Writer: Emily Reas
Interviewee: Alysia Reiner
Alysia Reiner is a force to be reckon with. Not only does she have over 40 film credits alone, but she has won awards both on and off screen, have had numerous praise in reviews, and was even suggested by the IMDB as one of the top 3 picks for the next “Bond Girl”. During this past SXSW, I had the opportunity to sit down with Alysia to discuss her acting. According to her, this passion started at a ripe young age:
I think it’s something that I loved doing from the time I was tiny. My aunt told me when I was about 5 on the New York City bus she said, you know, “what do you want to do when you grow up?” And I said, “Well, I wanna sing and dance and paint and act”, you know dabble. Yes, I was a very cosmopolitan woman very early.
And then in college I wrote my college essays about how psycho-neuro-bio chemistry and acting were really the same thing, which I still believe. I am fascinated by the sciences, and by neuroscience in particular, and the chemicals that run through our bodies and our brains naturally, and why they make us do what we do. But for me, when I was really looking at, “do I want to be a scientist or do I want to be an actress”, I chose acting because I feel like a lot of the time in the sciences we study why a person is who they are and we need to group people together just for research and data.
The thing I love about acting and about creating an art is you’re trying to make this absolutely amazing, unique thing that is so individual, like we all are as human beings, and yet deeply universal.
The exuberance and excitement she radiated when discussing acting was blatantly evident. Even when I asked the question of whether she preferred to do either film or theater, her response was simply “Yes”. A yes, to all of the above.
The reason though she was at SXSW was because she was in not only one film, but two; both of them winning awards. The first, Kelly & Cal, won the SXSW GameChanger Award for the Director Jen McGowan. The second, Fort Tilden, was the Grand Jury Winner for the Narrative Feature Competition. And all of this was at her first SXSW:
I’ve done a lot of festivals, I’ve never been to this one. It is a mad house of awesomeness! It’s magic, like, so many creators and so many different areas of art and commerce and really the interwebs. It’s kind of awesome,particularly being on a show that started on the internet.
And the show she is talking about that started on the internet is, you’ve guessed it, Orange is the New Black. On that show, Alysia plays Natalie Figueroa, or “Fig” for short, the manipulative Warden’s assistant. Since season 2 is premiering June 6th, I asked if she could spill any secrets:
If I spill any secrets, I’ll end up in orange myself, but I will tell you that you learn a lot about all of the characters both in their relationships, and then as we’ve seen in season 1, you get some back-story on people which is really exciting.
And then when asked how has it been working on that set? She replies:
Amazing. I feel like I won the actor lotto!
And it sounds like she has indeed! If you want more information about Alysia, you can check out her website. I’m Emily Reas with KTSW 89.9, and this has been an interview with actress Alysia Reiner.