The epic Noah from Darren Aronofsky sails into theaters this weekend which stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth & Logan Lerman.
Among the A-Listers in the cast are some fresh faces to definitely keep an eye on including Nolan Gross. The young star has been seen in TV shows like “The New Normal” and “American Horror Story” and now he’s lighting up the big screen playing a young version of Logan Lerman’s character Ham. We chatted with the rising star about being a part of the film and what he’s up to next!
Congratulations on Noah! What was it like being part of such a big movie?
Nolan: When I found out I got the role I almost started crying. For my first feature film to travel across the world to Iceland and spend weeks in NY it was an experience I will never forget. I didn’t realize the size of the movie until I got to Iceland and saw how awesome this was going to me. The coolest thing was on day 1, Darren got us all in a circle before we started shooting and he told us the story about when he was a little older than me, he wrote a poem about Noah. Since then he always wanted to make this movie and this was such a passionate project of his so to be a part of that was just incredible.
You play the younger version of Logan Lerman’s character. Did you get to interact with Logan and did you have to learn any of his mannerisms?
Nolan: I met Logan in NY during my third audition. It was the first time in front of Darren and I recognized Logan in the room and then they had us stand next to each other and everyone just started talking how we looked so much a like. Logan and I never worked together because we play the same character. I got to hang out and talk to him at lunch and watch him act in some scenes and was always encouraged by him. My first acting coach when I was 7 years old sent my dad an email the very first day he worked with me and told my dad “ I needed some work” but that I reminded him of a young actor he started working with when he was my age who went on to do some great things. That night my dad and I googled Logan Lerman because that is who he was referring to. I watched Logan in Percy Jackson and loved his work and I am glad that someone else must have seen the same thing as my acting coach because that is a big part in why I got the role of young ham.
What was your favorite part about being around such a stellar cast? Did they give you any advice?
Nolan: Every day on set I would always look around to see who was working that day. I have never been around so many huge actors that all were just as excited as me to work with Darren on this project. Darren always told me “Remember you are just a normal 4th grader don’t let this go to your head”. Staying humble is a big one. I went back to school after filming that summer and I don’t think a lot of friends even believed me when I shared what I did that summer.
What do you think viewers will love most about ‘Noah’?
Nolan: So many things. The locations we shot at were incredible and the visual effects I think are going to blow people away.
You have a lot of exciting projects coming up including ‘Bukowski.’ What is James Franco like as a director?
Nolan: James Franco was super chill. He gave us the freedom to go off script and try things different ways and was cool to work with. It was fun to be directed by a fellow actor and someone that has done so many great projects.
What has been the most challenging role you’ve taken on so far?
Nolan: I just finished shooting Any Day. It is a drama and the movie centers around my character and his relationship with his uncle who just got out of jail. I can’t give away to much about the movie but the role required a lot out of me. There was a rough two days where I shot scenes that were very much out of my comfort zone and had through go through life experiences I myself haven’t gone through in real life, so drawing those emotions was tough.
What or who inspired you to act?
Nolan: I have always loved to perform on a stage. Whether that was a stage at my house with just my parents watching or getting up in front of a huge crowd. I saw some kids on TV and asked my parents how that could happen. After 8 weeks of some acting lessons I had an agent ask if I wanted to be represented. I had no idea what would happen or what that meant but that last few years have been incredible.
What would be your dream role?
Nolan: Action movie. I loved Mission Impossible, James Bond and all the Super hero movies and think it would be great fun to be in something like that.
What is your favorite thing to do in your downtime?
Nolan: Soccer. I love watching soccer and playing. My favorite team is Barcelona and I play club soccer when I am not acting. In between shooting Noah in Iceland and NY we had a few days off so my dad and I flew to Barcelona and got to see Real Madrid vs. Barcelona play in the Super Cup which was the best soccer game I have ever seen.
You’ve worked with a lot of big names. Have you ever been starstruck?
Nolan: Emma Watson. First day of camera test we were both getting our hair done. I sat next to her and have seen her in all the Harry Potter movies. I don’t know if I made much sense but she just talked to me like everyone else and I was a bit starstruck.
What’s your advice to young people who are interested in acting?
Nolan: Get used to hearing the word NO. You hear a lot of NO’s for every yes. It can get discouraging sometimes auditioning, memorizing lines and then just waiting. This is a competitive industry and a lot of kids and adults want to do this. I have learned that you have to work hard and not take any of it for granted.
Be sure to check out Nolan in Noah, in theaters this Friday.