You probably recognize Rachel Nichols from her roles in numerous adventure flicks (no shame in that), because she's stood out in movies like "Star Trek," "Conan" and "G.I. Joe." But this action hero is about to embark on one of her toughest challenges yet: the romantic comedy.
Nichols' latest film, "A Bird of the Air," favors quiet subtext over CGI effects (well, except for one opinionated parrot), and a quirky librarian stalker (that's Nichols) over cliché chance encounters. Playing opposite the nearly silent Jackson Hurst, Nichols reminds us that a little crazy goes a long way.
We got the dirt on what enticed Nichols to play a character whom the audience hates, whether she'll ever get the Vulcan salute again and what's up with those rumors about Poison Ivy.
This is quite a departure from some of your recent films. What made you want to make this movie?
Well, you hit the nail on the head. The character, Fiona, was so different than anyone I had played in a while, it just caught my eye. Then I sat down with Margaret Whitton, who directed the movie, I was like, "I have to get this job!"
You know, as much fun as I've had doing "Star Trek," "G.I. Joe" and "Conan," this was a real opportunity for me to create a real character that nobody really has any expectations for. When you're playing Scarlett or Gaila or Tamara, there are certain expectations that you have to meet. People come into the theater feeling like they already know you. With something like this, however, when you're creating a character like Fiona, you really have to invest a lot into it to build a character from the ground up, so when the director says, "They're going to have to hate you for half," you're like, "Okay, we'll make this work." Building a character from the ground up is so rewarding, it was just something I knew I had to do.
Plus, my parents will be happy I don't die in this one.
Do you have any plans to do more "Star Trek," "G.I. Joe" or "Conan"?
Ah, "Star Trek." [sighs] Of course they say they're going to shoot another one, but J.J. [Abrams] is the most secretive man in all of Hollywood, so I don't know if Gaila is alive, if she's dead, if she'll be back, if not. They are shooting "G.I. Joe 2," and except for a couple of the characters, no one from the first "G.I. Joe" is involved. And, to be honest, I don't anticipate that they'll make another "Conan." I mean, probably not, right?
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Speaking of that, were you surprised or disappointed by the box office performance of "Conan"?
Well, once I finish shooting a movie, I kind of let everything go because I've done my job. I do all of the press, and all of the interviews, and all of the premieres, because that's also part of my job -- and I do all parts of my job as best as I possibly can. But, at the end of the day, that's all I have control over, unless I go knocking on doors and tell people, "Hey, go watch this movie!" Wait -- should I do that? [laughs]
Let's just say that I do my job to best of my ability and then I try to let it go. I mean, they're not hiring me because I can open a movie. Rachel Nichols cannot open a movie ... yet!
Tell me about shooting "I, Alex Cross."
It's awesome! It's awesome! I love Rob Cohen. I met him a couple years ago, and when I met him in the room he was like, "Oh, we're going to work together," and I was like, "Is this Hollywood lip service?" But, well, it wasn't! He totally came through!
And what do I say about Tyler Perry? Tyler Perry is fantastic. He's obviously taking a shot at a serious role. "I, Alex Cross" and "Madea's Family Reunion" don't have that much in common, but I've always contended that anyone who can do comedy can do any kind of drama. I think comedy is the most difficult thing to do. So, I think Tyler is going to handle this with the perfection with which he handles all of his projects.
There has been some buzz about people recommending you for Poison Ivy in the Dark Knight movie ...
I would love to do that! I would love to be a bad girl. I was so jealous of Sienna [Miller] in "G.I. Joe" because she is such a bad ass. Someone asked me about this recently and I was like, "Who do I have to call? Who do I need to lobby to?" I literally told my agent, "Can we make them hire me for this?" If you know who I should bother, please tell me because I know it would be awesome.