By Edwin L. Carpenter, Editor – The Dove Foundation
Nathan Kress, “Freddie Benson” of Nickelodeon’s TV series iCarly, is appearing in the NBC Family Movie Night presentation Game of Your Life. Nathan turns nineteen this month and he already has an impressive list of credits, having acted regularly for several years. He appeared in Drake and Josh, and was the voice of Easy and Tough Pup in Babe: Pig in the City. Nathan spoke with The Dove Foundation in a recent interview about his background and his role in Game of Your Life. His politeness is evident from the start.
Dove: Thanks for taking the time to do the interview.
Nathan: “Absolutely, my pleasure, anytime.”
Dove: Can you tell us how you got started in show business?
Nathan: “I actually got started when I was very young. I was about three years old when I first got into it, basically as soon as I learned to talk! I was a very vocal, outspoken child. I would memorize what I saw on TV so when I was watching my Veggie Tales, and my Barney and my Mister Rogers and my Sesame Street, I would memorize the dialog and songs and perform them for my family. I would ask them to put it on camera and to give me a microphone—so it became this big show. I guess my parents kind of realized that maybe that was something that I was to do professionally and that would be something that I’d be interested in. So I got started and I auditioned and I got some little jobs here and there.”
Nathan said during a dry spell he briefly lost interest and got out of the business and didn’t think about it for a time, but “I continued to do my school productions”, he said. In fourth and fifth grades his parts got bigger and it piqued his interest again. His mother began to home school Nathan so he could get work again and he was back in it at age eleven. “Three years later I started iCarly” he said.
Dove: What appealed to you about your role in Game of Your Life?
Nathan: “When I was first presented the idea for the movie—first off, since it’s a video game movie, that was a huge plus to me cause I’m absolutely a video-game-guy! For a long time I had no idea what my character was going to be. They had presented us with this idea but they said ‘We don’t have a script yet. So as soon as we get one, we’ll tell you.’ So there was a long period where I knew it was something that I wanted to do but I didn’t know what on earth I was going to be doing. So when I was finally told the character that I was going to do I was extremely excited, because Phillip is a very dry, literal character. It’s said in the movie that he’s irony challenged so he doesn’t get sarcasm. He takes everything completely seriously which is a character that I’ve never really been able to play before so I was happy to be able to do something kind of different and go outside the box of what I’ve been used to for so many years on iCarly.”
Nathan added he enjoyed what he called “cast chemistry” and working with his fellow cast members. “Having an amazing cast was icing on the cake” he said.
Dove: Can you tell us more about your character?
Nathan: “Style-wise, he wears nothing but black, the whole movie. When they explained that to me I was like, ‘Wait, does that mean he’s like a goth character?!’ That was the only thing I could think of. They were like, ‘No, he just likes to wear black’, so maybe Phillip thought that it was slimming and that was a good style for him. Unfortunately, we were shooting in the Atlanta summer (this past summer) so wearing black was not really conducive to being dry. It was absolutely worth it. I’m glad we got to go to Atlanta because we had an awesome Atlanta-based crew.”
Nathan said the film is currently in sound editing and he just finished final dialog recordings for backgrounds and off-camera lines. December 2 is the air date and it was being pieced together as we spoke with Nathan. He added that he filmed the movie in August and September so that the turn-around time is much faster than usual.
Dove: Why is Game of Your Life a good family film to watch?
Nathan: “I think it’s because it strikes that very critical balance between being wholesome but also being entertaining. Not to out these at all (other projects), but sometimes the focus is so much on the message that it’s kind of tedious to sit through. I think this strikes a great balance between being entertaining and the storyline is appealing to the kids but the message is appealing to both the kids and the parents. I think it strikes an awesome compromise so that the families can all sit down and watch it together. Aesthetically, it’s very involved in pop culture but not so much that the parents would be completely lost so when the conflict arises it’s all about Zach, the main character, making his choices and how it affects other people. That’s something that the parents can get involved in and talk with the kids after, about what they would do in that situation and how important it is to make the right decision and how it affects other people. So there are a lot of different aspects to the movie that are going to appeal to a lot of different demographics.”
Dove: What are your future projects?
Nathan: “We finished the previous season of iCarly in August and then we did this movie and then in-between I have been auditioning for other projects. Nothing’s set in stone yet. As far as we know, we are going back for another season of iCarly in January. Now we have no idea how long that season’s going to be or how many episodes we’re going to do but we know we’re coming back at some point. We don’t know how many seasons we’re going to do. I guess it all kind of depends on how often and how long the kids watch it. It’s up to the fans, I guess, but that’s the only thing for sure right now.”
Make sure and catch Game of Your Life airing December 2nd on NBC.