This is the continuation of a Q&A with the team from the Oscar-nominated short film “Time Freak” that I conducted for LimitéMagazine.com. For the first part of my interview with writer/director Andrew Bowler, producer Gigi Causey, and lead actor Michael Nathanson, click here.
Andrew, did you go to film school?
I went to NYU’s film school. I think I had a similar experience to most people who go there in that I met my best friends whom I would collaborate with for years and almost no one else. Geoffrey Richman, Michael McDermott, and Adam Fleischhacker are all accomplished filmmakers in their own right and they all worked really hard on “Time Freak.” The four of us all met in the same video class sophomore year. Geoffrey and Mike were producers [on “Time Freak”], as well as the editor and production designer, respectively.
Michael, how and when did you first catch the acting bug? What have been your biggest challenges in developing your style and rhythm as an actor?
I remember being in my first school play when I was in sixth grade, playing the comedic villain in a Gilbert and Sullivan musical, and getting in front of an audience and thinking, “Wow, this is what I want to do.” I was always a film buff, and I had the opportunity to see so many great films, growing up in NYC. It really wasn’t until I got to Northwestern in Chicago and studied theatre that it really hit me that this is what I’m going to be doing with my life. As an actor, kind of like the character in “Time Freak,” you’re always trying to get better, understand the craft more—sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I feel like I try, whether it’s stage or screen, to give the audience something edgy, something unexpected. I like when an audience is uncomfortable, and yet wants to know more. I think that’s when the most interesting work happens. There’s a fearlessness I admire in actors like Gary Oldman and in comedians like Bill Murray; they are so invested in their character work, you truly feel like anything can happen at any moment. I guess I would say I’m not into ever playing it safe.