Actor Nathan Kress makes the transition from TV to feature films with thrilling disaster flick Into The Storm.
THE tween world knows him as Freddie Benson from popular TV series iCarly and although Nathan Kress is absolutely fine with that, his fans will be seeing the young star in a whole new light in his first major motion picture, Into The Storm.
Packed with blockbuster special effects and edge-of-your-seat moments, Into The Storm takes moviegoers into the eye of a deadly storm, one that spawns numerous tornadoes, including the largest vortex anyone had ever seen.
Naturally, filming a summer movie of this magnitude came with its own set of challenges because not everything was left in the hands of the visual effects department.
“The most challenging part was definitely the environment of practical effects that we were subjected to – rain, wind, fire, debris, explosions – it’s amazing how hard it can be to say your lines when you have a fan that’s sending little bits of shrapnel at you at hurricane force!” Kress told StarTwo via e-mail.
He was surprised by how harmless objects could inflict serious damage with enough energy behind them.
“There’s one scene in our school hallway when the tornado comes through, and they had a giant fan blowing pieces of paper down the hall,” he elaborated. “In one of the takes, I got hit with a piece that had been crumpled into a ball. It seriously felt like I got punched in the face. I was shocked at how much paper could hurt!”
Kress admitted that he was probably nowhere as brave in real life as his onscreen character, a high school student named Trey: “I would just hole up somewhere and try to ride it out.
“My character is a little more daring – he goes out into the carnage with his father. He has motivation though ... when the first storm hits, my brother goes missing and we have to go find him.”
As tough as it may have been to shoot with the elements, Kress did not mind the rigorous filming process because he loves action movies and for him, it’s a thrill to be in a film like Into The Storm.
“I had never done anything on that scale and with that many moving parts. In a way, it was intimidating, especially in the beginning. But over time, I finally got into the rhythm of how a big movie set works and what was expected of me. By the end, I was sure that doing movies was where I could really see myself going,” the 21-year-old actor said.
“Anything action/adventure, I’m in. Whether it’s watching an action movie or being in it. I’m really not sure where that came from, but it’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember,” the Tony Stark and Hawkeye fan confessed, before citing gritty military dramas as the genre he would very much like to tackle next.
When asked who he was dying to work with, Kress answered that Denzel Washington was high on his list: “But honestly, it would be hard to work with him ... I’d be too busy just watching and trying to learn from him. That would take some practice!”
With Into The Storm on track to being a monster hit, Kress could be on the verge of movie stardom and he might get his wish of acting with Washington after all.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I also don’t want to go into the new chapter without putting some thought into what it could be like. I’m really just trying to take it one step at a time right now. I have no expectations or predictions,” he disclosed.
The American actor who hails from Glendale, California started acting at the age of three. He had a string of guest-starring roles in TV shows such as Without A Trace, House MD and The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody before landing the part in Nickelodeon’s iCarly.
Kress might have missed out on a regular childhood and teenage life but he would not have had it any other way.
“There are definitely things I’ve missed out on, some more important than others. But at the same time, I’ve been able to experience things that an incredibly small number of people have ever been able to do,” he shared.
“For example, I missed my high school graduation. Originally, I was planning on going, but Jim Parsons (of The Big Bang Theory) was coming in as a guest star on iCarly and I was going to have to work till about 1am. However, when the crew found out that I was missing the ceremony, they put one together for me on the spot, complete with a diploma from Ridgeway, the fictional school that Carly, Sam and Freddie attended. So yeah, I missed out on something cool, but I got to have an incredibly unique experience instead,” he explained.
Having played the role of Freddie for the better part of five years, how did he move on from iCarly?
“I knew it would be hard to walk away from something I had grown so used to and loved doing. But at the same time, after all those years, I was craving the chance to do something different. That’s why Into The Storm was such a crazy transition – I found out I got the part two days after iCarly wrapped. So I got my wish!” he said.
Unlike some child stars that have come of age, Kress’ name is not splashed across sensational websites or tabloids with details of his latest exploits. He is mindful about staying out of trouble, especially since he has a lot of young fans from his days on iCarly.
“I think a lot of that comes from my upbringing,” he revealed. “I come from a very stable home, with loving parents and awesome brothers. They, along with my convictions as a Christian, are the foundation that keeps me grounded in this crazy industry.
“They keep me pointed in the right direction and maintain my priorities. They love me enough to call me out when I mess up and do things wrong. Even with that upbringing though, I still definitely feel the pressure to be a positive role model – it isn’t always easy. I’m constantly being pulled in so many directions and it can be hard to resist.
“That’s where I have to rely on God to show me the right way. Without that, I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
Into The Storm opens in cinemas nationwide today (Aug 7).