Houstonian Alexis Arnold has booked her first feature film of 2020 with Lee Majors (Six Million Dollar Man), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan) and Robert LaSardo (The Mule).
In 2019, Arnold received the Houston Broadcast Film Critics Association award for Best Young Actress in a Film (The Last Astronaut). Three of her previous feature films have been critically acclaimed. We recently sat down with this rising 11-year-old to discuss her career.
Why did you want to become an actor and at what age?
I love pretending and when I was little I would build cardboard pirate ships and spaceships and act like I was a pirate or an astronaut. I have always enjoyed living in a fantasy world with mermaids, fairies, wolves, etc. and I knew that by becoming an actress I could live in a fantasy world. When I was five years old I was watching TV in my playroom, and I called my mom into the room and pointed at the screen and told her I wanted to do that! It was a birthday party scene with some kids on TV.
It was a couple of weeks before my birthday so my mom said, “Yes, we will have a birthday party for you soon.” I said, “No, Mommy, I want to be on TV!” I didn’t know really what acting was back then so my mom asked, “You want to be an actress?” I said, “Yes.” My mom didn’t take me seriously, but I wasn’t giving up. Eventually, my mom sent my picture to an agency, and I have been modeling and acting ever since.
Three of your movies have been critically acclaimed, which means each one has received a majority of positive responses from critics. Which movie, so far, has made you happy you did it?
That is a really hard question, because I love them all and for different reasons. I loved The Last Astronaut because I really enjoyed seeing it at the movie theater and it’s a safe movie for kids to see. I was very happy to win an award for it so that means I must have made someone else enjoy the film too and that’s what I want to do. I also love Gypsy Moon because I had a leading role in that movie with a lot of fun scenes and I got to truly live in a fantasy world and I had a chance to show several different emotions so it was a chance to show everyone what I can do, but the movie hasn’t been released yet. Hopefully someday everyone will get an opportunity to see it. I also enjoyed Sanitatum because the story was based on a true story about child abuse. I actually got to film my scene inside of a dog cage and it was a very dramatic and emotional scene.
Last year, you were presented with an important award. Tell us about it and how it made you feel.
I had no idea I was getting an award! The director told my mom that he wanted me at the awards because the movie The Last Astronaut was nominated and he wanted several of the cast members there in case the film won. At the very end of the night I was sitting in my mom’s lap and Nick Nicholson got on stage and said this next award is so very important to the industry because it is the future of film. He said, “The Best Young Actress award goes to…” and then he calls my name. My mom and I looked at each other. Then everyone at the table said, “That’s you Alexis. Go up and get your award!”
What would be your ideal role to play?
I would love to be a lead in a fantasy movie like the Harry Potter movies. I just booked a feature film called Narco Sub that starts filming soon. It stars Lee Majors (known for Six Million Dollar Man), Tom Sizemore (known for Saving Private Ryan) and Robert LaSardo (The Mule).
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I actually enjoy fishing with my dad and papaw. I also have a recurve bow and enjoy archery. I enjoy anything artistic like painting, drawing, sewing and building Legos. I am hoping to write and direct my own movies someday.
What advice would you give other kids who want to become an actor?
Acting is a huge commitment. If you want to be an actor then you need to be in it 100% because it is a job. It’s not a game, and it’s not a hobby.
Cover: Alexis Arnold on the set of Narco Sub, her latest movie. Photo courtesy Shanda Webb Arnold
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.