It seems like just days ago that she was dazzling us as the precocious Meg Murry in Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time. With her latest role in Blumhouse’s Don’t Let Go, Storm Reid is proving that she’s a versatile force in Hollywood. The best part is that the 16-year-old is just getting started. Since Wrinkle–Reid has shined in everything from the Netflix’s drama mini-series, When They See Us to HBO’s now-infamous Euphoria, opposite Zendaya. She has no plans of slowing down.
Ernestingly grasping onto roles that won’t allow her to be contained in a box–Reid’s role as Ashley Radcliff in Don’t Let Go is perhaps her most heart-wrenching and compelling. The thriller follows Ashley’s uncle, Detective Jack Radcliff (David Oyelowo), who is devastated after learning that his family–including Ashley, his brother Garret Radcliff (Brian Tyree Henry), and his sister-in-law were murdered in cold blood. Traumatized by the horrific event–Jack is jolted out of his stupor when he receives a phone call from Ashley who seems to be living two weeks in the past. Together, the uncle/niece duo ban together–racing against the clock to solve Ashley’s murder before it happens.
Ahead of Don’t Le Go’s debut, STYLECASTER sat down to chat with Storm Reid about the psychological thriller, Euphoria and jumping fearlessly into the future.
“I feel like Ashley is just a regular young teenager who’s trying to find herself,” Reid reflected on her character’s struggles. “But she doesn’t have the best circumstances with her father and her mother. She does have her Uncle Jack to look up to as a father figure. I just love how the movie, even though it is a psychological thriller, is about love, connecting with others, and trying to save yourself. I feel like we all have people in our lives that we would go to the ends of the earth for. So I’m glad that we are able to make something special.”
Reid spends a ton of time in Don’t Let Go running, jumping and riding a bicycle. “I’m a very active person, and I work out with my mom a lot,” she shared about tackling the stunts. “So the running and the jumping and all that stuff was pretty easy. But I did do some bike training because I did have to ride my bike a lot and really handle that. But other than that, it was fun, and I love doing my own stunts.”
As challenging as becoming Ashley was, Reid was able to practice a great deal of self-care– during filming. “I was able to keep it light,” she said. “I’m very good at stepping into my character’s shoes and becoming them and not neglecting myself. That’s where real acting comes from, where you pull from real experiences a real emotion, and then you just put those emotions into your character. So I’m glad that I was able to do that. But even if I did feel a little weird or uncomfortable on set, I would just remind myself that this is not my reality and that helped a lot.”
Though Don’t Let Go is a massive departure from Disney–the themes in the film are what truly compelled Reid to take it on. “I loved the whole idea of me never doing a psychological thriller before and then doing a psychological thriller that dealt with an underlying message of love and family,” the Atlanta native explained. “To be able to work with Mr. David [Oyelowo] was something that I wanted to do. So to have it all come together in one project was pretty amazing.”
With a robust cast including legendary actor Mykelti Williamson and If Beale Street Could Talk’s Brian Tyree Henry, working on Don’t Let Go felt refreshing and familiar to Reid–despite the dark material. “They’re so great and so focused and have a lot of passion for what they’re doing,” she revealed. “It made me really excited to work with people who are as passionate about acting as I am. And Mr. Bryan is hilarious, and I was a fan of his before–watching Atlanta and all the stuff that he had done. Mr. David, and knowing that he had worked with Ms. Ava [DuVernay] and how much she loves him. So it was great just to be able to make those connections on screen and off the screen.”
Since Don’t Let Go was shot nearly a year before Euphoria–Reid knew that she was more than capable of tackling the dark but mesmerizing teen drama. “I just have to step into their shoes and really think about their experiences,” she explained about her characters. “Both of those kids just have had a lot of tragedy and trauma in their life. I feel like they were able to connect in that way, and I was able to connect to them in that way. But it is two different things and two different subject matters. So I think I just take each character day by day, really.”
With Hollywood’s renewed focus on teenagers– with series like Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, Euphoria and the forthcoming Babysitter’s Club series among others–Reid is eager to talk about the things that are affecting her generation. “I feel like it’s important because we are the present and the future, and I feel like people need to start paying attention to us, whether that is in our sociopolitical climate right now or in television and movies,” she said. “We’re representing the real world and what actually happens to our young people and our youth. I’m glad to be a part of something where young people are being represented. It might not be in the best light because again, they are real experiences, and not all teenagers have joyous, happy experiences. But to just be telling our stories one day at a time has been amazing.”
Booked and busy with Euphoria Season 2 on the way, a film adaptation of H.G, Wells’ Invisible Man and a Suicide Squad sequel–Reid is embracing it all as it comes. “I just always want to align myself with projects that have a purpose, and that will evoke a conversation, so I would love to do something darker,” she revealed. “I’d love to work with Ms. Angela Bassett. I feel like she’s incredible. So I would love to work with her, and I would love to work with Ms. Meryl Streep. I think she’s incredible as well. I just want to be in both of those ladies’ presence, and I feel like if we were to do a project together, it would be truly magical.”
Don’t Let Go hits theaters Aug. 30, 2019.