Interview: Nick Krause Talks About His Breakout Role In ‘The Descendants’

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The Descendants starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne has been gaining extreme Oscar buzz within the past few months. The story of Matt King (Clooney) trying to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident becomes even more intertwined when King later finds out she’s been cheating.

The Oscar contender not only brings together a fantastic plot, but also introduces breakout actor Nick Krause to audiences. At 19, this will be Krause’s biggest role to date. He plays Sid in the film, the easy-going kid who gives a great dose of comedic relief. He also dates King’s daughter Alexandra. (Shailene Woodley) Other stars include Amara Miller, Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard.

He may be young to the business, but Nick’s performance and talking to him in general made it clear that he will be around for quite a while. His passion for acting and The Descendants was obvious, and he definitely had more of a filter than his character Sid.

The Descendants has been getting rave reviews and you seem like you’ll be quite the scene-stealer! Tell me about your role Sid.

Sid’s a very laid back kind of easy-going guy. He’s a lot like your average teenager on the Islands. He takes life as it goes and gets into the flow of things. He’s really they’re hanging with Alexandra his friend and her family. Sid has good intentions. He doesn’t have quite a very formed brain to mouth filter and so he never says quite the right thing but he always has the right thing in mind.

What drew you to the role and the film?

I was drawn to the film in general because Alexander’s name was on it. It’s Alexander Payne. You just don’t turn down a chance to work with him. And the character I was drawn to just because he’s fun, just a really fun guy and he’s fun to play.

Would you consider yourself like Sid?

Besides age, Sid and I are pretty different guys. Sid’s a lot more callous than I consider myself to be. He’s always searching for something light-hearted to say even in heavy situations and just gets into a bunch of funny moments. I usually try to think about what I say first so that would be the biggest difference.

This seems like such a break out role. What was the audition process like?

The audition process was actually kind of interesting for me. I got it as a taped audition down in Austin where I was living when I heard of it. And then woke up the next morning with my sister to film over the scenes at five in the morning before we had to drive to school and sent it to L.A. [Laughs] Forgot about it for a few months and then those few months later John Jackson, the casting director for the project, called me up to New York to come see Alexander. So I flew up and while my mom and I we were walking around New York trying to figure out something to make the audition more neat. We figured that Alexander would be really, really hungry after working at casting and so I went and got a huge bag of Cheetos, stuffed it in my front pocket and went in with it. I brought my headshots too in the audition and then handed them to the director. [Laughs]

That is hilarious! It definitely kept you in mind to cast for the role.

[Laughs] Yea.

What was your favorite part about working on the film?

Well one thing I wanted to say about this set is that everyone was close. It was like a giant family. Everyone was so confident in what they were doing that they could really sit back and enjoy their jobs and enjoy the people. That made a great atmosphere everywhere on set.

What was it like working with George and meeting him for the first time?

It was amazing. George is an awesome actor. Not only is he the most lighthearted guy making everyone around him feeling awesome all the time, but also he has this very direct professionalism that’s just amazing to see. He’ll be joking around with us, or some of the extras and then five minutes later he’ll be doing an extremely serious scene. You can just tell he’s so prepared when he walks onto set. That was something very cool for me to watch.

He’s known for being a jokester. Did he do any pranks on set?

[Laughs] We were filming a scene on a plane and it was really crowded. We had a lot of extras and it was just very tight and stuffy in there. And I’m sitting waiting for the cameras to set up and I hear this noise behind me. I look back there and there’s George kind of giggling to him self. [Laughs] And I hear this noise again and I look back and George is playing with a fart button in the middle of a crowded plane. A little fart button on his application. [Laughs] That was just one example of fun stuff that he did around set.

What scene were you most proud of acting in?

I would have to say the scene in the hotel between Sid and Matt King. It’s very intimate and one on one between George and I. That day on set and that scene we’re both intimate because not only was I working one on one with George Clooney and it was just an amazing learning experience, it’s also one of those scenes where I really got to explore Sid in a little more depth as a character. That scene is one of my favorites.

Did you become close with anyone specific on set?

Shailene [Woodley] and I got to be really good friends. George [Clooney] and I and Amara [Miller] and I. Everyone on that set were really cool. It’s pretty neat to think about it.

That’s so nice. What will you take away from working with actors like Clooney, Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard?

Just seeing how they worked and kind of being in the corner and be that fly on the wall watching them all do their thing was really amazing. I learned so much from everyone on that set.

The cast is definitely fantastic and the film continues to get great reviews. What do you think about the Oscar buzz?

I’ve always been hopeful. It’s a really good movie and we’re all really proud of it. It would be awesome for it to get the nomination.

So what do you think viewers will enjoy most about the film?

I think audiences will take away just the satisfaction of seeing a very—it is at the heart of it—a very simple and human story. It’s kind of a rollercoaster when you watch it. You’ll laugh and then you’ll cry five minutes later and then two minutes after that you’ll be laughing again. It’s really in the simplicity of just human relationships. That’s what the films about, to me at least. And that’s what I think a lot of people are going to take away from it. There’s just a very intimate feeling with the film.

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