Sascha Nastasi is the antagonist in the new Black Beauty on Disney+ She delivers an amusing, jealous character that is far from being your typical ‘mean girl.’ Nastasi is a new, upcoming actress that was casted to play Jennifer, opposite of Black Beauty’s protagonist Mackenzie Foy.
I had the opportunity to speak with Nastasi about being part of a classic story and shared a little about filming. In addition, spoke about what led her to want to pursue acting.
Nancy Tapia: I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.
Sascha Nastasi: You too.
Nancy Tapia: Thank you. Congratulations with Black Beauty, that’s released today on Disney+ So how does it feel to be a part of a classic, from a classic novel?
Sascha Nastasi: Yeah. It’s wild. It’s totally weird and surreal and awesome. That’s how it feels.
Nancy Tapia: So how did you end up getting the role of Jennifer in the film?
Sascha Nastasi: So it’s definitely an typical casting story I had never had. (Chuckles) I’ve never been cast this way before, but Ashley Avis (Adolescences), the director, cast me in a short film a few months prior to Black Beauty. Well, multiple months prior. I think we met in December of 2018 and shot the short film in January 2019. We got along super well. She’s incredible, she’s so very talented and hardworking and just a wonderful storyteller and person. Her and I worked together on that short film and then kept in contact. Months later when she was beginning pre production on Beauty, she told me that she thought there might be a role that I was right for, which was Jennifer. She said, if she showed my tape and my reel material to the producers, and if they liked me and said I could play the role, then I had it. And that’s what happened (chuckles). So yeah, it’s pretty awesome and big, big, big thanks to Ashley for that. For thinking of me and fighting for me in that way.
Nancy Tapia: That’s great! Where was it filmed? It looked beautiful.
Sascha Nastasi: In South Africa.
Nancy Tapia: No way.
Sascha Nastasi: Yeah.
Nancy Tapia: I was thinking somewhere like Montana.
Sascha Nastasi: Oh yeah, totally. That’s interesting. I did a short film a summer ago in Montana and, when I was watching the movie again today with my mom, we’re like, “Yeah, this does look like Montana.” I think it looks like New York too.
Nancy Tapia: That’s funny you mentioned that because yeah, I was thinking Montana. Obviously integrating the beach scene from somewhere else, but the land was beautiful.
Sascha Nastasi: Totally.
Nancy Tapia: I didn’t see any scenes where you’re riding the horse, did you get to ride? Were you familiar with horses? Was it an exciting experience to film?
Sascha Nastasi: It was very exciting. I rode as a kid, not intentionally or professionally or anything, but I really liked to do it. I grew up in London and it’s a lot easier to ride there. You can ride in the park and there are stables. I live in New York City now, so it’s a lot easier to ride in London than it is in New York City.
Nancy Tapia: Of course.
Sascha Nastasi: I really liked to do it for a little while, but I haven’t ridden in quite some time. Then for the film, I didn’t have to learn to ride because I don’t get on the horse. But I did have a scene, which did not make it into the final film, in which I was leading my quote, unquote my horse after winning a big competition. So there was some horse play for me
Nancy Tapia: Have you ever rode a horse without the chair?
Sascha Nastasi: Oh no, I’ve never ridden bareback before. I have not.
Nancy Tapia: I highly recommend trying, with the right horse of course. The connection you make with a horse is unbelievable. That’s how I my first time was, you should totally try it one day.
Sascha Nastasi: That’s so awesome that you’ve done that. Yeah. I want to try at some point.
Nancy Tapia: Yeah. Put in on your list, you’ve got to do it. Especially after being part of Black Beauty.
Sascha Nastasi: Totally.
Nancy Tapia: So the film talks about a Mustangs spirit, what would you say is your Mustang spirit?
Sascha Nastasi: Hmm. I would hope that I’m a kind person and I think I’m also a resilient person and hardworking. I think that’s part of the Mustang spirit, for sure. So I would say that’s mine.
Nancy Tapia: You mentioned seeing the film with your mom this morning and I have to ask, did you cry?
Sascha Nastasi: Oh, you bet. It’s my second time seeing it and I have most certainly cried both times. I am not only a big crier, but this movie definitely induces such a state. So there have been a lot of tears, a lot of tears. What about for you?
Nancy Tapia: I did! When I read the novel as a kid. This time I was thinking, “Okay, that’s when I was a kid, I doubt as an adult.” that it be a different experiences as an adult, but it got me. I still cried, haha.
Sascha Nastasi: Aww. Totally, totally. It does that for sure.
