IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Nikki Reed Talks 'Intramural' and 'In Your Eyes'

Friday, 02 May 2014 17:53 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Nikki Reed Talks 'Intramural' and 'In Your Eyes'

Nikki Reed is a vampire no more!!!

The actress who is best known for playing Rosalie Hale in The Twilight Saga, and began her career writing and starring in the indie hit Thirteen, had not one but two films play at the recent Tribeca Film Festival. Reed appears in director Brin Hill’s In Your Eyes, which was written by fan-favorite filmmaker Joss Whedon (The Avengers), as well as the comedy Intramural from director Andrew Disney (Searching for Sonny). 

Intramural follows the story Caleb (Jake Lacy), a fifth-year college senior preparing to graduate. Not quite ready to settle into the life, expectations, and realities outside of his college, he decides that he wants to reassemble The Panthers, an intramural football team that had to shut down after one of the team members ended up getting partially paralyzed for life. In addition to Lacy and Reed, the film stars an excellent cast of comedic actors that includes Saturday Night Live cast members Kate McKinnon, Beck Bennett, and Jay Pharoah, as well as Nick Kocher (Much Ado About Nothing), Brian McElhaney (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), D.C. Pierson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Michael Hogan (TV’s Battlestar Galactica), and Clint Howard (The Lords of Salem). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Nikki Reed about Intramural and In Your Eyes. The popular actress discussed her two new films, how she got cast in Intramural, her character, working with the SNL actors, director Andrew Disney, In Your Eyes, Joss Whedon’s writing, her own career as a writer, if she will ever write again, how filmmaking has changed since she made Thirteen, and what she is looking for when choosing projects to be a part of. 

Here is what Nikki Reed had to say about Intramural and In Your Eyes:

IAR: To begin with, how did you get involved with Intramural?

Nikki Reed: I just got a phone call from my team because they know that no matter how big or small I like to read every project that comes in. It’s about the character and the experience for me, so there's a lot of factors. A lot of things factor in when I'm deciding whether or not I want to do a movie. I think for me I read this and fell in love with what it was because I wanted to challenge myself and grow.

What was it about playing the character of Meredith that you thought would be a good challenge for you and help you grow as an actress?

Reed: I just wanted to be around improvisational comedy and I wanted to be in this group of guys that I admired so much. I just wanted to be in this circle.

There are a lot of SNL cast members in the film, and I know you have some scenes with Beck Bennett. What was it like working him, as well as the other SNL actors, and getting to watch their comedic process? 

Reed: Well, Beck played my twin brother so we had a lot of stuff to do together. Their process is obviously nothing like my process. It was so funny because I remember doing that scene in the bar and Kate McKinnon looked at me and she said, “I don't know how you do that. How do you make yourself cry and feel something real?” I remember her saying that to me and then I laughed because I don't know. I do what you do. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and I think for me being around these guys kind of made me step outside my comfort zone of what I normally do and try new things. 

Can you talk about working with director Andrew Disney? 

Reed: As a director, he gives his actors the freedom to experiment and try new things. None of this was relatable for me at all. Every single aspect of my performance in the film came from using my imagination. I'm not a die-hard sports fan. I also didn't go to college so being a part of this film forced me to use my imagination and have fun. Any time I feel challenged I think it's that fun for me.

In addition to Intramural, In Your Eyes also recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. What can you tell me about that film?

Reed: I have a really small part in it. I just have a few scenes. I love that character. I'm like the biggest Zoe Kazan fan and obviously anything with Joss Whedon. I really wanted to be a part of in any way possible. Donna is such a departure from anyone I've ever played before. Actually all these characters are. It's just kind of cool and exciting for me. Joss definitely has a vision with his writing, and we all just kind of go on with him.

I know you began your career as a writer, have you considered writing anything else since Thirteen? Do you have ideas for any other projects you’d like to write, or are you going to continue to focus on acting? 

Reed: I do have other ideas all the time. But it hasn't all been, you start with Thirteen and then you write Fourteen and Fifteen. The truth is, Thirteen was kind of like a miracle project in a sense. I don't know why or how, but something amazing happened and we got to make that film for whatever reason at that point in time. Maybe the world needed it, or maybe there wasn't anything else like it, I don't know. But it all just kind of happened and I'm so grateful for that. On the other hand it also makes me appreciate how difficult it is to get another film made. I'm just saying that you have something like Thirteen, where there's a level of success and people wonder why you don't just keep going with that. My response is it hasn't always been that easy. It's not like people are always just walking around handing out money to make things. So I'm really grateful that Thirteen even got to happen.

Many aspects of the filmmaking process have changed since you first made Thirteen. Now everyone has a camera in their phone and editing equipment on their computer, not to mention the ability to use Kickstarter to raise money for a project. Do you think it is easier or harder to make a movie now than it was when you first began your career?

Reed: Obviously times have changed and our access to people or their access to us is quite different now than it was then. I think participatory fandom is a really popular thing, whether it's people voting for winners on a reality show, through Kickstarter, or Twitter. They can connect with you. I think that people feel much more connected now in the process of filmmaking than they once did. It's brilliant. If done the right way and for the right reasons I think it's brilliant for people to support independent artists trying to make something and take a chance. It's pretty incredible what just contributing a dollar can do. 

Finally, at this point in your career, what are you looking for when you're reading scripts and choosing projects to be a part of? 

Reed: I think I always want to be a part of something that challenges me, and that makes me feel like I'm bettering myself as an actress or as a person. I feel like every project that I have at Tribeca certainly has some elements of that especially with Intramural. I was very grateful that Andrew Disney wanted to give me the opportunity to be a part of a film and play a character that was unlike anyone I had ever played before. He's just taken a chance on me and I think that any time a director casts me I know that they're taking a chance on me. I really appreciate it. 

Intramural currently has no release date.

In Your Eyes opens in theaters on April 20th. 

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