Niki Koss is a talented young actress who is starring in the upcoming film Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. She is best known for her roles in Stepdaughter, The Appearing, Girl on the Edge, A Teenage Drama, The Spontaneous Huxleys, Losing It and Trafficked. Niki also co-created and directed the digital series Royals for the Galaxey Generation. She has written and produced a number of short films including Abud Shama, Zoe Beth, Assassins, 27 Plus One and Help Wanted. She currently has a pilot called The Monroes in post-production. I recently chatted with Niki about her upcoming film, acting and her thoughts for the future. Her answers were refreshing and honest. Read on to find out what she had to say.
What attracted you to acting and why did you decide to pursue a career as an actress?
“It’s kind of a ridiculous story (laughs). When I was three years old, I told my mom that I wanted to be an actress. She had put me in theater and I was doing these little theater type things. And then when I was nine, I told her that I wanted an agent. I don’t think I knew what it was at the time (laughs) but I started acting professionally. Then I sort of fell out of it and wanted to just be a kid. During my junior year of high school, a homeless guy came up to me and told me I was going to be an actress. And I was like ‘Okay’ (laughs). It sounded a little crazy, but ever since then I haven’t really been able to do anything else.”
Can you tell us a little about your film Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and your character Chloe?
“I’m so excited for this movie to come out! It’s just a ridiculous movie in the best way possible. It’s about three boy scouts who are best friends and they live in this town that gets invaded by zombies. The zombie apocalypse comes and they have to work together and use all of their scout knowledge to basically save the day. But it’s such a crazy, funny comedy. It’s unlike any script that I’ve ever read. My character is part of the popular clique. One of the scouts really likes her and is trying to find her and save her. Everything really comes together at the end. It’s a really cool movie, it’s going to be hilarious (laughs).”
Were you a fan of the horror genre prior to accepting the role?
“It’s really interesting, I don’t like watching horror movies. I’m such a scaredy-cat believe it or not (laughs) but I really enjoy acting in dark movies. I always tend to gravitate towards darker roles in acting; I think they’re more interesting to play. I’ve done many other horror films but this is one of a kind, yeah there’s scary parts in it but you’re going to be laughing the whole time.”
Do you and your character Chloe share any personality traits?
“That’s a good question. We are not similar people but she’s very into fashion and I like fashion and beauty too (laughs). She’s also boy crazy and I tend to be boy crazy sometimes, but that’s it (laughs).”
Can you share with us about any moment from the set that stands out in your mind?
“Oh God, there’s so many fun moments on that set because everyone was in such good spirits the whole time. Because like I said, it’s such a fun set how could you not be? We did this rave scene; it’s this huge party. We shot it at this indoor pool with all the water drained out and we had to sort of go in the pool because that’s where the rave was. There was all this glow in the dark graffiti. It was just really fun. Since we had zombies involved, there were people who had to spend hours and hours and hours, over six hours a day in makeup. They wouldn’t let them have their cell phones because they said it distracted them so with all the talking we did there was major bonding going on.”
You’ve acted in television and film, which medium do you prefer?
“I prefer film because I think there’s more creative freedom, especially with independent films because you don’t have to get every little thing approved by a network or a major studio. It’s kind of just between you and the director to make creative decisions and that’s really nice.”
Who has been your favorite co-star to act opposite?
“I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people but one of my best friends is an actor too. We played brother and sister in this pilot called The Monroes. About a month before we shot that, we got cast as boyfriend and girlfriend in a film called Loosing It. The director didn’t even know we knew each other until the final callback. So, we got to work together on two different things. His name is Torran Kitts. That was super fun but it was definitely weird going from brother and sister to boyfriend and girlfriend. The kissing part is still pretty traumatizing (laughs).”
Is there any actor you dream of someday working with?
“Oh yeah. My dream is to someday work with Leonardo DiCaprio. I would love to work with Ryan Gosling too, but I’m pretty sure I’d be shaking the whole time (laughs).”
You have also co-created and directed the digital series Royals, what was it like being behind the scenes on a project?
“That was actually my first time ever working behind the scenes on a project. I was sitting with my best friend and we were watching this really bad web series on YouTube and I was like ‘we can do this. We can make a good one. Look at this, this is out and people are watching it. We can do so much better’. She was like ‘yeah, we could.’ So we decided on the concept that night and a couple months later we were in pre-production. I always tell people that was like the equivalent of me going to film school, I learned so much shooting that project. There were a lot of times I didn’t know what I was doing so I was just like; I’m going to pretend. I would say, nine out of ten times it worked out. (Laughs).”
Outside of acting, writing and directing, you are also involved in many humanitarian causes. Is there one in which you’re most passionate about?
“I have a few that are on the top of my list. I’m really passionate about global warming and our planet, making sure that it just doesn’t disappear on us. I’m also passionate about homelessness and rescuing animals.”
Years from now when people talk about Niki, what do you hope they’ll say?
“Wow, that’s a very good question, I’ve never been asked that before. I think for me whenever I’m doing anything for my career I always have the idea of longevity in the back of my mind. I want to make decisions now based on how they’ll look in the future. You have to not think about the now, you have to think about ten years from now and just be patient. You need to make sure that everything you do has a direct affect on your future. With all that in mind, I really want to have a career that grows in a healthy way. You know what I mean? I don’t want to peak at a certain age and have it all go downhill from there. (Laughs).
I think people like Leonardo DiCaprio or Jason Gordon Levitt are amazing. You see that their career has really been full. Longevity has always been my biggest goal.”
See Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse in theaters on October 30, 2015.