I recently got the chance to talk to Nichelle Aiden about her role in ‘Saints And Soldiers: Airborne Creed’. Here, Nichelle talks about she got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Nichelle. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Saints And Soldiers: Airborne Creed’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s the story of three paratroopers and the trek they take during the invasion of Southern France in World War II. In my opinion, it all boils down to three men who have different yet similar motives and views on the war, home, love, life, and reason. Where they come from, people they left at home, and the new players they meet directly affect their actions and experiences in the war and show them what’s really important.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Curtis’ girlfriend, Charlotte. As Jasen Wade was portraying a real person, I was playing this woman he left behind as he went off to war. We didn’t focus much on the actual real-life woman Bud Curtis left at home, but that idea and truth was still there. It was absolutely incredible being able to play a character that so many women can truly relate to. So many people have had to say goodbye to their boyfriends, husbands, fathers, brothers… and to play that relationship, heartbreak, and courage was an amazing experience.
To top it off, at the premiere, a gentleman in uniform approached me. He shook my hand, gave me a memorable coin from the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, and thanked me for playing his father’s girlfriend. That knocked me off my feet, as he didn’t introduce himself first. We both teared up and just looked at each other for a long moment. Bud Curtis’ son, Lory Curtis, made my experience playing the role that much more rewarding. What an incredible experience.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I met Ryan Little when I auditioned for another one of his films. He mercifully decided he liked me and I nearly got the role, but in the end they decided to go with someone else. After that fateful day, however, he and I became friends and he said he still wanted to work with me. When they began working on ‘Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed’, Ryan said he wanted me to be involved, despite it being a “boys’ film”. I don’t speak French and couldn’t play the one female role, so he ended up writing a role for me. I’m thrilled that he did, as I really enjoyed being a part of the movie.
How would you say this film is different and unique to most war films?
It’s just a beautiful story. It not only focuses on the moments in the heart of the war for the three soldiers, it centres on what’s going on within them as they face the hell of war and death, showing us their memories of home and the different things that fuel them. It’s a story of forced growth, change, love and loss… all things we can relate to.
The film stars Corbin Allred, David Nibley, Jasen Wade, Lincoln Hoppe and your good self – with Ryan Little onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It was fabulous. I thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone on set. So many talented, passionate people all in one place. And so many people with big senses of humour There were many hilarious moments on set. At one point, a crew member and I noticed that there was a hole in the armpit of the vintage dress I was wearing. We were shooting my scene really soon, so I approached Ryan and asked him what he wanted to do about the hole. He decided to fix it himself, as everyone else was busy. He proceeded to sew up this hole in the armpit of my dress, as I stood there with my arm straight out. I started laughing because it was so absurd, which in turn made him laugh and beg me to stop so he wouldn’t either stab me with the needle or unintentionally grope me. This made us both laugh even harder. Needless to say, it took longer than it should have to sew up the hole.
Let’s talk a bit about you Nichelle. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’ve always known in the back of my mind or the bottom of my gut that I’d be an actor one day. I always had little worlds I escaped to as a child, where anything was possible and I could create the person, the situation, or the life I wanted. I just love the human story. I love being able to help unravel a tale full of human moments and truths we all relate to and connect with. Stories affect me, move me, inspire me… and I love doing the same for others.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
If acting is something you really want to do, figure out who you are first. I am so glad I wasn’t a child actor, as I have really experienced so many other things life has to offer. As actors, we really need to be able to relate to so many people, situations, and experiences. I’m so thankful I grew up in a family that taught me how to work and how to appreciate what I have. The other piece of advice I would offer to someone interested in becoming an actor… just love it. If you really love acting, then really love it. Do it for the right reasons, really figure out why it is you love acting. Really dig deep and make that your foundation. Then don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Oh gosh, I have everything from country and acoustic to rap and rock. The only thing I don’t listen to is heavy metal. Right now I’m on a chill, acoustic kick. I just moved to Los Angeles and it’s a nice contrast to the crazy traffic.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Terrence Malick, Charlie Chaplin, and Mona Lisa. I want to know what that chick’s secret is.
You’re stuck on a desert island, you’re only allowed three personal things with you – what would you choose and why?
I would take a massive notebook, a great pen, and a big ‘ole box of flares.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
Well, as I said earlier, I just moved to Los Angeles. That was one of my big steps of 2012. ‘Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed’ hitting theatres has been a really great experience so far, and I look forward to it opening up here in California in October. Now my priorities include finding representation in Los Angeles, getting settled in, working more on my screenplay that I’ve written, and simply re-defining the word ‘proactive.’
Thanks for the interview!