Alysia can be seen in the hilarious award winning film, Sideways (Fox Searchlight Pictures). It is the latest project by Alexander Payne who co-wrote and directs this comedy which stars Paul Giamatti, Thomas Hayden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh. Alysia plays the pivotal role of the fiancé as the story revolves around the main character's attempt to make up his mind as to whether he should marry or not. (Although, after knowing Alysia, it be would hard to understand why anyone would hesitate to say, "yes!")
When it comes to feature films, Alysia has recently had quite a run. She stars as the lead in the new film 3 Body Problem (recently screened at the Ojai and Arrowhead Film Festivals), by award winning director Tamara Maloney, and recently completed A-List, with Sally Kirkland and Bitty Schram. Alysia has also appeared in such projects as: Kissing Jessica Stein, For Love of the Game with Kevin Costner, Row Your Boat with John Bon Jovi, Hourly Rates and The Stand In.
Alysia and her husband, actor and producer David Alan Basche, are truly a bicoastal couple. Each has several projects they have done independently on each end of the country.
Recently, however, they have launched a production company together. They call it "2 Wonder Full To Be Limited." The company's first film will be Healers Hand, a dark comic thriller, and the second film will be Tucumcari. Alysia will play the lead in both.
And, as a celebrity model for Rachel Abroms jewelry and handbag lines, Alysia continues to be a busy young woman. Her address is Alysiareiner.com
inmag.com recently caught up with her in Los Angeles.
How did you land the role in Sideways?
It's almost embarrassing but.... a friend e-mailed me about the casting, so I didn't have any details about the project. I thought it was some tiny indie film, and decided to submit myself directly. I went in and auditioned, and then promptly forgot about it (as we try to do - but don't always succeed). Then I went to NYC to shoot Law & Order: Criminal Intent. When I returned to L.A., there was a message from casting, telling me the director
really wanted to meet me. Now remember, I know nada about this project, which I explained to the casting director. I asked if he could tell me what the director had last worked on. There was a very long pause before the assistant said, "Uhh... About Schmidt?" So I said, "What time should I be there?"
You've done film, TV and theatre. Do you prefer one over the others?
Nope. One of the things I love about being an actor is switching mediums all the time. Every movie, TV show and play is different. Every set is different, every crew, every location, every director, every fellow actor, every audience, if it is theater...even a 20 seat theater is so different than a 1,500 seat one. Each experience is so unique. It is so magical and collaborative, sometimes painful, but mostly awesome.
Does each medium demand a different type of acting?
Yes and no. In all forms you have to simultaneously, and absolutely, forget you are being watched, and delve deep into the moment and the other person(s) you are performing with. And yet, on some level, you must be aware of the audience or the camera, and being seen or heard, which alters greatly depending on the medium. Someone told me once that Lawrence Olivier likened it to a kind of switchboard in your brain.
What has been your favorite role to date?
That's a tough one. One of my first real jobs was a one-woman biographical piece about Virginia Woolf at the Edinburgh Festival. That was an amazing challenge and role, I got a lot of kudos for it. It was an incredible experience. But I think I would have to say that my absolute favorite role to date was a character named 'Lil' in a play I did called Tucumcari. It was just me and two men. What could be bad abut that?
What would be your dream role?
There are so many. I think for today it's to play Lil in the movie of Tucumcari. I loved the play so much that I asked the writer, Riley Steiner, to write the screenplay. We worked together a bit to open up the stage structure to allow a film camera to capture all she had created. She did an awesome job. My husband and I are planning on producing it as our next project after Healers Hand.
You and your husband are both actors. What are the pluses and minuses of being married to someone in the same field?
Okay, I will start by saying I swore I would never marry - heck, even date - an actor, and I wouldn't marry young. Well, we plan, God laughs. Now I can't imagine my life any other way. Pluses? He gets it. He knows the nuance of this sometimes crazy life because he has been there, like when you are pouring your heart out at an audition and a producer's cell phone rings and - he takes the call! Minuses? When we're working on separate coasts or in different places on the globe and don't get to see each other. We try to have a 'two week rule,' which is: we never go longer than two weeks without one of us visiting.
What made you decide to branch into production?
Like many actors, I always planned that when I became a mega-star household name, I would have a shingle at a studio or something. And then my Dad died two years ago. He was very young (early 50's) and vibrant, and was gone in 10 days from cancer. It was a huge shock, so I decided that you can't wait for anything. He had also started to produce films in the last few years before his death and wanted to do so much more. So my husband and I decided to start looking for material and kind of produce in his honor. My entertainment lawyer sent us this amazing script that we absolutely flipped over. It's a dark comic thriller called Healers Hand. We're hoping to begin shooting this spring. So here we are trying our hand at producing. It's very exciting. It's a whole new world.
What if you weren't an actress?
If I weren't an actress I think my dream job would be a private detective. Just because I'm so curious, I actually went to the FBI job recruitment website recently.
So... Alysia the FBI agent?
You never know.
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