PensEyeView Interview

July 28, 2016

Nate Warren PensEyeView Interview

New Mexico native and talented actor Nate Warren may be one of the most laid back features we’ve ever had the opportunity to sit down with for a set of XXQs (he just played a key role in a summer blockbuster – NBD) with his ability undeniable pretty early on. Before he was even out of college (where he studied music and theater), he had landed his first gig, along with his first agent. And the trend continues – as we mentioned, Warren was part of his first summer Nate Warren 54blockbuster, playing the role of Marley Sullivan in Independence Day: Resurgence. We asked Nate about the movie – he said, “The cast is huge (and amazing), and so much is happening, its nuts! Marley is an Area 51 Weapons Tech Officer, and reports directly to General Adams. When he isn’t running around solving problems or leading his team, he’s in the command center awaiting orders. I can’t say much about the scenes, but he pops up a couple times when stuff starts going down! Honestly, I’m just thrilled to be a part of the production in any capacity. I was a huge fan of the first film, and to be involved in the sequel was such a cool experience for 8-year old me!” Click to to check out more of Warren’s work (he’ll star alongside Gary Oldman in the upcoming flick, The Space Between Us) and do keep reading. You don’t want to miss out on the early scoop of this actor bound for stardom

XXQs: Nate Warren. (PEV): As an actor who has seen every bit of the entertainment world, what drove you to pursue acting from the beginning?

Nate Warren (NW): I had a really active imagination as a kid and I would make up stories in my head and act them out for fun. I was constantly performing for my family by reenacting scenes from films to make them laugh. I was kind of an awkward kid and acting provided me an opportunity to shed my self-conscious skin, let loose and embody someone else for a while. I also remember watching films and television shows and thinking, “These people get paid to do this? Like, actually get paid to play make believe and have fun? I want to do that!”

PEV: What kind of movies or TV shows were you into growing up? Do you remember the first thing you saw that really got you hooked?

NW: As a kid, cartoons. A few were X-Men, Doug, Gargoyles, Jumanji — you know, all of the 90’s greatest. I had my morning ritual before going to school: cartoons, waffles, run to the bus. I later moved onto the likes of Power Rangers, and then Boy Meets World, and then the really hard stuff like Buffy. Ha. And of course Friends. I’ve always really liked sci-fi and fantasy as well and Harry Potter had a huge influence on me. The books and films were rolling out concurrently as I was growing up, so I really felt connected to the story. I was roughly the same age as the trio when the films were coming out, so it was a bit like growing up with them. I can remember wanting to be British so desperately just so that I could be in the films. Total nerd.

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the acting scene when you first started? What was your first show like?

NW: Honestly, I really didn’t know how it all worked — I still don’t quite know! I did plays and musicals and choir in school all the way through college, where I studied theatre and music. I signed with my agent my senior year of college (this was after submitting my materials to her theee times, heh). I got my first film audition two weeks after signing with her and I booked it! It was a small role on the film Odd Thomas that was eventually cut because of budget constraints during production. Wah wah. It happens! So I guess my first official show was Manhattan on the WGN network. It was such an amazing experience. Excellent cast and crew and it was shot in my home state of New Mexico. The writing was great and I got to play a bit of a douchey soldier, which I’m finding I consistently audition for these days. Hmmm…

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when the director yells “Action!”

NW: “Click!” I’ll explain. I usually take a few moments before to prepare and focus for the scene, and I hear the team calling out that we’re good for sound and camera and lights and background, and there is this moment that you feel a huge swell of energy across the entire set and they yell “Action!” and it all just clicks into place for me! I’m no longer me. I’m this character, I’m experiencing the scene, and I’m a part of this universe that we are creating. We are all working together like a machine, and it’s such a powerful feeling. I get chills thinking about it!

PEV: Tell us about the auditioning process. What is a normal audition like and what do you think it is that people – outside of the business – don’t understand about the process of auditioning?

NW: Oh boy (laughing). So much, so much. The process for me usually consists of getting a call from my agent for a role, running through the breakdown of the show and the character, getting sides (scenes from the script), and preparing them. I usually get the call a day or two out, so I don’t have a ton of time with the material. But it forces me to make choices about the character. It’s a fun challenge. You get to the audition, where there are many other guys waiting to go in, who look exactly like you, and sign in. You wait, try to remain focused, and then it’s your turn. I usually slate (introduce myself, my agency and height) for the camera. Most casting directors give you a brief moment to hit your mark and then the camera is rolling and you’re on! Typically, they’ll give you some redirection after the first go and then you’ll do it again as many times as they need to get some variation. Then you graciously, and gracefully, make your hasty exit and go buy an ice cream! Because it’s good to let it all go after the audition, especially if it’s a heavy one. Some other things about the process…oh, you can get last minute auditions, and I mean last minute, “Can you be there in an hour, across town, and be ready to tap dance?!” I mean, that’s an extreme, but it happens. I’ve once been through three rounds of callbacks for a one-liner—three! I’ve heard of actors going in for double-digit callbacks and chemistry reads, too. Its insane how drawn out the process can be in some cases. Also, sometimes you will audition for a project, not hear anything, chalk it up to a no-go, move on, and then get a call three months later saying you booked it. Its bananas, utter bananas I tell you!

PEV: Was there ever a role that you auditioned for and didn’t get, then later saw and really wished you had? You know, the one that still sticks with you.

