Getting on the phone with Alexa Nisenson, one can’t help but smile. The 10-year-old actress is ready to take the world by storm as she stars in two feature films coming out just a few months apart. Yet, her demeanor on the other line is sweet and polite, happy and humble.
The first of Alexa’s feature films is Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, in theaters October 7th. The film follows as Rafe [Griffin Gluck] starts a new school, only to be faced with a tight “Code of Conduct” that leaves no room for creativity. With the help of his best friend Leo [Thomas Barbusca] and other kids from his school, Rafe sets out on a mission to break every rule in the “Code of Conduct”.
Alexa plays Georgia, Rafe’s little sister, who has a knack for driving the family car.
“Georgia has a really big personality,” Alexa says of her character. “She’s definitely spunky and a force of nature, and Georgia’s OBSESSED with driving cars,” she laughs, noting that fans see a bit of this in the trailer. Alexa doesn’t hesitate to mention, “Oh, a big thing about Georgia – she is in love with her pug.” The cute canine is even seen on the posters for the movie!
However, one of the key relationships in Georgia’s life is with her older brother Rafe. In the trailers, Georgia can be seen telling Rafe that his plan can get him kicked out of school and right into prison, though, from what Alexa tells Teenplicity, she isn’t completely against it.
“Georgia loves Rafe and always has his back but, you know, they’re like any brother and sister. They get on each other’s nerves and fight,” she says, as any siblings do. But, she goes on, “You don’t want anyone and anything to mess with your family or come between them.”
Describing the relationship between the two characters, Alexa states that it’s funny. “I’m an only child,” she reveals, “so getting to play Georgia was great for me because for a few months, I had an older brother with I loved!” Small laughter breaks through her voice as she says, “Griffin, who plays Rafe, has an older sister in real life so he got to be a big brother for the first time too! I mean, if you say us together off-set, you’d think we’re really brother and sister.”
The young actress relates to her character Georgia’s reaction of Rafe’s plan. “You know, I’d try to get through to him,” Alexa says with a laugh as she hypothesized what she’d do in her character’s position. “I’d try to get through to him and help. I mean, no matter how much we fight or annoy each other, we love each other and we don’t want to see anything bad happen to the other.”
The great sibling-like relationship that Alexa created with Griffin is just the first of many amazing friendships built on set. Through every story that Alexa tells, it’s so very evident in her voice that she’s smiling. When asked what her favorite scene is, her joy jumps through the phone as, though she doesn’t tell Teenplicity which scene it is exactly, Alexa divulges some details concerning it.
“That’s tough to say because pretty much every scene I filmed was so much fun,” she says initially. The one scene that’s really close to her heart is her favorite. She doesn’t say much about it, as she wants everyone to see the movie as it’ll be even more special. But Alexa cites this certain scene as her favorite because of how much fun she had filming it.
“[It was with] Griffin Gluck and Rob Riggle. Robert plays Carl, my mom’s boyfriend,” the actress explains. “They both made me laugh all day and we just,” the smile is more evident than ever as she pauses in her memories, “there’s never a moment where you don’t have a smile on your face. We just had the best time. I mean, Rob is one of the most funniest people I have ever worked with.” Her giggles crack through as she says this, his antics clearly coming back to her mind. “That day was a blast.”
When asked to talk about the experience of filming Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, Alexa confirms the feeling that Teenplicity has had since the phone call began.
“Oh my gosh,” begins Alexa, “Middle School was an amazing experience from day one. I got to work with some of the most talented people in the business. Working with Lauren Graham is a dream come true and I always loved working with her! And she and I really bonded on-set!”
It’s at this moment that Alexa reveals she has a funny story about her and Lauren and asks if Teenplicity would like to hear it, to which the response is an enthusiastic YES!
Alexa begins, “So, I get the hiccups all the time which isn’t really great when you’re filming.” She giggles as she says, “You can’t have hiccups when you’re trying to film a scene! So one day, we were getting into a transport truck to take us to set and I had the hiccups. And Lauren was sitting in the row in front of me and turned around and said, ‘Okay, Alexa. I have a hundred dollar bill in my pocket and if you can hiccup one more time for me right now, it’s yours.’ So I’m trying to hiccup and nothing came out! I didn’t hiccup one more time! So she said to me, ‘See? I just got rid of your hiccups for you!’ She was like, ‘I don’t actually have a hundred dollar bill in my pocket, that was just a trick so you can stop hiccupping.’ She is like the only person who can get rid of my hiccups!”
