Last week the CW premiered a new series called The Messengers, a post apocalyptic (or should we say pre-apocalyptic) show that follows the lives of five ordinary people who become extraordinary after a mysterious object crashes to Earth and emits an unknown shockwave. After being knocked out these five individuals develop gifts and are now forever connected to each other, whether they like it or not. Where do I sign up to join this group of former average joe’s? Hey, Eoghan O’Donnell (Creator), I volunteer as tribute to be the sixth messenger! But all kidding aside (no, really– I’m ready to play a badass angel), this show is without a doubt staying at the top of my must-watch list.
Lexi Atkins, whose character Alice on the rookie CW series can be seen playing opposite Joel Courtney (Peter), is one to keep an eye on. Although we’ve only gotten a glimpse of her character and her blossoming relationship with Peter, Atkins assures me that there’s more to come for these two. We also chatted about her notable role on The Boy Next Door, which starred the one and only Jennifer Lopez, as well as her involvement in ZAO, an organic makeup initiative sweeping North America.
Atkins had great things to say about filming her first TV series, the cast of The Messengers and gave us the scoop on some upcoming projects (like releasing an album) and so much more!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: How about we start with you telling the readers a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in the entertainment industry.
LEXI ATKINS: I’m from a town called Champagne, Illinois, about three hours south of Chicago. And I’ve always known that I wanted to be in this industry I just never knew really how because being from a smaller town in the midwest, there’s no really how-to. Even when you’re here, there’s no one school to go to and then you’re set. So it’s a very confusing industry. All I knew was I needed to be in LA or New York. In 2010, my mom was telling me about pageants and that if I won the Miss Teen USA pageant, I could live in New York and go to the New York Film Academy so I figured that was my way out before I turned 18. I competed in that pageant and got first runner up so I didn’t get to go to New York. I moved back home and was like “please let me go to LA” but my parents wouldn’t let me because I wasn’t 18 yet. I had graduated high school a year early, prior so I could compete in case I were to win. Since I’d already graduated, my parents let me get a place in Chicago on my own. I was still close if anything were to happen. I started taking every class that Chicago had to offer. I did a lot of stand up and improv and on camera classes and then finally when I turned 18, I moved to LA and started taking more classes here and one of my teachers put me out for a small role in an indy film and the directors loved me so much they booked me for the lead. They introduced me to my management now. Then my third or fourth audition, I went out for a movie, which ended up turning out to be Zombeavers and I was the lead in that and I’ve been working ever since.
MM: What a great story! It’s was totally meant to be. Now, let’s chat about The Messengers. Can you tell us about the show and who you play?
LA: The show is kind of post apocalyptic type show. It starts off with this mysterious object that crashes down to earth and then a group of unconnected stranger die from the energy pull that this object emits. There’s five of them and they then reawaken to find out that they’ve been deemed responsible for preventing the apocalypse. I play Alice who is– Joel Courtney who plays Peter in The Messengers— I play his friend and somewhat love interest. After the first episode you can see that we do have a little thing. I’m hoping that I soon die or that another object crashes down so that I can become a messenger. [laughs]
MM: I read that The Messengers is your first TV experience. How has that shift been from movies? Is the shooting schedule drastically different?
LA: Yeah, it’s a totally different world. Last year was my first pilot season so that was a whole new world for me. They film much faster than movies. It’s very different. When I’m on set for a movie I’m kind of that character and you’re that character solely until you’re done. But for The Messengers, especially me, because I was going back and forth from set. They film in Albuquerque, New Mexico but you’d film the episode then go back to LA and have your life then you’d go back and like I don’t know how to play her again. It was hard for me honestly to go back to that character because you’re not doing it every single day. I do like that it moves faster and it’s just very different even how the crew and everything is set up.
MM: The show features a group of people with some extraordinary powers. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
LA: I think it would be to read minds because I think that would really help everyone out.
MM: But would it be problematic for you like at a certain point would you be like okay, I just really don’t want to know what you’re thinking.
LA: Maybe, yeah but I think it would be really cool and I think it would help whatever they were trying to do to save the world.
MM: So now, we’re hoping to see more of Alice and this relationship between her and Peter. Are we going to see more of that relationship developing as the season progresses?
LA: Yes, you will. There’s a big kind of turn the next time you guys see me so that’s going to be exciting. But I think it’s something that’s very different from the first time you see me.
MM: How’s it working with your on screen love-interest?
LA: Oh my gosh and he’s the sweetest guy ever. He’s so awesome on and off camera. He’s so talented and really, really sweet and so cute.
MM: I had read that there’s a little age difference there. Did that prove to be a little awkward when you guys were shooting the kissing scene or anything like that?
LA: No, I don’t think so at all. I think it’s like two or three years. You’d think that he was older. He’s taller than me and — those scenes are, no matter what age, are obviously a little bit awkward. I don’t think either of us thought about that.
MM: If you could star in any show currently on air, what would it be?
