That dedication comes through brilliantly on the screen and makes Alison so much more engaging to watch as she reacts to a bone-chilling environment.
Interestingly enough, as it turns out, the real-life environment on the shoot was just as challenging. Much of the film takes place outdoors, and Georgia decided it wanted to be a character all its own in the film. The cast and crew faced nearly-constant rain and some of the coldest weather in the state-s recent history as they worked together to bring Haven’s End to life.
As the actress points out, however, some of those issues made her job easier.
“You don’t have to worry about acting like the night is cold and dark,” she said, “because it is cold and dark!”
Despite the challenges, Taber recalls her experience on set working with her fellow cast members fondly and credits Ethridge, Harper, and producer/visual effects artist Stacey Palmer with bringing the right people to the right roles to make the film a success.
“We all got along’ there weren’t ego issues,” she explained. “Everyone just wanted to tell a good story and make something the audience could enjoy. For example, Alex is such a talented actor, but also the most helpful guy on the planet. At the end of a long day, you would still find him helping breakdown the set or cleaning up. That is the energy you need on indie films.”
At the end of the day, this crazy business is all about making a product you can be proud of, and Taber recalls her experiences making Haven’s End with a fondness that is palpable. She loved the work and her time with the cast and crew.
But what stuck out to her the most? What did she relish about this experience that was unique to Haven’s End?
“I think one of my favorite things from Haven’s End is that it leaves people with questions and answers, and they are never the same!” Taber said. “It is so fun to watch people discuss what they believe. I won’t give any spoilers, but I love that it makes people think. And not like those films that annoy you because the ‘answer’ in the end is, well…annoying. Only Harper really knew as we were shooting even what the real ‘story’ was, and everyone had different opinions as to what they thought it was… and everyone was so sure they were right. You know, kind of like in life! But seriously, we are set up for a great sequel, don’t you think?”
It just so happens that yes, I do think they set that up nicely. Whether that happens or not, only time will tell.
In the meantime, you can check out Catherine Taber’s brilliant performance in Haven’s End on DVD and VOD!