PopHorror had the pleasure to speak with Actress Nadia Alexander about her education, career, and fear of all things scary. The Dark (2018) is her newest film in which she delivers an outstanding performance as an abuse victim transformed into a fearless zombie. It was wonderful sharing some laughs and learning more about this talented young actress.
PopHorror: Thanks so much for chatting with me, Nadia! I read that you have two Bachelor’s Degrees in physics and psychology. First, I would like to say that is a great achievement. Secondly, what made you decide to pursue an education outside the arts?
Nadia Alexander: I went to a performing arts high school, called Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School, that was made famous in the movie Fame (1980). The movie was based off of the school. I had already done four years of drama training as a teenager at LaGuardia. When it came time to graduate, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go to college. If I was going to college, I wanted to be able to continue acting, because that would always be my first love and that is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I also knew if I was to get a secondary education, I wanted to expand my mind and learn some stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily learn in the acting field. When I decided I was going to go to college, I decided on Macaulay Honors College since it was tuition free and I didn’t want to have any debt. I knew I wanted to major in psych, but physics came in later because I initially wanted to double major in psych and math. I was pretty good at math, but I found it to be dry and not really as engaging. So half way through my freshman year I wanted to do something like math, but more all encompassing. I thought, “Oh, I’ll do physics,” because I have always been interested in scientific mysteries. I am really glad that I studied those subjects, because it really grew my mind in a way that I wouldn’t have gotten to experience if I did not go to college.
PopHorror: How was your experience receiving the award for Best Actress in a US Narrative Film at the 2017 Tribecca Film Festival for Blame (2017)?
Nadia Alexander: It was really incredible! It was the first lead role anyone had seen me in, so I was just really excited for that kind of showcase in any shape or form. To be in a movie and to have more than a few lines in it was great. Then, getting the award was a total shock to me. I didn’t write a speech because I didn’t expect to win the award. There were, like, twelve other actresses who were up for it who are all amazing. I was really surprised and flattered. I felt like I had just arrived and I already got an award. It was just really cool. It helped to jump start my career in a way that people started taking me seriously for lead roles. It was really special. I was just so grateful to receive it.
PopHorror: Are there any actors or actresses that you look to for inspiration?
Nadia Alexander: Oooh… Good Question. I have always been fascinated with what I like to call “chameleon actors.” They are actors who meld into whatever role they are playing and have quite a lot of versatility and skill. This allows them to transform to make their roles so believable and inspiring. Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black did it all in just one show. She is a total badass. I aspire to be like this.
PopHorror: What would you say is your favorite scene from your film, The Dark (2018)?
Nadia Alexander: It was a really challenging shoot. I would say my favorite scenes were anytime that I was with Toby Nichols (Iron Fist 2017). He plays Alex. He had a very difficult job to be blind on set for 10 hours a day, but he has such a great energy and is easy to work with. He is the same age as my little brother and reminds me so much of him. It was like getting to do a movie with my kid brother. I think it’s great to have those bonding moments that you get to see in the film. It was precious and special to do those. I have fond memories of those scenes.
PopHorror: What made you interested in the role of Mina?
Nadia Alexander: It was because I had never read a character that was so unique for a young actress my age to play. There is a bit of narrative for the types of roles for younger female actors to play. Women are supposed to be gentle, soft, sweet, and nurturing. Those traits that are associated with femininity. What was great about Mina is she was none of those things. She was feral and a monster who would rip out people’s throats. I found this role so empowering and interesting.
PopHorror: Do you have any interesting stories from filming The Dark (2018)?
Nadia Alexander: Mina’s whole look. You know, being a zombie really led to some interesting stories. Probably my favorite one was from the very last day of shooting. We had to film the scene in which Mina is murdered, buried, and comes back to life. They put so much fake blood and dirt all over my body and face. It was almost impossible to take off the prosthetic I was wearing because I was just too dirty. They said to leave it on and just go shower back at the hotel and then we will be able to peel off the prosthetic. We ended up wrapping up at 4 am, and I’m covered, head to toe, in fake blood and dirt. My face is caved in from the prosthetic. I walked in the door of the hotel and thought, “Please don’t let anyone be in the lobby at this hour!” I walked in and it was, like, totally empty. I walked quickly to the elevator. Just as I was about to reach it, the night desk manager opened his office door and made this kind of feral, horrified noise. The noise he made still haunts me until this day. I quickly explained it was for a movie, and I was not mauled by a grizzly bear. I think this was his horror movie come to life. I felt so bad for him. I hope he is okay.
PopHorror: That poor guy! Do you have anything else in the works for you professionally that you would like to mention?
Nadia Alexander: I have guest star appearances on Instincts (TV series) and Blue Bloods (TV series) coming up. I have also been working as a professional writer over this past year and just sold a miniseries that I am co-writing to a studio in Los Angeles. It has been really interesting and empowering to write my own stuff, even if I am not going to be in it.
PopHorror: What is your favorite scary movie?
Nadia Alexander: I am a total wimp. I am such a wimp, so I can’t go see any. I can’t go to haunted houses. I am terrified of clowns. I don’t do well with the scary. Probably the closest thing to that genre that I can watch – that I like – would be Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). I need something where I can close my eyes during the scarier parts.
We want to thank Nadia Alexander for taking the time to speak with us. The Dark is now available (October 26) in Theaters and VOD. Stay tuned to PopHorror for more news on this talented actress, as well as all of your horror news, reviews, and interviews!