Luna Blaise and Alfie Allen on Sincerity, Sacrifice, and Self-Tapes
Luna Blaise is happy to be back home in L.A., but she doesn’t want to take a break. After a whirlwind month, at the end of a whirlwind four years as the brooding, brilliant Olive Stone on the sci-fi drama Manifest, Blaise is figuring out how to move on from her star-making role. After filming her emotional final scene “deep upstate” and kicking off a cross-coast press tour back in October at NYC fan-con PaleyFest, the actor is finally taking advantage of her delayed summer vacation. In between interviews and auditions, Blaise visited the first weekend of Coachella. But before she unpacked her suitcase, she sat down with Game of Thrones alum and longtime friend Alfie Allen to unpack their thoughts on sacrifice, self-tapes, and staying sincere.—CAITLIN LENT
ALFIE ALLEN: Hello, Luna.
LUNA BLAISE: Alfie. Hi!
ALLEN: How are you? Are you all right?
BLAISE: Oh my god, I’m dying. I don’t know how I survived the desert. I barely did.
ALLEN: I’m tempted to go out next weekend, but I’m not sure.
BLAISE: I’m so happy that you were able to do this with me.
ALLEN: Ah, I’m flattered that you would ask. They’re good questions that I wrote myself.
BLAISE: Well, look at you!
ALLEN: I’m a great interviewer. Tell me when you are ready and I’ll just shoot.
BLAISE: I’m ready to go.
ALLEN: We’ve known each other for so many years. You began acting at a young age. When did it begin to feel like a job and when did it begin to feel like a career?
BLAISE: It felt like a job as soon as I started. But specifically when I left school in seventh grade—at 12, 13, or something. I got a role on ABC, for this show called Fresh Off the Boat, and had to show up to set at a certain time everyday. I think that was the moment that I realized I had to sacrifice some other things in my life for this profession. It was like, “Okay, this is a job. It’s not just something that I’m doing for fun. It’s always fun, but it’s work.”
ALLEN: I was spending time on film sets at 13, so I can relate to that. You were with adults from quite a young age. What was it like working with the pros early on, and how do you think that shaped you as an actor or as a person?
BLAISE: I had no idea what to expect going into the audition. It was supposed to be a one-time appearance and then cut to five years later, I’m still on the show. It was an experience that I will always be so grateful for. I was just guided through childhood by the best people, with the best hands behind my back.
ALLEN: I mean, the final season of Manifest is about to debut. How do you feel about that massive part of your life coming to an end?
BLAISE: It’s crazy. I signed a seven-year contract, we filmed continuously for four years. And then Manifest was canceled on NBC, and I had made my peace with that. But then Netflix picked it up for this last season, and we really did everything for the fans. It’s a great ending. And even though it’s really hard, I feel like I can finally wipe my hands clean and move forward.
ALLEN: Totally. It’s an exciting time, but also slightly kind of nerve-wracking. I mean, I always found it quite interesting signing up to a big show and meeting these people who are total strangers, but knowing that they’re going to be a part of your life for the rest of your life. Manifest was a rollercoaster. What are you going to miss most about your character, Olive Stone?
BLAISE: She’s so different from who I am as a person. We’re polar opposites, and yet sometimes I think a little bit of Luna goes into Olive. I’m going to just miss her as a character. Just being able to play this true genius, which is not like me at all.
ALLEN: I think you’re being a bit harsh on yourself.
BLAISE: Well, I didn’t get to go to school growing up, so it was pretty cool being able to play this young teenager. Like I said, I was working full time by the time I was 12, so I never really had that teenage lifestyle.
ALLEN: Why weren’t you in school?
BLAISE: When I got Fresh Off The Boat, when I thought I was only going to be a co-starring role, so I was still enrolled in traditional school, but then once they started just calling me back almost every single week to film a new episode, my mom had to go to the producers and be like “Where is this going?” And so then from right there, I think right before my 13th birthday, I just got pulled out of school and I just started homeschooling. Then at 15 or 16 I tested out and was able to work adult hours. So it became no school and 18-hour days until I went on to the next thing.
ALLEN: What was your last day on set for Manifest like?
BLAISE: Oh god. We were upstate in the woods of New York, so deep upstate. And it was actually really beautiful because we all got to be together. I was doing this very emotional monologue into a phone. Everyone was there, every cast member, every crew member. They were just watching me. When I finished, everyone clapped and my mom was there. I didn’t realize my mom would come to New York. It was really special. Then we wrapped and immediately went to PaleyFest, and we premiered our show. It was insane.
ALLEN: Is there stress or anxiety that comes with the show ending in the sense that now you’ll be auditioning for new roles? How does auditioning make you feel? Do you prefer to be in the room or do you prefer to do self-tapes?
