Kiley Opsal is no stranger to the movie biz.
At just 12 years old, the Texas tween has gone from licking lollipops with the multi-talented Will Smith between takes in the 2020 action/comedy “Bad Boys For Life’‘ to a lead role. The new gig has Opsal swimming with mermaids and dolphins in a new movie, based on the hugely popular 1960s TV series “Flipper.”
An Early Start
Since the age of five, Kiley Opsal has been responding to audition calls. And, they’ve landed her some major roles within the TV and film industry. Apart from appearing in the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence hit “Bad Boys for Life,” she’s been a regular on the TV series, “Boca Witches,” where Opsal plays Meaghan. She’s also known for her lead role as Gabriella in the faith-based Amazon Prime Video series “The End.”
She had early success with several national print and TV commercials. However, she didn’t realize she loved acting so much until she started doing musical theatre. “My first role was a lead role at age eight, playing Dr Doolittle in Dr. Doolittle Jr.,” says the confident Opsal. “At that point, I knew I was capable of memorizing many lines and absolutely fell in love with the stage.”
Although Opsal lives in Florida now, her roots are in Texas. “My mother was born and raised in Dallas, and she graduated from UT Austin. My grandmother was Miss Corpus Christi and my great aunt was Miss Tyler,” she explains. With most of Opsal’s relatives living in the DFW-area, the family travels there at least three times a year. “I miss going to the State Fair of Texas, boating on Lake Travis in Austin and floating on the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels.”
Although her first love is still theatre, it’s movies and TV where Opsal is making her mark. “I still love theatre and the stage but landing a small, but significant role in “Bad Boys for Life” was life-changing and awe-inspiring.” As she rightly says, who wouldn’t want to spend the day with Will Smith on set eating lollipops? “He’s so kind, and he kept me laughing all day. On set, days can be long, but if you love what you do it goes by fast.”
Like all true professionals, Opsal takes her acting seriously and works hard at it. “I have been blessed with training with some of the best coaches and from that I have derived my own technique that seems to work for me.” Once the director or casting director sends this rising star the script to study, she has her own, very specific technique.”I go into a quiet place and write down the first letter of each word. This helps me memorize the dialogue.” Then she’s ready to go.
The Challenge of Crying
“My biggest challenge was crying on demand,” Opsal says. However, she credits her “great coach” for working with her on it. Now, she’s proud to say that she is able to scream or cry on demand.
Opsal loves downtime whenever she can get it. “I am an avid soccer player and painter. An only child, she has a very close relationship with her mom and dad. Not to forget her cute mini goldendoodle, Koko. As she’s not home schooled, Opsal is grateful for her “very understanding principal” when she’s away filming. Despite all her experiences, Kiley Opsal is still, let’s face it, a twelve-year-old. “I love my small group of friends, and in my free time I love to hang out and goof off and be a kid!”
As for the future, film prospects include being cast as Alexa, one of the leads in an upcoming movie. “Adrina is based on the 1960s “Flipper” TV series currently in pre-production with filming to begin this fall on location in Florida,” Opsal says. And yes, she does get to swim with mermaids and dolphins The PG-rated mystery/drama, comedy series is written and directed by Rod Smith (“Sins of the Mother;” “Closure;” “Hunted”).
Beyond “Adrina,” Opsal has many exciting projects yet to come: At the end of March, she flies to Indiana to shoot “Pulled From Darkness.” The movie is inspired by the shocking real-life story of a woman who was abducted in the night, and sold into trafficking after her husband lost her in a card game. After living in a pitch dark, concrete cell for three years, she grew so ill that her captors dumped her body in the street. Awaking from a coma in a hospital, a compassionate nurse befriends her, and joins her in the search for her three missing children.
After that thrilling ride, in mid-April, Opsal is due in LA to film “Rings of the Unpromised.” She is playing the supporting lead, Jennifer, in a feature film about a mature woman explaining to a young neighbor girl what lies ahead in life. “It’s not what the girl expects,” is Opsal’s tantalizing teaser.
Back to Texas
Opsal’s most recently booked project is “One Hundred Percent,” filming in Houston in late 2021. This time, she plays Abigail, the daughter of one of the main characters played by Tony Gonzalez (“NCIS;” “Shockwave;” “A.I. Assault”). “In this film, Tony is badly injured in combat. Abigail plays a key role in helping him overcome many of the battles that he faces in his recovery,” explains Opsal.
From there, who knows where this talented young actress will go. Wherever it is, we’re certain it will entail much success.
Cover photo courtesy Eric Campbell Photography
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.