Ryan Kiera Armstrong stars in The Old Way with Nicolas Cage. Armstrong plays Brooke, the 12-year-old daughter of Colton Briggs (Cage), a former gunslinger who is seeking vengeance for his wife’s murder. Deepest Dream talked to Armstrong about the Western, her work in last year’s Firestarter, and her acting journey.
The Old Way, directed by Brett Donowho, also features Noah Le Gros, Abraham Benrubi, Clint Howard, and Shiloh Fernandez as the outlaws being hunted down by Colton Briggs (Nicolas Cage). Nick Searcy, best known for his work on TV’s Justified, co-stars as the Marshal who impedes Colton’s path to revenge.
Both Eric Holmes and I recommend The Old Way. Listen to our review on this week’s CinemAddicts:
The Old Way is now available on Premium Video on Demand and Digital. Check out my Q&A with Ryan Kiera Armstrong below:
What was it like for you to shoot on location with The Old Way?
This is my first ever Western, so it was so exciting to take (this role). We shot the entire thing on location in Montana, which actually helped me imagine this world. And it really feels like you’re in it when you’re there. This has definitely been a journey and it was so exciting.
My CinemAddicts co-host Eric Holmes wanted to ask how were you able to act in a non-verbal manner towards the final moments of The Old Way?
A lot of it was in the thought process and that was the key for many scenes. The thoughts, even the littlest of things. Even what I’m wearing changes things. It was really the thought process for me that helped guide me there. And listening to what other people are saying
But at the same time you have to live and almost say lines in your head sometimes (laughs). That’s sometimes what I do and I sometimes say lines that I make up in my head to show that emotion of what I’d be if I was actually saying them.
Was your acting dream always with you as a child or did you grow into that passion?
It’s really something I’ve grown up with and something I’ve come to know. It’s always been like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to be an actor.’ It’s always been that thing for me.
I started really young – I don’t know, it’s just always been in my life and I think every since I was born that’s just been something I’ve always wanted to do.
Listen to my interview with Ryan Kiera Armstrong on CinemAddicts:
How do you handle all of the compliments you receive? I interviewed your co-star Abraham Benrubi and he praised your work, and watching Drew Barrymore tear up over your Firestarter performance must have meant a lot to you as well.
It’s really funny. I don’t know how to sometimes. And sometimes I get really awkward about it because I (say) ‘thank you’ but I don’t know what to say. It’s so overwhelming because I love all these actors and I’m surrounded by such amazing people. I choke up sometimes and I’m always just very awkward.
I’m so honored to be working with the people I’m working with. And this crew was so amazing. Yeah, that’s really it.
What’s it like to learn from two different productions like Firestarter and now with The Old Way?
They’re extremely different. For The Old Way, it was interesting because I had never been on location for the entire shoot before. You’re really in it together when you are there. In the middle of nowhere, shooting a movie with this group of people and you’re like ‘hey everyone.’ You’re all there for one thing.
With Firestarter, you have all those effects, what was that experience like for you?
It was cool. I’ve never done a project like that with almost super powers, right? I never even imagined doing that. I remember my first day, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to do, this is crazy.’
There are so much imaginary things that go on. And (I thought), ‘Okay, this is a fireball going to this person.’ And the entire crew tries to make it very comfortable so you can do that and they try to make the effects as real as possible. They’re very different projects and I learned so much from both that really does help me and understand characters more.
What has been the last couple years like been for you? Have you sat down to relish your success or are you focused on the next project around the corner?
I don’t know. It’s all going for it right now. It’s really me saying ‘I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.’ Keep on trying and trying. That is what it is for me right now. Just keep on going, non-stop.
It makes me happy. It actually fuels me when I wake up in the morning. Hey I’m waking up at 4 in the morning but I’m going to work, my favorite thing in the world.
It really fuels me and energizes me knowing what I’m doing and hoping to pass the message to people. That’s really why I’m in it. And so it makes me happy knowing that’s what I’m doing.
How do you get your confidence as actor?
I don’t know. It’s kind of a bit of both in a way. Because at the end of the day, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
Just feeling as comfortable as you can, and honestly not being afraid to go there is something I learned later on. I have to commit to it, you know? I find whatever I commit to – let’s say I’m screaming a line at the top of my lungs. When I actually commit to it, it doesn’t feel weird after.
Right before I do it, I’m like ‘Oh, I’m going to hurt everyone’s ears.’ But once you actually really commit to it – it doesn’t feel weird after. You overcome come it, and hey that actually feels good.
What makes The Old Way special for you as a movie?
What speaks to me about this film is the idea of change and development of someone who can change as a person. There was so much character and relationship development with Brooke and Briggs. Nicolas Cage was absolutely amazing. I learned so much from him.
And also the message, there is something about father and daughter duos that we don’t see much of and we need to see more. My dad and I are really close and that is something I can relate to with the film. That’s what I hope passes on.
Do you want to do another Western?
Of course. Absolutely. I’m all for it. I’m so ready. I’m really excited and this film has a special place in my heart. I’m so honored.
Anything else on the horizon?
Right now – I just go repped!
Yeah. Woo-hoo! I’m releasing what I’m doing now in the next few months which is really exciting. Yeah I love challenges – they help me explore myself as a person and learn about myself through different characters. Even the weirdest ones. I’m really excited for the future.
I mean, commit to it. Also listen to the people around you. Listen to your other actors. Listening is the key and thought. Always think about it. Think about what the other actor is saying in the scene. What is your character thinking in this scene? What would they be feeling?
What would you be feeling? And maybe compare that to this character. But everyone has their own process. Whatever works for you. Stick to it.
By the way, my mom is the biggest movie buff and she is picky with films. She loved The Old Way.
Thank you, that’s so sweet.
Take care Ryan!
Now in theaters, The Old Way hits Premium Video on Demand and Digital on Friday, January 13.
***Deepest Dream receives a commission if you purchase items via Amazon. Thank you for your support!