7th June 2023
Award Winning Actress Alysia Reiner recently adopted the role of #DODC Agent Sadie Deever in the much anticipated and critically acclaimed Disney+/Marvel TV series, "Ms. Marvel". Fans of Reiner might be familiar with her portrayal as "Fig" on the extremely successful series "Orange Is the New Black", for which she was also awarded a SAG AWARD.
But acting isn't the sole passion Reiner is seen to be possessing. Besides being a phenomenal actor, Reiner's interest also branched out to producing projects. "Equity" being one of Reiner's first ever feature as both actress and producer proved her versatility as an actor and her potential as an extremely dedicated producer.
Reiner can be witnessed in several other critically acclaimed and award winning films and shows, working with extremely well established creatives like "Sideways" director Alexander Payne, Jodie Foster, Richard Loncraine, Matt Weiner, and of course Jenji Kohan and Pamela Adlon.
We recently had a conversation with our latest cover star- the wonderful Alysia Reiner talking everything from her involvement in Ms. Marvel to some other significant insights into her professional journey.
Hello there Alysia. So lovely to have you over at ReVamp! How are you doing? How's 2023 been for you so far?
Well, its been a super exciting week - a film I did “THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED” just got into Cannes, and I was just offered a fun thriller/horror film…so...2023? So far, so good!
Before delving into your phenomenal acting journey, I'd love to know what it was really that brought you closer to the field of entertainment? Was it something that you wanted to pursue from an early stage of your life or did this field spark your interest during a later phase?
I always wanted to act, but didn’t have the guts to commit to it as my career, then I had a massive cancer scare at 19 and realized "what I am I waiting for?!" I then started living by my mantra ‘don’t wait, create!’ and suddenly, a career was born.
You are obviously known for your SAG AWARD WINNING portrayal as 'Fig' in "Orange Is The New Black" but besides that you have also been involved in award winning ‘Better Things', 'Ms. Marvel' and many other wonderful projects playing a range of diverse characters. Which character would you say has been the one that resonates with your real self the most?
Like moms always say about their children - I refuse to pick favorites. I love them all equally, and each of them has taught me and helped me grow in unique ways.
In a recent interview you mentioned that you're a much more spiritual and laid back person contrary to some of the characters that you have been witnessed embodying throughout your journey. So, I wonder, how do you usually immerse yourself in such characters and their distinct personalities before going in front of the camera? Do you possess any acting ritual that help you successfully get into their mindsets?
Each character speaks to me in a different way and asks for different preparation, and it’s my job to listen. I ask the character I am creating what it needs from me to best serve the story, and I work to follow and not limit whatever that may be. Listening is such a huge part of acting, and life - it's a very symbiotic relationship.
Some start with a gesture, some will be writing - I will start a journal for them, some are about research - interviewing, following, or spending days with people who have the same career or characteristics as the character in real life. For some, it's a vocal quality or specific clothing/costume piece. For others, it's makeup, a prop, a physical tick, etc.
Ms. Marvel is one of the most prominent series within the contemporary television landscape featuring such a diverse and empowering cast. I'd love to know what was your experience like working with the talented cast and crew affiliated with the series? Did you have any memorable moments from working on this show?
I love our Ms. Marvel family so much. All the actors are incredible, lead by the EXTRAORDINARY Ms. Marvel herself Iman Vellani, and Sana Amanat who created the show is THE BEST. So many amazing women behind this show. I feel blessed beyond measure. I am so hoping we get to do more soon….We had almost 3 weeks of overnight shoots while shooting the special effects & night scenes, so that was a very bonding experience. All of us getting tattooed together (check my gram! https://www.instagram.com/reel/CgnAI9zAmnD/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link) was definitely a highlight! Bonded for life!
What were your initial impressions of 'Agent Deever' like when you were first offered the script and what was it really that made you say yes to being involved with Ms. Marvel?
When I was first offered the job they wouldn’t share the script until I signed the contract. But I knew I wanted to be part of the storytelling, the Marvel world, and the first ever FEMALE MUSLIM SUPER HERO SHOW!!
Besides acting, you have also stepped into the field of producing and filmmaking. How has your experience been like producing and getting a bigger creative control over your own projects?
I LOVE IT! I love hiring more women, I love empowering other artists, I love creating more female, diverse and LGBTQ+ characters, I love creating opportunity for others artists. And it's A BOAT LOAD of hard work - a lot of problem solving and managing and uplifting others, and a lot of service to stories. For me, it’s about getting ego out of the way and asking: how do I help tell this story the best way I can? It makes acting feel like a breeze.
What's next for you, Alysia? Any upcoming projects you're currently working on?
As I mentioned I am headed to Kentucky to shoot a film, possibly Cannes for the other premiere, doing pick ups for another film I did last summer called 0 HORIZON - it's so so good. And then going to Bentonville Film festival for another film I did, (love Geena Davis so much!) and SeriesFest to celebrate some of the amazing series' I was blessed to spend 7 (OITNB) & 5 (Better Things) years on, and hopefully fitting in a few days' retreat with my chorus https://www.resistancerevivalchorus.com/ before I head to fire island where I am a volunteer fire fighter (!) Its a busy time but I love it. Oh, and Season 2 of Shining Vale will be on STARZ in the Fall.
(Thank you for taking out your time for this interview, Alysia!) Lastly, I'd love to know if there's any message you wish to convey to your fans reading this interview currently?
Keep asking yourself what are you afraid of….then go do it! Those things have been the most rewarding for me, from being a mom to being a fire fighter - you are never too old, too late, not enough; its always the perfect time. To quote Georgia O’Keefe:“I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”