Actress Kate Walsh is no stranger to the small screen. Viewers watched her as Dr. Addson Montgomery on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and later on in the spin-off Private Practice. Since then, she’s had the unique experience of having a front row seat to the shift in television with the boom of streaming services. Walsh took on roles in popular Netflix shows, 13 Reasons Why, The Umbrella Academy, and most recently, as Emily’s American boss in Emily in Paris.
Now, she’s the lead in a new film called Sometime Other Than Now, which the actress noted might be the perfect title for our current times. “I feel like [the title] is something that on the micro and macro everyone can relate to.”
In the film, she plays Kate, a former immigration lawyer who returned to a small New England town to care for her ailing father. After her father’s passing, she took over his weathered motel, and while she’s loyal to the business, Kate is lost in life and hasn’t dealt with her grief. Sam (Donal Logue) is a man who comes through town serendipitously after a motorcycle crash leaves him stranded. Sam hasn’t made too many connections in his life, most notably his now grown estranged daughter. When these two individuals cross paths, they inspire something in each other that makes them want to heal some of those old wounds.
Filmed before the pandemic, in the summer of 2019, the actress relished having a chance to make a romantic drama about real people.
“This is such a perfect little film of a slice of life. It’s this beautiful character study on relationships, of people creating different lives, and how they’re given second chances. It’s this tiny piece of Americana in North Fork, Long Island. It’s just like a little poem.”
Awards Radar sat down with Kate Walsh to discuss filming her new film, the evolution of television, and more!
Niki Cruz: You’re currently in Australia. How is it there? It seems like a different world compared to the United States.
Kate Walsh: They did have the good fortune time-wise to be the last girl of the dance, if you will. They watched the rest of the world and how they’ve dealt with it. We’ve had 0 cases here in Western Australia. A couple of weeks ago, we had one case, and there was a lockdown for a week, so that’s the level of how they work here. They’re very stringent about keeping it safe, but it’s also a different country than the US. There are 22 million people total in Australia, but I feel very lucky to be here.
NC: I would love to hear more about this film studio you’re helping get off the ground in Perth. That sounds really exciting.
KW: It is exciting! It was this odd turn of events in that I was here and then they had a brief lockdown, but then places started opening up after, I think, six weeks. I thought, Why aren’t people making TV and movies here? And then I started meeting people in the industry and one thing led to another. I learned by and large that people would come here and shoot on location but not shoot any big international productions here because there wasn’t a studio. Then I started meeting people who have been working on it for years who have been advocating for a studio. Oddly it was just the right time of being in the middle of a pandemic and people coming home. The announcement just came out so we’re really excited.
NC: There’s so much humanity in your film, Sometime Other Than Now. Your character is from a small New England town just trying to get by.
KW: I’m still getting over my face on the big screen, but thank you…It was a simple story, but I really loved the idea of starting over and having characters at crossroads. It felt like an indie film from the 90s. It felt very intimate…Where we shot was a very special experience. This movie was on a shoestring budget, and we all leaned in to make the best thing that we could. In this weird meta way, we shot in Greenport, near Orient, Long Island—it was these little towns. The motel that we shot was a family-owned motel. This area hasn’t been totally commercialized or made really flashy and opulent like The Hamptons. It felt like, this is a story about real people in a real town, so I liked that aspect of it.
NC: Kate has a rich background. She had this whole life before she meets Sam. Was that something that was on the page or developed as you went?
KW: No, that was all written by Dylan McCormick. It was a pretty tight script. Dylan was really meticulous, and this was a story close to his heart. I should also say, Amy Hargreaves, who plays Maureen, the bartender, was also great. It was all so kind of meta because we both worked on 13 Reasons Why so we were like, “Hey, this is a little different,” but again, I just thought it was all so believable. When you said the thing about the background, I just remembered that scene in the bar where Kate is being set up with a date who’s in town, and it’s the horrible thing of waiting for your set up or your swipe right [Laughs]. I’m always looking for a movie where there’s a real story and an intimacy, and this has it.
NC: I think a lot of people will discover the film at home. The pandemic accelerated this divisive conversation, where people are trying to figure out how films will survive when most mid-level films and indies are straight to rental services.
KW: Talk about a total hairpin turn. No one could’ve predicted, “Well, what could happen with this tiny film is a global pandemic, and we can get distribution in theaters that are open, and it’ll be available on streaming. But now, streaming is not such a bad thing anymore because everyone is streaming!” How could you ever predict it? In a time where we’re so isolated and disconnected from each other, we need these stories. I think it’s a great time to be making movies and television in general. In Australia, I was able to do a play this past October, and I think we were the only people in the world doing a play at the time. It was such a surreal experience. Everyone is starving to connect and see stories and be a part of something bigger than them.
NC: You’ve had the unique position of being a part of this evolutional shift of television, from it being network appointment television to streaming services and binge-watching. How has that experience been like as an actress?
KW: It’s been crazy. I think it’s like any big change. It’s exciting and then you kind of grieve what used to be. There’s a part of me that really misses the days where it was appointment television. There was a discipline of having to watch an hour a week, whether HBO or ABC. You get to watch one hour on Thursdays, and you get to all talk about it, and there was a community around it.
For me, it was watching Sex and the City. We would have girls’ nights, make dinner, and drink cosmos, and then we would watch it. So that was a ritual, right? The same with Grey’s Anatomy. People had Grey’s parties. With Grey’s, so many people come up to me and would say, “Me and my mother would watch the show together.” I thought it was really touching that it was a bonding thing for moms and daughters. It was “a thing,” and there was a certain savoring in that. You had a week to process it and anticipate. That’s gone now. Now you can sit alone and binge, but it becomes a drug! [Laughs] But streaming is cool; because it opened up so much more opportunity for roles. The streaming platform for 10 episodes is like doing a movie and it frees you up to live more life, which I like because after doing network television for so long, it burns you up.
NC: Speaking of Grey’s, this year we’ve seen a lot of old familiar faces like Patrick Dempsey and T.R. Knight return on Grey’s. Has there been any discussion about getting Addison back?
KW: Well, there was talk about it at one point! I had spoken to Krista Vernoff about maybe coming back, but this was a while ago. We haven’t had any discussions lately. The last time we talked about it, there was a direct conflict because I was shooting The Umbrella Academy, but I’m always open to that idea. I love that they brought everyone back. I thought it was just very nostalgic, and I got very verklempt watching. That was next level! It’s such an iconic piece of pop culture and TV history that Shonda Rhimes created — beyond Grey’s, just for Shondaland. Chris Van Dusen — when I started Grey’s, he was answering phones as her assistant, and now he made Bridgerton. Shonda is incredibly loyal. I can really just go on and on.
Sometime Other Than Now is currently out in theaters and available on demand now.
[This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]