“People on set did warn me and I did know going into it that the fans were going to feel that way and that there was going to be a negative response" - Alexa Nisenson on the Dead of Nick
On December 8, 2020, Alexa Nisenson, who plays Charlie on Fear The Walking Dead, sat down for an Interview with Dead Talk Live. Below are some of the highlights from his interview with the show’s host Viz.
Describing how her journey began on the show Alexa says she got Charlie’s role at the age of 11. Her agent contacted her to do the audition, which was to be self-taped and not an actual in-person audition. She was again contacted by her manager, informing her that she bagged the role on the Fear The Walking Dead series. Her character was initially planned to be a part of the show for a few four to five episodes, but later on, the show’s writers and makers kept asking her to come back and do more episodes, for which she is extremely grateful. She feels that since she started at the age of 11, she has grown up on the show’s sets.
“Actually, at the time, I was supposed just to come on and do like four or five episodes, and from then on, it just kept going on, and they kept asking me to return, and I’m so grateful because it’s been such an incredible experience and it’s truly crazy that this is my third season on the show, I am 14. I started at the age of 11, so I have grown up on the show pretty much.”
Alexa sees Charlie’s character shooting Nick (played by Frank Dillane) down as a mix of emotions and the feeling of hurt she experienced, which made her think that she needed to shoot Nick down. She feels since Charlie’s character was young and she was coming out of her shell and the influences and ascendancy imposed on her as a young girl, she believes the character was manipulated a bit and the work given to her of snooping on others. Due to these reasons, Alexa believes Charlie did that, in addition to the fact that it was something Charlie needed to do at that moment.
In Alexa’s opinion- “I think it was probably a mix of both. I think she felt hurt because nick had hurt her caretaker that Ennis, so I think part of it was emotion. Still, I also think she felt like that is what she had to do at the moment. I think the character was just young and was coming out of the influence of the vultures. She was slightly manipulated and controlled by them and forced to be put in some of these situations, like being a spy and sneaking around for them. Hence, part of it was out of emotion and feeling hurt from what nick did, but also she did feel like that’s what she had to do at that moment.”
Following Nick’s death, Alexa faced negative backlash and hated for what her character on the show did. She mentioned that people on the show did warn her about the backlash she might face. She was self-aware that she might be subjected to negativity after entering the entertainment fraternity. She didn’t expect the backlash to be of the extent that it was. As an 11-year-old child, the hate did impact her and her mental and emotional wellbeing.
She says, “ People on set did warn me, and I did know going into it that the fans were going to feel that way and that there was going to be a negative response, but as you said, I was 11, and I did not know that it was going to be at the extent that it was, it was challenging for me honestly because as an 11-year-old I just went on to my social media, and I just saw a ton of comments saying we hate you, you killed nick and so on.”
The Storm episode with Alicia (portrayed by Alycia Debnam- Carey) was an awesome experience for Alexa. She recalls that even when she read the script, she had tears in her eyes as there are not many teenage girls who get to do a scene with so many emotions involved, with many astounding dialogues.
Before that episode, Alexa and Alycia weren’t as close because they did not have many scenes and shoot together. Still, after the Storm episode, they bonded a lot as they performed tons of stunts together. They were out in the rain. The whole environment was intense around them. Still, it was in between during those scenes where they bonded and became so close. To date, Alexa feels extremely grateful for getting the opportunity to work with someone as amazing as Alycia.
For Alexa, Alycia is like a big sister. Alexa still gets teary-eyed whenever she watches that episode. The episode is very close to her heart. “It was amazing. I remember opening the script, and I still get emotional to this day watching the episode. I got emotional reading it because when I read it, I knew that it would be such a special experience. As a teenage girl, there aren’t many scripts you get like that where it’s just a lot of emotion and a ton of amazing dialogue. I’m so beyond lucky to work with Alycia. We had an amazing time, and we hadn’t worked together that much before that, so we really bonded during that episode. We did a lot of stunts together, and we were out in the rain in the storm all day every day, so we were just together all the time pretty much, so we really bonded and got close then, and she’s truly like a big sister to me, and she’s just so beyond talented. We were in a very intense state because pretty much the majority of the scenes we were doing were incredibly emotional.”
For Alexa- Alycia and Ruben are the two constant mentors from whom she is always learning something or the other. Be it in her personal life or professional life. They have been there for her, guiding her, supporting her, and taking up mentors’ roles for her. She describes Alycia as her big sister whom she looks up to. She believes Ruben is a very talented, smart, and fun person to be around. He has been a constant motivator and a mentor for her. She has learned so much from both of them.
“All of them have been so incredible, and I feel like I am constantly learning things when I’m around them about things in personal life or acting and our job, but I think just because I’ve worked with them the most definitely Alycia is like a big sister to me, and Ruben has been kind of a mentor to me, and he is so just talented and so incredibly smart, he’s so sweet and humble and kind and is inclusive. You can’t ask for a better group of people, but definitely, since I’ve worked with them, most probably Alycia and Ruben have been like mentors to me. I mean all of them but especially these two because we’ve worked together the most.”
Alexa is homeschooled and works and studies online on her computer. She was initially enrolled in a proper regular school. Still, She would miss out on a lot of her studies due to her packed schedule, which is when she, along with her family members, decided it was best for her to be homeschooled so that she wouldn’t miss out on her studies and could keep up with her classmates/ friends and students of her age group.
“I am homeschooled, so all my schoolwork is all on my computer all online, so I pretty much bring my computer to set and work on whatever I’m doing then with my teacher I was in real school with for a while and then once I started on The Walking Dead it got more difficult because I was never there to attend school. We film in Austin, Texas, so I was pretty much never at home, and it was incredibly difficult at that point to keep up attendance and know what was going on in the class so then after being on the show for a while, we decided that it would be best to homeschool because, at times, we filmed for seven months and back and forth too. For longevity, it wasn’t sustainable at that point, so I think it’s possible if the schedule allows it, but when you’re filming a show like this, especially when you’re in a different state, it’s pretty challenging.”