Exclusive: Kathleen Quinlan Opens Up About New Family Drama, The Doors and Daniel Radcliffe

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Academy Award-nominee Kathleen Quinlan plays Nora Valentino, the matriarch of an upstate New York middle-class family in the drama “After.” The clan has an intricate deception going that enables a delusion.

Nora’s adoring husband is played by John Doman (“The Wire”). Pablo Schreiber (“Law & Order SVU” and “Orange is the New Black”) plays their eldest son Christian, who is stuck with the overwhelming task of trying to save the family business. Writer Sabrina Gennarino plays angsty daughter Maxine, and the youngest brother Nicky (Adam Scarimbolo) is a rebellious, druggy mess. Diane Neal (“Law & Order SVU”) is riveting as the family’s alcoholic Aunt Kat.

“After” is Gennarino’s first screenplay, and the characters are based on her own family members. The film is Pieter Gaspersz’s second directing credit, but William Steinkamp brought years of editing experience. The film has many strengths including a strong cast and a big twist at the end.

TheBlot Magazine’s Dorri Olds landed an exclusive interview with “After” star Kathleen Quinlan.

Dorri Olds: Did you find the family situation plausible? Could a family facilitate that type of denial?

Kathleen Quinlan: Oh, yes. I think families carry out that type of denial every day. Certainly it was plausible for the writer Sabrina Gennarino. She interjected how her family might’ve reacted if the same thing happened to them. My mother was suffering from dementia, so I would see that type of disassociation. I think we all use some denial. Look at the world — it’s too much to take in all at once.

What was it like to work with Pablo Schreiber?

He is wonderful. He was always a hard worker, but he also couldn’t wait to get back to see his wife and help with their new baby. Pablo was lovely, so I was shocked to see his role in “Orange is the New Black.” [Laughs]

Did you ever see him on “Law & Order SVU?”

No. Was he good?

He was so scary as a deranged sadist.

Ooh, I can’t wait to see that. Thanks for telling me!

What projects are you working on now?

I play Daniel Radcliffe’s mother in “Horns,” a supernatural thriller due out this fall. It’s directed by Alexandre Aja and written by Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill. It’s about what would happen if something removed your ability to edit yourself.

How was it working with Daniel Radcliffe?

He’s great. He has a lot of fame to contend with, but he is all about the work. I don’t know when he ever stops working. He’s very focused so his fame isn’t derailing him from what he wants to do.

I read you’re in a film about a college football player hooked on ADD medication. Is that right?

Yes, it’s called “ADDicted,” and it’s in post-production. Luke Guldan plays my son. He’s trying to find himself amidst family pressures. The mother has a very driven political career, so a lot of her ambition is projected onto him. It’s about coping mechanisms.

Who have been your favorite directors to work with?

Pieter has been. You know, I’ve been pretty spoiled. Oliver Stone was wonderful to work with on “The Doors,” Ron Howard I absolutely loved and George Lucas. Directors basically raised me.

Were you already a fan of the band when you filmed “The Doors”?

Oh, yeah, sure. I grew up in Marin County in the ’60s. I was on the younger side so I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts, but the music was everywhere. It was just infectious. I still listen to all of it. It’s still the greatest music as far as I’m concerned. I grew up listening to The Doors, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, and I’m a big Motown fan — Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, The Commodores.

Did you ever sing for a role?

I went to the College of Marin. It was a prolific drama department, and Robin Williams was part of our group. We did “Fiddler on the Roof” together. I was Hodel, and he was Perchik. So we sang. He sang to me. I’ll never forget it. Francis Ford Coppola came to see that production. I was so saddened by the news of Robin Williams. Everybody feels it. What a profound effect he had.

“After” is opening in select national theaters throughout August and is available on iTunes. Drama, mystery. Rated R. 99 minutes.

Watch the trailer:

Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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