When Rose Reid was a teen growing up south of Nashville, she was already acting, writing scripts and—occasionally—getting a little upset with Plugged In.
“There were definitely moments where [my siblings and I] were … unhappy,” she says. Rose’s mother always read Plugged In before allowing her kids to see a movie. And when we once said that a movie was out of bounds for kids under the age of 16—a category in which all three of the Reid children qualified for—Rose admits she spent “several days upset about that.”
Thankfully, Rose has forgiven us—and her projects would make her mom proud. Rose’s first acting credit came in I’m Not Ashamed (which was nominated for a Plugged In Movie Award in 2017), and she made a starring turn in The World We Make, which was based on a story she wrote. Her latest film, the PG-rated romcom Finding You, required her to fly to Ireland, learn to fiddle and act opposite the legendary Vanessa Redgrave.
We had a chance to talk to her about all of the above, as well as why the adult Rose Reid still tends to make movies that a teen Rose Reid would love.
(This interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.)
Paul Asay: First off, I have to compliment you on your fake violin skills. For a good chunk of the movie, I was watching you perform what looked to be some incredibly complicated violin pieces, and I kept asking myself, Is she really playing?
Rose Reid: I did learn to play for the film. I actually played when I was younger—from, gosh, 6 years old to maybe 10 or 11 years old. So I played for a while, but not very well. … I knew they weren’t going to be able to totally fake it in the film, so I went and I got a violin coach, and we worked together for several months, every other day, drilling these four or five songs that you see me play in the film.
And it is me playing in the film for the most part—but Zoe Conway is who you’re actually hearing over the speakers, who’s just this incredible accomplished violinist. I have so much respect for her after trying to play this instrument. I actually did learn how to play it, but only those songs. And we played it for looks, not for sound. I felt so sorry for all the cast and crew members who actually heard me play.
Asay: Still, it must’ve been rewarding in a way to pick up this new skill, right?
Reid: Absolutely. You know, it’s really why I actually fell in love with acting. I had such a scattered personality where I want to try it all, I wanted to do everything. And I really have an opportunity to do that with acting. I get to learn how to play the violin. And maybe in the next film, I’ll learn how to do stunts. And then in the next film, I’ll learn something about medicine. You know, it’s crazy just how much you can learn and experience through acting.
Asay: But you don’t just act. You’re also a writer, right? I think I read somewhere that you wrote your first screenplay when you were 14. I write a little, too, but there’s not a lot of money in it. But setting that aside, what do you enjoy more? Writing or acting?
Reid: It’s such a good question. I really feel that writing and acting are very intertwined. I love storytelling in all of its forms. And the reason I love acting is because I grew up an avid reader and writer. I mean, I probably have 12 novels on my computer that I just never did anything with. I grew up an avid, avid reader. And the idea of bringing one of these characters to life, and adding little gestures and habits that they have, and really creating a character from the ground up and hopefully doing it justice really appeals to me. And it’s really hard for me to say whether I would prefer more acting or more writing, because I think that they’re so similar and I love them so much.
But I think ultimately, I think I would like to stay in acting and keep writing as a hobby. Because I know that once you turn a hobby into a job, it isn’t really as fun anymore. I have a real passion for it, but I think it should probably stay as a hobby for now.
Asay: As we talk about acting, you had a chance to work with one of the all-time greats in Oscar-winning Vanessa Redgrave. Was that intimidating? Did you learn anything from her in this process?
Reid: This film was probably one of the most intimidating films I’ve worked on. [I knew] it was just going to be so humbling in so many ways, because I needed to play the violin, and that was really intimidating—to have people who knew how to play the violin and fiddle, watching me as a complete amateur playing. And the same goes for Vanessa Redgrave.
When I heard that she was attached, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that I was going to be in the same room with her, let alone acting alongside her. … [But when the day came to work with her], I was terrified. Absolutely. I had all these weird fears that she was going to be harsh or critical. But she was seriously one of the nicest people on set. She was so respectful and so understanding and so complimentary. And really just such a sweet woman to be around.
And truly, she’s an incredible actress. Even from the way she would just knew how to move in front of the camera. … It was so stunning to watch. And really did teach me so much about it.
Asay: When I look at the films you’ve appeared in, most of them seem to be pretty family friendly. And a lot even have a certain undercurrent of faith working their way through them—some Christian undertones, and Finding You is no exception. Is this a conscious decision on your part? Do you find yourself attracted to projects like this?
Reid: I definitely do. I grew up in a very Christian family south of Nashville. So we grew up watching movies like these. These are the kinds of movies I’ve been around my entire life and really appreciate.
And my mom actually reads Plugged In all the time. I remember growing up, she would always read Plugged In before we would see any movie and she’d say, “Let’s see what they say about it.” That was the thing that was important to her.
A lot of what I would like to do is make sure that families can find movies that they feel are appropriate for their kids, and that they feel are teaching good messages. That’s an important thing to me–that [kids or teens or even parents] away with a new perspective and a positive uplifting message that really means something and can actually have a real impact on her life for the better.
Finding You will be in theaters across the country on Friday. Check out our review of the film tomorrow.