By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
For Kat Files, a Birmingham native, to be on set with actors like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci was quite an experience.
“I was shooting with them for eight days in a row,” said Files, 26, a renowned dancer, model, and actress, who was born and raised in Birmingham and attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA). “One of the days, we were on set for more than 14 hours, and Joe Pesci stopped by to speak with us for a minute about all you learn while being on set that long.”
Files was on set as a featured background actress for the film “The Irishman,” scheduled for theatrical release in fall 2019; it is directed by Martin Scorsese and features DeNiro, Pesci, and Pacino. Leonardo DiCaprio, who isn’t in the film, was on set one day to watch, Files said.
One thing she learned from Pesci: “When you’re on set for that many hours with celebrities, … saying less is more. [Also], keep your ears open to gather all the crucial information that’s happening on set around you.”
“People tend to get very talkative when they’ve been on set that many hours,” Files said. “You want to always remain professional.”
Though Files is known mainly for her distinction in dance—at ASFA, she received the Prix de Excellence de Dance Award, the school’s highest award given in the field—she also has acted in a short film that was released during the spring and appeared in commercials and television shows.
Files was a featured ballerina on the television show “Gotham” (FOX, November 2017) and a featured magician’s assistant on “Deception” (ABC, March 2017). She has done a television commercial and print campaign for Courtyard by Marriott, and most recently danced in a television promo commercial for the Super Bowl (January 2019) on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” She also modeled for a Walmart calendar campaign (January 2019) and the Ralph Lauren/L’Oréal “Beyond Romance” on camera and print campaign (August 2018).
“I still love to model, and I still love to act, but nothing gives me the feeling that dance does—that gut feeling you have when you’re enjoying everything you do, … putting your full heart and soul into something,” she said.
Combining dance with acting is even more rewarding, Files said.
Being on set is “cool but being able to dance [as] … a featured ballerina on the show ‘Gotham’ or something like that, I was like, ‘Wow! This is another way I can still dance and do what I love but also incorporate other areas of the arts that I love.’”
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