The IFA presents an exclusive interview with the
talented Nikki Reed starring the movie
13 was a Lucky Number for Nikki Reed
by Lisa Johnson
When your first screenplay and starring role are
smash indy hits, what do you do for an encore?
That s a question Nikki Reed, co-author and star of
the startling film 13, had to ask herself at the tender
young age of 14.
Her amazing talent and insight were undeniable, as
was her unassuming naivete, when she first sat down
with writer/director Catherine Hardwicke to write a
semi-autobiographical screenplay from her journal
entries. Nikki met Catherine when she was about
five, when Catherine was dating Nikki s father. Nikki
poured her heart and soul into her work, then naively
started her first year of high school, completely
unaware of the firestorm that was about to rain
down upon her.
I had no idea how much my life would change when
that film was released, Nikki recalls. I didn t know it
would be so controversial, and I didn t realize it
would put me in a position as a spokesperson for all
teenage girls. Adults would come to campus to
speak with her during lunch. Could this be happening
to my daughter? they asked. Classmates would
carry teen magazines with pictures of her: Top Ten
Teens right up there next to Mandy Moore. Nikki s
brother, a year ahead of her in school, was
constantly harangued about a fictitious line uttered
by the older brother in the film. And that was just at
school. What her parents endured because of the
film is another story.
My mother really is a hair stylist, and had her issues
with alcohol, Nikki said. Photographers would come
to their house and try to catch her in her pajamas.
At work, my father would be asked, So are you
finally there for your daughter?
Nikki was stunned by what her work had wrought. At
14, she moved out of her house into her own
apartment, began home schooling, and even bought
a 1983 Acura Integra from a neighbor for $500 I
was too young to drive, but I had to get around,
she admits. But it wasn t really that bad. I like being
on my own.
Today, at age 18, Nikki is still living alone. She just
ended a two-year relationship, and doesn t mind her
independence one bit. I ve been able to do a lot of
writing lately, she says. I d forgotten what it was
like to have so much time for that.
Nikki s writing since she penned 13 has been
bittersweet. I ve completed three screenplays, and
I m working on another. We re work on financing for
one right now. None of her other screenplays have
been developed yet. I ve found that unless I write a
sequel to 13, there aren t that many people who will
stand behind me. Nikki has had many offers for a
sequel, but she s not succumbing to the pressure.
I will absolutely never write anything
autobiographical again, she declares. If I were
going to write a sequel I would have done it already.
It tore up my family. I exposed a lot of personal
information, and I didn t understand the effect it
Nikki has had a great deal of success with her acting
career since starring in 13. The precocious beauty of
Jewish, Italian and Cherokee decent has starred in
the Forest Whitaker produced American Gun with
Donald Sutherland, Marcia Gay Harden and Linda
Cardellini, as well as Cherry Crush, with Frank
Whaley and Jonathan Tucker. She also starred
opposite Peter Weller in Jefrey Levy s Man of
God, But that was never released it was too
personal for the director. I still hope to see it one
day, she says. In addition, she has the title role in
the Kevin Spacey produced Mini s First Time, which
has a cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson,
Carrie-Ann Moss, and Jeff Goldbloom.
Nikki s one big studio film so far was Lord s of Dog
Town, Catherine Hardwicke s feature film based on
the skate boarding documentary Dogtown and Z-
Boys. The big budget and executive influence were
eye openers for Nikki, and helped her appreciate the
artistic freedom allowed in independent fare.
Her career has also branched out to television, where
she has appeared in several episodes of Fox s The
Although Nikki has been working in the entertainment
industry consistently since she was 13, success has
not gone to her head. She did get rid of the Acura
and now drives a Toyota Rav 4. She purchased
similar cars for her brother and her mother. I wanted
to get a Prius, she said, but there was a nine-
month wait, and I just couldn t see using connections
to jump to the front of the line.
In Nikki s future, there s a relatively big budget
independent coming up. She s not at liberty to
elaborate on it, but she says it s based on a popular
novel, and the author is directing. But before that,
she s heading to a film festival in Moscow where she ll
receive an award for Mini s First Time.
The sky s the limit for Nikki s long term plans. She ll
continue writing, acting, and one day would like to
return to school. My brother is studying art in
Florence, she says. Who knows? Maybe I ll go over
there to visit him and decide to stay.
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