NW: Not really. I mean, there are definitely roles that I’ve felt a strong connection to, and fought for, and didn’t get. But once I saw the performance afterward, I was like “oh yeah, that guy was totally right for the role, makes sense.” I try not to get too married to roles, especially before I have them. I did audition for a role in a Lifetime film that was really creepy and awful, and I got pretty far, and I totally thought I had it, and then smash! Dreams shattered. It was a great role though, and dark—something I don’t get to play too often.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out – do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

NW: All of the time. I often run myself through each of the moments that got me to where I am today, and it’s crazy to think that I’m actually making it happen! I also think about how much failure and humility it’s taken to get where I am. We never stop learning or growing, and hopefully this is just the beginning of a long and prosperous career for me.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

NW: Hm. Surprised? Well, my best friend in high school and I were Homecoming Queen & King. I know. It was a total surprise to *this* awkward nerd, too. It started out as a joke, running as a couple. We thought the whole idea of it was ridiculous. But then she got nominated. Then we made it to the court. And as we were sitting on the stage at the end of this elaborate Homecoming assembly, dressed in formal attire, confused about how we’d gotten there, we started laughing hysterically and we actually missed them calling her name. It was so weird. I mean, people loved her, and we both tried to befriend anyone and everyone. But we were totally the odd ducks, definitely shouldn’t have been there. So, that’s it. I think I may have just twisted the knife in the hearts of those other poor dears who took it so seriously.

PEV: What do you do when you hit a brick wall with a role and need to really get into character?

NW: Proceed to smash face into said brick wall repeatedly until inspiration comes. Kidding, but only slightly. This has happened to me mostly in theatre, but sometimes in film/TV. Mainly, it’s anytime I’ve over-rehearsed or have continuously performed the piece. I guess if I’m having trouble getting into character and I’ve done all of my research and asked tons of questions, utilized substitution and still no inspiration, then playing with my physicality usually helps to focus me and drop me in. If I play with the character’s walk and stance and body language and voice, it can help me connect. I was mostly trained as an actor to work from the inside out of the character, but when inspiration fails you, you look in your handy dandy actor toolbox and pull out some technical acting techniques. Physicalizing, vocalizing, and visualizing opens the door to a lot of really interesting character work. Sometimes you even make new discoveries about the character and it keeps it fresh and interesting. On a simpler note, it’s sometimes best to just throw everything you think you know about the character away, breathe, and then just read the damn lines. Because if it’s great writing, then your job is already half done.

PEV: How do you think the industry has changed since you started out?

NW: I’m still fairly new in the industry, but I’ve been shocked by how quickly the digital platforms have grown. The age of “binge watching” is upon us. With the expansion of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Studios, I think we’ve all witnessed a huge shift in the way we view and consume entertainment.

PEV: What can fans expect from your new role in 20th Century Fox’s feature film Independence Day: Resurgence? Tell us about your character, Marley Sullivan.

NW: The cast is huge (and amazing), and so much is happening, its nuts! Marley is an Area 51 Weapons Tech Officer, and reports directly to General Adams. When he isn’t running around solving problems or leading his team, he’s in the command center awaiting orders. I can’t say much about the scenes, but he pops up a couple times when stuff starts going down! Honestly, I’m just thrilled to be a part of the production in any capacity. I was a huge fan of the first film, and to be involved in the sequel was such a cool experience for 8-year old me!

PEV: What did you have to do to get into the mindset of your character?

NW: There was so little I needed to do to get into character because being on the incredible set itself was enough. You have these glorious displays, and lights, and costumes, and all of these amazing actors doing their thing. Once I stepped onto the set, I was in Area 51!

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel to that you haven’t yet?

NW: I still haven’t been to Europe. I know. It’s crazy that I haven’t explored it yet. But it’s next on my list! Specifically, Italy and Greece. Huge nerd about the history and the food and the culture and the geography.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?

NW: With so much love and support. I think it took a while for my mom to get on board with it as my career, but she’s one of my biggest fans now!

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from acting?

NW: I enjoy reading, attempting to write, and I love singing. I try to travel as frequently as possible. I went to Costa Rica a few months ago and it rocked! Recently, I’ve taken to exploring new neighborhoods around LA. It’s cool to experience the different vibes specific to each neighborhood: the shops, cafes, architecture. I also like to run, it’s my therapy. I’ve just recently begun weight-training as well, and I dig it! This is beginning to sound like a dating profile…delete delete delete.

PEV: Name one present and past actor/actress that would be your dream to work with. Why?

NW: There are so many. It rotates frequently, depending on who I’m presently obsessing over. Right now, in terms of a living actor, Tom Hardy. He’s just incredible. He’s so brilliant at losing himself in his characters, and his character work is truly other worldly. He’s such a badass, and so hard working. Can you imagine working with him? How intense would that be?! I mean, I can’t think of a more versatile actor right now, except for perhaps Meryl Streep. I also would’ve loved working with Alan Rickman. What a warm soul and fantastic actor. He brought so many memorable characters to life, and so effortlessly, too.

PEV: We love music, so is there an up-and-coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

NW: I’m actually quite terrible about finding new music. I leave that to Spotify (and my more cultured friends!). But I recently discovered Alessia Cara’s music. She’s been pretty big for about a year now, but I love her stuff!

PEV: If acting wasn’t your life, what would you do for a career?

NW: I really think I’d like to own my own business. Something along the lines of a bar/restaurant/entertainment venue. It’d probably be a money pit, but what other job could afford me the opportunity to eat, drink and jam out all on the boss’s dime?! 😉

PEV: So, what is next for Nate Warren?

NW: I have another film coming out this August called The Space Between Us. It’s a touching story full of drama, romance, teenage angst and space! It looks great! I’m also working on my own original screenplays and hope to get one produced in the not-too-distant future!

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-by Richie Frieman