"I can't move. I almost feel like I have the flu because of how much fun I had."
No, this isn't an aging star feeling the effects of the previous night's high-class Oscar shenanigans. It's Nikki Reed, the 24-year-old co-star of the "Twilight" franchise, recovering from a day spent, well, relaxing.
"I’m 24 years old and my idea of fun is going to my father’s house to play Yahtzee on a Friday night," she said.
Reed — who gave us a call while promoting her new film "Pawn," a hostage drama-turned-mob movie — isn't your typical young Hollywood starlet. On top of making movies, she also has an arts and crafts addiction, in addition to writing songs and movies — remember a little traumatic something called "Thirteen," 10 years ago? She co-wrote that just a few years after hitting puberty, based largely on her own wild youth. The now-married Reed claims to be in bed by 9, and gets vocally excited over things like low-maintenance plant life.
We caught up with Reed on her inability to relax, her extreme love for Hanson and, of course, Edward versus Jacob.
Am I interrupting your vacation? I thought I saw some beach pictures on your Twitter.
Oh my god, no actually it’s pretty funny, you did see that. That was yesterday, it was beach volleyball day. And it's actually my first day since I can remember taking a full day to do absolutely nothing but have fun. My older brother’s really good at making fun of me for just being a workaholic and never taking time for myself. Even when we go on vacation, I'm always working. And so my brother was like, "Here’s the deal, I'm planning a day, we're going to Malibu and you’re gonna play beach volleyball." I'm so sunburned and sore that I'm laying in bed all day watching old movies. I can’t move. I almost feel like I have the flu because of how much fun I had.
Fun's hard work, man.
It is such hard work. Oh my god, the backs of my legs, I don’t know if I've ever been this sunburned. Who thinks to put sunblock on the back of their kneecaps? Not me.
What movies are you watching today?
I’m watching "Gentleman’s Agreement" right now. Yesterday’s vacation has totally spilled over into today's. I guess this is what a two-day vacay is like right? But I never, ever do this, so it's a privilege.
It looks like you’re super-busy, you’ve got your hand in a lot of pots. You’re recording, making movies. Are you writing anything?
I am, actually. I'm working right now on a few different writing and developing projects all over the place. I have a lot of interest in developing a television series, so I've been working on that. And then I also have been toying around with the idea of trying to write fiction because with "Thirteen" and then my blog and my music, a lot of what I’m used to writing generally comes from what I see and what I feel. My dad brought this up to me a long time ago and actually my grandfather who was a brilliant writer and recently passed away, he gave me a lot of fabulous books that I haven't even cracked open on writing fiction because he wrote a lot of non-fiction as well, so if there was one area he wanted to explore it would've been this. So I kind of feel like for him also I should work on that skill that definitely doesn't come naturally for me.
So there's that and then we’re writing music and recording music and I have my jewelry line, my next jewelry line, my collaboration with Seven for All Mankind, and then I start another film in three weeks called "Murder of a Cat" and I have a few movies from last year hopefully coming out, so I'm definitely all over the place right now. Sometimes I wonder why I’m feeling tired and I get on the phone with my mom and she goes, "Because you’re always thinking! You’re thinking too much!"
Are you one of those people who if you’re not super overscheduled, you can’t get out of bed?
No, I'm always doing something, no matter what it is! Even yesterday on the beach I brought my book. I’m reading this really great book right now called “The Righteous Mind.” And my brother’s like, "Don’t bring out your book, don’t do anything! Stop reading, stop thinking, just look at the clouds and just think about nothing!"
It's like that classic job interview question where it’s like oh what’s my one flaw? "Oh I work too hard, I care too much..."
I know, perfect answer to that. You know there’s a real downside to this too, and that is I’m 24 years old and my idea of fun is going to my father’s house to play Yahtzee on a Friday night. I have no social life. That was my new year’s resolution, actually, was get working on my social life. I need to go out and make plans with friends and have dinners and do things like that because you can’t just be 100 percent consumed by work and thinking about work. I’m really diligent, I have a really militant side of my personality that comes out in areas of work. I’m very motivated, you know?
So you’re in this new movie, “Pawn.” What's your best pitch for people see it?