Nancy Tapia: You mentioned being a hard worker, I definitely don’t doubt that. From what I read you did ballet and that definitely takes a serious ethic and dedication.
Sascha Nastasi: Yeah, it 1000% does. I did ballet a lot as a kid. Pretty intensely pre-professionally, and stopped after an injury sort of sidelined me, but I still really loved it and just kind of faded out of it. But one of my best friends is still a ballet dancer and she dances at The School of American Ballet, which is huge. It’s the theater school for New York City ballet. She works insanely hard and I’m so in awe of every ballet dancer and I’m so glad to have had that experience because it definitely taught me a lot about art and about work and dedication and striving for something that you potentially will never quite get to.
Nancy Tapia: Definitely, respect for anyone that does ballet. I understand you did move to New York and then that’s where you started doing acting. Can you share a little bit about that?
Sascha Nastasi: Yes. So we lived in London and then the move to New York wasn’t mainly just for me, that’s where we’re from. So we moved back, my brother was going to college and I was still dancing a bit at this time and I wasn’t really taking acting classes. But as I came to be 13, then mainly 14, was when I really got into acting I started classes at Strausberg in the city. I booked a big campaign of commercials off of backstage, which is used for a lot of times as studio films and is a great resource for people who are just starting out and don’t yet have representation. So I had a bunch of callbacks for that and it was for Volkswagen. Then I got to travel across the country and film that, and it had a real plot.
It was about a family whose grandpa had died, who were traveling across the country because it was his dying wish and they were scattering his ashes. So it felt very cinematic and like an acting experience. And I just felt completely and entirely and all the cliches I can think of, head over heels in love with acting. With being on a set and being around cameras and being around a director and a cinematographer and everyone that goes into making something, some filmic work. That’s my acting beginning story, I suppose. Although, I’m still definitely in my beginning.
ALSO READ: Uncle Frank: Lois Smith And Judy Greer Talk About Being Part Of A Story About Acceptance [Exclusive Interview]
Nancy Tapia: Well, I’m no expert when it comes to acting obviously, but I feel like ballet is also part of performing. Did you definitely take some of that?
Sascha Nastasi: Yes, definitely. I think with dance and my performing was always my favorite part of dancing and of ballet.
Nancy Tapia: What kind of films do you hope to play in the future?
Sascha Nastasi: This is an awesome question. Anyone who will cast me pretty much. (Chuckles) No. Well, no, I’d love to say no to that, for sure. I would love to do anything with anyone who’s passionate, but I have a lot of directors that I love. I love Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire). Who else do I love? Of course the big ones, Paul Thomas Anderson (Punch-Drunk Love), Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox), the Andersons. I feel that there’s so many great filmmakers. Andrea Arnold (American Honey) and Jordan Peele (Us), I love. But I think I would absolutely be so excited to do some sort of dark comedy. I loved, The End of the F***ing World, Heathers, something in that gain I feel like really could be my niche in some way. But I would absolutely love to do anything of any genre. I think I’m not the biggest action movie person and I don’t know if I would be cast in an action movie, but I’d still love to do that.
I love indie movies. I’d love to do something small with a small cast, a great story. I would love to do just a straight comedy, I’m really interested in that too as of late. Any sort of drama, I think. I think there are certain roles in theater for instance, which interests me in certain roles that I’ve seen where I’ve thought, “Oh, I’d love to do something like that.” But overall, honestly, I just love to work and I love to act, so whoever will pick me. That’s my answer in a roundabout way.
Nancy Tapia: Well, we’re putting it out there. No worries, haha.
Sascha Nastasi: All right. All right.
Nancy Tapia: I could definitely see you doing a bit of comedy because your character in Black Beauty, although it’s the antagonist, but it’s not like a mean, mean girl type. Her personality is kind of like that smart ass, funny. Is that kind of weird to say.
Sascha Nastasi: No, I don’t think so. I think that’s totally right and I hope she’s funny. I think she’s sometimes like, even a little bit ridiculous. So I think that was really fun. We got to improv a little bit around that too, which was great. Yeah, I don’t think she’s such a serious mean girl. It’s not like she’s poisoning anyone or doing anything horrible. She’s just jealous and sort of persnickety.
Nancy Tapia: Yeah, exactly. Well, thank you so much for your time, Sascha. I’m sure you’re going to have some great stuff coming up. I’m sure 2021 will be full of luck for you.
Sascha Nastasi: Thank you so much. That’s so wonderful. Thank you for your time as well.
You can stay current with Sascha Nastasi on Instagram
Black Beauty is available to stream on Disney+