We recently had the chance to chat with Nolan Gross about getting his start in the industry, working on “Any Day”, filming “American Horror Story”, and more!
- How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
I was really into actors and musicians on the TV shows I watched. My parents noticed I loved to perform songs with our Karaoke machine. I would do all the moves like a real rock star and wasn’t shy about performing. My parents put me into an acting class in Las Vegas where we were living at the time. My first acting teacher said I was really serious about acting and learning for such a young person. That acting studio had a showcase of their talent for LA managers and agents. A few agents contacted us for an interview, and we signed. We went from Vegas to LA for auditions a few times a week. It got too hard to do all the time, so we moved to LA to see where it would lead. I got my big start when I booked my first movie, NOAH. I had done a few little projects here and there before that, but that is what really catapulted my acting career.
- What was the first big project that you’ve worked on?
The first big project that I ever worked on was the film, NOAH. I auditioned for it in LA, and the casting agent called to say I had been chosen, but it wasn’t final until I met the director, Darren Aronofsky. Most kids and their parents couldn’t take that time off of work and school to fly to NYC on a moments notice, but my dad runs his own company and had some points left on his flying miles, so we took the trip to NYC. I booked the movie a few weeks later, and it was a dream come true. We filmed for seven weeks in Iceland and then for three weeks in New York. In Iceland, the kids had to stay closest to the shooting areas, so we got to move around a lot. We visited all different locations and cities throughout Iceland which was super cool to get to experience all different scenery. I got to work alongside Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. They were my parents in the movie, and when I grow older, the part was played by Logan Lerman. I didn’t get to work alongside Logan because he’s the older version of me, but it was super cool to meet him and have the interactions that we had.
- What was it like getting to work on Any Day ?
My experience working on Any Day was eye-opening. Working alongside three great actors such as Sean Bean, Eva Longoria, and Kate Walsh was such an excellent learning opportunity for me. Most of my scenes on set were either with the Sean, Kate, and I or me with each of them separately. I remember most the relationships that were established throughout the movie. The more we got to know each other, all the scenes were better and more authentic that we shot together.
- What was your favorite scene to film?
My favorite scene to film in Any Day would have to be when I was down by the river with my Uncle Vian. I don’t want to give away too much of the movie, but that scene really helps shape the film, in my opinion, because it is when I connect with my uncle about his past. We had to drive out to the middle of nowhere by a lake, and it ended up being a really cool environment to finish the movie on my last day of filming.
- What was the process like transitioning into a film like that one from the other projects you’ve worked on before?
The transition wasn’t very hard for me because, as an actor, you have to be ready for any role, at any time. Any Day was a drama, and the next project was more of a Si-Fi role with a green screen. I would say that was a harder transition, green screen acting is more challenging.
- What has been the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to acting?
I was working with my acting teacher, Marjorie Ballentine, the other day and she said, “Acting isn’t as hard as it seems while thinking of a moment.” I’ve heard many people say this to me throughout the years of acting, but we connected this scene I was doing to a moment in my life, and it really stuck.
- We know that you also enjoy directing, is that something you’d like to pursue more in the future?
Yes! I have gotten into directing more and more lately, and it’s something that I would love to keep pursuing. I am on the roster for a company called Adolescent, which allows companies to book young directors for media. My directing path started years ago when I started my YouTube channel. I was directing the shots, making the edits, thinking of ideas…that’s where I began to find my love for directing. My YouTube channel started because it was the only way my dad would let me have a phone. If I put out a video every Thursday, then he would let me keep and have a phone, My school didn’t have homework or deadlines, so he was trying to instill hard work and deadlines in my life.
- What was it like getting to direct the Nike commercial? What can you tell us about that experience?
My experience working with Nike was terrific. I had modeled for them in the past but eventually grew out of their sample sizes. This time working for them I got to direct a commercial, and it was something new for me. I had to work with a budget, hire a crew, put together a storyboard, and take some direction from Nike as to what they wanted. I got to learn a ton about directing and producing a project in a short amount of time. I was super stoked on the outcome of the video because artistically and aesthetically it was my vision coming to life.
- What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
In my free time, I love any form of creating. I’m taking a photography class right now, and I was taking an animation class before that. I love painting and anything that’s creative. I live right by the beach so I love going down to the water, plus going to the gym. I also love fashion and can be found at all the vintage stores around town. I graduated high school early, so I am getting a head start on the things I want to pursue in life. I also am super dedicated to having an aesthetic on Instagram, and that’s something I have been working on for a while. Any way to express my creativity, I’ll do it.
- Do you have any other upcoming projects you can share with us?
As of right now, I’m doing a ton of auditioning and training. I might have a few more directing gigs that I have to keep hush about for now, but it’s super exciting!
- What are some of your major goals for 2019?
Some of my major goals in 2019 are: Keep growing my talent in acting and my passion for it, book a big acting project, get better at cinematography, keep evolving my style and get a better collection of vintage clothes, and get my drivers license.
- What are your social media handles where fans can stay connected with you?
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