Everyone in this movie, from small cameos to big roles, may be famous, but none with the exception of one person are professional actors, yet we all wanted to make a movie with every inch of our hearts. The feeling is mutual, and one of, We’re going to make a movie as if we are the first people ever making a movie.
Nicole you are the female Quentin Tarantino. Your first movie has famous people acting in it. You’re a self learned movie director that uses a strange plot and makes it look good. Is this a compliment to you? Do you have more in common?
Whoa! OK. Clapping in my house as I write the reply. I’ll take any comparison to any modern successful person as a compliment! Him or anyone. Well, OK, let’s answer this. Beyond the fact neither of us went to film school and learned with precision all this stuff plainly by watching movies since we were kids, I am fairly certain I saw him modeling in a hair magazine or two, as I have, right? He’s this twentysomething girl off doing movies after a life long curiosity and doing modeling and journalism and all this…stuff to get into filmmaking? Haha!
OK, joking aside, yeah, what about us? Hmmm. I have that in common with him, I guess, the drive. I suppose what I do have in common is on his first movies, he made himself get out there so much with passion in promoting himself and his work, he was kind of inseparable from his work. You know him when you see his movies. And I hope people when they see my first movie when it comes out, and my eventual progression from this very unusual and humorous parody for kids into doing both animated films and live action, is that they get to have a little sense of me with my work. Because if you don’t have some part of your personality in your work, it won’t be that good. And, like him, I heavily promote my movie during the process and afterwards, which I’m assuming he did if he went from obscurity to being an it boy right away when he was in the 90’s.
What is different about us? OK, if I may be honest, he has a lot of haters. I’m not sure if I would like half of cinema fans hating on my movies while the other half were to pronounce me this amazing person. May we get this out of the way first? The other thing is as cynical as I can be, my movies now and in the future will always include snark and whatnot. Still, they will probably always have a more positive outlook on life in general than his work. Which is not to say I don’t value his movies or any other movie director’s. It’s, if I would compare myself assuming this is the case, I’d say I’m more like his little teen sister, who she too makes stuff that technically doesn’t fall into any one genre, but her movies don’t look like his simply because they aren’t of one genre, and she’s at once the sweetest girl who you’ll ever meet and the smartest, meanest girl you will ever meet if you scorn her.
How did you get famous people in your movie?
Everyone in this movie, from small cameos to big roles, may be famous, but none with the exception of one person are professional actors, yet we all wanted to make a movie with every inch of our hearts. The feeling is mutual, and one of, “We’re going to make a movie as if we are the first people ever making a movie.”
They also happen to be very kind people who I find fascinating. My rule was I wasn’t going to ask anyone to be in my movie I didn’t find amazing. I’m in awe of them. Have to be. And this goes for our girl who isn’t famous and does possibly the funniest voiceover role ever in our Lord of the Rings parody scene. She’s as funny as the cameos Mara Marini did, our only real actress. Seriously, the day I can, I’m going to cast Mara in so much and pay her generously like I’m Uncle Pennybags from Monopoly. She’s so good at acting!
Fame is a weird thing with how people judge it. Who defines people famous now, anyway? Kim Kardashian? Because she’s more famous to many people than a true hero like Branko Lustig, this multiple Best Picture winning gentleman who’s the real life Maximus Decimus Meridius. Look him up. He’s one of the producers of Gladiator, my favorite movie. The story in Gladiator mirrors a lot of his actual story during the Holocaust and rising up to win an Oscar oh, years, maybe a decade before he won another for Gladiator. When I found out the real story partially behind Gladiator, I was so amazed and didn’t have any words because I had already been moved by the whole story to begin with. Much like finding out that fairy tales are real…and you always get a happy ending in them! He and other old people, like the elderly actress from Titanic too, totally inspire me. These people who give us younger people no excuses of why we aren’t pursuing our dreams. That old lady was an Oscar nominee! Why aren’t you? Mr. Lustig was like that actress, only he overcame more obstacles: the worst event in modern history! Why aren’t you a Best Picture winner yet? Exactly!
