What sparked your initial interest in acting?
Before I started, acting as a career wasn’t something I had ever considered. I’ve always had an interest in electronics and engineering, so that was what I thought I’d end up doing. My cousin had been doing some acting and my brother and I thought it looked interesting and fun. My dad signed us up for a spring break acting camp and we had a really great time.
The camp was set up to give an opportunity to meet local agents and we ended up signing with an agency our parents felt good about. At about the same time, we sang in a kid’s choir, I did a small part in an opera, and we both were lucky enough to get some good roles in productions in Vancouver theatre companies. Both my brother and I were enjoying the whole business very much so we continued to audition. As the roles have become more interesting and challenging, I’m having even more fun with it!
How did you get your part on “Fargo”? What was the audition process like?
The audition process for Fargo was funny. We got the sides the afternoon before and I had a big test at school the day of the audition, so I had only about an hour to learn the lines for the audition and the accent. My mom found some YouTube videos about the Minnesota accent, and we just practiced what we could in the time we had (I’m pretty sure my accent was awful).
We didn’t hear anything for almost a month, and it is a pretty huge show, so we assumed that I didn’t get the part. Then suddenly my agent called out of the blue and I learned that they were considering casting me for Nathan! We had thought it was completely dead, but then I got the role!
What personal characteristics did you bring to your character Nathan? How are you two different?
Nathan’s a pretty normal kid who suddenly has to deal with all of the “Fargo-isms” that happen to him and his mom. His family is going through awkward and difficult changes. And no kid should have to deal with their grandpa getting murdered with superglue.
Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with any of those types of things. I can relate to being a teen who always wants to be on a phone or playing a game, so I just tried to imagine what it would be like in Nathan’s shoes.
What was it like working with this cast, especially working so close to Carrie Coon? It seemed from other readings that you all became really close.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m one of the least experienced members of the recurring cast. I had the opportunity to watch all of these incredibly talented individuals do their work and learn from them.
Carrie really was like a second mom on set – she was always super nice and supportive and funny, and making sure everyone was included in conversations. She found out that I liked to read and made me read whenever I wasn’t filming. She taught me about politics.
I didn’t have a single bad experience throughout the whole shoot and I’d love to work with any one of the cast, production team, or crew again.
What was your favorite on/off-set moment of “Fargo”?
Looking back on the shoot now that we’re done filming, the whole experience was just surreal. I remember on the first day I was sitting in hair and makeup and I looked over and there was a Jedi master who I grew up watching in movies. It seemed that any direction I turned there would be some reason to be awestruck.
If you could be any character on “Fargo,” besides your own, who would it be? And why?
SPOILER ALERT: That’s a tough one. I’d have to say Ray Stussy probably because he gets himself into lots of situations including murdering people, and eventually gets murdered himself!
As a kid, you don’t really get to kill people all that often, so I think that would be really fun.
What has been the most shocking moment in this season of “Fargo” for you?
SPOILER ALERT: Probably when Ray Stussy was killed. I loved the first two seasons and I really wanted to try to watch the show and be surprised about things with everyone else. Nathan mostly only interacts in scenes with his mom, so my parents made sure I didn’t miss anything important in the full script, and I tried to NOT read the other parts except where it would affect my role. My dad showed me that scene when episode six script came out though. I had expected the plot to follow Ray more than it follows Emmit, so that twist totally took me by surprise.
Is there anything you can say about the final episodes?
I’m probably not allowed to say much, but I will say that they definitely live up to “Fargo.”
You’ve also been confirmed to play the young Freddie Highmore character in “The Good Doctor” on ABC. What can you tell us about that?
Yes! I’m really excited about that. I filmed “The Good Doctor” pilot between episodes on “Fargo.” It was difficult to try to deal with date conflicts, but it all worked out and I loved filming the pilot.
“The Good Doctor” is the story of an autistic savant young man who is training to become a surgeon, but faces conflict because of his autism. It is based on a very successful Korean series from a few years back. I play the younger version of Freddie’s character, Shaun Murphy, and in the pilot, where there is a lot of backstory, young Shaun has quite a few stressful scenes.
A common feature in autistic kids is to have trouble expressing their emotions in typical ways. I had to show the intense emotions that Shaun experiences during his tough childhood as a child with autism might do it. It was difficult and challenging, but with the help of an autism specialist that worked with us and a great cast and crew, we got it done!
When we filmed it, we all really wanted it to be picked up because we loved the idea of it, so we were excited to hear that it’ll air sometime in the fall!
What other projects can we expect to see you on in the future?
I filmed a Woody Woodpecker live action/CGI movie last summer, as well as a small part in a Nickelodeon movie last September. Both of those will be coming out this fall. I’m also doing a local theatre production with some of my friends at the end of September. Over the summer I’m filming a really good role in an indie feature, which will hopefully premiere early next year.