[Interview] AnnaLynne McCord for KING KNIGHT
Courtesy XYZ Films
Since gaining popularity after her role as Eden Lord on FX’s television series, “Nip/Tuck,” AnnaLynne McCord has gone on to star in everything from The CW’s revival of “90210” to indie genre films such as 68 Kill. Recently, she once again teamed up with director Richard Bates Jr., who she worked with before on such films as Excision, Trash Fire, and Tone Deaf, for his latest film KING KNIGHT, where she plays the disembodied voice of a Karen. Yes, that type of Karen.

In KING KNIGHT, Thorn and Willow appear to have it all as the revered high priest and priestess of a coven of new-age witches. But a secret from Thorn’s past throws their lives into turmoil and sends them on a trippy, hilarious journey.

For the release of KING KNIGHT, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew spoke with AnnaLynne McCord where they discussed everything from playing a “Karen” to reuniting with Director Richard Bates Jr.

Thank you so much for speaking with me today. What were your thoughts when you found out that you would be voicing Karen?

AnnaLynne McCord: First of all, I love that she’s a Karen [Laughs]. I can officially tell people I’m a Karen not because of anything in real life but definitely my acting life. It was one of those situations where I work with my friends now and I’m so lucky as an actress to have been doing this industry for 20 years and now have really incredible relationships. And one of those relationships that hail back 11-12 years is with Richard Bates, the director. He can call me on a Tuesday night at 11:00 pm and be like, what are you doing? I need you tomorrow or Thursday to be in a scene in the room in my house and I’m like, obviously, yes, let me clear my schedule. This is the way it happened with me being a Karen. I did not know that I was going to be a walkie-talkie voice, but it turned out to be wildly more hilarious that you hear my Karen voice coming through the walkie-talkie.

(L-R) Josh Fadem as Neptune, Johnny Pemberton as Desmond, Angela Sarafyan as Willow, Matthew Gray Gubler as Thorn, Andy Milonakis as Percival, Nelson Franklin as Angus, Emily Chang as Echo and Kate Comer as Rowena in the comedy KING KNIGHT, a King Knight LLC release | Photo courtesy of King Knight LLC.

When it came time to be the voice of Karen, did Bates give you any types of notes in order to help achieve the type of character he wanted?

AnnaLynne McCord: Oh my gosh, we filmed this so long ago I’ll try to remember [Laughs]. All I know is that he had me do it in 17 different ways. I have dissociative identity disorder and a morbid sense of humor and if I didn’t already have D.I.D, I would definitely have it after playing Karen for Ricky [Laughs]. He wasn’t sure what he wanted so he had me do it 900 different ways and I was like, which person am I [Laughs]?

This is your fourth project with Bates. What do you enjoy most about working with him?

AnnaLynne McCord: My favorite thing about working with Ricky is everything. Period. What I really appreciate as an actress is his trust. He trusts me infinitely. If he wants something for himself, he’ll do one or two things, and then he’ll say, now do what you do. And he just lets me get loud and crazy! He lets me get ridiculous, especially if my character is more of a lead or something. I get to really explore and dive into the character and just follow my instincts. And he trusts my instincts and he allows me to trust my instincts even more so, and that I love about him.

I will say my least favorite thing, which you didn’t ask, but I’m going to say anyway, is he would scream from behind the camera, MORE BLOOD! I’m like, oh my God, I’m never going to get this out of my hair. Why am I covered in so much blood all the time? He could never have enough blood on that film [Excision]. At the end of each set, I ruined all of his clothes cause I was like if he’s going to scream more blood then I’m going run and jump on him at the end of the day, every day. And I did. I literally would be covered in blood and I would sprint all the way to the director’s chair and jump on him, wrap my arms and legs around him and cover all of his clothes and him in blood. We have a really great relationship.

Since your fans won’t actually get to see your character, what are you hoping they’ll take away from your character and/or the film? 

AnnaLynne McCord: My fans won’t see much with this character. In fact, you won’t see anything at all. I think what I’m excited about is being a part of yet another Richard Bates film that is so fun and so out there and so wacky and so wild, but also really meaningful. And it does what filmmaking is supposed to do. It does what storytelling is supposed to do. I’m a huge fan of Joseph Campbell and so is Ricky. The author talks about the hero’s journey and he literally breaks down the formula of a human life, like from start to finish how we embark on our journey into the world. How we’re faced with these archetypes and these monsters if you will. And then how we have to come back and have learned something and take that with us, kind of at the end of our life. With this it’s like, okay, you’re in a wild coven of witches and the high priest is having you trip balls and you’re hearing the Karen on the walkie-talkie, but you’re not really seeing her cause she’s just a walkie-talkie floating in the air. But, what you walked away with after all of that was, do you accept yourself for who you actually are? Can you really grow if you don’t? Those questions are answered in this film in a wild, high-stakes, crazy unique way that only he can do. And that is what I hope viewers take away, my fans included. I like being a part of things that mean something, and I think this film, for as wild and crazy and fun as it is, actually really means something in the world.

KING KNIGHT will be available in select theaters and On-Demand/Digital starting February 17, 2022. For more on the film, check out our review here.

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