The Sun is Also a Star is the latest young adult novel by Nicola Yoon to hit the big screen. Yoon’s first book, Everything, Everything, starred Nick Robinson and Amandla Stenberg, while The Sun is Also a Star stars Yara Shahidi (Black-ish, Grown-ish) and Charles Melton (Riverdale), who play a set of star-crossed lovers named Natasha and Daniel. While the film is a teen romance, it is worth noting that the timing of its release is especially significant in the current social climate because it centers on Natasha and her family, who are undocumented Jamaican immigrants that are set to be deported in just a few hours. Natasha, who resides in New York, runs into Daniel on the city streets and the two spend the day together getting to know each other. Since Natasha will have to be deported soon, this sets the pair on a timer, which makes them question if it’s possible to fall in love within a day.
The movie goes and back and forth from the past to the present day, and as such, Yara Shahidi isn’t the only person playing Natasha. 12-year-old Anais Lee plays a younger version of the leading role.
CelebMix had the opportunity to interview Anais Lee about her role in The Sun is Also a Star, meeting Yara Shahidi, and what it’s like working without her twin, Mirabelle. Read our full interview with her below.
First, could you tell us about The Sun is Also a Star and your character in it?
The Sun is Also a Star is a love story inspired by the New York Times best-selling author, Nicola Yoon. In the story, two people, Natasha and Daniel, are brought together at a pivotal crossroads in their lives. In a twist of fate, Natasha and Daniel realize they only have one day to be together before Natasha’s family is deported back to Jamaica. The movie looks through the lens of fate and asks us the question, “Can you fall in love in a single day?” In the movie, I play young Natasha. When Natasha was little, she and her dad had an amazing relationship and they were always together, but as Natasha got older, she and her dad’s relationship deteriorated and Natasha blames him for their family being deported. My character shows the relationship that Natasha and her dad had when she was little and when she first moved to New York.
Yara Shahidi plays an older Natasha. How do you feel about that? Have you watched any of her other movies or television shows?
I was so excited when I found out I was going to be playing young Natasha. I have watched ‘Black-ish’ and ‘Grown-ish’, which Yara Shahidi is in and I love those shows! I have watched her act on television for years and it was amazing meeting her in person. She’s the nicest person you could ever meet!
Were you able to watch Yara Shahidi film? Did you learn anything from her or did she give you any advice?
Sadly, I did not get to watch Yara film since I was not on set at that time. The first time that I met her we were talking about school and how she was going to college soon and she gave me the advice that I should always stay in school. It was really good advice because school can actually help with acting and life in general. My dream is to go to Oxford University to study one day.
What was your reaction to watching the trailer for the film?
When I found out the day the trailer was coming out, I was counting down the days. I did not actually think I would be in the trailer because I knew the movie was mostly about Yara and Charles’s characters. I was watching the trailer and I saw myself and screamed! I ran to my parents and showed them the video and they were so happy!
You’ve shared many roles with your sister, Mirabelle. How does it feel performing alone for this movie?
It was different because I didn’t have my best friend with me, but I have worked without Mirabelle before and being on set was just as fun as it would be with Mirabelle. Every day that I would get home from the set, I would tell Mirabelle all of the stories.
What is it like being such a young actor in movies?
It is really cool because every set I go to, I learn advice and acting tips from the established actors. In The Sun Is Also A Star, all of the great actors in the film were very nice and always talked to me!
Could you tell us about your hobbies outside of acting?
I love to model, dance, sing, and tumble! I have been modeling since three, dancing since two, singing since I learned how to talk, and tumbling since last summer! These are the things I love to do when I’m not acting.
Why do you think people should go see The Sun is Also a Star?
I think people should see the movie because it is filled with drama, love, and comedy. ‘The Sun is Also a Star’ is truly an amazing film and you just have to see it.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I would like to say to any young actor, model, dancer, singer, or whatever you might do, never give up and everything happens for a reason. Always try your best at everything that comes your way because you can’t say you did it unless you really tried. Also, if something doesn’t go your way, like you didn’t win what you wanted, just know that everything happens for a reason. There is a reason this didn’t happen for you and you will do something bigger and better.