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“This is sort of like a homecoming,” says 17-year-old actress Nikki Reed, who grew up just a few blocks away from the Venice Beach boardwalk. “I’m such a beach girl.”
It’s deja vu for Reed in more ways than one: Her latest film, “Lords of Dogtown,” which will come out on June 3, was filmed along this famous two-mile stretch of beach, where, in the early Seventies, a ragtag group of teen skateboarders known as the Z-Boys brought a then-fledgling sport into the public eye. The film is a fictional follow-up to the documentary, “Dogtown and Z-Boys.” Reed plays Kathy Alva, sister of skate legend Tony Alva. “Kathy is kind of like the pivotal character who makes the difference between the documentary and the film,” Reed says. “In a film, you need drama, so, obviously, Kathy dating two of the Z-Boys and being Tony’s sister brings in that element.”
In fact, the precocious Reed, who, at 14, cowrote and costarred in “Thirteen” (Evan Rachel Wood plays the character based on Reed’s life), is used to being an object of desire on the big screen. Her next three films are “Man of God,” a dark love story in which she plays a prostitute opposite Peter Weller’s rabbi; “American Gun,” an ensemble drama costarring Donald Sutherland and Marcia Gay Harden, and “Mini’s First Time,” in which she plays another working girl.
“For that one, I had to kiss both Alec Baldwin and Jeff Goldblum,” she says, laughing. “Not exactly light stuff, but I tend to go for darker indie projects.”
Off-screen, Reed enjoys more mainstream pastimes such as shopping (she now lives just off Melrose Avenue), surfing and hiking. She says her wardrobe in “Dogtown” isn’t much different from the laid-back, California-girl styles she wears now. In fact, some of her costumes included vintage pieces from her mother, such as patchwork bell-bottoms, crocheted bikini tops and handmade earrings.
“There’s nothing like having the original clothes of the day,” she says. “I’m really hoping ‘Dogtown’ brings back the high-waisted pants, because women’s bodies are just not made to wear pants that show their butt crack.”
This story first appeared in the May 11, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.