Actress Nina Seul is a Knockout from the Theatre to the Silver Screen
Introduce the art of theater to a child’s curious young mind and watch the magic unfold. This gives them the permission to express themselves and dream the impossible. The realization that they can be anyone and do anything — that’s the power of theater. The art of expression and performance creates a sense of confidence in a child, and for Nina Seul, this spawned the beginning of a very powerful career as an actress. Growing up with a father who was a professor and mother who was the director of cultural programming for Cannes Palais de Festivals, Nina’s parents supported her tremendous love of theater, culture and art. Now a shining star on big and small screens around the world, the rest, as they say, is history.
Recalling her origins in the world of entertainment, Nina says, “I was raised in Cannes, on the French Riviera, famous for its worldwide well-known Film Festival. At a very early age, I started to attend movie screenings and theater plays with my parents, both of whom were very passionate about arts and culture.”
Enchanted by the wondrous world of theater and acting, at the age of ten Nina began to study acting and stage technique at the world-renowned theater school, Ecole Regionale d’acteur de Cannes. After graduating from a theater and literature program in high school summa cum laude, at sixteen years old Nina embarked on an intensive summer program with the Stella Adler Studio in New York City, where she enhanced her technique, laying a solid foundation for her successful professional career.
“This experience was influential for me and further inspired me to pursue a career in acting and performance,” Nina said. She further explains, “The adrenaline of being on stage in front of an audience without a safety net and the adrenaline of giving up everything to jump into a character is what I find drives me to perform.”
Backed with training and experience on stage, Nina has a versatile and expansive capacity that allows her to take on virtually any role on screen. For challenging, action-packed projects like the powerful film “F 63.9 Bolezn lyubvi” aka “F 63.9 Love Sickness,” which was nominated for the Golden Duke Award at the Odessa International Film Festival and the German Television Academy Award winning series “Alarm for Cobra 11 — The Motorway Police,” where the actress had to embody complex characters, Nina is among the most sought after French female talents in the business.
“Being an actress is not only utilizing your mind, but it’s also expressing your emotions with your body. It’s a way to stimulate my entire being,” Nina said.
In her recent project, “Gimme Shelter,” an action film, Nina plays a young woman named Mick who was born into an orphanage and finds herself in a crisis where she is forced to go up against the organization that raised her, an elite secretive institution known as ‘Shelter.” The institution is a training ground for gifted young orphans to shape them into assassins. Her first mission — to kill a fellow agent — is a test of loyalty that triggers PTSD and latent memories of her lost childhood. She learns quickly about the nefarious history of the organization and the truth behind its founder, the enigmatic Falco. Her journey with this organization becomes complicated when she is introduced to her new partner, Solo, the man she thought she killed.
In preparation for the role, Nina delved into a fascinating process that challenges her to look inward — taking on the persona as a spy in an exploration of self discovery about the identity of her character. Embodying a seductive, mysterious, and unapologetically fierce character, Nina embraced and executed the role alarmingly well. In addition to embodying the strong and fearless role down to its core, she masterfully navigates Mick’s inward emotional journey that forms the heart of the story.
“In the pilot, Mick’s psychological journey is really special and intense, she is going through emotional trauma as well as a number of personal discoveries in her adult life,” explains Nina. “As an actress, I have rarely had to navigate so many different feelings and emotions with a character in one story. It was really challenging but also very exciting.”
As her character develops and the story unfolds, Mick and Solo realize they are on the same path in discovering where they both came from. The darkness of the institution surfaces, along with its ties to a nefarious breeding program that they thought had been long dead. Their mission turns into a man hunt where they must eliminate Shelters’ most dangerous agents before they can complete their mission in bringing about a new world order.
Speaking to the importance of this project in her career, Nina says, “Since the beginning of my acting career, I always wanted to play a role that involved stunts and action, this is part of what attracted me to “Gimme Shelter.” I also liked the script and the story that lets the door open to a multitude of development possibilities for my character over the seasons.”
No role is too big or small for Nina, and performing new and unfamiliar characters is a challenge she fully embraces. Her lead role in the action thriller film, “Dark Web,” starring Danny Glover, demanded a different approach that Nina completely abandoned herself to. Her character, Anna is a villain — an evil, calculating, cold and intelligent leader of a criminal group.
