Written by: Jayme Face
Nicole Berger is a talented young actress! She not only plays the role of Grace Clarke in the upcoming film “Two for One”, but she plays piano in the film as well! The film centers around a man who adopts his best friend’s daughters after 9/11 and now 11 years later, they face a lot of change when having to move from NYC to Buffalo.
We got the chance to interview Nicole and find out more about her and “Two for One”!
upfrontNY: Can you tell us a little bit about “Two for One” and your character Grace Clarke?
Nicole Berger: The movie is mainly about 9/11 and the impact it had on my family. Grace is a piano prodigy. She is a very precocious, but really sweet little girl. She’s 11. She is quite distant sometimes because she had such a terrible past. She really loves watching wrestling movies and boxing movies with her Uncle Lou like with Sylvester Stallone and Rocky Balboa. She is a classically trained professional pianist, she is super classical and sweet, but she has a real fierce side.
upfrontNY: Oh wow. Are you a lot like your character?
Nicole Berger: Well in real life I do play the piano. I have been playing for about 8 years, since I was 5 or so. Yea, I can be fierce sometimes when I really need to, but I enjoy playing the piano so much and I think that was an amazing part of the film. One of the best parts was that I got to play the piano.
upfrontNY: You film in both Manhattan and Buffalo; how was it different filming in each?
Nicole Berger: I was born in Manhattan and I’ve lived there all my life, and still do. In Manhattan it’s the city lights and in the movie that’s where Grace was born, but until my parents die in the movie. While the movie continues, my adopted father James, played by Jon Abrahams who is also the director of the movie, we have to move to upstate NY, to Buffalo. Buffalo was an interesting experience. I had never been there before, obviously very different from Manhattan.
upfrontNY: You said you acted alongside the director Jon Abrahams. How was that different acting with the director?
Nicole Berger: Jon was really amazing to work with. He was a really kind director and he played my adopted father so we got to work together a lot, he and my sister in the movie, Alexis. We all got along very well actually.
upfrontNY: So would you say the cast is like a big family?
Nicole Berger: Oh Yeah! For Sure. I got to know everyone like the back of my hand. It was really so much fun. We got to learn how many people it takes to make a movie. I had no idea about sound directors, lights, lighting directors. We have to shoot things at specific parts of the day, and we have to go by a really tight time schedule. A scene we did once in the afternoon like during sunset and we just made it, but if there was like ten, fifteen minutes later the sun would have gone down it would have been dark and the story wouldn’t have made sense. In the movie, Erika Christensen was in it, Mickey Sumner was in it, and Annie Potts was in it, and we all just worked really close together. We had a few days where we met all together and rehearsed all our lines, and the next day we do it. They taught me how to be a better actress.
upfrontNY: I don’t think you were even born yet during 9/11?
Nicole Berger: No, I’m almost thirteen now. I turn thirteen Nov. 27th . I was born thanksgiving 2003.
upfrontNY: So how much did you know about it before filming and what did you learn from filming Two for One?
Nicole Berger: Well of course I’ve been to the 9/11 memorial in NYC. I’d been there before the movie. I had an idea about everything that happened. I’ve learned a little bit about it in school, but I always knew since I was very little about all the tragedies and everything that happened during 9/11. Before we started the movie, Johnny and I , I call him Jonny, we had rehearsals and we talked a little bit about 9/11 and how traumatic it was and I got to learn more.
upfrontNY: This is a drama with some serious scenes; how do you prepare for serious scenes?
Nicole Berger: When my parents die in the movie, I was a baby. I don’t remember my parents. It was all just from photographs. My sister Alexis was telling me about them. In the movie, Alexis and I don’t really get along, but in real life her name is Sasha, we got along well. So there were a lot of intense and dramatic scenes where I really have to get in there, but when I was a baby in the movie that’s when it happened so at that part it wasn’t me acting, it was the younger version of me. It was a really heavy topic, but it wasn’t meant to be sad, it was a really serious topic but it was acted out in a kind way.
upfrontNY: Now the movie will premier at the Napa Valley Film Festival Nov. 8-13. Will you be there?
Nicole Berger: Yes, of course! I am going to be in California for the film festival and the premiere of the movie. I’m very very excited. My whole family is coming.
upfrontNY: What are you most excited about?
Nicole Berger: I’m super excited to see the movie on a big screen. It’s like a dream come true, and to see all the actors again like Erika Christensen who was especially nice to me. We got along really well. I’m really excited to see it.
upfrontNY: Is there anything else you would want to share with our readers?
Nicole Berger: Like I said before, in real life I play the piano. I’ve been playing for 8 years and some of my idols and inspirations are Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chopin, all of these great amazing composers of the 17th century. My family’s background is Austrian and German and Beethoven is from Austria. I really enjoy learning about my culture and those who inspired me, like Beethoven and the great composers. For me, something that was really amazing was that Beethoven lost his hearing and people were mean and thought he was nasty and grumpy all the time but he actually was deaf in both of his ears. When he performed and composed the 9th symphony, he got a standing ovation, but he could not hear everybody clapping for him so one of the conductors had to turn him around, like physically, so he could see everyone clapping and applauding for him. His work was so amazing, and he did it without hearing it, and I really look up to him because that’s just the most amazing thing in music ever.
upfrontNY: I am super fascinated by playing the piano and its history.
Nicole Berger: In the movie, I played my own music none of it was dubbed over or anything. It was a really an amazing experience. I got to work with such amazing actors and actresses and I got the chance to play the piano that I have been working on for a long time. It was a really good role that I got the chance to play.
upfrontNY: Is there any dream venue you would like to play in the future?
Nicole Berger: Maybe in Salzburg, Austria. I think Austria is such an amazing country and I go there every summer and we visit Mozart’s house and everything. I would probably love to be able to play at an orchestra or in Salzburg, Austria. That would be amazing.
upfrontNY:What do you think we can expect from you in the future? Do you have any upcoming projects or plans?
Nicole Berger: My agent sends me out on auditions and I go to them. I hope to be in another film soon or a Disney TV show. I really love auditioning. It’s really fun. It’s different characters every audition, like one day I have an audition for a Disney TV show and my name is Linda and then the next day I get another audition for another role, and I memorize the lines, go in, and I can play a different person. I think that is one of the best parts about acting. I get to be different characters in every audition, different background, different storyline.
upfrontNY: What is your favorite thing to act? Is it comedy or drama or a type of character?
Nicole Berger: I do like drama films. I really like acting in them, or musicals; I like to sing, I play the piano, I do ballet.