Courageous Nerd chatted to actress Zuri Reed about her new series National Treasure: The Edge of History.
Originally from Philadelphia, Zuri has starred in projects such as Flatbush Misdemeanors and Applesauce. She also guest-starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, among other roles.
You’re now playing “Tasha” on National Treasure: Edge of History for Disney+. How did your journey in acting first start?
Zuri Reed: My very, very first job was The Lion King on Broadway. It was a long shot, I was just a regular kid. But, my mom knew that I was, like, super dramatic. I had all of the roles in my school plays and church plays.
She took me to New York because I’m from Philadelphia, born and raised, to an open-call audition. There were, like, 700 kids and they picked me out of all of them. That’s kind of where it began, I’ve just been doing it ever since.
The National Treasure TV series continues on from Nicolas Cage’s film series of the same name. What can fans of those films expect from this new iteration?
Zuri Reed: I think if you are a fan of the films, you’ll definitely be a fan of the series as well. We keep a lot of the same elements. You know, National Treasure was very adventurous, it was funny and just like, a world you would’ve wanted to be in.
So, you know, because we have the same writers and producers as the movies, they were really great about keeping that National Treasure “treasure”, you know, that the films produced. I think we did a pretty good job at keeping what people loved best about them.
Harvey Keitel and Justin Bartha reprise their roles from the films. How early on did your cast know about original cast members potentially coming back?
Zuri Reed: I don’t really think we knew. It was kind of like a surprise thing. Obviously, we are all fans of the films. So, that was kind of like their surprise for us. The fact that we were able to work with some of the OGs from the franchise.
Catherine Zeta-Jones is also part of the main cast. How was your experience working with her during Season 1?
Zuri Reed: Catherine is awesome. She’s so, so awesome. She’s very welcoming, very professional, very funny too. I think not a lot of people know that.
Again, working with her… it all helped to make the project with us. So, you know, we were able to work with some amazing people.
Even our writers, Marianne and Cormac [Wibberley], Jerry Bruckheimer producing, Rick Muirragui… they’re just all truly amazing. We had a great, great team.
Your character Tasha is very passionate about social media. Do you personally share that or any similarities with her?
Zuri Reed: I really don’t think I had auditioned for something that was so much like me before. I was praying that they cast me because I didn’t really have to work too hard, initially.
Tasha’s vocabulary is very extensive, she’s a very, very smart woman. I had to dip into the dictionaries for her. She’s awesome. How she is for her friends, such a leader.
I think she’s great and we have lots of similarities, for sure.
I’ve heard that auditioning for streaming projects can be very secretive. How much about the show/character did you know during the audition stages? Was it confidential?
Zuri Reed: I think we were able to read the pilot, at first. Get a general understanding, you know, which is always very helpful. That helped with the process, for sure.
Image credit: Imprint PR
One of your castmates, Jake Austin Walker (Liam Sadusky) was previously interviewed by Courageous Nerd. What was working with Jake like?
Zuri Reed: Oh my goodness, Jake is amazing. Jake is literally like my brother. We are all very, very close. One of the things that I asked “the Wibs” when we were wrapping the show was; ‘How did you know, casting this, that we would all become best friends?’
I think Marianne said: ‘We didn’t know, we just chose the best people for the roles. You guys just so happened to be amazing with each other.’
It doesn’t always happen that way, so we were all very, very blessed to just be welcomed into this family. We were together for months in a location we weren’t familiar with at all.
We were able to make a family out of it and also do the work.
Other than National Treasure, are there any other upcoming or recent projects that you can talk about?
Zuri Reed: Last year, I filmed Flatbush Misdemeanors for Showtime, which was such a special project for me. I absolutely love the cast, Kevin Iso, Dan Perlman – they are all amazing. It was a really new thing for me.
I was able to play a character who was half Haitian, half Nigerian, to tap into that culture was really special. I was happy to be able to bring that to life.
Lastly, do you have any goals set out for yourself – whether related to acting or otherwise?
Zuri Reed: During the pandemic, I wrote, animated and cast a series on my YouTube page. So, I really hope in the future to be able to write and create more projects on a larger platform.
My goal is to give people opportunities that I wish I had. You know? I think if you’re in a position to help someone else, you should do that.
Thank you for taking the time to chat – all the best, take care and stay safe!
Zuri Reed: Thank you so much Conor, it was a pleasure.
National Treasure: The Edge of History premieres on Disney+ from December 14.
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