NC Actress Kayli Tolleson Talks ‘Homeland’ and ‘Banshee’ [Interview]
While most kids her age were at the beach or a theme park, up and coming North Carolina actress Kayli Tolleson spent much of her summer vacation working on the sets of some of the most high profile pojects produced in the state this year, including Showtime’s Emmy winning Homeland and Cinemax’s new series Banshee.
We caught up with the busy 13-year-old Charlotte, NC native recently to get the scoop on her experiences on these productions and more, which you can read about in our exclusive interview below!
“Homeland was an amazing set,” Kayli told NCHollywood.com. “It was incredible. It was such a great experience. I worked three days.”
Tolleson says her scene featured a tense conversation between series star Damian Lewis and his on-screen son, played by Jackson Pace.
“The scene I was in was an upscale party,” she said. “I got to be a kid in the pool, and what was cool was I got a to throw a football with Jackson Pace. He’s super nice. We talked for a while in the pool, while we were waiting for them to start. Everybody on set was amazing and couldn’t be kinder. It was great.
“In the pool, literally you could swim to the side and look at the main actors, and I actually got to talk to some of them.”
Working as an extra on Homeland was just one of the jobs Kayli had this year.
“It’s been a summer of first experiences,” she said, “and I’ve enjoyed it, and I hope I get to work on more sets. I just got to be SAG/AFTRA-eligible, so it’s another first of the summer. When I was told I was going to be eligible I was so excited, there’s just no words to describe how excited I was. It’s pretty much what you’re working up to as an actor, and as a young actor it’s an accomplishment, so it’s another thing I can check off my list.”
Tolleson says she has known since she was three years old that she wanted to act.
“I was just sitting there watching TV one day,” she recalls, “and I turned around to my mom and dad and said, ‘How do those people get in the TV? I want to be in the TV!’ My mom explained that I was too young to go around and sit on these sets for so long. So when I was 9 I did a play, The Wizard of Oz, for a local performing arts program, and I stayed up for nine performances, 8 to 11 every night, even on school nights, and that’s when my mom finally said, ‘You know what, I think you can handle this,’ and it’s just taken off from there.
“That was four years ago, and I wasn’t thinking I’d be where I am today. It was fun back then, but now it’s like a job. It’s a career.”
On the set of Cinemax’s upcoming drama Banshee (from True Blood creator Alan Ball), Kayli said she found herself in a scene with a former Disney Channel starlet (Lili Simmons) that she used to watch on TV just a few years ago.
“We were playing kids on a pier with our parents,” she said of her role. “There was a lot of action going on, not like physical action, but talking action. We were actually sitting right behind two leads, and we figured out that (Simmons) was on the Disney Channel when she was little, and I remembered watching her. It was very cool.
“The scene was supposed to be at the Coney Island Pier, and we actually filmed in Wilmington, which was fun because in your mind you have to imagine that the people who are watching think you’re in New York, but really you’re just in Wilmington. I like that part about filming too, how they can make scenes seem like they’re in different places.”
Also this summer, Kayli worked on the pilot episode of Shelter, a new series produced by J.J. Abrams (Revolution, Lost) for The CW; the feature film 9 Ball, which premiered last month at the Toronto International Film Festival; and a small little superhero sequel that was filmed in Wilmington, NC this summer, all of which we will talk to her more about in 2013 when those projects premiere.
“It’s been an amazing summer,” she said.
You can look for Kayli in episode 207 of Homeland, airing on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Banshee premieres on Cinemax on January 11, 2013.
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