Nolan Gross is an up and coming young actor. As you will see from my interview with him, he has been very busy. Nolan is in the highly anticipated Darren Aronofsky film “Noah,” where he stars as the young Logan Lerman’s character Ham. He co-stars with Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe. The film also stars Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins and Nick Nolte.
Nolan and I spoke on “Noah,” acting, and what got him into the entertainment business.
Art Eddy: It looks like you have been very busy this year. Let’s first talk about the film “Noah” that you are in with Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Russell Crowe. Tell me a bit about your role.
Nolan Gross: I play Young Ham who is the young version of Logan Lerman’s character. I get to be part of the beginning of Noah’s journey and how it all started.
The film is inspired by the story of Noah and the ark from the Bible. God sends a message to Noah that there is a flood coming and he starts building an ark to survive the flood. It’s inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope.
AE: What was it like to work with Russell, Jennifer, and Emma?
NG: It was fun to work with Russell Crowe. He was inspiring and super good with all of us kids on set. He told us that we reminded him of his sons and even bought and signed a soccer ball for me when he found out how much I love soccer.
He told us to believe in our dreams and keep acting if this is what we want to do. The whole cast was pretty incredible and people that I have watched in so many movies and getting to be directed by Darren Aronofsky was so cool.
AE: Did they give you any advice on acting?
NG: Darren gave me the best advice and would always say, ‘You are just a normal 4th grader.’ He would remind us to stay humble and not let this go to our heads. It was cool to watch him work on this huge epic film with a giant budget but had his mom and dad on set and his son at times. It was cool to see that Darren was just a guy living out his dream and wanted his family with him to experience it.
AE: Were you into the “Harry Potter” books or films? If so did you talk with Emma about her role as Hermione Granger?
NG: I started watching “Harry Potter” and “Percy Jackson” prior to filming but we didn’t talk much about those films. The first conversation I had with Emma was actually about soccer or as she would call it “futbol” and wanted to know about cleats and why soccer players wear them. We had that conversation in NY one of the first days in pre-production while we were both getting our hair and make-up done. I have to admit it was a pretty cool moment sitting in the chair talking to her realizing I was going to be in this movie. Emma and Logan had just finished “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and Logan signed the cover of my book, which my parents say I still can’t read just yet.
AE: You are also in the film “Lucky Dog.” What is that film about?
NG: “Lucky Dog” is a romantic comedy that is centered on my dad played by Bryce Johnson and a girl he is pursuing played by Boti Bliss. The movie follows the adventure of Bryce’s role following in love with Boti’s character. Of course, there are two dogs involved and I play the son Jared. It was a fun movie to film all over southern California. I auditioned for the role and my dad told me this role sounds just like me. He told me he thought I would book this one and it was funny I had no callback for the movie. I auditioned that day and that weekend they called me saying that I had the role.
AE: As I said earlier you have been busy. You are also in the film “Any Day.” What is your role in that film?
NG: “Any Day” stars Sean Bean, Eva Longoria and Kate Walsh. The movie centers around an ex-fighter Vian played by Sean Bean who is transformed by the love and forgiveness he experiences through his nephew Jimmy, played by me. The script is pretty amazing and it was a great role for me to be able to play. Kate Walsh plays my mom and was my favorite person to work with on the film. She is so nice and very encouraging to me and I think it’s even cooler that she comments now on my Instagram photos. The movie is powerful and I am very proud of it. I am currently doing ADR for the film and can’t wait until people get to see it. Rustam Branaman directed this and was great to work with as well as Sean Bean. I can’t give away too much of the movie but it might cause a few tears.
AE: How did you get into acting?
NG: I have always loved performing in front of people and my parents noticed that I enjoyed being on stage. I asked my parents about people I saw on TV and they enrolled me in some acting classes. At the end of the eight week course, I did a performance and was contacted by an agent. I started with commercials and now that has led to TV and film.
AE: What is the best part about acting?
NG: The process of making a film or working on a set is the best part. I am only 11, so I had no clue how TV and films are made until working on set. So much goes into every scene and being a part of the whole process is the best part. What a lot of people don’t realize is how long the whole process is and everything that goes into it. I auditioned for “Noah” in May of 2012 and got a callback in June of 2012. We started filming in July of 2012 and the shooting for the whole movie stopped in November of that year. Then they added effects, music and everything else. Yesterday I saw seven billboards in Los Angeles for the movie and later this month everyone gets to see it. Now that’s a long process!