Introducing the actor who won our hearts as Aster Flores in Netflix’s unforgettable hit The Half Of It.
In a rare sparkling piece of perspective, The Half Of It, is a coming-of-age film that finally isn’t about who gets the girl, or guy.
It’s about something so much more, transcending a fleeting high-school romantic showdown. Instead, it provokes a feeling that runs deeper, deftly exploring the intricacies of dual identities, immigration, sexuality, and the enriching nature of all our relationships – romantic or platonic, and how they mould us into who we will become.
Earlier this month, Alice Wu’s fresh and tender Netflix comedy-drama instantly became a hit when it dropped on our feeds – inspiring memes, quotes and obsessive observations of our three protagonists’ “love triangle”. Shy, introverted student Ellie Chu agrees to write love letters for the school’s misunderstood jock to help woo a girl (played with remarkable simultaneous softness and intensity by Alexxis Lemire) – who they both fall for.
We caught up with New Hampshire-hailed actor Lemire and talked about the phenomenal buzz surrounding the film…
Hi Alexxis! How are you and how is lockdown treating you?
Hi! Ahh. Well first off, I want to say thank you to all of our doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, delivery workers, and all essential workers who are helping us get through this time. For me, lockdown has me feeling grateful. Grateful for the health of my friends and family, and I’m happy being able to stay home and do my part for the community (though, I’ve probably watched way too much Netflix).
How are you staying comfortable and creative right now?
For me, what has been important during this time is not putting too much pressure on myself to feel like I need to be productive. I’ll definitely have my days where I’m getting self-tapes done, going on runs, reading, and writing in my journal. But some days, I’m really taking time for myself and enjoying doing absolutely nothing besides binge watching shows and eating up all my quarantine food (haha). I have to remind myself that it’s okay to relax and do nothing sometimes. In fact, I think it’s healthy and necessary.
Congratulations on The Half Of It – I absolutely loved it, and just found it so surprising! What’s the main piece of feedback you’ve had on it?
Thank you so much! You know, the main thing that I’ve heard is people from all ages have related to the film in some aspect or another. Hearing that is all I can ask for as an actress. Being of a project that moves people, or makes someone feel heard, or less alone in this crazy thing we call life; it is truly a privilege. I’m astounded and simply touched by the positive response.
One thing I loved in particular is how it’s mentioned at the beginning that it’s not about someone ending up with someone, it’s more about what these three people do for each other – what drew you personally to the script?
What I loved about the script is that it truly focused on platonic love. Sure, I think romantic love is something we all focus on and love to feel/see. But, when you really dig deeper into relationships, the idea of platonic love is so prevalent and real. We so often tend to forget that relationships between friends and family are also some of the most important and have a massive impact on our lives. I love how many relevant and relatable topics are seen and discussed throughout this film.
How was it working with Alice Wu and becoming Aster?
I will forever be grateful for the chance to work with Alice. She is brilliant in so many ways, but what really connected us was her unwavering faith in me. She had this maternal sense about her that truly always made me feel comfortable. Being able to work so closely with the Writer/ Director was a surreal experience. Alice cared so much about Leah, Daniel, and I as humans. The first time we ever spoke, we barely talked about Aster. She wanted to know about me. Right then and there, I knew she was someone I not only wanted to work with, but someone I wanted to get to know personally. She’s not only an incredible writer and director; she’s an incredible human.
Aster is someone who is surrounded by people, but she’s obviously really lonely – could you relate to this?
In high school, I definitely wasn’t someone who really “belonged” anywhere. I had some acquaintances, but I never felt like I had one group of people or even one person that I felt 100% accepted by. So yeah, that felt really lonely sometimes. I related to Aster in a lot of ways. Being an introverted-extrovert is no easy feat. Things may seem okay on the outside, but inside you’re just desperate to make a real connection, and for someone to really see you for you. I just want to say, that’s okay! High school is a confusing time, and it’s okay to feel confused. Figuring yourself out is weird process and just know you’re not alone in feeling that way. It gets better!
The end of the film seemed like all of their beginnings, and what they now were prepared to voice and say and believe in. I thought this was really beautiful. What was your reaction when you first read the script
What’s a happier ending than finding yourself? When I read the script I loved the ending. Sure, we love to see a couple riding off into the sunset, happy as ever. But, life doesn’t always work that way. Being able to take important lessons from each relationship you make, romantic or platonic, is important for your own self-growth. Also, I cried after reading the script the first time. Each characters arc was so beautiful and seeing each character about to embark on their new journey is an ending I live for.
Have you had any experience like this?
I relate to the ending a lot. Leaving my small town for an unknown city. My bold stroke was leaving my small-town for a chance at making my dreams come true.
There is this element of the film where it seems like Aster and Ellie are soulmates – do you believe in that?
I believe you have multiple soul mates in a lifetime, both romantic and platonic. Sometimes you make connections with people you can’t explain. I believe life is about the connections you make and the people you impact, and the ones that impact on you.
What is the main message you hope viewers take away from the film and the interactions between our three main characters?
I hope viewers can take away some sense of feeling understood. Being open to giving and receiving love. Everyone is capable of love and deserving of it. Whether that’s making a new unlikely friendship or taking the leap of telling someone how you feel. Empathy is the antidote to hate. Always be kind and empathetic.
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m focused on doing my part for the community and staying home! However, I hope to be popping my face on your screen again! I’m excited for the world to start healing and eventually being able to get back on set to do what I love!