In the new feature film The Good Nurse, Alix West Lefler plays Alex Loughren alongside a cast including Jessica Chastain as her on-screen mother Amy and Eddie Redmayne as Charlie Cullen. The Good Nurse premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and had a Netflix release yesterday 26th October, with the film based on the 2013 true crime book of the same name, and it was directed by Tobias Lindholm. Further screen roles for Alix has seen her play a young Linda Hamilton (Eleanor Wright) in Resident Alien on Syfy, join Series 5 of Riverdale as recurring character Juniper and have a guest role as Ruby in an episode of The Good Doctor. Alix has won a number of awards including for TV movie Cranberry Christmas for Best Performance in a TV Movie – Young Actress at the 2021 Young Artist Awards, and for her portrayal of Hope in Siren, she won Best Actress in a Recurring Television Role 6-8 Years at the 2020 Joey Awards. Upcoming for Alix will see her play Parker in My Life with the Walter Boys, and she was recently on set for two months as a lead in an unannounced feature film. Answering our questions, Alix talks about playing Alex Loughren in The Good Nurse alongside Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne, her recurring role of Juniper in Riverdale and her time as Hope in Siren.
Can you tell us about the new feature film The Good Nurse and about your character Alex Loughren?
The Good Nurse is a true crime thriller about a nurse named Charlie Cullen who was convicted of killing patients in a bunch of different hospitals but it is also about this amazing woman named Amy Loughren who, along with two detectives, stopped him. I play Amy’s daughter, Alex in the movie. I loved playing the part of Alex for a few reasons. One of them was because it was my first time playing a real person and I really related to Alex and what I imagined she went through. My character of Alex, I think, was very similar to her when she was younger but I’d have to ask Alex to be sure! My character as Alex was protective over her family, loyal, a bit shy or reserved but can also be strong and confident.
The Good Nurse premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, how was it attending the red carpet premiere and seeing the response to the film?
I looooved TIFF! It was the most amazing experience and getting to watch the movie with Jessica (Chastain), Tobias (Lindholm), Eddie (Redmayne), Amy (Loughren), Scott (Franklin), Mike, Todd, Hailey, Aaron, my mom etc etc was so special. The energy in Toronto was unlike anything I can describe and the whole team at Netflix were so incredibly nice. The best part of walking down the red carpet was Jessica holding my hand and hugging me. I’m so happy that people are enjoying the film and talking about it. It is a special movie for so many reasons and I am so thankful to have been a part of it and Amy’s story.
What was it like working with the rest of the cast, which includes Jessica Chastain as your on-screen mother Amy Loughren, and Eddie Redmayne as Charlie Cullen, and how was the experience being directed by Tobias Lindholm?
Jessica and Eddie are both the nicest, warmest, most talented people. It was a dream come true working alongside them. Tobias, our director, is the best. He is just so lovely and genuine. He was the heart of making the movie and created a film family. I loved working with him and his style of directing was very unique to me. He really encouraged us to workshop or improv in the scenes to get a real, natural feel.
How did you prepare for your role of Alex and what was she like to play?
To play Alex, I just read through the script a few times but focused more on what was happening with her in the scenes and the people she was with in the scenes not the whole story of Charlie. I can’t say too much about it as it hasn’t come out yet but Alex didn’t know what Charlie was doing at the time. I played the part of Alex coming from other emotions and what a girl my age would be feeling. I loved playing Alex. I think I was able to show all her sides. She was the big sister, the loving daughter and she also had the pre-teen edge!
Do you have any stand-out highlights from your time on set of The Good Nurse that you can tell us about?
Definitely a stand-out time on set was the day Jessica and I sat and discussed how to really tap into the emotions needed for those heavy scenes. We came up with something like, “Don’t act the part, be the part”. That really worked for me. I have been told that I have a very natural acting style and I think that comes from following that. I have always acted more from an inner feeling rather then just following dialogue on the page.
Why would you recommend watching The Good Nurse on Netflix and who do you think it will appeal to?
I hope everyone watches The Good Nurse lol! The movie tells a true story. It is not just about the horrible things Charlie Cullen did, but also of this amazing woman named Amy Loughren who, although she was going through some really hard times herself and looking after her daughters, was able to help two brilliant detectives stop this man from killing more people.
It’s been announced that you are in the cast of My Life with the Walter Boys as Parker, how have you found your time working on this project and what are you looking forward to for the release?
I loved playing the role of Parker from My Life with the Walter Boys! Filming that series was the best five months. I became really good friends with all my nine set brothers. It is such a good cast and everyone involved was super nice. I am looking forward to the release and hopefully getting a Season 2 so I can see everyone again. Actually, one of the actors in the show, Ashby Gentry, came to the NY screening of The Good Nurse and it was so awesome to have him be there and be a part of it all. I also talk to one of the other actors who played my younger brother almost every other day. We all became really close, just like the big family we were!
What was it like playing Eleanor Wright in episodes of Resident Alien for Syfy?
