Shaun of the Dead star Kate Ashfield on writing the teen psychopath drama Born to Kill
Given Kate Ashfield’s performance as the titular character’s girlfriend in the blood-drenched horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead, it may not come as a huge shock to find her involved in Born to Kill, a new miniseries about a teenage psychopath. But it is a little surprising to discover that she doesn’t act in Born to Kill — rather, she co-wrote and executive-produced the show, which is now available to watch on the streaming service Shudder.
“I was living in L.A., and my son was at school there,” Ashfield tells EW. “I became friends with another British woman [Tracey Malone]; she had three sons, and we got chatting, and she said, ‘Perhaps we should write a script together.’ So we sat round the pool — which was ridiculous — and we’re both interested in psychology, and the dark side of life, and why people do what they do, and what makes people as they are. Both being mums with boys, we thought about writing about a teenage psychopath, and asking some real questions as to what, as a mother, you would do about that. We originally set it in the U.S., but our agents sent it out [in the U.K.] and Channel 4 said, ‘If you reset it in the U.K., then we might greenlight it.’ So all of a sudden it was like, quick, quick, move back to the U.K., and start writing.”
Born to Kill stars Jack Rowan, who was recently seen in another British TV show, Peaky Blinders.
“He’s so good,” says Ashfield. “We had a fantastic casting director and saw so many young people. The casting of that role was really really critical, and he just got it. He hadn’t done that much stuff before because he’s so young, but he did lots of research, and he brought a lot to the part, I think. There’s a scene where Oscar, his friend at school, offers him a crisp, and he kind of looks at the packet, and then takes a massive handful, and you think, ‘That’s just so psychopathic, that idea of just having whatever you want.’ He went on to do Peaky Blinders, and I think he’s got a fantastic career ahead of him.”
So how is Ashfield enjoying life as a writer?
“It’s quite exciting to have a whole other career open up to you,” she says. “It’s just so different from acting, because you’re not waiting for some potential script. I’ve got lots of different things bubbling away, writing-wise.”
Has she thought about writing a zombie film?
“I think,” she says with a laugh, “I’ll leave that to the experts!”
Watch the trailer for Born to Kill above.