Between one of the buzziest celebrity weddings of the year; directing, starring, and screenwriting her first-ever film; a new puppy (named Label); and designing the gown of her dreams with Valentino, American Actress Nicola Peltz has a jam-packed schedule for 2022, to say the least.
You may know Nicola from her roles as Tessa Yeager in the blockbuster series Transformers: Age of Extinction, Bradley Martin in A&E’s Bates Motel, or even her cameo in Miley Cyrus’ forever iconic “7 Things” music video, but these days, the 26-year-old actress who grew up training alongside six brothers to become an ice hockey player is all grown up, claiming her name, and ready to make her mark on Hollywood in a whole new way.
“I feel like I haven’t totally had that yet” said Peltz when asked when her “big break” moment was on a phone conversation from Los Angeles. While Peltz’s star is only beginning to rise, her unquenched thirst for challenging herself as a creative is evident. Peltz recently transformed into a triple threat actor, director, and screenwriter with the release of her latest upcoming film Lola James, a heart-wrenching tale revolving around 19-year-old Lola James played by Peltz battling a drug addiction and toxic household at the hands her mother, Mona played by Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen. While Lola James stands as Peltz’s biggest and most personal project she’s put out to the world so far, she is fascinated with looking beyond the lense and digging deeper into the many facets of her profession.
The past year has become a pivotal moment of Peltz coming into her own. In the midst of the early stages of developing Lola James, Peltz got engaged to boyfriend Brooklyn Beckham at her home in New York in July 2020 and the two have since been catapulted into the forefront of the spotlight as one of the most talked about weddings of the year. In between scene takes and selecting wedding cake flavors, Peltz sat down with CR to discuss exclusive details on her upcoming film, how the proposal actually went down, and the process of creating custom wedding looks with Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli.
CR: Tell me a little bit about your early days acting, what drew you to the profession initially?
Nicola Peltz: I started acting when I was about 11, turning 12. I took a drama class when I was little, and it was the only class that I really loved and was drawn to. I asked my mom if I could try acting, and my parents were like, ‘absolutely not, we live an hour from Manhattan, you’re playing ice hockey, stick to that.’ Basically, I annoyed her so much that she finally gave in and she said I could meet with a manager. I’m not kidding you, I begged the woman to take me. She’s like, ‘Oh, have you done anything? Have you acted anything? Have you been the lead in your school play?’ And I was like, No, I’ve done nothing, but if you do not take me on my mom said I’m not allowed to bring it up to her till I’m 18. I think she just felt so bad for me, but she took me. I booked my very first job with the Manhattan Theatre Club called Blackbird with Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill. I did 108 shows and I loved it so much, then my parents were like she really does love it and worked hard. They said the number one thing is you better work your ass off, so now they support me.
What would you say was your moment where you realized things are really getting big?
NP: I wrote a script three and a half years ago called Lola James and I filmed and directed it this year. I think this is the biggest thing I’ve done personally that I’m really proud of and excited for people to see.
Where did the inspiration for “Lola James” come from while writing the script?
NP: A lot of it is based on real life characters and then a lot of it is also fiction. Raven Goodman, who plays my best friend Babina in the movie, she’s based off of my best friend in real life named Angela. Their friendship is a lot like me and my best friend. It takes place in the early 2000s and I’ve always loved that era. It was before technology took over your life, it was more simplified yet also enhanced. We still had cell phones, but they didn’t completely control everything. I thought that was a really interesting aspect to bring into the story as well. I actually wrote it on notes on my computer, I had the story ingrained in my head and I just needed to like get it out.
What was it like to really step behind the lens in this screenwriter role director role in developing “Lola James”?
NP: I wrote it a few years ago and I put it away and didn’t look at it for a few years, then I picked it up one day and fixed it. I really wanted to find a female director, my producer was really encouraging and was like maybe you should direct it. I was hesitant at first, and then I realized I see it so clearly because I wrote it. I agreed to direct it, and it was really a scary thing for me to do, but it’s so exciting. It was the most incredible experience I’ve ever gone through and also the hardest. So many of my crew members were female which complimented such a heavy female-led story. Strong, creative, talented women are so wonderful to work with and creating that team was incredible. I had an amazing time doing it and I really hope I can do it again soon.
Could you see yourself doing more directing in the future? Or is there any other territory that you haven’t dived into yet that you want to?
NP: I love writing as well, and I really love working with creatives. Not only being able to act in something, but to build the vision from the ground up, I’ve loved that process so much. Virginia Madsen plays my mom in the movie, and I have been such a fan of hers for so long. Then being able to act with her and direct her in a scene was heaven to me. I guess one thing that was challenging about stepping behind the lens was I was in the scene, and then we take cut, and then I’d be directing the scene. I wanted to be really sensitive to all the actors and just say I’m going to be in the scene with you and then also give you notes, I hope that’s okay.
Congratulations on your engagement! Tell me about your relationship with Brooklyn, why do you believe you mesh so well?
NP: He’s my best friend in the whole world. I feel like our relationship is like a never ending playdate.
Was there a specific moment where you realized you could see yourself spending the rest of your life with this person?
NP: We actually knew each other for a few years, but we never really connected. We really just knew of each other and we never were friends or anything. Then, about two years ago, we ran into each other at a Halloween party and we haven’t separated since.
Tell me about your proposal, how did it happen?
NP: He asked me at my house in New York and I had no idea because at the time it was locked down and I was with my family in Florida. We flew to New York with my mom, but not my brothers or my dad, none of them were in New York, so I had no idea it was gonna happen. Then he brought me to this really beautiful area where he had candles and flowers, and it was really gorgeous and really romantic. After he asked me, he surprised me with my whole family who were actually waiting there.
How is your wedding planning going? What’s been your favorite part?
NP: I have done two meetings in person and the rest have been on Zoom. My mom is a really big help. Thank God I have my mom, I would be lost because I’m so focused on my film right now and my work. Now it’s starting to pick up as we’re getting closer to it. The first meeting, I had my grandma came who’s 93 and she helped Brooklyn and I pick everything out, it was so fun.
You’re also working with Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli to design your wedding dress, your special dress, what has the process been like?
NP: We’ve been to Rome twice, watching everyone in the atelier, they’re just so talented. The first time I went to Rome, I brought my mom and my brother Brad, who’s actually my man of honor, and then Leslie Fremar who’s one of my best friends in the whole world. It is really a beautiful thing to be a part of, and it’s very exciting.
Did you dream of what your dress might look like growing up? What is this wedding dress of your dreams?
NP: I feel like actually, people have asked me that, and I have not thought of a specific dress that I want to get married in. So actually finding what that is with Valentino has been really amazing. The creative process has been fun, like finding the perfect fit and fabric.
Are you working on other dresses with the house for your special day?
What are you manifesting for the future in this special time?
NP: Health for everyone in peace and happiness, I just feel like everyone has been through so much. I just hope everyone has peace in their life and togetherness during the holidays.
CREATIVE DIRECTION Carine Roitfeld @carineroitfeld
CR PRESIDENT Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld @vladimirrestoinroitfeld
CREATIVE CONSULTING Edouard Risselet @edouardrisselet
PHOTOGRAPHY The Morelli Brothers @morellibrothers
TALENT Nicola Peltz @nicolaannepeltz
HAIR Sam McKnight @sammcknight
MAKEUP Nikki MakeUp @nikki_makeup
NAILS Julia Babbage @nailsby_julia_
SET DESIGN Maria Shrigley @mariashrigley
EXECUTIVE PRODUCTION CR Studio @crstudio
PRODUCTION Nina & CoRetouch: Justine Foord Studio @justinefoord
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