Claire: What's going on in your life this year? (Family, work/career, etc.)
Nathan: Hmm, well, a lot actually! I just got back from speaking at two of my family's conferences, showing a promotional trailer, raising funds, and getting the word out about a new film that I wrote! It was a lot of fun and is really encouraging to get positive feedback. And as always, it was so nice to still be involved with my family as they continue to use their lives in ministering to other people!
Claire: When and how did you get interested in acting?
Nathan: To be honest I feel like I have always been acting, whether it was as a boy pretending to be Superman or dressing up as one of my favorite historical figures, I have always loved falling into characters and telling stories. Hearing/reading/watching stories was what lit my heart on fire since I was young, so it was only natural that I would grow up and search for ways to tell stories with my life. Somewhere in the middle of high school, I realized that I also loved people, and I saw what an impact the movies and stories had on all of us—shaping our decisions and feelings by inspiring, connecting, sympathizing, and moving us. So, I decided I wanted to be a part of the movement that was telling the stories that connected with my generation. In high school I attended MasterWorks, where I began to realize I could use my passion and natural gifts for God’s purposes. A little after high school I attended an acting/music commutation called AMTC (Actor Models Talent for Christ) where I was invited to attend The New York Film Academy. And the rest, I guess, is history!
Claire: What about your experience at MasterWorks most influenced you?
Nathan: I think the thing that so inspired and influenced me about MasterWorks was seeing and getting to take part in this amazing community of people who had realized they had been given amazing gifts and had decided they were going to use them for a bigger purpose than simply acclaim, fame, money or recognition. They had decided to use their God-given gifts to praise our Creator and bring people closer to Him. I think it is so rare for people to see their gifts and talents as something given by God and for God. Being at MasterWorks set the foundation for how I could use my God-given gifts.
Claire: You wear many different hats: writer, actor, film producer/director, musician, son of two popular speakers/writers… As a result, have you found it difficult for you to determine who you are as a person? Who or what defines you? Describe that journey of finding your identity.
Nathan: Being in LA, each day I see a city looking for identity: everyone scrambling, chasing, and doing almost anything thinkable to find themselves, to discover purpose, and to create their identity. And because of that, everyday I see people wrapping up their entire identity in such temporal and fading things, whether it's their talent, their ‘art,’ their sexuality, or even their popularity and money. I see people building their foundations of identity on things that will surely disappoint or disappear eventually. I have even found myself falling into the trap of finding my identity in things of this world, like my acting, music, writing, and even my family! But somewhere along the way, after I had been brought to my knees by the humbling process of failed acting jobs, losing friends, and a career with nothing to show, God found me and has been leading me down a path of finding my worth and identity in Him. This is the most life-changing, freeing experience I could ever feel, because He is the one thing that will NEVER fail. Even if everything else does, I know my worth is found in Him!
Claire: You recently wrote a modern-retelling of the Prodigal Son, and now you are in the process of raising funds to make this into movie. What inspired this, and what is the message that you want to portray through this project?
Nathan: Awhile back when I was going through one of my hardest times, I randomly found myself reading the story of the Prodigal Son, and little did I know what a powerful, recurring tale it would be in my life. In the months to come, I found myself trying to follow God but often getting lost in my own desires and foolish decisions, wondering what I was supposed to do. BUT, every time I found my head in my hands as a result of my decisions, I felt God’s loving arms holding me and His voice calling me back to the man I was made to be—just like the Prodigal. So, as I began to look, I realized I lived in a city and really, a world of prodigals, not bad or evil people—just people looking for meaning, purpose and love. Often, letting the deep desire we all have for those things led them into places, situations, and answers that too often turn out to be false, temporary, or even destructive.
I decided I wanted to be more intentional about what kinds of projects I would be in, which led me to look for projects that intended to bring light to a dark world! But unfortunately, I found out quickly that projects with the messages I desired to tell, messages I had been brought up to tell, were few and far between. So, one morning, I woke up and felt a gentle stirring in my heart to write a screenplay (something I had never done) with the messages I truly believe the world needs to hear. Long story short, a month later I had a script that had been written as a modern retelling of the prodigal son entitled Confessions of a Prodigal Son. Shortly after, some amazing people and I shot a trailer (in one day) for raising funds... and here I am!
Claire: You have a desire to use film and acting to influence the world for Christ. What needs do you see in the Hollywood scene, and what would you say are effective ways to accomplish this goal?
Nathan: I would love to see more people truly realizing the knowledge that God has created us individually with love and care to use our gifts to praise Him, and in doing so, bringing other people closer to Him as well. Hollywood needs people with a vision bigger than themselves, but one of eternity with a passion to create quality reflections of God’s amazing love through whatever medium possible.
Claire: What challenges have you faced as an actor in the professional world? How has your faith influenced how you live?
- This might sound cliche, but I still deal with the pain of rejection and feeling not good enough, but that’s where finding my identity in God helps.
- The feeling of loneliness, when you decide to follow your dreams. Oftentimes the way you can get the most discouraged is by feeling like you are always doing things on your own—every trial, every doubt—but that is why I made a choice a while ago to get involved in an amazing church, and that really helps me navigate this crazy thing called life.
- Having to say "no" when "yes" would be so much easier. It is such an amazing feeling to find who you are and who you are called to be. But, with that comes who you are NOT called to be, and sometimes you have offers or situations come up, where, with just a little bit of compromise you can make money, get seen, or just feel important. This often makes saying "no" extremely hard, even if it’s clear I should. However, every time I have made the hard decisions to turn down roles/jobs/places I know aren’t a part of who I have been called to be, I see God lead me down His path into things 100 times better that what I could have imagined. It’s not always in my timing or the way I thought I wanted it, but it’s always amazing and better than what I could have done myself.
Claire: What are your long-term goals/dreams (acting or otherwise)?
Nathan: To be honest, I would just love living a life that brings light to a dark world and shows God’s amazing love for me and everyone with whatever I am doing! Though, making and acting in films that do that would be super awesome!
Claire: How can we be praying for you?
Nathan: I would love prayer for wisdom in every situation I come across as well as the continued ability to use my passions and gifts to connect with people!
Claire: What is your favorite movie, style of music, food, and place to travel?
- Movie: There are so many! But apart from all my favorite trilogies, I would have to say The Truman Show...Sooo amazing.
- Style of music: I love EVERY style of music (I know, SO cliche). Lately, I have been coming to an appreciation for pop music. I think that when it is done the right way, it has the ability to connect with someone and leave a message that will continue to play in their mind while using minimal time and potentially sharing deep personal messages in a non time-consuming format. And when you think about that, it’s kind of a beautiful idea!
- Food: Oh my, I am kind of a foodie. My classic is either a Caesar salad or a good grilled chickensandwich.
- Place to travel: Oh—I love all of Europe. My parents were missionaries there when they were young, so they have taken me back across the amazing countries! I am almost fully English and would someday love to go and explore England and maybe even find some of my history!