It’s Funny Gross: Katrina Bowden on Piranha 3DD and 30 Rock

The star of this weekend's horror sequel on her most disgusting scene, Nurse 3D and what the '30 Rock' series finale owes the fans.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


This interview contains spoilers for Piranha 3DD, but let’s be honest, you aren’t going to see it for the intricate twists of the plot. They’re pretty honest when they called it 3DD and the trailer shows Katrina Bowden’s piranha infested love scene. The “30 Rock” beauty has always stood out in the crowd as Cerie, the writer’s room’s favorite assistant. She’s become memorable in movies like Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil too, and no one will be able to forget her twist on the virginal scream queen in Piranha. We got to chat with Bowden by phone before the movie hits theaters and VOD on June 1.


CraveOnline: You’ve played a number of characters that are based on how pretty you are, but with a fun twist like “30 Rock,” Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil and now Piranha 3DD. Is that an odd position for you?

Katrina Bowden: Yeah, I think it’s great though. It’s allowed me to take I guess traditional types of parts that someone like myself would start out doing and make them a little bit more fun and quirky and interesting. It’s really fun for me and I love comedy so I love doing comedies. I love doing horror with comedy twists and I think it’s a really fun genre.


Have you been offered and had to turn down some of the more stereotypical “hot girl” roles?

I mean, definitely a few of them, the ones that were a little bit too much for what I’m going for in the long run. I don’t need to excessive amounts of that. I want to do good quality types of characters that maybe have a little bit of that in it, but it’s not all about that.


Are you one of those pretty girls who claims she was a dork when she was younger?

I was a dork. I’m still kind of goofy and clumsy and not always the most graceful person. Yeah, of course. I feel like if you can’t admit that you’ve always been a little bit weird or a little bit quirky, it’s just taking yourself too seriously.


Was horror something you were always interested in?

Not really actually. I’m not a huge fan of horror movies myself because I’m a big baby and I get too scared to watch them. I’ll have nightmares for years after seeing one so I’ve never been a huge horror movie fan but I really appreciate the way it’s made and what goes into making a horror movie. It’s a really difficult movie to make. When I see it being made and what’s involved with it, it makes it easier for me to watch it because I know everything that went into creating the scary scene. I think it’s an awesome genre.


Does doing them help desensitize you to them?

Yeah, I guess you can say that. I’m still not a fan of gore and blood and all that kind of stuff but it’s a little easier to stomach now that I know that most of the blood is made from syrup and just really good prosthetics.


Stomach is an interesting word given your big scene in Piranha 3DD. What was involved in the tummy scene?

Well, it’s a scene where my character Shelby is going a little big crazy. She’s really emotional and she wants to finally lose her virginity with her boyfriend. Unbeknownst to both of them there’s a piranha that has made its home in her stomach, so it doesn’t really end well. It kind of has a weird Rosemary’s Baby outcome.


What did you think when you read that scene in the script?

Oh, I didn’t know what to think. It was just, “Oh my gosh, what am I getting myself into?” The way it plays out is so funny. It’s completely ridiculous which is what it’s supposed to be and we just had a lot of fun with it. I’m really happy that it turned out as funny as it did. And it came out really gross. I mean, it’s gross, but it’s funny gross, like the whole movie.


Was that a lot of prosthetics or CGI?

There was a lot of prosthetics. There was a lot of attention to creating really good quality prosthetics and special effects, special effects makeup and special effects fish. They created all those piranhas, different types of them that moved, some that didn’t move. You can see that in the movie. They use a lot of actual fish and it was really cool to see that because I had long talks with the special effects team about how they actually created everything that they created.


We just heard the next season of “30 Rock” is officially going to be the last. How do you feel about that?

I mean, of course I’m sad for it to go but I would rather it go when it’s at its peak than to keep going on and stop at a point where there’s just nothing left to write about. It’s hard as a TV fan, and I’m a TV fan, to have one of your favorite shows go away, but it kind of has to happen because you want to end on a high note and end when everyone still loves it so it’s time. I’m told this next season will tie up a lot of ends and answer questions that people want answered.


Do you hope Cerie gets a nice final moment or just remains a memorable background character?

I hope all the characters get a special moment. I think they should. I think our writers owe it to the fans to give everybody a little special ending.


You were a new actor when you started “30 Rock.” How have you changed in the seven years?

Oh, in so many ways. When I first started I was 17 so I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve learned a lot. The experience of working with the whole cast has been so wonderful and has taught me so much. I really didn’t know anything about comedy when I first started and really learned everything I know now from them. It’s been awesome and it’s opened so many doors for me. It’s been a great experience and of course I’ll never forget it. It also makes me really judgmental of other comedies that I watch now. I don't know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but once you work on one of the best comedies of all time, you have a hard time with some of the other ones.


Have you discovered any great highbrow comedy through the people on “30 Rock?”

I learned about “Stella.” I’ve always loved those guys but I didn’t even know “Stella” existed until one of them told me about it. It was only for a couple episodes but it was great and I loved it. I had never seen Wet Hot American Summer so since I knew so many people who were in it at that point I had to watch it. I guess just in general, I started taking improv classes because some of my cast mates do. I fell in love with that.


I didn’t realize you were still a minor when you started. Was “30 Rock” a good place to work as a kid?

Well, I was only 17 for like a month and a half. I turned 18 rather quickly but yeah, it was intimidating at first, that’s for sure. But they all treated me from the very beginning like I was their little sister. It was a great environment. I was surrounded by people who were so good at what they did and just so normal and so down to earth. Tina Fey is probably the best role model for women and the best person at that age I admired and got to work with.


What feedback have you gotten from the fans of Tucker and Dale?

I get nothing but really awesome praise for the movie from the fans. It’s kind of overwhelming still how many people absolutely love it. On Twitter, daily I still get between three and 10 comments about Tucker and Dale. This has been going on for two years now. It’s kind of awesome. I’m glad that the fans got to see it finally and it was out there and they appreciated it. It really is such a cool, special movie.


What was the journey with that movie? With Piranha you know it’s going to be released but with an indie movie, there was a big wait for it to come out.

Exactly. There were times when we thought things were happening then times we thought is anything going to happen at all? We did all the festivals and it was a long process. It took about two years for it to get into theaters, a little bit more than that actually. Even though it was a small release, people still saw it and love it. It was a long journey and at the time it was finally out, it was a great thing to look back on and be happy that people finally get to see it.


Was it fun to be that sweet sympathetic character with all the bloody violence going on around you?

Yeah, it was a lot of fun because she’s like the only one nothing really, really bad happens to. She’s kind of passed out for part of the movie when all the craziness is going on. It was a really fun movie to make.


What’s next for you?

I have another movie coming out in the fall called Nurse 3D. Right now I’m kind of hanging out. “30 Rock” ends this season and I got a new puppy so I’ve been taking care of him.


What kind of puppy?

He’s a black and white Pomeranian. His name is Puffin, like Muffin with a P.


What is Nurse 3D about?

It’s kind of like Wild Things meets Single White Female. Paz de la Huerta plays the head nurse and I play a new nurse at the hospital who just graduated from school. She’s a psychopathic serial killer on the side and kind of becomes obsessed with me and wants to be really close to me. I think she’s nice at first and then I kind of discover who she really is and then lots of crazy stuff happens.


Has doing all this comedy made you funnier in real life?

It’s made me more comfortable to be who I am. Yeah, it’s made me more confident.