Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Actress Alexia Fast is so method, even her subconscious is in character.
By Candy Soo. Photographed by Evaan Kheraj
With her cascading pre-Raphaelite curls, lanky limbs, and wide-eyed smile, actress Alexia Fast could easily be mistaken for just another ingénue. Virtually haloed, she has an innocent, happy-go-lucky air that almost makes you feel like you need to protect her before she gets blindsided by the Hollywood machine. That’s where you’d be mistaken.
Though she’s just 20 years old, the Vancouver-native is an industry veteran. She launched her career at seven when she wrote, directed, and acted in her own short film, The Red Bridge, which went on to screen at the 2002 Atlantic Film Festival and the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival. Since then, she’s appeared in more than 30 movies and TV shows, and this December she stars alongside Tom Cruise in the action flick Jack Reacher.
“Right before I found out about my audition with [Jack Reacher] director Christopher McQuarrie, I’d just told my agents that I wanted to take a break from acting,” says Fast, relaxing in a Vancouver photo studio on an unusually sunny November afternoon. “I told them not to call me unless it’s something important!” Fortunately they deemed Tom Cruise worth a call and, after a series of Skype auditions, Fast landed the role of Sandy, a young, misguided girl who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, making bad decisions with bad boys—something Fast could relate to. “I went through a pretty misguided phase myself,” she admits. “When I was younger, I gave some people the time of day I probably shouldn’t have.”
Despite her many years of acting, Fast was understandably nervous to work with Cruise—by far her most famous co-star yet—and she barely slept the night before her first day on set, which also happened to be when they were shooting one of her most important scenes. “I had a terrible nightmare about it,” she says. “It was so bad that when I woke up, there was a moment when I actually thought I saw everyone from the scene in my room.” But the day on set ended up working out fine. Fast says Cruise was fatherly towards her, offering advice and guidance, and he also respected her acting choices. “He never directed me,” she says. “He trusts you to do what you do.”
Fast was born into a film-business family—her mother is a movie producer—and she’s always been drawn to roles with a dose of darkness. In 2010, she appeared in Triple Dog, a teen thriller about an extreme game of Truth or Dare, and she most recently starred in Blackbird—a drama about cyber-bullying and its terrible repercussions—which premiered at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. No matter the part, she doesn’t hesitate to throw herself into it. She recalls working on the thriller Past Tense when she was just 13 years old and crying for eight hours straight to stay in character. She gets so involved in her roles that she even dreams as them. “It affects me psychologically, which is good, because it means I’m really in character,” she says, adding with a laugh: “But it definitely doesn’t help when it comes to sleeping properly.”
For now, Fast is taking it easy in Vancouver, spending some much-needed downtime hiking and camping. “I’m in love with Canada,” she says. “We might not be as flashy as some other places, but we have some of the most beautiful nature in the world.” Soon, though, she’ll be back at work, shooting a film with a hot Hollywood actor who also happens to call Vancouver home (she’s keeping mum on the project for now). While many child stars have been chewed up and spit out by the industry, Fast seems to be growing up in the limelight with grace and maturity. Smiling and tucking a loose curl behind her ear, she shares one survival secret: “Learn how to say no.”
ALEXIA FAST CHEAT SHEET
TOP FIVE FAVOURITE MOVIES
Black Snake Moan
DREAM MUSIC FESTIVAL LINE-UP
"Space Bound" by Eminem
RAID HER CLOSET
Emma Stone. Love her style!
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michelle Williams
Stylist: MICHELLE RENEAU
Hair: ISABELLE CUMMINS
Makeup: MELANIE NEUFELD