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Getty Images Lorraine Nicholson’s making waves in the movie biz — and at least attempted to ride them in her Jack Nicholson, plays a pro surfer in the movie and we caught up with her to talk about filming (“intense”), her signature style (Grace Kelly meets Elvis), and what it’s like to sit courtside at Laker games (“ah-may-zing”). Tell us a bit about Soul Surfer and how you prepared for the role.
Lorriane Nicholson: is a biopic about Bethany Hamilton, a young girl who lost her arm by a shark attack, but proceeded to become a professional surfer despite that fact. I play her best friend Alana [Blanchard] who was on site at the attack and is also herself a world class surfer today. Alana does my surfing in the movie and we look alike, so that’s very lucky. It makes me look very good, even though, sadly for me, it’s not me surfing in the movie. We did train about a month and a half before we started production, AnnaSophia [Robb] and I did, and learned how to surf ourselves so we could do some of the scenes at least. And that was a really intense, really fun experience for us to share.
Had you ever surfed before? I tried it once on vacation but that hardly counts compared to all of my training. Did you have a relationship with Alana while you were filming? Alana was on the circuit for most of the time while we shot… we did get to spend some time together. That was really important to be me because I really wanted to try to capture who she was in playing her, so we did spend some time together. When you’re not working on a movie, what’s it like to be at Brown University? I live in Providence, Rhode Island. I’m going to school and getting my degree in literary arts — a combination of creative writing and literary theory.
Where do you see your career going after graduation?
I love to act and l also hope to one day write and direct and create my own projects. I feel that in the film industry, especially as a woman, it’s really important to make your own luck — and create projects to give other people really strong opportunities as well as yourself. What’s your dream role? I would really like to do a period piece one day. I really love history… I’ve taken lots of history courses. Every time I read about a historical figure I feel like their personalities will contribute to all of my roles in the future, or at least I hope.
But, before all that, you’re turning 21! Do you have big blowout plans?
Well, at Brown they have this thing called Spring Weekend where they turn the school into a huge concert festival that very weekend, so I think P. Diddy is going to be performing at my school. There’s already a party set up without me having to do anything. It’s very easy, not a lot of planning involved. Let’s talk style. How would you describe your look? I always say that my style icons are a combination of Grace Kelly and Elvis. Would you elaborate on that? I like really classic silhouettes but at the same time I like to mix it up with more rock ‘n roll kind of pieces. I have obviously the standard black, vintage combat boot idea — but today I was wearing a safari hat and heart-shaped glasses, so it really just depends on the mood. So, you don’t have any rhinestone body suits? No, I wish. I would totally wear that a lot. Sounds like a good thing for your birthday list then! That would be amazing! I am very excited I just bought a red cape at a vintage shop. So that’s a very exciting new piece. Along with a red cape, of course, what are three things every woman should have in her closet? A vintage floral dress, a chain link purse, and a pair of combat boots. What’s your most treasured item in your closet? That’s a tough one. I have this really beautiful vintage Indian necklace that my dad gave me with little pearls and green stones and a little vintage clasp that I really treasure and wear a lot.
We’re betting you get a lot of questions about being Jack Nicholson’s daughter. What do you get asked the most?
Well, people usually ask me what it’s like sitting at the Laker games. Obviously ah-may-zing. He’s a pretty mysterious character, so i think there’s a pretty high level of curiosity about who he is.
What was it like working with him in your first movie role — in Something’s Gotta Give?
I was actually more of an extra. I was on the Tonight Show last night and they made this joke: They found the one frame that I’m in where I whizzed across the screen for like a nanosecond. But, working with my dad is obviously incredible. I watched him work my entire life, and that’s obviously a lot of the reason why I wanted to go into acting — just seeing his artistic process and watching him on set, and what you’re capable of creating as an actor has really inspired me. It’s pretty cool having a family business like that.
Besides your dad, who’s your idol?
Katherine Hepburn. I’m such a fan of hers. When I was in high school we had this thing called the Mentor Project, in which we sort of had to watch all the actors’ work and perform one of their most famous monologues, and I chose her. I’m a huge, huge fan and admirer of hers.
And, your favorite movie?
That’s a hard one. I like all different kinds of movies, but i’d have to say Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean and Natalie Wood. I love that movie. I remember I saw it on the big screen when I was probably 13 in Santa Monica, and it was probably one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had.
What are your thoughts on fame?
My dad has always told my brother and we should never try to be famous for no reason. It’s not something I shy away from, but I hope people are more interested in my work as an actress or writer than who I’m dating or my social life.