I recently had the pleasure of getting to talk to Actress, Ali Liebert. Her most recent role is Nikki Bolton on Harper’s Island, which premieres tonight at 10pm on CBS. My chat with her made me even more excited about this very much anticipated show, so I hope that you enjoy this just as much as I did.
How did you get the role for Nikki Bolton?
I auditioned in Vancouver and didn’t find out that I got the role for a couple of months. I am from Vancouver so when I got the role I came back up there and it was all really exciting.
Tell me more about your character, Nikki Bolton.
She is from Harper’s Island, a small island off the coast of Seattle. She is the brassy bar tender. She is really sarcastic and fun. She is the good friend of Abby (Elaine Cassidy), the lead of the show. They have been friends since high school but Abby has been gone for about 6/7 years. Everyone comes back to the island, so it is a great reunion for Abby and Nikki.
How would you describe the show? Some are saying it is like a reality game show and other say it a slasher/thriller.
I heard someone say that it is like a 13 hour movie. That is pretty true. I would say that it is a 13 hour murder mystery event. I felt like I was in a reality show because we didn’t know when we were going to die.
What is your favorite and least favorite part about filming Harper’s Island?
I would say the job insecurity. At first I was a bit stressed about that but I learned to have fun with it and it was awesome.
Have there been a lot of re-writes?
You know, I don’t know. That is the part of it where as an actor, I think, “Well, if I act wonderful they will keep me around” but they told everyone that they had an outline so do not take it personally when it is your time to go. It is quite a large cast. There are about 25 regular cast members and basically everyone dies. So everyone had to accept that dying was part of the job.
Did you and other cast members already know who the killer was in the beginning or you each found out when you were going to die?
Well…umm…we are under strict orders not to give anything away about the plot but we didn’t know anything. We didn’t know if we were the killer or who would be the killer. It was really exciting. On set, there were pools for who do you think the killer is or who would go next. We would have fun with it so we weren’t so serious when we died.
Which actors did you work the most with?
I worked with Elaine Cassidy the most and Ben Cotton. He played one of those from the island.
Throughout the show, is it very divided among the wedding guests and the Island natives?
In the beginning, but when stuff starts to go wrong…around episode 5/6 it becomes mayhem. The tone of the show totally changes. The first few episodes are so beautiful and carefree, magic is in the air but then it changes.
What islands have you visited and did you experience anything out of the ordinary on any of those trips?
(laughs) Well I visited Jamaica for Christmas. The roads there…sometimes there is not even room for 2 cars so you have to slam on the brakes so you don’t get in an accident. That was exciting. All that comes to mind though is Jamaica.
Any islands you would like to visit?
I would definitely go back to the Caribbean again. I am from Vancouver Island. It is beautiful. There are a ton of Gulf Islands too that I try to go to during the summer. I don’t have a lot of great Island stories.
I would like to go to Maui. That is definitely on my to do list.
Tell me about your upcoming projects.
I have a movie called, Year of the Carnivore. It is a Canadian feature film. I believe it will be going into the Toronto Film Festival. It is written and directed by Sook-Yin Lee. I play a lead in that film. It is a really funny script. It is about a girl who takes a year to get more sexual experiences. We work at a supermarket and I play Sylvia, sort of her sexual guidance counselor if you will. My character is really blunt and fantastic.
Out of all of your credits, which role did you need to do the most research on?
On Kyle XY I played a 21 year old science genius, so I had to do a bit of research on the stuff that we were talking about on the show. I would love to do a film where you had to learn a physical skill, like horseback riding or some other sport.
Out of all of your credits, which role did has been the most like you and the least like you?
Nikki on Harper’s Island is pretty close to me. I can be pretty sarcastic and I try to crack jokes with my friends. She might be a little more outgoing than me. I think probably Sylvia in Carnivore is the least like me. She is so upfront and doesn’t really care. I am not as brave as her. She tells it like it is.
What was your favorite class to take at The Canadian College of Performing Arts?
I was not a dancer at all before I went there so that was exciting to me. I love tap. We also had one on camera class and I had never even considered TV or film before but I had a teacher that really encouraged me.
Would you consider theatre in the future on or off Broadway?
I would love that! There are also so many movie musicals, so either or. I haven’t done a play in about 4 years.
Do you have a role that you would love to play?
I have always liked the role of Roxie Hart in Chicago. I would also like to play Charity in Sweet Charity.
What has been the most odd job that you have ever had?
Oh my God, I have had so many jobs. I sold hot dogs at Orange Julius. I have been a waitress, bartender, barista, makeup artist, sold clothes, worked at a drug store, etc… Only the last few years have I been supporting myself as an actress. Working late at a drug store, that is when you see some interesting things.
You said makeup artist, so are you still interested in that?
I could do that but not on set. I am a beauty school dropout. I just went so I could make sure that I knew what I was doing.
How would you say you like LA?
I like it a lot better now. Last year, I was a bit overwhelmed. Vancouver is so small and I am also not a really great driver. Last year, I was living with my friend, Cory Monteith who is on Glee now.
I interviewed him not too long ago!
Oh you did! That is so funny. He is one of my best friends. We had this deal because he hates doing the dishes so I did the dishes and paid for the gas and he would drive me to all of my auditions. That got tiring for both of us so this year I am actually driving. You just have to find places that you like and feel at home. You can definitely isolate yourself here so you really have to get out there.
So you have been living in LA for almost 2 years?
Well no, I have been working in Vancouver but I came to LA for a few months last year before Harper started.
Last but certainly not least…what would you like to do by your next milestone birthday?
I would like to be in NY. I would like to have traveled more. I would love to go to London again. I love the Theatre district in London. I would also like to go to Ireland.
Harper’s Island will air Thursday April 9, 2009 – July 2, 2009 at 10pm on CBS.