But yeah, we have some pretty famous celebrity chefs in our movie, including David Adjey from Food Network, who I just totally admire as a businessman where, “Oh my goodness! I want to be him!” pops in my head. And the coolest TV reporter ever. His work is so good. I’ve been disillusioned by so much of journalism lately thriving on viral videos and very little reporting. He really does his job like an old fashioned newsman. People really need to read up more on all the people in this movie. The Eyes of Old Texas has the best cast ever! Each person has a bit of that “I would love to be them for one hour at work!” to me. And you don’t have to be a professional actor yet to be a good actor. I hope all these people go on to get more film work because of this movie.
Who has inspired you in your life and why? Growing up did you love any movie director?
As far as in general, I don’t have one particular person to name, including movie directors. I’m inspired by many people I read about in the media as business leaders, whether it’s Rupert Murdoch, female Hollywood celebrities becoming entrepreneurs like Reese Witherspoon, movie directors I love, a college professor I had who owns so many businesses including a large part of a national chain, people in politics, absolutely anyone.
I feel we can learn so much from people who are absolutely nothing like us because we all share the same end goals for our businesses and careers when you think about it.
And, I’ll say too, you don’t have to agree with someone’s politics to love them as a person. I love Donald Trump as a businessman. This doesn’t mean I back everything he’s ever said about other people while running as a 2016 presidential candidate. I happen to love what he’s done for making a name for himself when he could’ve done anything else in life and how he transfers that work ethic onto his children. So many examples of people. We can gain from all of them.
I’m influenced by everyone. The first thing people say is, “I love Steven Spielberg!” because every person who ever makes movies or wants to make movies gets introduced to his work first. How can you not? His work is everywhere on TV plastered like…”If you don’t watch Jaws, you will die. A shark will come out of this screen and eat you. Jaws is required viewing!” Of course, yeah, I love Steven Spielberg and his endless influence on everything we do today, though he’s not the only guy out there making movies – and people need to get out there more and learn more and do the “and, and and!” of learning more about movies, whether you want to make movies or be a spectator.
I love, love, love Walt Disney for how he made cartoons relatable to adults. During the Depression and later as we went into WWII, a lot of people watched his movies to escape their real life poverty. He brought happiness to people in hard times. If my legacy can be anywhere up there with reinventing animation like Walt Disney in addition to my live action movies, I would be overjoyed.
I love Pedro Almodovar, because none of his work applies to any genre. He makes whatever he pleases. Also, I love how he loves women so much in his movies to where he’s inspired by them. I am a lot like that with my love for men as mentors and role models as opposed to strictly sexually. I adore men the way many artistes adore women. Compare this to Sex and the City or any mainstream female driven show or movie out, where it’s all about the sex or wanting to date men. I want to make, once I move into live action, movies that may include my devotion and worship of men for the sake they are the most amazing individuals ever. And yes, I want to include men romantically, but that won’t be the entire thing, nor will every male character represent sexuality. Women need to have relationships with men that don’t revolve around sex for once. Right now, the only time women in film interact with men is if they want to have sex or marry them. Hardly anyone represents a teacher or mentor. Or someone who’s a BFF. The last movie I can think that really did a good job and had outstanding acting on his end was George Lopez in Real Women Have Curves as her high school teacher, pushing America Ferrera’s character, “You need to go to college!” His character to me is the ideal relationship we need to start teaching young women so we stop having further generations growing up with the mentality, “You only talk to guys when you want to date them, and if you don’t hang out with women exclusively, there’s something wrong with you.” This doesn’t mean you cannot find men sexually interesting. Of course! But we need more positivity in our movies.
Hayao Miyazaki! Of course, this gentleman. He makes the most out there animation possible. My great uncle, one of my amazing great uncles, happened to marry the loveliest lady from Okinawa. I grew up going over to their house in Illinois. She, my great aunt, had me interested in Japanese culture, food, and language at a young age. As an adult, I’ve had to refresh myself quite a bit. Language is one of those difficulties for me. I’m not like those kids who are two years old and fluent in 50 languages playing “The Imperial March” on the piano from memory. I work at my skills like any person does. Anyway, my great aunt used to give me Mr. Miyazaki’s movies as gifts, my first ever being Tonari No Totoro, the actual Japanese VHS version of what we in America call My Neighbor Totoro. His animation style is so special. I love kawaii animation and art in general, and Japanese art and all its colors. Though Mr. Miyazaki’s films are one of a kind, amazing, incredible, once in a lifetime movies for anyone. And all this without them being in CGI like How to Train Your Dragon.
