The Cockrell sisters. Photo by Angel V. Prado, makeup by Andrew San Jose.
JJ Abrams' latest box office smash hit, Star Trek Into Darkness, features Utah actresses Katie and Kellie Cockrell. We chatted with the twins about their humble beginnings, experience on the Paramount set and their plans to light speed to success in Hollywood.
Now that you're acting outside Utah, what do you miss?
Kellie: "I love the mountains, I love snowboarding and I love the fact that everyone seems to be happy. It's different then LA, I feel like people are content there, and I love that people love dogs, the outdoors [and] they love family a lot; that's pretty much what I love about Utah."
Katie: "I think theres nothing better than Utah in the summer. I don't love the winter. Utah winters are so harsh but Utah in the summer is just perfect weather and so much to do outside."
Explain your journey from Utah to Hollywood?
Katie: "We started dancing when we were 4 years old in a studio in Midvale [Xpressions dance]. We fell in love with dancing, we would go dance for five hours every night after school. When we were 9, we auditioned for Ballet West's The Nutcracker and we ended up doing four seasons with them. That kind of got us into this idea that you could actually perform for a living. When we were in high school, we danced on the Bingham High Miners drill team and one day we were doing team pictures and the photographer said [to us] 'you both have an interesting look, you guys should try out for this talent agency.' We ended up taking a meeting with them and they said 'you're too short to be models, but why don't you try acting?' That actually really connected with us because, as dancers, you do a lot of acting in your dance and you're telling a story that way. So we signed on with them and we didn't really have any experience acting—it was super intimidating, but we ended up getting a role [Return to Halloweentown] and from doing that, we were kind of hooked."
Now, you two are in the new Star Trek installment by JJ Abrams. What was it like to work with him?
Kellie: "It was incredible! I was a huge fan of JJ Abrams from Lost—it was my favorite TV show, so when we met him it was just so cool. We walked on the Paramount set and there was the Star Trek enterprise set up and the actors were filming; they cut and JJ Abrams came over to us and talked to us briefly. He was just so kind and relaxing and just really down to earth."
I've seen your clip and I must ask the question that has got to be on every female Trekkies' mind—how was it to be in bed with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine)?
Kellie: "(Laughs) It was really fun but also really intimidating because Chris Pine is obviously not bad looking; he's really handsome and very charismatic, and the whole thing can be a little intimidating."
What was the process involved with your makeup for the film?
Katie: "We did 10 to 12 makeup days, which are full days—12 hours on set at least—sitting in a makeup chair with these really great special effects makeup people; we tried a ton of different things. One of the first things we got done was a head cast; Kellie went first she's a little bit more brave then I am so she was calm, but when I was doing it, I was having panic attacks because it's so claustrophobic and you can't take it off for 10 minutes. They [also] made prosthetic ears [and] prosthetic noses; in the movie we have these kind of scale type things. Our characters are cats, and for our tails, when we were filming the scene, there was a special effects guy sitting right behind us actually moving the tails."
What projects are you currently working on?
Kellie: "We just finished an independent film called, Feels So Good—it's a teenage comedy; it was really fun. We got along great with the director and theres a lot of young up and coming actors like Brendan Robinson from Pretty Little Liars and Matt Shively from Paranormal Activity."
Katie: "The independent film that we just did, Feels So Good, that's our first lead roles, so it's really a big deal for us. It's kind of like a stepping stone in our careers."