BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It sounds like too much information when Katherine McNamara says “put me in a corset and a hoop skirt and I’m a happy girl” but it makes sense in connection with her next acting project. She stars in “Walker Independence,” the new CW Network series that is a prequel to their rebooted “Walker.” It debuts at 9 p.m. Oct. 6 following “Walker.”
The wild west series that unfolds in the late 1800s has McNamara playing Abby Walker, a member of Boston’s upper class who heads west to start a new life with her husband Liam (Brandon Sklenar). He has been hired to become sheriff of Independence, Texas but he doesn’t last long enough to reach the job or the town and Abby must reinvent her life in this strange and dangerous place.
McNamara’s comments about her wardrobe is her way of pointing out how much she likes working on projects that are set in the past and future. In recent years, her work on “Arrow” had her playing the daughter of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) from 20 years in the future. Now she is “Walker” star Jared Padalecki’s great, great, great, great grandmother.
She laughs and says, “Works for me.”
Other acting jobs that have had McNamara playing characters in other times include “Maze Runner” and “The Stand.” Even when she plays a role set in the present, there is a magical element to it such as her work as Clary Fray in the series “Shadowhunters.”
McNamara wasn’t actually looking for the next role to take her to a different time or place when ‘Walker Independence” showed up.
“When it came to this character and this role in particular, it’s not necessarily something I look for, it just sort of happened to be what fell into my lap,” McNamara says. “I’m always attracted to characters that are challenging and that have interesting stories to tell. And this was that.
“You know, we read the pilot and [executive producer] Seamus [Fahey] had created such a wonderful world of characters that still felt as though it was akin to the world of ‘Walker,’ but something new and something fresh in a genre that held so much nostalgia and so much familiarity for so many people.”
Being a part of a project that takes place in different times or weird places has always meant extra work for McNamara. In the case of “Walker Independence,” she and the rest of the camp had to attend what they called “cowboy camp.”
Even the corset and hoop skirt she talked about so boldly came with their own set of problems. The wardrobe changed the way she walked and made her more aware of the space she was inhabiting.
All of that was worth it for McNamara because she is getting to continue the career that she started on Broadway at the age of 13 as Fredrika in “A Little Night Music.” Additional roles include Esther Jane in the pre-Broadway world premiere of “A Christmas Story, the Musical!” as well as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Crucible,” “Inherit the Wind” and “Galileo.”
McNamara made her big screen debut in Warner Bros.’ “New Year’s Eve,” in which she portrayed Lily. She also starred in “Girl vs. Monster,” “Contest,” “Finding You” and “Trust.”
“My favorite thing about my job is that I get to be a storyteller. And I think there are a few story tropes that are told over and over again. But, what makes stories interesting is when you find a new perspective, and a part of that story, or her perspective on that story that has not yet been told. Or has not yet been told in a certain way,” McNamara says. “And that’s what we get to do with ‘Walker Independence.’ It starts with Abby. It starts with this woman who has to rebuild her life from the ashes of her expectations.
“And then it brings in all of these other characters in this town that’s building itself up as well. And it allows for us to show what we hope is a more historically accurate version of the west than perhaps we’ve been able to see before on screen.”
That cast also includes Lawrence Kao as Kai, Greg Hovanessian as Tom Davidson, Philemon Chambers as Augustus, Gabriela Quezada as Lucia Reyes, Katie Findlay as Kate Carver, Matt Barr as Hoyt Rawlins and Justin Johnson Cortez as Calian.
McNamara is excited that her latest work is also a way to offer a piece of history to fans of the “Walker” franchise. It comes as no surprise that she talks about wardrobe again when discussing “Walker Independence” when she says “I do have big boots to fill with the ‘Walker’ legacy that our lovely Mr. Padalecki has set out for us.”