Nikki Reed tackles the role of Rosalie, a beautiful vampire who puts fashion models to shame, in the movie version of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling book, Twilight. Reed is absolutely stunning, though not a blonde like her character in Twilight, and the actress went to great lengths to transform herself into Rosalie in order to satisfy fans of the book. And if all goes as expected, Reed will have to go through the process of becoming Rosalie a couple more times (if New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn movies are given the go-ahead). Reed's ready to do so, even though it's a rather arduous process.
Reed's been acting in films since bursting onto the scene in Thirteen, a powerful coming-of-age story which she not only starred in but also wrote. Well-spoken and passionate about where she wants to go in life, Reed told me in our interview she's working on more writing projects with hopes of eventually taking a seat in the director's chair at some point down the line. But for now, Twilight promotional duties are keeping her busy.
Exclusive Interview with Nikki Reed
You're playing a vampire who's one of the most beautiful women in the world. So, when you got the script did you go, "Okay, I can do this."?
Nikki Reed: "No! You know, the only person that makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world… [Jokingly yelling to Kristen Stewart's boyfriend in the next room] Michael Angarano makes me feel like the most beautiful person in the world! But I should really learn - we're in a state right now, you and I - where I still don’t really know how to approach that question. Maybe in like a year down the line I will have like a set answer."
"I don't know what it is. You know, I'm flattered. I’m flattered that I got put in that position but, you know, when you're dealing with a situation where like Edward and Rosalie are kind of described as like the most breathtakingly beautiful vampires and the fan base - you have lots of little girls. I know that he fills those shoes really well. They're a perfect fit but, you know, I have kind of a feeling that like maybe if there were like 7,000 fan boys that were like the age of 13, they would be screaming over me. [Laughing] So I don't know. God, it's really awful."
You're right. The fan base is predominantly young females.
Nikki Reed: "Yes. The majority, it's undeniable, the majority are younger girls and that’s why like Kellan [Lutz], Taylor [Lautner] and Jackson [Rathbone], any of the boys walk on stage and they sneeze and people are like dying over them. [Laughing] And I sit there and I’m trying to be really articulate with my answers and sound like someone intelligent, at least when I'm responding to questions. And then most of the time they're just like, 'So you're playing Rosalie, the most beautiful person in the world…' And I’m like, 'Yeah.' I just want to look at them and go, 'I’m sorry.'"
You feel like you need to apologize?
Nikki Reed: "I’m not Rosalie on paper. I know that."
You are Rosalie in the movie.
Nikki Reed: "Yes, I am. And there was a long time where I was sitting there going like, 'But am I?' No, I am. I actually like how I look like that."
Nikki Reed: "Yes, I kind of do. I hated it while we were shooting because I looked in the mirror every day and just because I really wanted the fans to be happy, I was like really trying to please people. I bleached my hair at the expense of my hair falling out. I have all these layers done that did not exist before to cut it. I bleached my skin, I was in the bathtub scrubbing for three months before I even started shooting. My eyebrows, 36 hours in a hair chair, contacts, everything I possibly could."
Nikki Reed: "And I woke up every morning and looked at myself in the mirror and was like, 'Okay, you still look like this.' You know, it’s like every feature, however you want to put it - all of my like God-given dark features - everything was wiped out. And you just sort of have to look at yourself like you're a different person, which was bizarre."
That's kind of freaky. You could get lose yourself in that look.
Nikki Reed: "Yes, I totally was like, 'Who are you?' for a long time."
Were you happy to get back to being you?
Nikki Reed: "Yes, but you know what? I kind of dug it. I look back and I remember when I came back to LA and I was sitting in with my girlfriend at hair salon right before they put the brown dye back on my hair. I went, 'Do I want to do this? Do I want to do this?' And she was like, 'Yes, I know you do.' And I did."
You'll get to be blonde again in the sequel.
Nikki Reed: "Oh yes, yes, I will."
Besides being this beautiful woman, she's not the nicest person in the world. Did you like digging into that part of her?
Nikki Reed: "You know, I tend to play that character a lot and the funny thing is that people say, 'Oh, you know, she’s just playing herself,' and it’s so not like [that]. It’s frustrating because it’s so not like who I am, but for some reason people just think I’m really good at going like [giving a very icy stare]. I get that a lot. Rosalie in the first book… Did you read the books?"
Yes, I've read them all.
Nikki Reed: "Then you understand that she's not that. I mean if we want to make this like the big Rosalie story, she really just looks at Bella as this sort of young, naïve child. She's like, 'You don’t know what you're doing.' I look at her as being like an older woman in my life who would look at me and go, 'I know you think you want this right now, but you don’t.' And Rosalie didn’t have the choice, you know? And that's sort of the darker side of Twilight, is that Dr Cullen's not like the savior. He’s not the martyr in a lot of ways. He didn’t give anybody the choice to [change]."
True, but Rosalie was dying…
Nikki Reed: "Yes, but who’s to say that you want to live for eternity? Who’s to say that? And if I had the option right now of living forever, I wouldn't. You know, that’s the beauty of life is like accomplishing things because there's a deadline. Do you know what I mean?"