I’ll look at a guy like Ridley Scott and think he is the most awesome person who ever lived at times for the sole fact he made my favorite movie, Gladiator, and because he continues being inspired to this day to work when he could easily quit.
I love any man out there making action movies. ANY! I really was a big fan especially of Mad Max: Fury Road by the movie director George Miller. I loved how they made Charlize Theron this gorgeous, strong woman who doesn’t dumb down herself, hide her beauty to be strong, worry about relationships, etc. She’s like the guy characters and rightfully so in the movie. You can replace her with a guy and not have to change the lines at all. How many movies out now can you replace the male lead with a woman and not have to really change the character? Few!
Adam Rifkin, because he did Small Soldiers and Detroit Rock City, two movies that are so different and so unique. Any person who has an inner teen rebel within his or her soul needs to watch Detroit Rock City. The high school boys in that are simply so funny. I have a lot of that in me despite me not being someone from that time period going to a KISS concert.
And…OK! So on! I can go on and on here. With me, I don’t take inspiration from one person or set out trying to replicate someone as you set yourself up for a disaster when you copy something. By the time your movie gets out, due to how long making a movie takes, your movie will no longer be relevant to people. And worse if your movie copies a copy. Rather, I want to be happy with whatever I’m doing and hope for the best.
The most fun is when you meet a movie director or producer whose work you actually like and don’t have to pretend, “Oh yeah, I loved this movie. (NOT)” as I might if I met someone who’s, oh, making horrible chick flicks.
The weird thing about me is when I’ve been introduced to people by others, or happened to meet someone somehow, I don’t ramble off about their movies like you think I would as a film fan myself. Halfway, the conversation leads to stuff like really good Chinese restaurants they like, how some guy went and bought jeans today, or absolute weirdness because I forget in the middle of our conversation who I’m talking with and start treating them like a normal person I’ve known for decades. I’m not your typical film nerd in that respect.
But alas, it doesn’t help that I love food. As do most movie industry men. Actually, men in general love food. And as a girl who eats and is not on some starvation diet, and I enjoy food the most I can in a healthy demeanor sans sugar, and no alcohol unless it’s the occasional special treat, I’ve learned any man I ever meet wants to talk about food or junk food they’re enjoying as “breakfast.” Cheetos, beer, Twizzlers, and old pizza are the new breakfast item, apparently! I dare you to poll men everywhere after this interview!
What is your greatest achievement so far?
Other than graduating very young when I was a teenager from the University of Texas at Austin, as everyone tells me I should value college as an achievement and more so doing it at a really young age, I get excited about several moments in my life.
Publishing my first cookbook in 2010, which was eventually re-edited and re-released as The Comeback Cookbook, because that ensured everyone knew I loved food and want to one day make food a big part of my personal brand.
After that, the biggest moment was embarking on the journey of finally getting to call myself a movie director and a classical music/film score composer with The Eyes of Old Texas, our first movie. This movie is, for anyone who wants to read up about it on my social media and website, a very long film for short film standards. We call it an “epic short film” for this reason. And, the movie is a straight up parody of Hollywood films and filmmaking styles, from past to present, which is where I think you got the Quentin Tarantino idea from. I’d compare it to say, South Park for kids. We treat kids like they are smart enough to laugh at the jokes and silliness, though there are of course, no bad words. We have a positive theme of how important it is not to place your life’s influence on non-talent based reality TV. Everything is very relevant to what kids are going through now. And like Mr. Almodovar, the movie doesn’t have any one type of genre. It’s everything and nothing at once, a genre of its own, in animation, I’ve invented, haha. This crazy world where nothing has rules at all. We differ a lot from Shrek in this way! Shrek is funny and somewhat a parody, but it’s also very strict to the animated movie universe of where XYZ needs to happen in sequence. Our character, Rupert “Bird Beak” Crow, jokes, “I don’t play by the rules!” Nor do I or my co-executive producer, Mr. Brian Tsao, in making the movie!
What do you want your next achievements to be?