I would say if you want to see a film with some really great actors, some suspense, you’re on the edge of your seat, this could be the movie for you. I mean, I don’t really know how to pitch movies that I’m in, but I’ve had a really wonderful experience working with some of the actors that I worked with. A few of the scenes that I have with Ray Liotta, one in particular, put me in such a disturbing place mentally that it took me days to shake it.
If you had a mobster nickname what would it be?
You have just asked me a question that has never once crossed my mind. I should probably put that out on Twitter and ask my Twitter followers to contribute some ideas to that. What would my best mobster name be? Bugsy Ocean is my mob name. Oh my god, I love that. Now I might have to use that for something.
So obviously you were in "Twilight," I don’t know if you remember...
There are some pretty intense fans. Did you ever have some notable Twi-hard interactions?
Yeah, I’ve had a few that were really touching. I know it’s always more fun to say things that are shocking and people go someone did that?! But the truth is I think the boys, Kellan [Lutz] and Taylor [Lautner] and Rob [Pattinson] and Jackson [Rathbone], I’m sure they have better stories like that because the girls, they just really love our boys. But I’ve had a few really wonderful ones.
Just a few months ago I was in Scotland and Ireland touring with Kellan and this girl came up to the table to say hi and was just crying and I couldn’t think of what to do to make her stop crying, so I took my bracelet off my arm and just shoved it on her arm, kind of like what you do with a kid, like, "Here you go, here’s something! Let me give her something and maybe she’ll stop crying!" And then the crying got worse and totally escalated. I think I just enhanced the whole situation but now we’re Twitter buddies.
I know it seems really silly and that it seems like we probably just recycle these stories just for the sake of having them, but this journey has been so incredible. The fact that these movies have really had that kind of effect on people and their lives and that I had a small part, I played a small part in that, is just beyond me and it’s something I will forever be grateful for and that I’ll carry with me through the rest of my life. This is not something to be taken lightly. We’ve become a family with an entire universe of fans.
You were talking about people geeking out over "Twilight," but is there anything you geek out over?
What do I geek out over? I mean totally, I geek out over Hanson. Duh.
They’re back together now, aren’t they?
Yeah, I was in their new music video with Kat Dennings. We’re hopefully gonna be doing a little singing with them at some point. We talk about it because we’re friends with all of them so it would be so nice, and Kat and I are huge Hanson fans. Kat and I have been best buddies for a long time now so we share this love for Hanson and we stepped in and did their video and it was just the best possible experience. A big love festival.
So was that hardcore teenybopper? We’re about the same age so I can imagine you had about the same period of your life we’re you’re like oh my god, Zac! Taylor!
No, Kat was a young Hanson fan. I discovered my love for Hanson just a few years ago and I wrote them a fan letter. I sent a fan letter to their management. The message behind the letter was something like that I had a real genuine appreciation for the fact that they were making really positive music. We live in a time where controversy, and controversial lyrics and things like that tend to stick out in people’s minds, but these guys have just really done an amazing job at making music that speaks to them and that comes from their heart. I loved how real it felt and I wrote them that in a letter. I wrote a total fan letter.
Speaking of Hanson, I know that they’re coming back now, but I associate them with the '90s first and foremost. What’s your favorite piece of '90s nostalgia?
God, you know what I loved? Do you remember those plastic woven chokers? You know you had one.
Yeah me too, we should totally go back and get those woven chokers. I used to get them, you could buy them and they would be rolled up in a little ball and you could get them for like 99 cents. Oh yeah, let’s bring those back.
If you wrote a sequel to "Thirteen" called "Twenty-Three," what would the basic plot outline be? Do you think it would be as interesting as "Thirteen"?
That's so funny. You’re basically asking me right now if my life at 24 years old is as interesting as it was as a 13-year-old. I don’t know what the theme would be. See, "Thirteen," there were a lot of parts in young girls’ lives that were kind of unexposed and not talked about out of fear or it was taboo and I think that we opened up a window of opportunity for people to converse about things, parents and their children to talk about it, and I think that was kind of the beauty of that film. I don’t know if my life would be interesting enough right now to write a sequel to it.
