Our Exclusive Chat with Nicole Leier

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Nicole Leier is an actor, director, and producer. She recently became an ambassador for Bite the Bullet which focuses on mental health and black stories. We got to chat with her on it all.

Congratulations on your LEO Award nomination for your role in A Score to Settle opposite Nicolas Cage. How did you prepare for the role?
Thank you! Whenever I prepare for a role, I love to do a mix of method acting and bringing a bit of myself to each and every role. For this part, I actually know somebody in real life who is really similar to the character so I tapped into a lot of his personality to play this part. I also modeled the look and ‘swagger’ of this character after Queen Latifah’s role of Cleo in Set It Off (1996).

Did you create any further backstory for her?
I did, actually. In my work, the goal is always to go as deep as possible and internalize it, then turn right back around and forget everything. That way, I can be in the moment with the other actors on set. It’s a delicate balance and it varies from film to film and job to job. It’s the art of the work.

Producer, director, actor! Do you have a favorite?

I am definitely an actor that directs and a producer by necessity.

You’ve also dabbled in stunt work. What is that experience like?
I absolutely love doing athletic stuff at work In my personal life, I have competed in a lot in fitness competitions in the bikini division. I’m looking to compete again hopefully at the end of this year. I love the physical aspect of preparing for a film and I hope I get to perform a role in an action film eventually.

Is there a dream role you have?
Oh man, do I! I have always dreamed about being able to play Oprah but the problem is, she usually plays herself! But other than that, I think any film is based on a true story where I can take on a rags to riches role and really portray that fight to succeed.

Could you tell us about Bite the Bullet Stories?
Bite the Bullet stories is a movement and a global community dedicated to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. We believe that overcoming our hardships is the only way to build strength, self-confidence, and happiness. I’ve traveled the world and I’ve seen first hand the long-term psychological effects racism has. It has become second nature to use my voice to help those who can’t use theirs. Whether this is done by showing up to protests, educating others, or by the projects I choose as an actor or director, I’m constantly active in a quest for equality. This is why I’m thrilled to be an ambassador for Bite the Bullet Stories. They are providing an outlet that doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, or sexual orientation, and together with them I’m honored to help share stories from the Black community.

Have you had a favorite story so far?
Working with Nicolas Cage was one of my favorite moments in my career because they changed my part in A Score to Settle from a male to a female. Casting initially had me read for the role of Isha, the daughter of Benjamin Bratt’s character. Then in a turn of events, they asked me to read for a male part, Sleepy’s Son. So, with tousled hair and a cigarette dangling from my mouth, I went for it. When I was done, our film’s writer, John Stewart [Proud Mary] and director, Shawn Ku considered re-writing the part that was originally for a man for me. And that day, Sleepy’s Son became Sleepy’s Daughter.

What do you think the future of film and live theatre are going to be like?
I think we will have to move in a different direction for a little until we can do things safely. But film and live theatre aren’t going anywhere. I think the cast and crew of Hamilton have shown us that this is possible. That anything is possible.