Nikki Reed: "Like if we didn’t have a teacher, who would write a paper? You can't just have like infinite time. There's no reason then, you know? Why do anything if you don’t have a time limit? So I think that that's Rosalie’s thing and I can related to that. She always wanted to be a mom and just have a kid and have a husband and have like this simple [life]. And in a lot of ways… Wow, I haven’t even gone into this. I may be in trouble, but in a lot of ways I can understand because that's part of being an actress too. There are times where…I have a brother who’s exact one year older than me and he's going to college, and he’s just traveling. I have a dad who pays for everything for him because he's in school. And in a lot of ways I wish, as glorious as it may sound to be an actress or as glorious as it may sound to be a vampire, like just to have that life, the simple life is very appealing at times."
Would you trade in what you have now for that?
Nikki Reed: "I don’t believe in regretting things, so I don’t want to say, 'Yes, tomorrow I’ll just walk away.' I love what I do but I have moments where I envy my brother a lot and I envy what he’s doing. Yes, definitely, just to be taken care of and to not have to be an adult and to just be carefree and to not deal with articles written about whether or not you can be the most beautiful person in the world and scrutinized by 20 million people, and worry about your weight or your this or all of the superficial things. I’m still a kid. That is one thing I've learned how to say. Like after turning 20, I decided I'm still a kid. And before that I was like Miss Adult. And I’m a kid now. I’m sitting in an interview, I have my shoes off. I don’t know if I'm ready for all of this. I don’t know."
Do you think it's all hitting you now just because of how big Twilight is and because of how much you're being examined?
Nikki Reed: "Yes."
Is that why you're thinking you could trade this in for something a little simpler?
Nikki Reed: "Yes, in a lot of ways I think that. …You know, I feel like that a lot. Since Thirteen and stuff there's been a lot of pressure on me to be bigger than I needed to be."
You've had your life examined…
Nikki Reed: "Yes, I've been put under the magnifying glass a lot and for a lot of these kids who haven’t done - I don’t want to sound like I'm insulting people so I'm not going to name names but a lot of our cast had never done anything before this and this is a really wild ride for them. And by the way, I am super appreciative and super grateful for all. I am. I’m not just saying this and hoping that you write it. I do think it’s really awesome. You know, actors will sit around and b**** and complain about, 'Oh I hate this. I hate that. I hate the attention.' No, we all like a certain amount of that and it is validating. It makes you feel like, 'Oh, good or bad, at least people are noticing or paying attention or writing about it.'"
Exactly. But there's also a limit to that.
Nikki Reed: "Yes, and this has been one of those movies [where] there's been a lot of that."
And then there's going to be more, so at least you've been building up a little bit thicker skin from this one.
Nikki Reed: "Yes. And I have to say one thing. If it weren’t for Kristen [Stewart], this would have been a lot more overwhelming. But Kristen and I are best friends and so to have her along, not along… I mean I'm supporting her in this. I don’t know mean have her along, you know what I mean? To be a part of it together…"
You're there for each other.
Nikki Reed: "Yes. It’s great. We’re going on tour next week and just because we're really good friends they’ve paired us and that's really good. It’s really cool to watch somebody that you love and care about do really good work. She just did this movie called Welcome to the Rileys in New Orleans."
That’s where she plays a stripper?
Nikki Reed: "Yes, and I stayed there while she was shooting and I was there. She's actually coming back for two more days on Monday and I'm missing all of my press next week so I can just go be with her, just because like that's what life is about, you know what I mean?"
If you don't, you'd look back on it and regret you weren't there.
Nikki Reed: "Yeah, man. I know this sounds so silly but I just made it to Celebrity iTunes playlist and they wanted to know…and honestly, we have short-term memory. You just remember recent events and just being in New Orleans with her and sitting in the middle of nowhere while she’s shooting scenes and with my iPod and listening to music. My whole playlist came from that, or from Michael Angarano, one of my best friends and her boyfriend and my rock. He's here with me all day. We are like that little triangle, you know what I mean? It’s so cool, it really is so cool."
And having Catherine Hardwicke being the director also had to help you. You know each other well, so was she another part of your support system?
Nikki Reed: "Yes. You know, especially in Twilight there was a lot going on. I mean, she was the director. Any answer you would get from me would probably be the same from Kristen or Robert [Pattinson] or whatever. She was the director. Her and I, there's this funny little misconception that floats around since Thirteen like, 'Oh, Catherine basically raised you,' or 'Catherine is your step[mother].' No. No, I have a mom. I have a mom and even though we made a movie about all the mistakes she made as a parent called Thirteen…"
You need to write some more.