You've got a birthday coming up. What’s your ideal birthday celebration?
I just like going to dinner with my family and I like having arts and crafts day. I know I’m really painting an awesome picture of myself right now, I’m making myself sound like such a loser. But we do cool, crafty things in the house. [Husband] Paul [McDonald] and I decoupage vases and things like that and Paul makes really awesome... I don’t even know what you would call what he makes, they’re really cool. He basically tells stories through pictures and makes a collage that’s like a high gloss collage, it’s really amazing. We do that kind of stuff. For Easter, we gather the whole family at my house and do like egg painting and we paint like 40 eggs and it’s so awesome, so we’re just really into that as a family.
So my ideal birthday is usually something like that, but probably part of the reason I married Paul is so I wouldn’t be such a loser. And he makes really cool things happen, like he plans really awesome road trips. Last year for my birthday he put together a 20-page booklet of every stop along the West Coast that we were gonna make driving up through Big Sur and he made it all happen so he’s really creative and thinks outside the box and it’s so awesome. Because I don’t really like getting material, tangible things. My favorite present actually my mom got me, you know what those little air plants are?
No, what are they?
Oh my god, they’re so awesome. I also got one for my manager for her birthday because I was so obsessed. Did you google it just now?
They don't need a home!
Yeah, they don’t need a home. Air plants.They totally don’t need a home and they live in their own little...so my mom got me an air plant and some shells and that’s the kind of stuff I really geek out over. I love that. You can get me a $5 air plant, I am a happy lady. Paul got me a love cactus for Valentine’s Day and it rocks my world.
So you were on "The O.C.," too.
I was on "The O.C." many years ago. Another cult classic thing. Yeah, that was fun. I didn’t watch much TV at the time. When I was 15, I was on "Oprah" and I remember everyone around me freaking out and I could recognize that it was a really amazing thing but when you’re a fan of something in particular, like obsessive, and then you get to be a part of it, it takes it to a whole new level. But because I didn't watch much TV, I didn't know how cool it was that I was in "The O.C." until I was done and then I was like, oh my god, that’s a really cool thing I was just a part of.
Did you go back and watch it?
No, because I don’t like to watch things that I’m in. It freaks me out.
Do you just get critical of yourself, or self conscious? Why don’t you like it?
You know what it is? There’s something so permanent about film and I think every artist is very self-analytical and likes to critique themselves. The problem is once you put something out there, you can’t go back and change your performance, so it’s kind of pointless to judge yourself. I suppose you can learn from watching your own work and learn how to perfect different things but I haven’t mastered that skill yet. I still get really self-conscious, I think because it’s done you know? I can’t change it.
Is there anything in "Thirteen" that you would change if you could go back and write it again?
No, I don’t really believe in going back and changing things that are like experiences. And "Thirteen" to me was very much an experience, not only because it was my first film but also because it was something that is so close to my life and my family and my heart and it had a very large impact on everyone that was close surrounding me. And so for that reason I think it was much more complicated than I had anticipated because I was 13 years old and I had no idea of what I was stepping into. And when you’re 13 you’re also kind of unable to process or understand cause and effect and consequences and making that movie.
It definitely was hard on my family and that was something I didn’t foresee as being the result. But that said, I wouldn’t take it back because we all are where we are in life because we made certain choices. I love that movie, I can’t stress that enough, it just was a very emotional experience for me.
And one last quick question, which is it...Team Edward or Team Jacob?
It's a really heavy-hitting one because I go back and forth. For a long time I was Team Jacob because I really wanted Bella to go for somebody that didn’t make her sacrifice anything. But then obviously you want to be Team Edward because Edward’s kind of the best. He really is awesome and when I was reading the books, especially “New Moon” and Edward leaves and you’re heartbroken... I even remember running around on set looking for Rob because we were shooting the first one but I was in the middle of reading all the books and I was like, "I have to find him to know he’s still here!" I remember having the same kind of emotional connection to the books that the fans did, absolutely. Now I just want to be between both because Bella’s gonna do what’s best for Bella and we shouldn’t question people’s decisions. So I can’t be team either of them, I have to be for both of them.