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Katherine Waterston opens up about following in footsteps of dad Sam Waterston

She broke through with "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and is now in "The World to Come."
/ Source: TODAY

Audiences have loved watching Sam Waterston, 80, in movies and on TV shows like "Law & Order" and "Grace and Frankie" for decades.

But he's not the only Waterston worth watching: Sam's daughter Katherine, 41, has been making audiences sit up and take notice in recent years, thanks to her star turns in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and "Inherent Vice."

Katherine Waterston and Sam Waterston
Katherine Waterston and Sam Waterston at the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" world premiere in New York in 2016.Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Still, as the "World to Come" actor told Collider, her father's long career failed to prepare her for how difficult it might be to jump in herself.

"It's a strange thing when you're the child of a successful actor because you don't see all the years of training and blood and sweat and tears and humiliating auditions," she said in a Zoom interview. "You just see them in their element, thriving. Which gives a child a very false sense of how the business works."

We sense that Waterston may have learned over the years firsthand what it meant to give that blood, sweat and tears to her craft. As she added, she's put a lot of effort into being her own actor.

"In a way, maybe studying acting was just some kind of strange exercise for myself to prove to myself and to anyone around who was paying attention — although I don't think anyone really was — just how serious I was about it," she explained. "Maybe that had something to do with being a second generation actor, that I didn’t want to be perceived as some kind of silly dilettante who is bopping around and hanging off the coattails of her dad, that I was interested and really trying to be good at this thing."

Katherine isn't the only second-generation Waterston in show business, either. Her sister, Elisabeth, has appeared in shows like "Quantico," while James, her half-brother from Sam's first marriage, has appeared in films like "Dead Poets Society" and even has a few "Law & Order" credits.

Waterston and Vanessa Kirby (r.) in "The World to Come."
Waterston and Vanessa Kirby (r.) in "The World to Come."

Clearly, acting runs in the Waterston family, and it's something Katherine saw made her father "really happy."

"My earliest memories are of seeing someone stimulated by their work and really happy," she said. "I know that was a huge influence on me."