If you’re a fan of animation, television or film, Nicole Oliver is a name you should know. The multi-talented actress isn’t resting much these days, taking on roles in the CW’s hit show Arrow, Hallmark’s film 3 Bedrooms One Corpse: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, and Greg Kinnear’s directorial debut, Phil. Fans may also recognize her voice from shows such as My Little Pony and LEGO NEXO Knights.
We caught up with the actress to find out more on her latest roles, her motivational career venture, and what it was like working with Greg Kinnear.
For us mere mortals, balancing multiple projects at once can be stressful and daunting. For Oliver, it’s nothing but another day at the office.
“It’s kind of what we do all the time as actors. It is a luxury for an actor to get to play only one character for an extended period of time. It is challenging trying to find balance in any business, especially this one!” she says. “I guess I have been doing this for so long, that juggling multiple personalities is just part of the day-to-day workings for me. It’s fun getting to step into different personas and characters…and then getting to just be regular, ‘ole me at the end of the day.”
Oliver might be spending a lot of time on set, but she doesn’t mind bringing her work home with her every now and then.
“Sometimes my husband thinks there are other people in the house when I am practicing my voices for the different cartoon series I am working on at the moment. But that’s a whole other story!” she jokes.
The Canadian-born actress’ latest television endeavor will debut on The Hallmark Channel later this year. The film 3 Bedrooms, One Corpse: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, written by True Blood creator Charlaine Harris, will follow Full House actress Candice Cameron Bure as the lead role, Roe, as Oliver takes on the character Elaine. Roe, a librarian in Lawerenceton, Georgia, has a love of crime stories so fierce, it leads her to join the Real Murders Club. The group meets monthly to uncover and dissect well-known cold cases, until one case leads to the endangerment of Roe and every other group member. Faced with life or death, Roe takes it upon herself to search for the true killer.
Oliver’s character Elaine is sure to shake things up in the small, southern town.
“[I] don’t want to give any spoilers,” the actress reveals. “I play a new realtor in town, who is now working for Aida. Elaine comes to the small town under some mysterious circumstances, so like every good mystery, you are not sure whether she is good or bad! It’s a fun story with lots of twists and turns that will leave any mystery lover hanging on to the edge of their seats!”
Fans of Harris won’t have to worry about Hallmark taking too many liberties with the story. According to Oliver, fans can anticipate the flick to remain in keeping with the book.
“The books are written by Charlaine Harris, and it seems as if the stories in the film are staying pretty true to the written word. I think fans will like that,” Oliver says.
Although this is a new film to the Hallmark family, this is far from Oliver’s debut on the network. She previously played a supporting role in The Christmas Ornament, which premiered in 2013. Oliver attributes her continued work with the network to their delivery of each story, and their support of strong female characters.
“I love working for Hallmark,” the hard-working actress says. “I love working, period! I really enjoy the approach the network takes to their stories, and I love how they are featuring strong female driven stories with dynamic female actors of all ages.”
Fans of the actress can also look forward to her role in Greg Kinnear’s directorial debut, Phil. The film, which wrapped filming in Vancouver in January, is a dark comedy focusing on Kinnear’s character, Phil, as a struggling dentist who searches for happiness after a seemingly happy patient commits suicide. The film boasts heavy hitters such as Jay Duplass, Taylor Schilling, and Robert Forster in addition to Oliver.
“I play his ex-wife Rosemary and while there is obviously a tense history between them that lead to their plot, their also is a unified love and concern for their daughter,” Oliver explains. “Phil is going through a tough time, but ultimately his journey makes him a better man, father, and even ex-husband!”
Oliver says Kinnear is not only brilliant, but working with him was quite the learning experience. “I really don’t know how he did that day in and out. The level of split focus required was astonishing and admirable. He is a supportive actor and director.”
Kinnear’s constant switch from actor to director was a strange one for Oliver at first, but she saw the beauty in his complicated relationship with the film.
“As an actor, Greg has a sensitivity to the process we go through to try and make this all work. The first time we did a take together, it was a little strange for me that one minute he’d be looking me square in the eye, and then he’d say CUT and give me notes on the performance he was just a part of. I don’t know how he did it, but he was brilliant and I can’t what to see the finished film.”
With so many different hats, we had to know which aspect of entertainment Oliver most preferred: voice-overs or on-camera roles. She says while she loves both, one has a tendency to support women in the world of entertainment more-so than the other.
“That’s like asking me to choose which of my children I love more!” she jokes. “Not possible. I feel very grateful that I am still doing what I love and want to do for a living. The on-camera world is quite tough on women, so I am proud to be a part of a growing movement that supports more female roles and roles for women of all shapes, sizes, and ages.”
As if her acting career wasn’t enough, Oliver also has a master’s degree in communications. Her degree, she says was a result of her desire to remain in an educated environment, and wanted to put more emphasis on her intelligence, rather than her appearance.
“Acting is a tough biz, and just because you are smart and work hard don’t necessarily mean you will make it and succeed. I enjoyed using my brain, challenging my thought processes, and ultimately being judged by what I could deliver on the page rather than on whether I could fit into a size 6 dress,” she says.
What better way to utilize a degree in communications than a motivational speaking career? What started as a way to help inspire others in the world of acting quickly developed into a focus on the next generation of actors and entertainers.
“I was very fortunate to have some wonderful people who mentored me along my career path. I believe it is important and even necessary to inspire and support others who are treading on the path after you. I believe in giving back, but in all honesty, many of the young actors and people I meet inspire me to be better, to try harder and to not give up. Sharing your story inspires others to share theirs, and that is beautiful.”
Despite speaking at events, Oliver says her most speech was given recently when she attended the funeral of a loved one. “I was recently asked to speak at my Grandmother’s funeral. She passed three days shy of her 99th birthday,” the actress reminisces.
“Looking out into the church filled with her friends and community, it was awe-inspiring. The church was full of people of all ages, and it was a great testament and legacy to the way my Grandmother touched people’s lives, embraced life, and made every moment count. Things I aspire to every day.”
So what’s the best advice an accomplished actress and educated motivational speaker can give to those aspiring for an acting career? She has two suggestions.
“Don’t quit your day job, and don’t give up. We need to lead a life in order to play other lives. We need shelter, food, love and support. Surround yourself with a great support circle, get to class, be a detective of life and follow your dream. It is your dream and you are one of the few courageous enough to actually go for it!”