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SMC student works for celebs

Bridget Feeney | Friday, September 2, 2011

Instead of vacationing or catching up on sleep this summer, Saint Mary’s senior Kate Hennessy spent time supervising Hollywood stars on the movie sets for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “The Dark Knight Rises.

“I run base camp for the actors,” Hennessy said. “I’m solely responsible for making sure the actors are ready when the director asks for them in front of the camera. I have to tell them what to do, and when to do it. I get them through hair, makeup and wardrobe.”

Hennessy started working in the film industry when she was in high school. She served as the production assistant for a Mischa Barton film in Pittsburgh, her hometown.

No matter what the film is, Hennessy said she is very dedicated to doing her job well.

“[On set], I worked really hard,” Hennessy said. “There was a time I was told to stay inside and keep warm while they dumped bags of salt on our set to clear the ice. I said, ‘No way!’ and ran outside to help them prepare the set.”

Hennessy said she was continually called back for more movies, including films that would conflict with the school calendar.

“Last year, I had to leave school three-and-a-half weeks early so I could work on ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower.’ I had to work my butt off so I could finish that early ⎯ I was in the library nonstop,” Hennessy said.

The teachers at Saint Mary’s were very accommodating and understanding of her schedule, Hennessy said, and her experiences helped her develop a passion for learning outside of the classroom.

“I went back to work as a production assistant every summer after [my first movie]. I had a chance to work on some amazing stuff,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy has worked with Academy Award winning directors and crews on 13 feature films, including “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Homecoming,” “My Bloody Valentine,” “Warrior,” “I Am Number 4” and “Abduction.”

As part of her job responsibilities, Hennessy has supervised famous actors including Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Kate Walsh, Joan Cusack, Katherine Heigl and Taylor Lautner.

“I consider most of the actors my friends,” Hennessy said. “We are all friends on Facebook and we are always texting and emailing one another,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy said that in addition to the friends she made, she also became part of a film family.

“Chris Nolan, director of the ‘Batman’ trilogy, has a tendency to hire the same people for every film, so it [was] like one big family,” she said.

However, Hennessy said the job isn’t always as glamorous as it seems.

“We work anywhere from 85 to 90 hours a week, meaning there’s absolutely no down time outside of work,” Hennessy said. “It’s great, though. This way I’m never bored!”

Despite the stress, Hennessy said she deeply appreciates the opportunities she has been given.

“I love what I do and I take in every single moment and appreciate it. I am a very lucky person to get to do what I do,” she said.