Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Hello! My name is Noah Reilly and I am an actor. “Why do you do what you do?” I love that question so much because there are so many reasons and it always makes me think. And, honestly, most of the time it’s just ineffable! Of course, I act to tell stories and impact audiences, but it goes a little deeper than that. I do this to relate to people who don’t often feel like they can relate to others.
I do this to understand other people. Acting is all about being a new person and meeting new people/characters! Why not live as many lives as I can in the one that I’ve been given? And I guess I do this because my parents made me do it in middle school. But isn’t that how most actors get their start?
I love this art form because there really is nothing like it. With performance, you get to work with so many talented people: other actors, directors, cinematographers, production designers, costume designers, hair and makeup artists, casting directors, etc. And each of those people have such a personalized take on whatever they’re working on, yet somehow it all comes together as one cohesive project.
That’s so cool to me! Whenever I watched theatre, film, or T.V. I couldn’t help but think, “How did ALL of these people get together to create THIS? I want to be a part of that!”
As I went along on my acting journey, I eventually felt that I did become a part of that. I love feeling a part of something that has a bigger purpose. To me, that’s what acting is. And as a performer, you never stop trying to fulfill and define that purpose, but part of me also hopes that I never do, because if I did, I wouldn’t have a reason to perform!
Today, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. I have worked on many theater productions such as Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida, Marlowe’s Edward II, and I am currently working on a world premiere of a show right now, titled Murmurs of the Heart!
In the film and television industry, most recently I worked on the set of Damien Chazelle’s upcoming film, Babylon, starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. I actually got to share some scenes with Brad Pitt! (I can cross that off the bucket list!)
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I believe that in this industry, you cannot do this just for fame, money, and awards. Yeah, that stuff is nice, like really nice, but I consider those things as byproducts of everyone’s hard work. I do what I do because I like to make art! That’s it.
Like I said earlier, there is a bigger purpose for creating. Money, fame, and awards are not determining factors as to why I choose what projects I do. When I create a character or a story, I love to think about why I am working on this and why I am doing it right now.
Things tend to fall flat for me when I have the end result in mind. I can’t think too much about what I am going to get out of it. Because, honestly, people don’t make art for themselves!
Yes, art can be done for yourself, but at the end of the day, it’s for the audience and what they are going to get out of it. That’s the most impactful thing to me! Someone may see something I do and think about it for the rest of their lives.
I have films and theatre productions that have affected me that way. Everyone does! That’s more special to me than what I got from the work I did.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you were doing what you were born to do.
In middle school and high school, I did theater, yes. But I also did Speech and Debate! For those of you that don’t know, Speech and Debate is not just debating hot-button topics. There is a whole other side to it that involves performing.
I recently read a list of celebrities that did S&D, actually! People like Chadwick Boseman, Billy Eichner, Idina Menzel, Jordan Peele, Brad Pitt, and Oprah Winfrey! I did NOT know that in high school and I am proud to call myself a National Speech and Debate Association Alum.
When I performed at tournaments, there were times when I left a room going, “Wow that felt great!” There were other times when it didn’t work exactly as I wanted. But I remember one time specifically when I was performing a humorous piece.
I was in the final round. The room I was performing in was PACKED. During the whole piece, I was making people laugh! And when the round was over, people were coming up to me telling me how much they enjoyed my performance, and then I heard people quoting some of the jokes I told throughout the rest of the day.
Listening to them made me realize that performing was what I was meant to do. I got to perform almost every Saturday making people laugh and brightening people’s days. I loved it and I think of those memories fondly.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
I have been relearning recently that it is okay to take pride and share accomplishments with people without it sounding like bragging. I’m actually still working through this, if I’m being completely honest! I’ve met some people who don’t know the difference between bragging and being cocky or pompous and I never want to come across as egotistical, boastful, or ostentatious.
It’s always been weird to post on social media or even talk about successes because I get nervous that people are thinking, “Jeez…this guy is pretentious!” But as I made friends in the industry, I saw how they were able to post or share things without it seeming that way. They even have people hyping them up and congratulating them. That’s what true friends do!
And if someone I think I am friends with does not support me, it may be time to rethink that friendship. It should be okay to talk about your work without people seeing you differently! I am slowly but surely accepting that, and I do have friends that are supportive of me and my work and I could not be more thankful for them.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Brit Marling – this woman is amazing at what she does and if you have not seen her work or listened to how she talks about her work, then I HIGHLY suggest that you hop on that train NOW. I hope to work with her one day. She is just so down-to-earth and REAL and I’ve resonated with so much of what she stands for and the stories she tells.
Rosamund Pike – I want to have a coffee date with Rosamund one day. I just want to sit down and pick her brain about how she creates a character. Every performance I see of hers I want to take a notebook out and write everything down. She’s brilliant.
Ari Aster – Oh to be directed by Ari Aster. The minute I saw Hereditary I thought, “Who is this man and how can I be a part of the worlds he builds?” And then I saw Midsommar and that was the icing on the cake for me.
His work scratches a part of my creative brain that makes me want to work harder to be a better world builder and performer.
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