Spring is in the air, and a time of fresh renewal seems to be doing Nikki Reed a lot of good. The actress, who has become known more for her performance in Twilight than her hard-fought respectability in the indie world, is pushing through the perception of barriers anyone has for her career. At Tribeca, the actress premiered three films, Murder of a Cat, Joss Whedon’s In Your Eyes, and sports film spoof Intramural, all highlighting her versatility and comedic chops. We got a chance to speak to Nikki about the movies and her career plans:
Nerdist: First of all, congratulations on what has turned out to be a pretty big weekend at Tribeca for you.
Nikki Reed: I know! It’s pretty exciting. I haven’t been to Tribeca in years and years, so it’s really kind of an honor. I feel really excited about showing up and having so many films here that I feel kind of surreal to be a part of.
Nerdist: The first thing I want to jump right into is Intramural. What a fun, silly comedy that I didn’t quite expect. It’s different for you. It’s kind of great!
Nikki: It’s totally different for me. Obviously, that was a huge reason why I wanted to be a part of it. Yeah, it’s silly, it’s goofy, it’s fun, and it’s lighthearted. It was definitely the kind of experience that I feel kind of challenged me and took me outside of my comfort zone. I was in Austin for six weeks with a bunch of goofy boys, and the awesome Kate McKinnon. So yeah, it was fun! It was really fun to be a part of. It was nice to kind of drop the drama for a second and just be a part of something fun and silly.
Nerdist: There was a really nice romantic comedy through-line to it, which we don’t normally get to see played very earnestly. I was very curious if that was part of it – being able to bring that kind of emotion to a silly character piece like this?
Nikki: Yeah, we spoke about that a lot, Andrew Disney and I, when I was filming, because maybe you’re concerned when you’re shooting something like this, where everyone is so outrageous and silly and goofy, you get concerned because Meredith is so reality based – that’s kind of the purpose in the film for her, is to bring you back to real life. But sometimes you get worried that you won’t be as funny, or everyone’s kind of dancing in comedy circles around you and you don’t get to take part in it, so most of my joking around and goofiness came between takes with the guys, instead of what I was actually doing on camera. But it was still – I felt like I was still a part of the group, you know?
Nerdist: Yeah, I was going to say that joking around off-camera – there was something about the movie, the way you were relating with the guys, when there were those big ensemble scenes in the bar and such – it just felt like “Wow, there’s such camaraderie right there! It’s kind of just oozing off the screen.”
Nikki: I was totally one of the guys. I was totally one of the boys!
Nerdist: It really came off. Now that you’ve gotten to exercise that comedy muscle, do you want to go broader? Is that something you want to continue to explore?
Nikki: Yeah, I’d love to! All three films that I have at Tribeca are definitely – I feel like we’re going that direction. In Your Eyes, I play this really outrageous character, and same with Meredith, and then with Murder of a Cat, I think they’re all kind of on the funnier side. I think I’m definitely exploring that, and I’ll go further into that.
Nerdist: Speaking of In Your Eyes, it showed at Tribeca, and now it’s going to be the evening viewing for millions of people, because it’s Joss [Whedon], and it is such an original, great idea. How do you feel about that kind of quick turnaround, that you’re premiering a movie, and now your fans are going to be able to see it today?
Nikki: I think it’s really awesome. You know, Joss has that approach. He wants to always do things that are innovative and new and experiment with different – you know, he doesn’t do anything in a conventional way. I really appreciate that. I think, in theory, this can be a really awesome new approach to releasing films. People want instant gratification. They want to see stuff now, now, now. They don’t want to waste money, and so we’re kind of catering to that by releasing the way he did, and I think that being experimental like that and taking a risk is a really cool thing. I’m into it. I haven’t really checked my social media enough to know who’s seen it or what’s happened or if people like it or if they don’t, so I’m curious to see what the response is.
Nerdist: Joss doing a romantic film with a supernatural element just seems perfect.
Nerdist: Yeah, I think anything that Joss’s name is attached to, you go “Well, this seems perfect!”
Nerdist: Now that you’ve worked on a Joss Whedon film, were there any hints dropped of you getting to show up in the Marvel universe?
NR: I would just be thrilled! Let’s put it like that. I would just die for that!
Nerdist: So you’re at Tribeca and you’ve got this very expansive career because you started so young. Looking at the business now, with the way things are turning toward crowd funding and things like Veronica Mars happened, and now that In Your Eyes is being released like this – since you got started with Thirteen, how has the dynamic changed with the accessibility to funding and technology?
Nikki: Well, I think that’s a pretty obvious question, because 10 years ago, when we started, we didn’t have the reach that we have now. I think that participatory fandom is a very popular thing. Fans want to participate in what you are a part of, and they want – whether it’s something like reality television where people get to vote for things, or if it’s Twitter, where they get to speak to you. Whatever it is, they want to feel like they’re a part of it. That’s why Kickstarter and all those things, if done properly, make a lot of sense, because people enjoy feeling like they have contributed.
I think it’s awesome! What a great way to utilize – also, you know, it’s not just about fans. A lot of times, people just hop onto Kickstarter simply because they are fans of a artists, and they want to help out a struggling artist. I think that, for example, we self-funded all of our records that I made in the last year, year and a half. If I had it together more, I’d have absolutely considered Kickstarter or something like that.
N: For an obvious question, that was a very thoughtful answer. So, touché?!
Nerdist: Now that you’ve got these three films that have premiered at Tribeca, what are the next steps with Intramural and Murder of a Cat?
Nikki: That’s a really great question. I wish I had an answer. I’d love there to be a next step. You go out and make these films, and you pour your heart into them. You believe in them and stand behind them, and you just kind of hope and pray that the world is going to get to see them too, if you’re proud of them. I’m very proud of these movies, and whether it’s the end result or the experience making them, or whether because I feel like I’ve learned and I’ve been challenged and I’ve grown as an actress and as a person, or whatever it is, or I’ve met amazing people.
I mean, I had a wonderful experience making all three of those movies, and I really hope that people get to see them. Which is part of why I really appreciate what Joss is doing, because you never know with independent films; what the future is for them. So I couldn’t tell. I’ll probably be able to tell you more in a week or so when stuff is done, what the future is.
Nerdist: You seem to continue to want to grow and learn, and that’s an amazing quality to have…
Nikki: Thanks! Yeah, I’m always trying to, even on a minor scale, because I didn’t get to go to college and do things in a more conventional way, I’m always taking classes and signing up for things. If we’re shooting in different locations, I enroll in – I went to LSU when we were shooting in Baton Rouge, for example. I took psychology for a second. I’m always trying to learn and acquire knowledge, even if I have nothing to show for it.
I think part of life is just trying to better yourself and grow as a person and do the best that you can. We live these crazy life as actors, where we’re kind of picked up and moved to different locations where for a second you can move yourself and your life. I think learning and keeping my feet grounded like that always helps me to remember what my priorities are. I think for me, it’s about learning and family.