Kate Mara Gets Lost in 'The Getaway'

Emmy-nominated actor Kate Mara makes her debut as an audiobook narrator with the next windy thriller from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the bestselling authors of 'The Wife Between Us.'

Note: Text has been edited and may not match audio exactly. 

Margaret Hargrove: I'm Audible Editor Margaret Hargrove and I'm thrilled to be talking to actress Kate Mara today. Kate is lending her voice to narrate an Audible Original from powerhouse writing duo Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. The Getaway is a short, spine-tingling thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Kate, thank you so much for joining us today.

Kate Mara: Thank you so much for having me.

MH: So correct me if I'm wrong, but is this the first audiobook that you've ever narrated?

KM: It is the first, so it was very exciting for me. I'm a really big fan of Audible and ever since I was a little girl my mom has always listened to books on tape. I remember them actually being cassettes. When we would be in a car on a road trip or even just going to school, she was always listening to some sort of book on tape. So it's a very special thing for me to be doing it.

MH: Usually our narrators would record in a studio, but given the pandemic you had to record at home. What was that experience like?

KM: I felt very lucky to be able to do this from the safety of home. I actually went down the street. My mom has a house right down the street from us and she's not in it right now; she is somewhere else. I've got a couple of kids, so I thought, "I don't know how I'm ever going to do this from home with two kids in the house, a six-year-old and a one-year-old." So for a while there, I thought I would be doing it in my car somehow, but my mom told me to go and use her basement and it would be quiet there, so it was actually really amazing to get in the car, drive down the street, and pretend like that was my office for the day and get lost in the book.

MH: How long did it take you to record?

KM: That was the other thing, because I've never done this before, I didn't know how long it would take and what the experience was going to be like. And I have to say, it was so easy and I didn't know that you really do just read it all through. You have a few breaks to rest your voice and get some water and all of that, but it really is like you're telling a story to some friends. So it just took us one day. I think it was a few hours and it was such an easy, enjoyable experience. They sent me the microphone and the equipment to set up and we did it all over FaceTime and it was really simple.

...It's just about imagination and getting lost in the story, and that's easy when the story is so good.

MH: It's a short book. The total recording runs about two hours and [12] minutes, so at least you started with something short. You didn’t start recording a 16-hour book.

KM: I did feel grateful for that as well, because it was my first time. Also we don't—as I'm sure most people don't—have any help right now. I thought, "Oh God, how am I going to sneak away from my husband and the children to do this job? How many hours am I going to be gone?" But it was very quick because of the amount of pages it was. I got lucky. It's also a page-turner.

MH: Yes.

KM: It's a real thriller.

MH: Indeed. So you mentioned that you're a fan of audiobooks. Is there any audiobook that stands out to you or any particular narrator that you love?

KM: Isn't Tom Hanks a narrator?

MH: Yes.

KM: I mean, I don't know how you get any better than Tom Hanks.

MH: Yes. Yes. So did preparing to narrate have any similarities or differences from you, let's say, preparing for a movie or a TV role? I know given the pandemic circumstances are very different.

KM: What was interesting about this, you don't have to memorize anything, obviously. So that's a perk, but you are reading different characters, and although I'm not necessarily doing voices per se, I'm just sort of changing the intonation in my voice. You do want to get an essence for the different characters that you're portraying. So it's definitely much easier to prepare for an audiobook than when you're on-screen. But it's just about imagination and getting lost in the story, and that's easy when the story is so good.

MH: So now that you have your first audiobook under your belt, would you do it again?

KM: I hope they ask me to do it. Yeah. I would love it. I've always loved doing voice-overs. I've been acting since I was a little kid and some of the first jobs I ever did were voice-over gigs, singing and also... Well, actually mostly just singing. I would do jingles and things like that, so I love being sort of secluded in a booth, getting lost in your own world. And after this experience, I really do hope that they ask me to do more because it's really enjoyable and I know people really love it. It's a very easy form of entertainment, right now especially.

MH: Yes, that is true. Were you a fan of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen before? Had you read any of their other books?

KM: So I knew the authors from The Wife Between Us. I loved that book. I haven't read their newest book [You Are Not Alone], but I really want to. So yeah, I was very excited when I saw that it was one of their new books.

MH: Did you feel like that's what really attracted you?

KM: It's just always nice when you immediately recognize the authors. If it's somebody that excites you, then not only do I want to be a part of the project, but I really want to read the book. So, that's always a nice perk, when you're actually excited about doing something. It brings a whole other level of passion to it, I think.