LA: Oh wow, I think it would definitely be Empire. I watched it and it’s like my new favorite show. I really want to be on that. It’s so good and the girl who plays Cookie, she like carries the whole thing and I love the singing. I’m really into that one right now.
MM: So you also starred in The Boy Next Door. Was it kind of surreal working with Jennifer Lopez and the rest of the cast?
LA: Definitely. That was my first bigger movie and working with bigger celebrities. That was just so weird because when you’re filming, you obviously try to be normal but it turns into being such a casual normal and then you’re like that was Jennifer Lopez. Like what? You kind of go out of body and then you’re driving home and you’re like this is so weird. It’s so cool, I kept having to pinch myself, after I left, realizing and trying to tell myself this is what you’re doing right now and it’s so awesome.
MM: I’m pretty sure that’s something you can add to a list of memorable things that you’ve done. So now you also sing. Is there anything you can’t do? Can we expect some of your music out this year?
LA: Yes, definitely. I’m working right now on my album. I’m in the studio about two or three times a week and just trying to get that rolling as well. Things should start being released with everything else going on. I’m really excited about that. This is all super new to me as well. It’s a whole different industry and world to kind of be in but it’s really, really cool and it’s been really cool to experience alongside of the acting world that I have going on.
MM: That’s amazing. You’ve kind of got the best of both worlds. Now we’ve got to talk about Zombeavers. Can you tell us about the film and how long did it take you to transform you into this zombie beaver. It looks terrifying and like a lot of work.
LA: It’s about a group of college girls and my character gets cheated on by her boyfriend and she’s upset so she decides to go to her friend’s lake house and have a girls weekend. Our boyfriends end up coming and ruining our girls trip and that’s when all the craziness start happening and beavers start attacking and we start attacking each other. It’s just kind of crazy. That whole experience was absolutely hilarious. I read the script and figured out that I was going to be turned into the zombie beaver and I was going to do all those things but once you actually get on set and you’re ready to go covered in blood– that was my first experience really being on a set — the other one I did was a tiny indy film in a guy’s apartment. I was so confused. I knew what I had to do from reading it but when they said action I was like wait, I really have to do that? There’s no way. It was such a smart set to be on. Everyone came from a comedy background so we did a lot of improv on set, a lot of going off each other so it was fun.
MM: Super hilarious. Are you a fan of zombie films or shows? How are you with the whole horror genre?
LA: I wouldn’t say I’m not a fan but I wasn’t the biggest horror fan. I don’t know a lot of — that’s a whole other world to be a part of and I haven’t dipped my feet in that place. I don’t really get scared of films but I don’t know I’m not a really big fan of horror. Now I”m a huge fan because I’ve done a lot of horror films.
MM: Now the real question is do you think you’d survive a zombie apocalypse?
LA: I totally would survive.
MM: Can you name three things that people might not know about you?
LA: Oh wow. I’m extremely flexible. I’m like really double jointed and flexible. I think a lot of people don’t know that about me besides — recently I’ve been posting some dancing people on my Instagram and people are like “is that you?” That was me but a lot of people don’t know. I’m really into health. Plenty of people know that but to an extent — I’m studying right now to be an herbalist. Nobody knows that about me. I’m really into Chinese herbs and Chinese medicine. I’m taking online courses right now in Chinese herbalism. Another thing people don’t know about me…. huh. I don’t know another thing. People think I’m an alien, because I put that a lot on my Instagram. I like to hashtag #AlienProblems and I started that hashtag for everyone.
MM: So what’s the next movie you plan on seeing in theaters?
LA: Ted 2. That is in bold letters on my calendar so that will be a movie that I will for sure be seeing multiple times and I’m really excited to see myself in it as well.
MM: When you’re watching yourself on movies and TV, do you ever get uncomfortable or critique yourself? How is that experience?
LA: I critique myself a little bit later, just trying to perfect acting. I think of things i could have done differently. I’m not used to seeing myself yet on screen. Especially watching The Messengers I was like oh I could have done that differently. I think as an actor you critique yourself but I never really judge myself in any way because it’s so different than let’s say music because music is something that I write and I present myself as me. But when I see myself on screen I’m like that’s Alice and that’s whoever that is so I don’t really judge Lexi which is really nice. I like having that mindset.
MM: Lastly, do you have any projects that you’re working on that you’d like to tell the fans about or maybe any message to the fans?
LA: I think just to stay tuned for music. I’m really excited to be releasing that. I also work with ZAO health brands and working with the fresh, certified, organic makeup line in the US. I’m working on getting them more known and especially being an actress and a model wearing makeup all day long, it’s so harsh on our skin. But with this, I’m hoping that make up artists everywhere will start using this and people in their daily lives. We think about food that we put in us but we don’t think about make up that we put on our faces and our skin is our biggest organ and it absorbs everything we’re putting in that as well. So I’m hoping to start that here in the US. It’s called ZAO, certified organic makeup. I think that’s about it.
The Messengers airs Friday’s at 9|8c on The CW