Bullet Train slides into theaters on Aug. 5, bringing back to the big screen Hollywood royalty like Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock. We also see new favorites, like Bad Bunny, Joey King and Brian Tyree Henry. The blockbuster centers on five assassins on a bullet train who discover one another’s missions are connected.
Among the chaos and suspense is Emelina Adams in her biggest film to date. The former Miss Nevada USA is having a stellar year as the current face of Guess x Marciano and will later be seen in Back On The Strip, American Murderer and Mort in Sherman Oaks, among others. Ahead of the premiere of Bullet Train, Adams spoke with LA Confidential about working with Brad Pitt, how pageants prepared her for life and her plans to be a leading lady.
Let’s start by talking about Bullet Train. What can you tell us about Angie?
I loved being in the film. I love this character, she's very cheeky. Her name's Angelina Young. And it's fun because I actually got to pick her name. I requested two different names and they went with my number one choice, Angelina, and then they picked Young. I can't give too much away, but I have a really fun moment with Brad Pitt and he's one of my favorite actors, so I'm really excited that I got to work with him.
Bullet Train has such a stacked cast. What was it like working with such a star-studded team?
It was so amazing working with everybody. Everyone was so nice. So professional, such a good energy. Brad Pitt was so kind. He went up to everybody and introduced himself and I felt like I learned so much being on such a big set like that. This was the biggest production I've ever worked on.
You just have to be ready for any given moment. For my character, actually, I did a self-tape audition for this role. And there were no lines. I had to improvise a scene. And when I got to set, the director… gave me some lines to say, but I also had to improvise with some lines. And he ended up really liking my lines, so I'm interested to see what's actually going to be in the film.
You mentioned this is the biggest production you've been part of so far. How does it feel to reach this milestone?
I'm honestly so proud of myself because I've been acting for five years and I feel like I've been really going through all the motions: taking acting classes, networking, trying to get on casting director’s radar. The casting director for this film, she's so amazing. Ever since I booked the role, she has brought me in for so many other projects to audition for, so I'm really happy and really grateful.
As the winner of Miss Nevada USA 2016, is there anything you learned during your pageant days that you still use to this day whether on set for a tv show or movie or campaign shoot?
I loved doing beauty pageants. I loved being Miss Nevada, USA, and it's really helped prepare me for life, like how to present myself, how to do interviews, just walking and talking to people and it's helped me with auditions. I love the whole pageant world. It was like a big part of my life and it still is.
Is there a sector of entertainment you want to commit your career to or do you prefer to be a jack-of-all-trades talent?
I've been modeling for 12 years and I really didn't know how to get into acting. So I was like, “Well, modeling is like a step in that direction.” And like there are certain brands that I've always wanted to work for. I do still love modeling and I got to model for Guess… I have always wanted to be a Guess Girl. I just went to Lugano, Switzerland with them and walked in their runway fashion show for four days and I got to do some shoots out there too. So it's honestly a dream come true, but my ultimate goal has always been acting, so it's nice that I can do both. I feel like you really have to be versatile in today's world. You really have to do a little bit of everything.
Honestly, I’ve been really trying to focus more on acting and my ultimate goal is to be a leading lady in a feature film, but I feel like the more acting I book, I would love to also do more campaigns… But I love acting. I love the sci-fi/fantasy genre.
I love really creative, magical worlds like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. I would love to be a bad*** warrior princess fighting dragons. I think that would be so much fun to go and film in Ireland or somewhere over in Europe.
You’re also going to be in Back on the Strip with Wesley Snipes, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish later this year. What can you tell us about that role?
This was so much fun to film and I filmed it in Las Vegas. That's where I'm originally from. And I'm like a totally different character. I look totally different from how I do in my everyday life. I wear a blonde wig and tons of makeup and I'm a trophy wife in the movie. The cast was so much fun. I got to film a lot on that project, actually, but it was really fun.
The director of that film, I originally met him years ago and I competed at Miss USA, so it's just funny how it's coming back full circle.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Josh Ryan