BLAISE: I’m auditioning a lot. Which is crazy, because for a long time I felt like it was completely impossible to even get an audition. But it’s hard knowing that the next thing I do is going to be completely different. I think a clean break is a big challenge for many actors. I know a lot of people get stuck after doing a TV show for so long, and they just don’t want to work anymore. But that’s definitely not my take. I definitely want to continue working. When it comes to auditions, I love being in the room and I love being able to connect. I don’t get that same connection from Zoom and self-tapes.
ALLEN: I think it’s starting to pick back up again. Which is really encouraging because I don’t mind a self tape, but I’d much prefer to be in the room.
BLAISE: Also, I feel really lazy sometimes doing the self-tapes. I feel like I don’t really prepare as much as I would like because I feel like it’s going to be easy and I can mess up however many times because I can start over again. When it’s in the room, it’s there, it’s live, it’s in the flesh, and if you mess up, you have to adapt.
ALLEN: Totally. What kind of pressures do you face as a young person in Hollywood, in the public eye, particularly with social media?
BLAISE: Oh my gosh. I think that being a young adult, some people hate to see you succeed in a certain way. They do. It’s true. And if you mix a woman and on top of that, a young woman, a lot of people just don’t really get it. And rightfully so, a lot of people don’t understand our jobs, and a lot of people think things are handed to us as actors. But truly, I have worked my little tushy off for everything that I have now. I’m 21, I’m still so young, but I have a really good head on my shoulders, because I’ve been raised by the two best parents in the world.
ALLEN: I love your parents.
BLAISE: They’re pretty great. They raised me to know if anyone is tearing me down or if I don’t feel confident in what I’m doing, to just focus on the fact that this is my passion. Like, “You’re going to get bruised, but you just have to get back up again and continue doing what you do best.” And I think that’s really what I stand by.
ALLEN: Love that. What are the most overrated and underrated parts of being an actor on a TV show?
BLAISE: Oh my gosh. I think it’s funny how people think that, as actors, we have such a glamorous lifestyle. “You have the hair and you’ve the makeup, you’ve this and you’ve that.” That’s overrated. Talk to me when you’re waking up at 3:00 AM and you’re going into hair and makeup and you’re wrapping at 12:00 AM. It’s a lot, and it’s hard, and it really, really takes a toll on your body and your mind. It’s really brutal. It’s a different kind of brutality than most jobs, but it’s still a job. We’re all trying to do the same thing, which is pay our bills and get the check. We love our work, but it’s work. I’m not sure about underrated, what would you say?
ALLEN: This isn’t really an answer, but I’ve always found it frustrating how accepted it is in the industry that you make these really intense close connections with people and then it’s just done. And then you move on to the next thing. It’s a weirdly accepted part of the industry. You just have to make sure that doesn’t make your relationships superficial. You just have to make sure that you stay sincere to your craft, but also your fellow actors. So I think genuine connection is underrated.
BLAISE: For sure.
ALLEN: Do you get anxious when you are not working or are you someone that loves time off? I know I like my time off, but then soon enough I’ll be gagging to get into another job again.
BLAISE: I haven’t worked since October. I need to get back in. I need to book a job. I’m getting the itch. Being able to just go to work every day and do what I love to do, and what I do best, is what makes me happy. And if I sit for too long, I’m afraid I’ll lose that momentum.
ALLEN: Yeah, I just came off a month-long shoot in Kentucky and needed to really decompress for a little bit after that. I’ve had two weeks. It’s been really nice. And now just starting to get things set up. And it’s nice. What are you most looking forward to right now, Luna? In life, in work, in Coachella?
BLAISE: God, I think the most exciting thing right now is closing the New York Manifest chapter of my life, which is sad, but it’s also something that is just a huge lift off of my shoulders. I haven’t lived in LA really for over five years, so coming back feels really good.
ALLEN: Nice. And yeah, I think that that’s it. When can we see each other?
BLAISE: Literally whenever! Today, this weekend… I’m waiting. Apparently it’s supposed to be hot this weekend.
ALLEN: It’s been pretty misty and gray for a little bit. So I’m looking forward to the sun without a doubt.
BLAISE: Well, I’m dying to see you. Alfie, thank you for doing this. It was so sweet.
ALLEN: Like I said, I’m flattered. Without sounding too patronizing, it warms my heart to see you do so well.
BLAISE: Well, you’re the best and I love you and I’m really glad that you were able to do this. I’m going to text you and then let’s meet up this week.
ALLEN: Defo. I’m around.
BLAISE: Bye Alfie!
ALLEN: Bye-bye, Luna.
Hair: Lauren Palmer-Smith using Bumble and Bumble at Forward Artists
Makeup: Ciara Maccaro using Tom Ford and Shiseido at Exclusive Artists
Nails: Rachel Messick using Orly BB Crème at Celestine Agency
Photo Assistant: Brandon Sheffield
Styling Assistant: Charlie Burke