Movies & TV / Columns

Sadie Katz On Starring In Her New Film Automation, Documentary The Bill Murray Experience

September 4, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411 Interview: Sadie Katz


Sadie Katz is an actor, writer, producer, and director who has been working in the entertainment world, according to imdb, since at least 2011. Katz has appeared in such movies as Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort, Unreported, Bus Party to Hell, and Meaning of Violence, among others, written the screenplay for such movies as Scorned and Clown Fear and directed the documentary The Bill Murray Experience. Katz’s latest movie as an actor is the terrific sci-fi horror comedy Automation, now available on a special features laden Blu-ray from Epic Pictures (you can buy that Blu-ray here. In this interview, Katz talks with this writer about making Automation, working with director Garo Setian, her career as a screenwriter, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Automation?

Sadie Katz: I have known Garo for a while now and we had always spoken about working together when he finally got a chance to direct! I was super grateful for being included on the project because sometimes people say that and then when it’s game time it doesn’t quite work out. I also really appreciated Rolfe Kanefsky and Esther Goodstein on their input on casting me!

BK: How did you approach your character Susan?

SK: Sometimes you have a character that you kinda struggle with initially of how this person is inside you. One thing I’m known for is my raspy, yet kinda vulnerable voice- I think it’s a gift because it’s my unique thing I can bring to screen. However, I sometimes am unsure of how it works with particular characters. I realized that I didn’t have to work against that. I think it was a bit of a giveaway to Susan’s inner world. I loved my wardrobe which reminded me of Daphne from Scooby Doo. There’s an element of that kind of humor while solving something bigger in Automation. Lots of chase scenes in high heels! I tried to have fun with that physically which I thought would give away under her tough exterior she was really a scared woman trying to make it in a man’s world.

BK: What was it like working with director Garo Setian?

SK: Garo was a super open director who didn’t mind hearing ideas about character and even tweaking scenes to incorporate that. One big thing that I felt strongly about was that Susan had inherited the job from her deceased Dad which is why she was so hell bent on it surviving. I really appreciated Garo being open to that because it helped me empathize with the character and resist her being a one dimensional character. I also was blown away by how great he was in post on the film. His attention to detail is amazing. Sometimes indie film directors can be in love with being in the director’s chair on set but not as committed when the real work is in post. Lots of long nights alone. I loved the final product and am appreciative for his hard work.


BK: What was it like working with Elissa Dowling, who plays Jenny, and Parry Shen, who plays Alan?

SK: Elissa and I were friends before filming and had loads of fun working together. She did a fantastic job in the film. Parry Shen is a total pro – my aunt actually lost her mind because she’s a big soap fan and was super stoked I was shooting with Parry. He’s such a smart actor who is incredibly humble and generous to work with. I don’t want to give away anything about his character but he has a nice flip in this that was absolutely believable and fun. I’d love to work with him again in future projects!

BK: Was it difficult to interact with the Auto character, played by Jeff J. Knight? Did it seem like you were talking/interacting with a real robot?

SK: Jeff was brilliant. He really is from the cosplay world so he actually was wonderful physically as Auto. He really knows how to inhabit a costume and use his body physically. What I was the most surprised about was even though he wasn’t going to be the voice of Auto he memorized and performed all the lines. He made interacting with Auto feel as real as possible. I’m going to add that he had a rather bad cold and he shot through it even though he was dripping sweat in the suit. What a trooper.

BK: What was the hardest scene for you, as an actor, in Automation?

SK: All our days were night shoots and we kinda just jumped into filming. At first your adrenaline gets you through the first few days and then your body starts to really feel upside down. We also were driving to set in high traffic hours in the evening and early morning. It’s also difficult to go home and fall asleep fast so after a while you realize you’re working on five hours of sleep a night. I’m not complaining, that’s the job, but it does have an effect on you. It also creates a family on set because we are all soldiering through it together.

BK: You’ve made/appeared in a number of genre movies in your career. Do you enjoy working in genre entertainment and what is your favorite genre to work in?

SK: Horror is such a challenge and the fans are so fantastic. I really love playing intense, crazy characters. It’s fun to let your freak flag fly! I actually love comedy and would be interested in maybe putting my freak flag away and switching gears. You can only cry and scream so much before you’re like “It’d be fun to laugh a little.”


BK: How did you get involved with screenwriting?

SK: When I was a little girl I use to take my Mom’s big green typewriter and write plays. I even had one I directed and produced for my grade school. I was a huge reader and whenever I read a book I loved I would play with adapting it. As an adult I was a director and curator for Cypress College’s New Play Program. I was lucky enough to read dozens of plays every summer. You really get a sense of story and what works and what doesn’t. When I moved to Los Angeles I worked as an assistant to Glen A. Larson of Battlestar Galatica, Knight Rider, Fall Guy and so many more. He gave me the opportunity to write with him and also to read tons of scripts that were produced on television. I’m super appreciative for that.

BK: How did the documentary The Bill Murray Experience come about?

SK: I kept reading about Bill Murray having these fun, chance encounters with fans. There was always an element of mystique and magic. The thing about Bill is he lives a pretty carefree life and you don’t know where he’s going to turn up. Whenever people speak about Bill it is as if they were looking for Bigfoot or the Easter Bunny. I loved that idea and wanted to get in on the fun.

BK: You’ve directed a documentary. Any interest in directing a narrative movie?

SK: I’m actually working on something right now. I would love to direct my first feature length narrative during 2021. Do you know anyone who wants to invest?! Ha.

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

SK: I just finished Ron Howard’s MasterClass on directing. He has to be one of the kindest, most genuine, talented directors. I never realized all the different genres he’s directed and what a big influence he has on modern day cinema. After his class I have a whole new respect for him.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

SK: I’m really stoked for the upcoming October release of Amityville Harvest, releasing thru Lionsgate. Thomas Churchill was both the writer and the director. It’s a scary film with lots of chills and jumps. Kyle Lowder is the lead, playing a vampire and he doesn’t disappoint. If you’re a horror fan or a monster movie fan this is definitely your film. I played an entirely different type of character as a reporter working on her relationship with her sister which is cool because I’ve never had a sister so I got to live in that headspace. I’d love to hear what you guys think about the film when it’s released!

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Automation?

SK: I hope they have a good time and allow themselves to have fun with the film. There’s some serious subtext but ultimately it’s a really fun movie. Don’t overthink it.

BK: Would you want to live/work with a robot like Auto in real life?

SK: No. I’m a people person!



A very special thanks to Sadie Katz for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

You can purchase the brand new Automation Blu-ray here.

Check out the official Epic official Facebook page here.Pictures website here and

Check out my review of Automation here.

Check out Sadie Katz’s Twitter page here and Facebook page here.

Sadie Katz image from Sadie Katz’s Facebook page. All other images courtesy Epic Pictures.