MH: So to get into what The Getaway is, without, of course, giving it away, it's a very short thriller where a young woman, her name is Chloe, plans this dream getaway to Lakewood Retreat. She's freshly unemployed because her boss has just lost her reelection campaign and she desperately wants a break from the hustle and bustle of the politics of DC. 

I'm just curious, is that something that you've ever done? Have you ever totally unplugged, gone away, done a retreat and just unconnected from the real world?

KM: I have. Me and my sister have gone to a cleansing retreat together. Where was it? In Palm Springs, California. I think it was three nights. I can't remember completely if this is true, but I'm pretty sure we were allowed to use the internet at night. So, I've never been secluded enough that I couldn't get a hold of somebody or that my phone was taken from me. But yeah, we did a three-day retreat and it was very relaxing and a very different experience than what…

MH: Yes. Yes, because when Chloe arrives at Lakewood Retreat, I think it becomes very apparent to her that things are definitely not what they seem. As you were embodying her as a character, how did you give voice to that rising panic that she starts to have and that spine-tingling sensation that she has in her interactions with her host? How did you get into that?

KM: Well, one of the reasons I really enjoyed the book was because I think we all as human beings have experienced that feeling of, "Hmm, something's not right. I don't know what it is, but…" It's your instincts, it's your body, literally physically telling you that something isn't right and a lot of us, I think, have ignored it at a time or two. And so when I was reading it, it physically made me uncomfortable. And I think that's one of the big lessons in life: to follow those instincts and to follow those feelings. I love that they use that as one of the big points of the story.

MH: Did you feel like you drew on any real-life experiences? Like you mentioned, we've all had those feelings. Was there anything in particular that you touched on that you may have gone through?

KM: That's a great question. I can't think of anything clear at the top of my head, but I know that it's happened more than once and it's always that thing of, "Oh God, I knew this was going to happen and I ignored it." It's like our bodies are telling us that we are right, but a lot of times I do think we choose to ignore it. But no, I can't think of anything clear right now.

MH: So soon, another woman joins Chloe at Lakewood and, again not giving away any spoilers, there's sort of a shocking connection between her and Chloe. Now that you had this introduction of a new female voice into the story, how were you able to make those different voices and perspectives of the two women distinct?

KM: Well, our director was great. She and I talked about not doing a different character voice, but just a different feeling. It's really about the energy shift. And one character, Chloe, is much more optimistic and open and the experience is new. And the other character is clearly in a different state. So really, it's about intonation and even the level of your voice and whether there is fear there or there's hesitance and… Yeah, it was interesting to play with those different pitches and things like that.

MH: So I would say the overarching theme of The Getaway is exploring how the small choices we make every day, something as simple as who you sit next to on a bus or who you hold the elevator door for, can have these staggering, unintended consequences on your life. Just wondering, do you believe in fate? Do you believe that a chance meeting or an encounter can really have a lasting effect on your life the way it did for these characters?

KM: I do because I don't think that everything is just a coincidence. I think certain things are really just meant to be, and were sent to us for a reason. I wish I had some great example of that, but I think little things happen all the time in our lives that affect everything else. It's all a ripple effect.

MH: So The Getaway leaves off on a cliffhanger. I got to the point where I was like, "Wait, no, that can't be it."

KM: Yeah.

MH: I was like, "No, I want more." Did you imagine what happened to these characters after? Would you love to see a sequel that, of course, you would narrate?

KM: Yeah! I mean, honestly, when I finished it, I thought, "Oh, well, good. They'll make another one."

MH: Yes.

KM: I think people will love it and I'm sure they'll make a part two or a sequel for sure. I wasn't even worried about that. It kind of ended and I was like, "Great. I can't wait for them to write the next one."

MH: Right, and hopefully you'll get to narrate it.

KM: Yeah, yeah, that would be great.

MH: Yes, indeed. I loved it. I've read and listened to it twice through and they're my favorite authors, so it's such a treat.

KM: Oh good. I think so too. I think it's a nice escape for people, especially right now. We're all kind of stuck in our homes and yeah, it really is. It's a nice escape.

MH: And I liked that it was short because like you, I have a six-year-old and I—

KM: Oh my God, so you know all about it.

MH: Oh, I know everything. So the fact that it's super short, I do think is an appeal, and I think people will just breeze right through it.

KM: I agree. I agree.

MH: Thank you so much, Kate.

KM: Thank you, Margaret. Thanks so much.


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