Alicia Coppola is one of those rare talents who brings an extra sizzle to every character she inhabits. In “Jericho,” she was the all-business yet ferociously feminine IRS agent Mimi Clark who served as the counterpoint to born-in-a-barn Stanley Richmond (played by Brad Beyer). For MTV’s tour de fierce, “Teen Wolf,” she portrayed the regal Talia Hale, one of the most respected and revered Alphas who ever existed. And, in “Another World,” she was the captivating Lorna Devon who could ignite a blazing passion with little more than a look.
This week, Coppola plays Mrs. Romero in the highly-anticipated “We Are Your Friends,” a film that Variety has already dubbed “This generation’s ‘Saturday Night Fever.’” “We Are Your Friends” is the story of a young, determined DJ named Cole Carter [played by Zac Efron] and his close friends. The artist believes it is his destiny to create that one track that will change the world. However, when he becomes blinded by passions of a different nature, everything that he has been fighting for begins to slip from his grasp and he is forced to make the hard choice of determining what it is that truly matters the most in his life.
“There is an impactful sensitivity, and the poignancy between the four boys, the relationship they have, it’s really quite profound,” Alicia told Examiner in a recent interview. “That’s the heart of this movie, that’s the soul. The world of the music is its own character, but the story is about these four guys who just love each other unconditionally. That’s what drew me to this project.”
Coppola wouldn’t divulge any specifics regarding the upcoming film, but she did express, “In the movie, I play the character who brings out Cole’s heart and his soul. My character reminds him of who he is on the inside.”
When asked what it was like working with Efron, Alicia replied, “I really just found him to be a beautiful young man. He’s really quite special. He’s a gentleman and really quite sensitive. I enjoyed working with him.”
A large part of Coppola’s success as an actor stems from the enviable fact that she can find that genuine spark in every relationship. She creates a compelling crackle that simply radiates from the screen. In fact, she was once told by Karim Zreik (“Jericho,” “Common Law,” “National Treasure”) that she could “have chemistry with a music stand.”
“I believe that I can find something wonderful about anybody and glom onto that,” the actress declared. “Then that becomes the thing I love. When you’re working with people, you see only that one thing, you see what you love.”
Looking at her admirable career, how is it possible for Alicia to portray such a broad range of strong characters, yet make each one so uniquely riveting? What is her secret weapon?
“I have no interest in playing a man,” she replied. “My strength doesn’t come from an aggressive, physical, masculine place. I have embraced my femininity. I can play a man, and I’ve done that before, but I do not want to be a man because I am a woman and there is a tremendous amount of strength that comes from embracing that.”
Charles Keating, a great actor who recently passed, once offered Alicia a bit of advice. At the time, she was leaving “Another World” for Shakespeare & Company, and then she was moving on to pilot season. “He said to me something that has been my mantra — except for the dirty word — to this day.” Alicia put on a voice of profound eloquence, then stated, “My darling, you must act from your ****,” she laughed. “Only Charles Keating could get away with saying that! But what he meant was what I have been doing ever since, I have embraced my femininity because that is truly where my strength lies.”
“Hey, I have boobs and I have an ass, so why not use that?” she asked, still laughing. Then she got serious, “But it’s important to note, I do not use them in a salacious way. I have to work with what God has given me.”
Alicia continued, moving to a deeper level. “I don’t have anything to prove, so I can be within myself and be centered within myself. By doing that, I am being true to myself and honoring that truth. I read scripts all the time where they write a woman who is a superhero and she is just like a guy. That is so ridiculous! Why don’t you just go hire a guy? Write a male role and just put him in a dress if you need to,” she laughed. “It is better to write a role with a woman who has real strength, not that physical masculine power.”
“We Are Your Friends” takes Alicia back to her roots. Max Joseph of MTV’s “Catfish” is directing a story he wrote with Meaghan Oppenheimer (“Fear The Walking Dead”) and Richard Silverman (“Blueberry Hill”).
“I started out on MTV when it was all videos,” she noted. “My career began on ‘Remote Control.’ I came from Long Island and I went to boarding school in Connecticut. I wasn’t athletic. I did ballet. I played the sax, flute, and piano. And, I wrote poetry. I was always the kid who was trying to find my bliss, trying to find my path. The very first week that I was on set with that wrecking crew [Alicia worked alongside Adam Sandler, Denis Leary, Colin Quinn, Ken Ober, etc.), that was when I finally felt happy and I finally felt like I had found where I belong. So I am forever indebted to MTV for that. What they saw in me, I’m not sure, but I’m so grateful that they did because they gave me my life’s passion.”
“We Are Your Friends” comes out on August 28. “I think it’s really going to show people a lot of different sides to the actors that they think they know. It’s told in that world of music and DJing, which makes it both fun and poignant,” Coppola concluded.
Speaking of poignant, Alicia also has a beautiful book that she has written about her father’s passing entitled “Gracefully Gone.” It is two journals, one kept by her father and one kept by Alicia, which document her father’s life when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1980. In the near future, watch for Alicia in truTV’s “Those Who Can’t” and on ABC Family’s upcoming thriller “Stay,” which has been described as “The Shining” meets “Ten Little Indians.” And, last, but certainly not least, be sure to watch the hysterical video from Alicia’s set at Flappers Comedy Club, where the multifaceted artist just kills it talking about her life, her wonderful husband of 16 years, and her children (Warning: Adult Content).
Note: On Saturday, August 29, Alicia will be performing along side K-von from MTV at Flappers Comedy Club Burbank!
“We Are Your Friends”: website • Facebook • Instagram • Twitter
Alicia Coppola: Facebook • Twitter • IMDb • “Gracefully Gone”