The Scene: In studio for KCRW (CA local NPR station)’s live radio show “The Treatment” – interviews in Arts and Entertainment.
Welcome to The Treatment; I’m Elvis Mitchell. Since her debut in the cult classic trilogy “Atlas Shrugged,” based on the controversial Ayn Rand book, my guest Nikki Klecha has caught the attention of audiences with memorable supporting roles in some of the last five years most notable indie films. She’s here with us today to discuss her most recent project, the award-winning film “The Hum,” her inspirational website, and her first novel, due out early next year. Welcome, Nikki; we’re glad to have you here.
I’m so incredibly happy to be here; thanks for having me.
Now, Nikki, your LA story is an interesting one; tell us a little bit about your journey.
Well, about six years ago, I was done with Los Angeles. I was a burned out actor; I’d been working hard & feeling like I was getting nowhere. I took some time out, traveled for a while —
Yes, four months in Australia, which changed my perspective. I realized, I don’t have to be miserable (laughing) I don’t need this career that frustrates me and I’m not tied to LA, there are many other things I can do to be happy; it was a revelation. So I planned to move, sold all my furniture, and the day I sold my bed was the day I got the call that I was cast in “Atlas.”
If you love something let it go and if it comes back to you… right?
I guess so!
So, you stayed in LA, obviously, and “Atlas Shrugged Part I” was the first time we, the movie going masses, heard of you.
Right. The film came out in 2011 to great reviews, and the next thing I knew, doors were opening! Things still moved relatively slowly, of course, I’m not a household name, by any means, but I just managed to ride the wave of that movie. I was in the right place at the right time. And with the subsequent success of Parts 2 and 3, I was able to pay off my credit cards (something every LA-actor dreams of!) and really focus on my writing, acting and building my website.
After the Atlas trilogy, you filmed “The Writers,” which gained a strong underground horror-fan following.
Yes. That and my most recent film, “The Hum” were labors of love; all the cast and crew were friends, and I’ve known most of them since college. They were so much fun to make. And I must be the easiest actress to work for in the horror genre; I was honestly terrified half the time! (laughing)
Tell us a little about the film you just mentioned, “The Hum;” it just premiered at Sundance and took home some awards, correct?
It did, yes! That was a dream come true, going to Sundance with a film, especially one that was such a collaborative effort between friends. I think we all feel like, finally, finally we’re hitting our stride and doing what we came here to do, after 10 years of struggle.
You also run a successful blog called The Grateful Sparrow, which I must admit, I’m a little addicted to.
Are you? Thanks! Yes, it’s my baby; I think of it as a daily jolt of inspiration. I believe that we each have the power to change our lives for the better, whether it be through a large change, like quitting a job or moving, or a small change in mindset. I hope the site helps people see that and gives them the courage and inspiration to take their next step toward a happier life.
And you’ve written a novel; have you always wanted to write, or is this a new endeavor?
Oh no, I’ve always loved writing; ever since I could read, I’ve been writing. I just love stories. For years now, I’ve been freelance writing – in fact, 2011 was the landmark year where I was able to not have a “day job” for the first time ever! – for various online & print publications. I’ve always had “write a novel” on my bucket list, and now, thanks in part, I’m sure, to the attention I’ve received from the films and the blog, I have a publisher lined up and I’m finally doing it! It will be available early next year.
And I understand we can look forward to seeing you in the next Michel Gondry film? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes! And I am kid-on-Christmas-Eve excited! He’s my favorite director; I love the imagination that goes into his work. We had our first table read the other day and the storyboards are just incredible. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s going to be a dreamy, lovely story of friendship and the absurdities of love. I can’t wait to start shooting.
And, as if all that isn’t enough, what’s on the horizon for you personally?
Well, I just got married and got back from a two month honeymoon; we bought around the world tickets and continent-hopped. It was amazing. We just bought our first house, and I’m ready to settle in, be in one place for a while, and nest. I think I’ve earned a little down time.
Well, don’t take too long off, we’ll miss you.
(laughing) Ok I won’t.
You can catch Nikki Klecha in the award-winning film, “The Hum” in limited release nationwide, on her blog TheGratefulSparrow.com, and keep an eye out for her book next year. Thank you so much for coming in, Nikki.
It’s been my pleasure.
[Photo: me doing a Sirius radio interview for a film I was in, “Family”]