IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Rachel Nichols Talks 'I, Alex Cross' and 'Star Trek 2'

Monday, 12 September 2011 16:13 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Rachel Nichols Talks 'I, Alex Cross' and 'Star Trek 2'

Mystery novelist James Patterson has seen his most popular creation, detective/psychologist Dr. Alex Cross, portrayed twice on the big screen by Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby). First in ‘1997s Kiss the Girls co-starring Ashley Judd (Heat), and secondly in ‘2001s Along Came a Spider co-starring Monica Potter (Con-Air). But soon actor/director Tyler Perry (Madea’s Big Happy Family, I Can Do Bad All by Myself) will be taking over the role from Freeman in the upcoming film I, Alex Cross, which will act as a prequel to the other films. The movie is directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, xXx) and in addition to Perry stars Ed Burns (Saving Private Ryan, She’s the One), Rachel Nichols (Star Trek, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Conan the Barbarian), Jean Reno (Ronin, Leon: The Professional), Matthew Fox (Lost, Speed Racer), John C. McGinley (Platoon, Seven), Giancarlo Esposito (The Usual Suspects, Smoke), and Cicely Tyson (The Help, Bustin’ Loose).

Today I had a chance to speak with actress Rachel Nichols about her new film A Bird of the Air, which opens in select theaters on September 23rd. While I had the actress on the phone I asked her about I, Alex Cross, how filming is going, her character, director Rob Cohen’s vision for the movie, and how Tyler Perry is doing taking over the role from Morgan Freeman. I also took the opportunity to ask the actress about J.J. AbramsStar Trek (which also featured Tyler Perry) and her role as Orion born Starfleet Academy Cadet Gaila. I asked the popular actress what she’s heard about the impending sequel, and if she thinks that her character will make a return. Here is what she had to say:

Hey Rachel, how’s filming on ‘I, Alex Cross” going? Have you finished shooting your scenes yet?

Rachel Nichols: I have shot about half of them. I left to go to New York and do a couple of days of press and then I’m going back to Cleveland tomorrow. We’re shooting in Cleveland the rest of the week and then the whole company is moving to Detroit and I’ll be there until the end of the month.

Director Rob Cohen is best known for making big action movies like The Fast and the Furious, and xXx, while the previous Alex Cross films were all thrillers. So what kind of tone can we expect from this movie, will there be a lot of action?

Nichols: You know this one is different and Rob is awesome. Rob is so cool and he is so easy to work with. You know this Alex Cross, yeah it’s going to be a little bit higher-octane, and they’ll definitely be more action in it. It’s not loosing who the character is or what he’s about but this version predates the other two (films) if you’re going to put them on a timeline. This would be earlier than the other two and Rob is certainly not overdoing it but definitely there will be more action, there will be more explosions. The action sequences are dope, they’re just cool and Rob obviously knows what he is doing, which is fantastic. I completely trust him and it’s been fantastic to work with Tyler as well because this is obviously a departure for him.

In your opinion, how has Tyler been doing talking over the role that Morgan Freeman first played on screen?

Nichols: Tyler has such a strong fan-base in comedy and I’ve always contended that anyone that can do comedy can do drama no problem. I think comedy is the most difficult thing to do and Tyler is a hard worker. He’s very serious about this and I think he’s fantastic, I really do. I’ve done some scenes with him. We’ve had some weapons training with Ed Burns and it was great. He is really taking it very seriously. He has this understated ability to be very expressive with his eyes, and his movements. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised and I think his built in fan-base will be willing to see him do something different because I think he is going to be really good at it.

What role do you play in the film?

Nichols: I play Monica Ashe, so Tyler is my boss and Tyler, Ed Burns, and I are on the same team of Detroit detectives. Then you’ve got Jean Reno, Matthew Fox, and John C. McGinley. So it’s a really cool cast.

Finally, have you heard anything about when Star Trek 2 will begin shooting and do you know if your character will be included in the new film?

Nichols: You know I always joke that the most secret of auditions that I’ve ever had have been for J.J. Abrams. I wish I had some information. If for some reason I did have information I probably couldn’t tell you but truthfully I don’t have any information. I don’t know when Star Trek 2 is slated to go. I don’t know if they are thinking that Gaila is dead, or if they’re thinking of bringing Gaila back, I have absolutely no idea. I would love to go back. I would happily spend the hours of green paint insanity to go back and have a few scenes in the next one as well. 


Be sure to check back with IAR next week for more from our interview with Rachel Nichols about her new film A Bird of the Air.

A Bird of the Air opens in select theaters on September 23rd.

I, Alex Cross is currently in production. 

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