Once my personal brand is more established as a film director, I want to make women’s products, such as a makeup line that actually doesn’t have junk in it as many do when you see the real ingredients, like animal sperm, fat from all sorts of animals, bugs, scales, feathers, and so on. Expensive and truly luxurious beauty products should not have these ingredients. We have the worst stuff no one would eat on the dinner table, and we pay outrageous amounts of money for it at the department stores! I’m big on things that blend science and art. I don’t know where this voice is in my head telling me metaphorically, “You have to design shoes that don’t fall apart. You need to do a makeup line. You need to do this in fashion and that in beauty!” because I’m really a girl who always wanted to make movies and do classical music I compose in my film scores.
However, probably because I’ve had to all my life wear the “costume” that goes along with being “beautiful,” I see how so much of what we as female consumers are forced to purchase is of inferior quality. I want shoes I can walk in that are actual heels, look good and classy for any situation, and do not fall apart after one city block. I want makeup that doesn’t’ contain stuff worthy of a landfill for huge prices. Underwear that actually lifts your cleavage as promised and makes you look curvy without having to add chicken cutlets everywhere.
Boots that are suede and sexy but maybe made of lab grown leather too if I can’t get my hands on a really good synthetic one as Stella McCartney has that market covered. I don’t want to downright copy her work, and the science nerd in me who loved science classes when I was 13 wonders so much about lab grown leather and the possibilities. If ever you have seen real leather, it’s so gross, not a single fashionista who loves her hamburgers would ever wear a leather purse again. The cow carcass is taken off the bones. You get mailed this boneless, headless cow or sheep or whatever, this farm animal. The hair is still all over it. The blood, or remnants of it, are all over the back of the de-boned cow remains. You have to remove all this junk off and sew. I saw this when years ago I on a whim wondered what I could do designing stuff and wondering about ordering the leather myself. I was really grossed out. Much like when people for years used to tell me about what people they knew back in Asia at factories put in the makeup that the press doesn’t always cover.
Fashion is necessary if you want to be successful in life, whether you’re a self confessed dork as I am, or someone who lives and breathes for it. Where this Coco Chanel in me is coming from, this desire to make stuff, I have no idea, but one day, and daily after that, my mind kept getting strange urges to want to take on these things and truly change things for women so we don’t have to deal so much with men who don’t understand nor care as they don’t use the wardrobe stuff and beauty wares. There are exceptions like Michael Kors and Tadashi Shoji, both men who really love women of all types and want quality and beauty in their work, and Stella McCartney who really makes the most beautiful handbags I have ever seen and I am proud to own, but for the most part, you’re dealing with men who don’t care about the quality or ethics of their products. In the press, a famous shoe designer is always on the record that he knows his shoes fall apart, but they aren’t meant for walking! Well, shut up. When you buy expensive shoes for beauty, I always expect them to be functional too.
And as I said, science needs to lead us to where we no longer have to be barbaric in our methods to get nice fabrics. Or meat, for that matter. I’d love to see restaurants selling lab grown meat so we don’t have to be cave people at this point in humanity’s advancements. We could make the meat healthier, remove any cancerous cells from it as I always fear cancer can come from people eating meat with pre-cancerous cells in it, marble the steak perfectly, remove the fat to the right percentages, and do all kinds of cool science to it to enhance flavor and so on! Think of the advancements we could also make for culinary folks at the same time as we concentrate on the fashion aspect!
When will you finish your movie?
Not sure. Definitely this year. The original goal was earlier, but Heath Broom, one of our associate producers, randomly decided to film all these new locales in South America and convinced us on the importance of it. Someone really needs to hire that guy. Not only me for my future film work, but for any films out in Australia. He is such a genius at this without ever having made a movie before. Each and every one of us is bringing the best of our game to this movie. I want people to take that away, if they watch our movie when it’s out at festivals and theaters if it is, and so on, if they don’t find the perfection in it, that they find it to be the most unusual, funniest, craziest, most full of heart movie they’ve seen with honesty made in years by a group of people who’s never except for one made movies before. Because usually, people on their first movies don’t freak out over every detail as we do. All of us are thinking about this movie all day, every day. It’s all we ever talk about to people!
Do you have any tips for our readers that are trying to break in the industry?
I get a lot of questions about this. So many that I created an FAQ on my website, officialnicole.com! Go log on there and see if I answered your question that’s probably on your mind.