Looking back on her time on set, Alexa can only speak with pure joy and fondness. She talks of how the cast and crew taught her what it means to be a great actress. Alexa also mentions the director, Steve Carr, and calls him one of the most loving and patient directors. “He made it really special and really fun,” she says.
“I was the only young kid on set so I had all these role models around me and people I could look up to and learn from. So it was a loving, really fun set.” Although, for all the fun they had, the actress is quick to mention that they worked really a hard and “came together as a family” to make the movie.
The other feature film that Alexa stars in is Fist Fight, a major comedy also starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube, comes out in February.
“Fist Fight is about a teacher who gets another teacher fired. Then he’s challenged to an after-school fight,” Alexa describes the plot as. “I play the daughter of one of those teachers.”
In fact, Alexa plays ‘Ally’, the daughter of Charlie Day’s character.
“Ally and Georgia are definitely different but they actually have some similarities too,” she says of her two major film characters thus far. “I think the biggest difference is that Georgia has a very different family vibe and Ally has a very close relationship with her dad.” Alexa alludes to the idea that this close father-daughter relationship is the reason for some of Ally’s actions in the film.
Asked to name her favorite aspect of playing ‘Ally’, it’s easy to picture a giant smile to returning to Alexa’s face as she says without a pause, “I can answer that in two words: Charlie Day.”
The talented young girl only has praise for her on-screen father.
“Charlie is by far one of the most talented comedians you will ever see on-screen and off. Oh my God. Like working with him each day was a total gift. I laughed more than I ever have in my life,” she says, as a few giggles slip in. “But I also learned more than I ever have in my life.” Her genuine awe and adoration for Charlie is clear as she talks about how amazing it was to work with him. “He was so sweet to me. I was nervous,” she says, attributing it to the fact she’s not as established as he is, “but when I was with him, he just made me feel very comfortable and we worked really great together.”
For some child stars, transitioning from a set with actors close in age to one with most adults can be difficult. Alexa, however, takes it in strides and finds it easy to adjust to the difference environments.
“Being around adults all the time without other kids kind of feels more like my normal life,” she confesses. “Since I’m an only child, holidays for me are like basically me and all my relatives who are all adults. I don’t have any siblings, or even really young cousins so I’m usually hanging out with adults and I’m really comfortable in that situation. I actually really like being with adults as much as I like being with kids.”
With her career only just starting out and two feature films already under her belt, the road of opportunities and possibilities are endless. Alexa has no limits for herself when thinking to the future. She’s excited for everything!
“I mean, seriously though!” she exclaims, her excitement filling the air. “Being able to be in this industry, to do what I love is something that I don’t ever take for granted and I’m really grateful for it. I know how special it is. And I’m just excited to keep working on my acting and growing as an actor.” She’s quick to add, “Also to continue to be a part of great projects like the ones I’m doing!”
Her ultimate goal? “The dream is one day to win an Oscar in my lifetime!”
Perhaps her dream co-star, recent Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, could give her some pointers.
“I love comedy and I want to continue to do that,” Alexa says as she discusses her dream role. “But if I had one dream, I would love to play a dramatic role in a dramatic movie. My dream would be to probably play Leonardo DiCaprio’s daughter in a serious role.” Teenplicity can’t help but to cheer on in excitement at the idea. “I love Leonardo DiCaprio! My dream [is] for him to play my father, or I play his niece or something,” she says with a laugh, expressing that she’d love to just be in a movie with him!
Teenplicity is holding out hope for this to happen, and there’s no doubt that Alexa’s growing fan base would support her too.
Alexa thanks her fans for support her and following her journey through everything. “It’s just so nice to know there’s people who even have interest in following me and seeing what I do,” she says in wonderment. “It’s crazy! It’s hard to get used to but I’m really thankful for that because that’s not something that you get every day and I love what they say on social media.” The starlet giggles as she explains her joy and love when they send her messages. She says she always tries to respond. “I love when they get all excited when I respond,” she exclaims, her excitement a good match for what her fans probably feel. Directly to her fans, Alexa says, “Thank you for having so much interest and wanting to follow me and believing in me!”
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life comes to theaters October 7th! Fist Fight will be appearing in theaters starting in February 2017.
**ABOVE PHOTO CREDIT TO RYAN ORANGE AND GLAM CREDIT TO DANIEL CHINCHILLA