I recently got the chance to talk to Nickola Shreli about his role in Taylor Lautner’s new film, ‘Abduction’. Here, Nickola talks about what it was like working with director John Singleton and about his role in the new ‘Hostel’ instalment…
Hey Nickola. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Abduction‘.
No problem man…Thanks for the invite.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Tay’s character (Nathan) essentially finds his baby pic on a missing person website – which opens up a can of worms, that can of worms being his real identity/life inside of a tangled web of international government espionage.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Alek, a villain. A supporting but pivotal role in the story structure. (The bald cat in a suit waving the big gun in the trailer LOL). He’s sort of a go between, hybrid hacker/hitman character. A stateside tracer for the bad guys in Europe fishing for Nathan in the US.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I tracked down casting through info that my then manager had and then sent in a pic/reel. When I was in LA for some other biz he called me from New York and said they wanted to see me there. When I went to Middleton Castings office, I thought they wanted the character to be a foreigner with an accent so I stayed in character and acted like I had an Eastern European accent the whole time and left behind a short film of mine with a character that I felt was similar. John Singleton ended up diggin my vibe/work and put me on. The irony is he wanted me to lose the accent in the film, haha.
How would you say this film is different and unique to other thrillers?
It transitions from a happy high school esque tale to this whole other thing. Here we have a regular kid/protagonist being raised in a certain manner by government officials – that end up giving him the tools for survival against the bad guys that come after him. The hook with the missing persons website is definitely original too.
The film stars Taylor Lautner, Sigourney Weaver, Lily Collins and Alfred Molina, with John Singleton onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
It was a great experience in my evolution as an actor . Many work hard for a long time and still don’t manage to reach this level and get an opportunity at working with the best. John Singleton is a bad dude and is one of the few cats I genuinely looked up to as a young film maker. I got a chance to see how he works first hand and become friends with him. There was so much Taylor hoopla around the set e.g. fans crowding and so there was added pressure because of it. It taught me the key lesson that acting professionally is not only about remembering lines but staying focused in the process. Those two things stand out the most. But all in all I met a lot of great people who I can now call great friends from the cast/crew.
Let’s talk a bit about you Nickola. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Ever since I was a lil fella I can remember playing with my GI JOE’S and creating story lines. Just progressed from there into watching movies/playing with cameras etc. You do what interests you. And wherever you are you find an outlet for it. In Detroit I got into theatres such as 2nd City/Detroit Ensemble Theater etc. in my early 20s. As an artist you feel the void to show your work, no matter the medium – be it painting, acting, etc. After you figure the craft, you need to find out where to go showcase your talents and make a living with them. All routes unfortunately lead to Hollywood in this case. LOL
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Don’t get in this industry. It’s a big pain in the ass. JK LOL. I really unfortunately don’t have any clear honest advice I hate to say. I get asked that a lot. It’s unlike any other biz. There is really no clear-cut path. I guess all I can say is really learn the craft from the right people. Identify your motives, are they clear and pure. Do you really like and respect the art or are you into it cause it’s the cool thing to be doing that will lead you to riches and pussy. Once you have identified that you can actually act and are willing to walk to the edge of the earth for the occupation, just get yourself out there, Via industry peeps. Hopefully the acting Gods will throw some luck your way in the process. ENDURE. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon, make sure your bills are paid for with other means throughout the journey. If it was meant for you to find, you will.
We should mention that you’re in the new ‘Hostel’, ’Hostel: Part III’ – what can you tell us about the movie and your character?
It’s fun making a horror film! A fucking blast. The violence moves to Vegas this time, away from its roots of Eastern Europe (‘Hostel: Part 1/2′). I play Victor, a hero in the story. It comes out to DVD later this year from what I know. There is a huge cult following on this thing. I’m pumped for it.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
Hawaii (the beach) the energy there is heaven like.
What’s the most interesting / funny piece of news you’ve heard in the last month or so?
I’m a Dad. Pretty interesting.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
‘Mafia’ with Ving Rhames, Pam Grier and Robert Patrick. ‘Landlord’, a film I wrote, will be producing and will be playing the lead in. Plan to shoot in Detroit in later this fall/early 12. I just met/read for another cool high-profile studio as of a few weeks ago. Don’t wanna jinx it and reveal the gig. LOL. Check me out right here! – www.nickolashreli.com
Thanks for the interview!