EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Nicola Peltz Kicks Butt in "Airbender"
In her new film The Last Airbender based upon the Nickelodeon animated TV series "Avatar: The Last Airbender", 15-year-old newcomer Nicola Peltz plays feisty warrior and guardian Katara. Her brother Sokka is played by hot "Twilight Saga" actor (Jasper Cullen) Jackson Rathbone. Together they teach and protect the younger Aang, the last of a race of people who can control the elements (air, water, fire and earth). Most people work with just one. Aang can use all but is still in training.
We're on the cell with Nicola who is giving us the scoop on training for the film, working with hot Jackson, freezing on set in Greenland and she confirmed that she'll also be starring alongside Rob Pattinson next Spring in a new film! We are sooo jealous but, for now, let's talk The Last Airbender....
TeenHollywood: Were you aware that Jackson was in the Twilight Saga when you were cast? How was meeting and acting with him?
Nicola: I met Jackson at the audition and I did recognize him from the Twilight films. We did have a lot of chemistry as brother and sister and he's like my real brother in real life. We definitely would act like siblings, teasing each other.
TeenHollywood: You must have been freezing way up in Greenland. What did you do between shots or off-set? Any fun stories you can tell me?
Nicola: There were a lot of fun stories. Once, in Greenland we had a huge snowball fight, everyone, the whole cast and crew. It was so much fun. We had a lot of fun times. There is a town there called Llulissat and we stayed there in a beautiful hotel.
TeenHollywood: Did they give you extra warm underwear up there above the Arctic Circle?
Nicola: Oh yeah. We had seven layers under our costumes so I look a little heavier in those scenes.
TeenHollywood: You were familiar with the animated 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' series on Nick?
Nicola: Oh yes. I had watched it before (I was cast in the movie). I loved it. I loved Katara. I watched it with my little brothers.
TeenHollywood: What did you really love about that animated version of the story and about Katara?
Nicola: There are so many interesting characters and in every episode, you learn something new. It has great family values and there are morals. I think Katara is so interesting because she has a big heart, is caring for Aang and loves her older brother Sokka. But, at the same time, she is a fighter. She's a great water-bender and does what she believes in. She's very mentally and physically strong.
TeenHollywood: Your director's daughters (14 and 11-year-olds Saleka and Ishana Shyamalan) were very devoted to the animated show and especially to Katara. Did that put any pressure on you and were they ever on set?
Nicola: Oh yeah. They are my best friends. I have sleepovers with them. They did teach me a lot about Katara. They helped me. They're amazing kids. When we started shooting they would come to set a lot and I got close with them.
TeenHollywood: Is this the first time you've acted with things that weren't really there? How hard was that? What WAS there?
Nicola: Yeah. There was a lot of green screen shooting so you got to use your imaginations. Greenland looks fake (in the movie) but it's real. We were there and it's just beautiful. (The director) would talk us through it saying 'okay, now there's a fire ball or he would show us some storyboards of the scene. He was really hands on about everything.
TeenHollywood: Did Jackson give you any advice since he has to pretend to see werewolves in Eclipse?
Nicola: Oh yes. He gave me advice all the time on everything.
TeenHollywood: You and Sokka are caring for Aang who is younger. Was that easy to play because you have two younger twin brothers?
Nicola: I have older brothers like Jackson and younger brothers like Noah (Ringer who plays lead Airbender Aang) and I really cared for him and love him.
TeenHollywood: You are such a "sports girl". You played ice hockey and then learned Kung Fu? Could you kick Jackson's butt?
Nicola: Of course I could kick his butt! I've played ice hockey, center and right wing. I'm very physical and that did help me with martial arts.
TeenHollywood: Was Tai Chi fun to learn since it is more graceful and gentle?
Nicola: Is was. I did take ballet and that helped me with Tai Chi and ice hockey helped me with Kung Fu.
TeenHollywood: Were you on wires at all?
Nicola: Oh yes. There was a lot of wire work. It hurt a little bit but you've gotta do what you've gotta do, you know? It was fun.
TeenHollywood: What animal did you like the best in Last Airbender?
Nicola: I loved both Momo (a ring-tailed lemur and spotted bat combo) and Appa (a manatee-bison combo that well.. floats). But I have a little sweet spot for Appa especially.
TeenHollywood: How did you like your costumes? Keep anything or anything from set?
Nicola: I loved the costumes. They're amazing. Judianna (Makovsky) who designed the costumes is so talented. I'm going to say that I like the Winter one a little more but I love them both and I did get to keep one of the copies of Katara's necklace.
TeenHollywood: Are you fond of any particular designer?
Nicola: I love fashion, all different kinds. I love BCBG, Alexander Wang. My favorite designer is Chanel even thought I don't own anything from there. I'm always trying to take (wear) my mom's things. She's always going 'you can't go out of the house looking like that!'
TeenHollywood: Ha, I'm sure tons of kids and teens can relate to hearing that! Some day your mom's dresses will be appropriate for you though and Chanel is classic.
TeenHollywood: Have you ever heard Jackson's band 100 Monkeys?
Nicola: Yes, I'm into his music. He's so talented. I saw him perform once and we actually wrote a song together. It's was literally about a cup of coffee!
TeenHollywood: Do you sing or play an instrument?
Nicola: No way!
TeenHollywood: We have to know. Are you co-starring with Rob Pattinson in Unbound Captives? He described the movie to us but who do you play?
Nicola: I am attached to the film. Madeleine Stowe is directing it (and writing). I can't really say much more. We probably shoot next March. (Note: We've learned it is about a widowed woman who is rescued from Indians by a frontiersman and the two search for her kidnapped children. We assume Nicola would play one of the kids and Rob has confirmed he'll play the other).
TeenHollywood: You were in the Miley Cyrus music video "7 Things"? Was that fun?
Nicola: I sang along and danced. It's a fun girls' video.
TeenHollywood: What Literary or historical character would you love to play someday?
Nicola: I would love to play Juliet in 'Romeo and Juliet some day. That would be my dream role.
TeenHollywood: So have all your dreams come true now or do you still have a goal you are hoping to achieve?
Nicola: I want to be the best actress I can be and keep doing movies and following those dreams.