In the glamorous world of Hollywood, where stars rise and fall, Kayden Tokarski stands as a shining example of enduring talent and versatility. From her earliest days inspired by Disney sitcoms to her remarkable roles in critically acclaimed productions, Kayden’s journey is a testament to her unwavering dedication to the craft of acting. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the experiences that have shaped her career, exploring her inspirations, challenges, and aspirations.
Kayden, how did you first get interested in acting, and what inspired you to pursue it professionally?
I’ve been wanting to act since I was 4 years old and watched Disney sitcoms like “Good Luck Charlie” and “Shake It Up.” Zendaya was a huge inspiration to me. I kept asking my parents if I could “be on TV” and it wasn’t until I played the lead in a school play in 4th grade that my parents knew I was very series and passionate about the craft.
What was your experience like portraying a young Julia Roberts (Martha Mitchell) in “Gaslit,” and how did you prepare for this role?
Portraying a young Julia Roberts was a dream come true! I worked with the amazing actor Jesse Bush who plays my dad, and he gave me tips on the spot on how to do a Southern accent. It was amazing to work with Director Matt Ross who is so talented.
Can you share some highlights from your work on “My Melancholy Baby” and how it contributed to your acting journey?
“My Melancholy Baby” was written by Keith Sharon who also wrote “Showtime” with Robert DeNiro and Eddie Murphy and “Finding Steve McQueen” with Forest Whitaker. It’s based on a true story that brings important topics like autism and addiction to light and the impacts on a family. I play a child with autism and other developmental issues. I researched and spent time with the family the film is based on and it really helped me to connect with my character as well as how I approach other roles.
What can audiences expect from your upcoming TV movie “Love’s Fast Lane”?
This is a great romcom that stars Grace Victoria Patterson, Tom Gibson and other talented actors. It’s directed by Ben Meyerson and is an inspirational story that will really resonate with anyone especially women who are trying to make it in careers that may be mostly dominated by men. I play the role of Charlie and am so grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait for everyone to see this heartfelt movie.
How was the experience working alongside Anthony Michael Hall in “Roswell Delirium”?
Anthony Michael Hall is also a producer of “Roswell Delirium,” and he was on set in that capacity while I filmed. He is so inspiring, talented and has a great vision. He was also extremely supportive to the child actors on set and is so down to earth.
Since 2020, you’ve won 23 Best Actress Awards. Which of these accolades are you most proud of and why?
I am so grateful to have won every single award. I have been honored with regional, national and international awards from film festivals, but the award I am most proud of is from the Young Entertainer Awards. It was incredible to receive the award, go on stage and thank them for the award as well as my incredible agents and manager for believing in me.
Could you share insights into your roles in “Apocalypse Love Story” and “Bombay Beach” and what they mean to you?
“Apocalypse Love Story” was my first lead role in a feature film, and it was shot during the onset of the pandemic. We were on location in Victorville and remote areas of Los Angeles and Orange County, and it was such a thrill to play a young girl who thinks she is the sole survivor of an apocalyptic event. Filming during the pandemic was more of a challenge, but I am so grateful for the opportunity and to have won awards for my performance in this film. The movie was directed by Justin Wilder Neese and premiered this year and will stream in 2024. “Bombay Beach” is a coming-of-age story that follows a naive young girl played by me who dreams of leaving her trailer park to reunite with her estranged father in Los Angeles, while her older sister grapples with protecting her from their bleak reality. There are some very intense scenes that I enjoyed filming (as weird as that may sound!).
How has your background in competitive diving influenced your approach to acting?
Being a diver requires constant learning, training, perseverance and positivity. It’s so challenging and similar to acting. You must be committed to your sport and craft and keep going no matter what. There are certainly many highs and lows in both diving and acting, but if you believe in yourself and never give up, you can reach your goals.
What motivates you to be involved in community service and charity work?
I absolutely love helping others when I can. I feel like you must give back. I have been so fortunate to be part of the Walk Against Drugs, Red Cross LA and the Joyful Child Foundation. I think it’s so important to be altruistic and not just do things for a photo op. Really digging deep like harvesting broccoli for Second Harvest Food Bank to help the less fortunate is an incredible honor to know you are making a difference in the lives of others who don’t have what you do. It’s essential to bring awareness to causes and help as much as you can.
In “Roswell Delirium,” you play a character in a unique sci-fi setting. How did you prepare for this role?
This movie is set in the 1980s and I play a mean girl. I watched a lot of iconic films from the 80s like “The Breakfast Club” to help prepare and really tried to channel who Becky is and why she acts the way she does. With Becky and every character I have the honor of playing, I do a lot of breaking down of each character and develop a back story. I personally think doing so helps a lot to connect with each character.
What challenges did you face while filming “Roswell Delirium,” and how did you overcome them?
I try to take challenges and turn them into opportunities. I was really inspired by Lisa Whelchel’s performance as our teacher and learned from her while on set.
How do you approach selecting diverse and challenging roles?
The more diverse and challenging the role, the better is how I feel. You have to develop your skills for any type of role, and I really enjoy doing script analysis and diving into character backstories and histories to add depth I feel like you can’t do justice to the role if you don’t take the time to really breakdown the character and understand the relationships to other characters in the story. For example, what do they want? What are they trying to achieve? Each character’s personality, motives and idiosyncrasies are important for accurate portrayal and performance.
What advice would you give to young actors just starting in the industry?
I would tell them to take acting lessons and to be resilient because there is a lot of rejection in this industry but if you can stay positive with your goal in mind, I believe you can achieve success. My agent Sueanne Edan of Tangerine Talent always told me that this industry is not a sprint but a marathon. Everyone’s journey is different, and you can compare yours to someone else’s.
What future projects are you most excited about, and what can your fans look forward to seeing from you next?
I am really excited about the upcoming thriller feature film “Mama Bear” and will begin working on movie I just booked in early spring. I can’t say too much about it yet, but everyone can stay tuned to my Instagram @kaydentokarski for more details.
Kayden Tokarski’s story is more than just a tale of fame; it’s a narrative of resilience, adaptability, and continuous growth. Her approach to selecting diverse and challenging roles speaks volumes about her commitment to her art. With her advice to young actors and her excitement for upcoming projects, Kayden is not just navigating her path in the industry; she’s carving a niche for future generations to follow. As we eagerly await her next ventures, including the thrilling “Mama Bear,” it’s clear that Kayden’s journey is one to watch, filled with promise and endless possibilities.
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