I really liked the idea of playing a young Linda Hamilton. My mom and I watched a few movies she had been in and so I was pretty excited to meet her. Unfortunately I never got to as she wasn’t on set the same days as me but it was still pretty cool. I like Resident Alien and Alan Tudyk is a really good actor. I also like that the show has a lot of Vancouver actors in it.
You play the recurring role of Juniper in Riverdale, what was it like joining the cast in Series 5 and how is it on set of the show?
I loved playing Juniper and getting to work with the cast was pretty incredible. I think my dad was most excited because he is from New Zealand and so is KJ (Apa). I really liked Cole Sprouse and talking with him about his experiences growing up acting like me. And, of course, Lili Reinhart and Mädchen (Amick) were always so, so nice to me. I also loved having a twin and getting to work with Bentley (Storteboom). We had a fun twinning thing going on and I liked that no one ever really knew what our characters were thinking or going to do. Probably the best part though was getting to dye my hair red! I loved having red hair. I now use a wig for the show though as it was a lot of upkeep.
How was it being part of the TV movie Cranberry Christmas and what was it like winning Best Performance in a TV Movie – Young Actress at the 2021 Young Artist Awards for your performance of Alice?
I learned about movie magic on Cranberry Christmas! I actually had a really bad stye in my eye or something and on a few days it was really swollen. Great makeup team and really good camera angles covered it up. If you look really close in one of the scenes then you will see it. I really liked working with Linda-Lisa Hayter, who was our director, and Ben (Ayres) and Nikki (Deloach) were really nice and funny. It’s always nice to be recognised for a job well done.
Your role of Hope in the TV series Siren saw you win Best Actress in a Recurring Television Role 6-8 Years at the 2020 Joey Awards and be nominated for Best Performance in a TV Series – Recurring Young Actress at the 2021 Young Artist Awards, what was this like?
I miss Siren and the entire cast and crew. It was actually my first ever role and the experience of playing Hope will always be so special to me. I have been really lucky with all the actors who have played my mom over these three-and-a-half years. Eline Powell played my mom in that role and she really is the kindest person and so giving as a fellow actor. I also have been so fortunate with the directors I have worked with. I really liked Joe Menendez and Steve Adelson, also our producer Peter Lhotka was so genuinely nice and really made me feel welcome. Probably the best was the dive team! I got to work in this gigantic tank of water with some of the best free divers in the world. Playing a mermaid was incredible. I learned so much on Siren including how to swim with my eyes open, use a monofin and how to expand my lungs so I could swim underwater longer. It really was the most amazing experience and one I will never forget.
What do you remember most from playing Ruby in an episode of The Good Doctor?
What I remember most about playing Ruby in The Good Doctor was meeting and talking with Freddie Highmore. He is so talented. He was acting, producing and even directing different episodes of the show, which I thought was pretty incredible. He also was an actor who started his career pretty young like me, so that was pretty neat and inspiring talking to him about his past roles. Actually, on one of the days filming, I was supposed to scream when I saw my mom lying in the hospital bed but I had a really sore throat and couldn’t scream. I was upset and worried because I felt I couldn’t do what I was supposed to but the director was so great and she just kind of changed the scene on the spot so I wouldn’t hurt my voice. That stuck out to me a lot too. I have always felt really safe and cared for on every single show I have done. I’m just so happy getting to be an actor, I really love it.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
Well, my mom was an actor and my dad is a performer/lumberjack so I guess it’s in my genes! My dad has a lumberjack entertainment show called The Laughing Loggers and we used to travel all over performing. We actually started doing shows in New Zealand and then here in Canada and then in Australia also. One of the lumberjacks named was in a play called The Best/Worse Christmas Pageant Ever and he told my mom and I that there were a few roles open for kids and that it was a really fun play and that I should audition for it. I sent in a tape and got the part. I fell in love with acting right away and told my mom when it was done that I needed to get an agent so I could act forever. I was seven-and-a-half when I started acting and booked my first role.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from acting?
One of my favourite shows right now is Stranger Things. I really like the actors/characters and all the monsters. I also really like horror movies and Mom and I are working our way through all the classic horror films right now. Of course, I also like It because Jessica is in it and we watched The Lost Boys and The Exorcist while I was filming my new movie in Newfoundland. Me and one of the other actors would have movie nights. He didn’t like horrors so it was really funny watching It Chapter One and Two with him.
When I’m not acting or having movie marathons, then I like to just hang out with my friends, paint with water colours and play with my dog Fred. In the summer I’m usually throwing axes and log rolling in the backyard or visiting my grandparents on Mayne Island.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about and what are you hoping the next few months bring you?
I can’t really talk about the new movie I just filmed yet except to say it was my first lead role in a feature film and we shot for two months in Newfoundland. It was really beautiful there and the people have the best accents and are soooooo nice.
As for what I am looking forward to in the next few months, I would say just having a bit of down time from planes! We have done a lot of flying this year lol. I’m looking forward to just chilling for a little bit and getting dressed up for Halloween. But not too long as I will miss being on set.
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