Discussing her process and technique in preparing for the role, Nina recalls, “It was really fun to play a villain without humanity and emotion. It required a different preparation, I didn’t use my personal emotions and background because I had no personal connection to the character of Anna. Instead, I used another process and imagined her motivations, reasons and past childhood traumas that made her into this cold robotic adult.”
Taking on a villainous mind and making it believable is a task that Nina made look effortless. Most actors rely on personal emotion to bring to life a character, but Nina successfully embodied the character by taking on a mindset beyond her own. This dark place Nina delved into was done with such great strategy that she was able to revert back without losing herself completely, which is one of the most challenging processes when approaching reprehensible roles. Finding an actor who can effectively encapsulate such a character is a rare gift, and that’s one of the aspects of Nina’s talent that makes her so unique.
Choosing her roles carefully, Nina primarily goes after those that will push her to grow as a performer. Whether it’s something she’s never done before or a script that delves deep into the human experience, she must be seduced in a way that peaks her interest.
For Nina, playing the role of a daughter to a deaf father, in a recent commercial for Tesla struck a chord. She explains, “It’s more than a commercial, the director really wanted to shoot it like a film. He gave importance to the characters with a solid background in the story. We follow them over the years. The director was looking for very expressive actors, capable of sharing emotions and feelings without words, but instead through one’s eyes, expressions and body language.”
The commercial brings to life the story of a man whose love for music leads him to his craft as a violinist; however, it all comes to a stop when he becomes deaf. His daughter, played by Nina, is his only constellation left in the universe. In a story that dives deeper than those in most commercials, this unique story for Tesla follows the father and daughter as they drive through the California desert, with Nina’s character communicating with her father in sign language. She tells him to be patient. At the end of their drive, in a Tesla of course, his daughter reveals towering speakers with a vinyl player attached. And as the needle hits the vinyl, she begins to sing “Happy Birthday, Dad.” A tear jerker of epic proportions.
Nina says, “This project is very special to me for many reasons, including the aesthetic of the film, the beauty of the script and the stunning locations where we shot in the California desert, but also because of the challenge of shooting an entire story without words.”
Jono Seneff, the director of the Tesla commercial, says, “I singled her out because of her natural demeanor. So much of acting is surrendering the idea of the performance and just being present, Nina understands this.”
Nina has proven with her body of work from theater to film to commercials, that she can exemplify any role she takes on with flawless skill. From playing a villainous, robotic mastermind, to playing the compassionate, empathetic daughter, Nina does whatever it takes to embody each of her character’s individual human experience, and she touches us every time with her performance. What makes Nina such a rarely gifted performer is her refusal to stay in her comfort zone, and the further she pushes herself the more engaged we are as an audience.
Backed with solid training, experience, world travels and an unbounded passion and respect for the art of acting, Nina tells the human story apart from the storyline of a script. She takes in careful consideration the details, nuances of a person through a mind, body and spirit process. Nina says, “At the end of the day, every role I take on, big or small, is an exciting challenge, a new human adventure.”
Up next for Nina is the highly anticipated film “Blood Money,” where she plays a multi-layered role as an uncompromising assassin named Rose who is hired by a drug cartel to find missing money. Directed by Buddy Chamber (“The Hard Sale,” “Lessons), the film is an action-packed thriller centered around finding a thief who steals from the wrong person. With Nina as one of three powerful female leads, alongside award-winning actress Elizabeth Colunga (“A Tale of Delight”) and Josephine Keefe (“Liz & Dick”) “Blood Money” is a fast-paced crime drama that audiences won’t want to miss.
About the film, which began shooting in August, Nina says, “I like the idea that the movie is female-driven, with three totally different badass characters. I also like the story and Buddy’s writing. My character is challenging and multi-layered and there’s the psychological question of whether she will be able to do what she was hired for. As a professional assassin, my character faces the difficulty of having to kill someone that she admires and respects.”
After honing her skills on stage where there is no such thing as a second take, Nina Seul transitioned effortlessly into her on-screen career more than a decade ago and she has firmly made her mark as a uniquely gifted performer. With the success of films like “Dark Web,” “Gimme Shelter” and many more under her belt, as well as the upcoming film “Blood Money” beginning to generate quite a buzz, there’s no doubt that viewers around the world will be seeing a whole lot more of Nina Seul on screen.