Nikki Reed: "I do. I write a lot. You know, Thirteen was sort of like a fluke in that when people used to come up to me and go like, 'God, it’s so amazing,' I was like, 'What? That was so easy getting money for that. People don’t just hand you 1.5 million dollars?' 'No, they don’t.' I've written a number of screen plays since then. I've been offered a lot of really great writing deals, some of which I've passed on because I don’t want to misrepresent myself and pretend like I have a voice that I don’t. I know what my voice is. It’s very specific. If you asked me to write for Family Guy tomorrow, I wouldn't be able to do it. Or, you know, some sort of weird science fiction film, there's no way in hell. But I do have a voice and if people are going to sort of like push me along that road and step onboard… I'm very independent and I'm very stubborn and I don’t sort sway, and so when people decided that they're interested in funding what I'm writing, then great. And if they don’t, well then I'm not going to hop on your boat."
That makes sense. And you're also expanding into producing?
Nikki Reed: "Yes, I just produced a film in New York and I’m going to, basically I’m going to direct. That's what I’m going to do. So if you asked me if I wanted to like be an actor forever, the answer would be no. It never has been and it never will be something that I want to spend the rest of my life doing. I respect that like that’s what Kristen wants to do forever. And I have more respect that I could ever… I mean she's amazing and it's not an easy thing to do. It's just there's another angle that I would like to approach film with, you know?"
You want to use your voice.
Nikki Reed: "Yes, and also sort of like what we were talking about with all this, I’m not… It has been very overwhelming in that sense, which is why I know that there's other things that I'm capable of doing, such as directing or writing or all of the above or producing, and I will very soon. I'm tempted, the reason I'm sort of stuttering is because I'm tempted to talk about some things but I just feel like I shouldn't because I haven’t... There’s a few books that I've been looking at, well, I'm optioning."
Good for you.
Nikki Reed: "And what I'm doing with going to New Orleans again with Kristen [Stewart] is I'm doing a bit of writing because I've decided that I've never like really tackled the whole book concept, like writing a novel myself. It’s very interesting. It’s sort of endless, you know? It doesn't have to fit into 90 minutes or 110 pages. It doesn’t have to explain each character by the second act or the arc doesn't have to be as consistent. I mean you can do, there's freedom. It’s really cool. And I've just been sitting and writing and it's not fluid at all. The beginning makes absolutely no sense and that was my big trepidation. I just couldn’t start. I was opening books going like, 'Okay, just help me with the first line because I just can't start.' And then I just decided, 'Okay, let’s pretend I'm going to write the beginning later,' and I just started writing. It’s unbelievable. I can write forever. I can be a journal entry. I can make myself into whatever character, but I'm sort of writing about myself but I'm not. And nobody can criticize that."
It’s all yours.
Nikki Reed: "Yeah. And it doesn’t have to be brought to life and you don’t have to have a visual of what this person is. So it’s really cool. Anyway I'm going with Kristen to New Orleans because that's why it’s such a good balance because I'm there for her while she's shooting and I'm a good support system, and she's an opportunity for me to go elsewhere and have an excuse. Because I'm always multitasking and I'm not good at saying to my team, 'So I'm going away for five days to maybe write. I don’t know if I'm going to accomplish anything but I have to go to Louisiana.' They're like, 'You're crazy.' But when I say, 'I have to go to be with Kristen. I have to. End of story. Goodbye.' And then I get to go have time for me to do what I want. And she's shooting nights and I'm sitting in like a peaceful trailer in the middle of Louisiana. And the history there, I mean it’s really incredible. So, for that, I appreciate that and her."
Do you have a lot of stories in your head or just one you're trying to get out?
Nikki Reed: "I'm 20, so I could give you a million stories. But then the thought of being 30 or 40 makes me feel like I would just be overflowing with tales to tell. Yeah, I don’t know if it’s necessarily truthful to my life or if I have a very free imagination, but I have a lot of stories that I could tell. And in my, it’s a long 20, I mean in my 20 years I've done some pretty irrational things and acted out and done a lot of things that are worth telling. Not necessarily bad, but just like growing – life. And also the life of being an actor who had a movie made about her life that wasn’t necessarily about her life but marketed as that, and how that affected my life is a story in itself."
Do a follow-up to Thirteen and put it straight.
Nikki Reed: "Oh I can't. I just really can't do that. I just really can't. No, because I have a family and I have parents who were greatly, you know in positive and negative ways, affected by that film and I just never would do that again ever to them. It’s just not considerate. If I could write the Nikki Reed story and I was the only person in my life, then maybe I would be narcissistic enough to write that story. But unfortunately there's a lot of people in my life that have to be flushed out and I just wouldn't do that again."
Do you look back on Thirteen and wish you hadn’t done it in the first place?
Nikki Reed: "I don't believe in saying I regret something because what would I be doing if I hadn’t done Thirteen and I hadn’t moved out when I was 14 years old?"
Nikki Reed: "You know, I don't know where I would be, what I would be doing. And maybe I would be in a lot more trouble because I wouldn't have had to take responsibility. I mean, this misconception that I'm like this bad girl, it’s just really funny because forcing me to move out and grow up really fast is what made me a good girl, is what forced me to pay bills and work and not f--k around. I'm sorry for cursing."
Nikki, you think people think you're a bad girl?
Nikki Reed: "No, no, no, I don’t think that…but I play these characters a lot. I do. I'm not, but that is what people think because I play that well."