This feature on Brigitte Kingsley day comes from our friends at Toro, the site that has exactly "What Men Need To Know".
In the Q&A below, Brigitte Kingsley says that her defining characteristic is persistence. A case in point: many years ago, she approached a writer-director whose work she admired (Andrew Cymek) and encouraged him to write a screenplay which she promised to produce, even if it took a decade. This was at the beginning of her career, and she admits that she had no idea about the realities of what it takes get a film made. Fast-forward to eight years later, and not only is that film, Medium Raw, set for a fall 2009 release, but Kingsley and Cymek are married. Persistence indeed.
Check out the full gallery here: Brigitte Kingsley photo shoot
Aside from being a couple, the two are longtime business partners. In fact, Cymek played a key part in the first feature film that Kingsley orchestrated – a story that reveals another important characteristic of a good producer: chutzpah.
Kingsley was in the early stages of her career, when she landed a three-month contract to work with Mihkel Harilaid’s production company, Black Walk. At the time, Black Walk was in pre-production of a feature film, and Kingsley noticed that the project was faltering. She saw an opportunity and went for it, explaining to Harilaid that she had a feature film lined up to shoot in a couple of months, with partial financing in place, and a great script. Kingsley’s hope was that Harilaid would see it as an immediate replacement for his other production. Fortunately, he was interested and asked to see script. The only problem? There was no script. Kingsley went to Cymek and said, “I’ve pitched a project that doesn’t exist. You’ve got three days to write a screenplay!” The result was Dark Rising, a horror/science fiction/comedy hybrid that was released in 2007, and did good business on DVD. Today, Kingsley is the president of Black Walk.
Aside from being a successful producer, she’s an actress – one who’s in the enviable position of being able to star in the films that she herself produces. And while acting is still a priority of hers, she can’t help but see that role through a producer’s eyes: “Actors are the last person on board. And they’re the first people to be replaced if anything goes wrong. And nobody cares. As much as we feel important as actors, we’re disposable.” Yet acting remains a passion, one that she intends to pursue. “I’d love to become a great actress, but I’m not there yet. So even if it takes me a lifetime to do it, I’d always want to strive.” With a track record of tenacity and resourcefulness (and, more importantly, results) in an extremely competitive business, Kinglsey is not someone to bet against.
This summer, she will be producing and starring in the Dark Rising spinoff TV series, The Savage Tales of Summer Vale, along with a 90-minute finale which will serve as a stand-alone film.
Brigitte Kingsley met with photographer Franco Deleo for an exclusive TORO Woman shoot and revealed insights into her personality in the following Q&A.
Q: What is your present state of mind?
A: Mellow. I’m trying not to let stress enter my world anymore, because I think I was revving on high for many years – so my new state of mind, my conscious choice, is mellow. I do a lot of yoga, and I’m starting to try to meditate.
Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A: Family, friends and good health.
Q: What historical figure do you most identify with?
A: Einstein. For some reason I have an Einstein everything. I have an Einstein puppet, for instance. I’m not sure exactly what the draw is. It’s almost like he saw what really mattered in life. He always stayed very humble, and very generous with his ideas.
Q: What living person do you most admire?
A: My mom. She’s a very strong woman. She’s amazing. And if I could have half her strength I’d be very lucky.
Q: What is your greatest extravagance or indulgence?
A: It would be curled up with a good book in the sun. In a backyard or a beach, I don’t care. I have not had a day off in years.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: My grandmother passed away in 1997, and I have one of her sweaters. And that means something to me. When I need comfort, I’ll just throw on my grandmother’s sweater.
Q: What talent, other than the ones that you’re already blessed with, would you most like to have?
A: I would love to sing. I wanted to be a rock star as a kid. But I have the worst voice ever [laughs].
Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Spirits. I’m terrified of spirits – bad spirits. I grew up on horror movies. As a kid, I’d watch every single horror movie. Every weekend I’d go. I love it. My grandma took me out to see Amityville 3-D. But the one that sticks out in my mind is Poltergeist. Because I used to sleep in a room that had a big tree outside my window. And in Poltergeist the tree comes in, steals the kid and eats him. So I would sleep sometimes in the crack between the wall and the bed, because I figured if the tree would look in it probably wouldn’t see me [laughs]. I was about six or seven.
Q: What trait do you deplore most in others?
A: If somebody’s not genuine.
Q: What trait do you deplore most in yourself?
A: I’m very high stress. I worry about everything, for the most part. I’d love to be chilled out and easygoing.
Q: What is your greatest regret?
A: I don’t believe in regrets. I generally follow my gut. And I’ve done stupid things, and stuff I wish I hadn’t. But I always follow my gut. And at the end of the day, I just figure it was the path I was meant to follow.
Q: What is the quality you like most in a man?
A: Sense of humour. He has to make me laugh.
Q: The quality you like most in a woman?
Q: What is your most defining characteristic?
A: Persistence. I’ve always said that I may not have a ton of talent – I may not be the best at everything – but the one thing that God gave me was persistence.
Q: What or who is the greatest love of my life?
A: My husband, Andrew Cymek.
Q: What is your motto?
A: Roll with the punches.
Look for Brigitte Kingsley in the feature film Medium Raw, set for wide release in the fall of 2009, and in the upcoming series The Savage Tales of Summer Vale, debuting on Super Channel in 2010. Dark Rising is slated for DVD release in the U.S. on August 11. Its sequel, Summer Strikes Back! will be released on DVD in early 2010.
William Morassutti is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TORO. Prior to joining TORO, he worked in Canadian broadcasting as a writer, producer, director, reporter and host.