Movies & TV / Columns

Lei Nico On Starring In Stargazer, Dream Directors To Work With

May 11, 2024 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Stargazer Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

The 411 Interview: Lei Nico

Image Credit: Lei Nico

Lei Nico is an actor and director who has been acting, according to her IMDB page, since at least 2021. Nico has appeared in the TV mini-series Dos Arieless and in the short film The Golden Age of Consent (Nico also co-directed this short film). Nico’s latest movie is the comedy drama Stargazer, directed by Alan McIntyre and available on all major digital Video On Demand platforms and DVD starting April 30th, 2024 (buy it on DVD here). In this interview, Nico talks with this writer about making Stargazer, working with director Alan McIntyre and co-stars Kate Ginna and Matt Bogart and more.


Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Stargazer?

Lei Nico: Kate and I met in acting school. We actually went to undergrad together but we never crossed paths. After we graduated acting school, she texted me and asked if I’d do a zoom reading for a script she co-wrote. Kate is super smart and talented so of course I was honored she would think to ask me and excited to see what she was working on. Turns out I auditioned and they invited me to callbacks!

BK: How did you approach your character Diana? What sort of dance training did you have to do?

LN: Honestly, when I first received the script, I didn’t think too much on how to craft her. She was already a ton of fun right off the page. A big part of embodying her was leaning into how bold she is. She really does what she wants and I love that about her. Rob, co-writer with Kate, made sure that we felt free as actors and encouraged me to feel her out. He would tailor the character for me based on what we discovered in rehearsals.

As for dance training, I already had many years of dance training under my belt so movement and body awareness was easy for me to access. She’s definitely a modern dancer with contemporary influences, which I feel very at home with.

BK: What was it like working with Stargazer director Alan McIntyre?

LN: Alan is the best! He gave us so much freedom to play and then he would do his thing where he sees something and knows exactly what to do to take it to the next level. I don’t know how he does it. I just trusted him to guide us where we needed to be. He really worked magic into this film.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: What was it like working with your Stargazer cast mates Kate Ginna and Matt Bogart?

LN: Like a family. Seriously. It’s cheesy, but I look back on our weeks rehearsing in Armonk like it was theater camp. Both Kate and Matt were so dedicated to the process that it was easy for me to immerse myself into the story. I’m still amazed by how they built their characters. How Kate as Grace makes vulnerability such a strength and how Matt as Spike shows his heart in a character that could have been written off as a creep. So many laughs with all of them. So many brilliant ideas workshopped into the script from all of us just having fun together.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: What was the hardest part of making Stargazer for you as an actor? What was the easiest?

LN: Hardest part: Not eating all the prop popcorn. I love popcorn. I am the one who suggested I eat popcorn in the library because I, Lei, wanted to eat it. I was already eating all of it from crafty.

Easiest part: Being there! Every single person on this set made showing up easy. I could not wait to get to set. Everyone was so game for anything. The first day of filming we had to shoot a completely different scene than what we planned and we all rallied. Another day, it started raining while shooting outside and everyone, even technicians, wanted to stay out there so we could get what we needed. Such good energy. I have a lot of new friends because of Stargazer.

BK: What is your favorite scene in Stargazer?

LN: I love when Grace and Diana try to convince Spike to get naked. Some lines where we back him into a corner are improvised and they are so silly. Makes me giggle every time.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: Is it appropriate to call Stargazer a comedy or is it more of a comedy-drama?

LN: Uhm…yes…yes?

BK: How did you become an actor?

LN: I started acting because I wanted to find alternative ways to heal. A lot of my friends who are actors would tell me how they grew from acting and the things they learned about themselves and I wanted to experience that sort of discovery for myself. At first, I thought I’d just take a class, but then I ended up absolutely loving it.

BK: According to your IMDB page you co-directed the short film The Golden Age of Consent. How did you get involved with that short film and is directing something you hope to pursue in the future?

LN: I made that with my friends! One of my friends wrote it and we all decided to spend a weekend in Jersey filming it. We all contributed to directing specific scenes while the others acted in them, which sounds like it would have been difficult but it was a seamless collaborative effort. Truly one of the best creative experiences I’ve had because we did it without expectations–just for the joy of it. I’d love to direct more! I definitely see myself getting into that role, I just have to find the project that’ll let me do it. Or make one myself. Who knows?

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

LN: My DREAM is to work with Guillermo Del Toro or The Daniels. I love love love weird, magical things. You can see how Stargazer was a no-brainer for me.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

LN: I’m auditioning, of course, but things have been a little slow since the strike. I have a couple of short films I’m acting in this summer and also trying to produce one of my own shorts that I’ve written. I’m not sure if I want to direct it or just act in it.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Stargazer?

LN: I hope they laugh and have fun with it. Story is fun. It’s important to tell untold stories, yes, but it’s also fun. I hope they can experience that joy that we all had when we were filming this.

BK: What do you think Diana is doing now?

LN: She’s probably high right now, people watching while she waits for rehearsal.

BK: Have you ever danced in a library in real life for no reason beyond just wanting to do it?

LN: Absolutely I have. More than once. With headphones on. So it just looks…amazing.

Image Credit: Freestyle Digital Media


A very special thanks to Lei Nico for agreeing to participate in this interview and to david j. moore for setting it up.

Stargazer will be available on all major digital Video On Demand platforms and DVD starting April 30th, 2024. Buy it on DVD here.

Check out the official Stargazer website here!

Check out the official Stargazer Instagram page here!

Check out my review of Stargazer here!

Check out Lei Nico’s official Facebook page here, official Instagram page here, and IMDB page here!

Lei Nico headshot courtesy of Lei Nico. All other images courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.