Nathaniel Brown is Indie’s New It-Boy

Published in VMAN 19, Fall 2010.

WITH HIS VERY FIRST ROLE THE LEAD IN A SEMINAL DIRECTOR’S HOTLY ANTICIPATED NEXT FILM, NATHANIEL BROWN SETS HIS SIGHTS HIGH.

“I’m high for the whole film,” jokes actor Nathaniel Brown, “literally through the entire movie.” He’s referring to the waking dream, drug, and death states of Oscar, the character he portrays in Gaspar Noe’s highly anticipated film, Enter the Void. The director’s follow-up to 2002’s celluloid rape allegory, Irreversible, proves nothing short of a visually paralyzing hallucination chronicling the death of Brown’s drug-dealing, DMT-smoking narrator. “Just to be clear, we were not allowed to do any drugs during shooting,” Brown adds. “The punishment for being caught with drugs in Japan is intense.”

Just look at poor, doomed Oscar, who is shot and killed by Japanese drug enforcement agents within the movie’s first act, jump-starting the postmortem coil of Void‘s story arc. Filmed from Oscar’s first-person POV, the experience proved invaluable for a first-time performer. “I’d wanted to be an actor or director my entire life. I grew up with movies,” Brown says with excitement. Fitting, then, that in his first role, the lead actor got to see just as the director saw. “The audience is inhabiting me, you’re in my head,” he explains. “I’m inhabiting Gaspar, so I guess, in essence, you get to be Gaspar as well.”

Next, Nathaniel hopes to continue learning to develop more detailed characters on-screen, and to one day realize his dream of directing. He recently starred in a short film titled Blinders (a project close to VMAN‘s heart, it was directed by this magazine’s editor, Jacob Brown, who worked with renowned cinematographer Bobby Bukowski). And he has two or three feature fillm roles he is considering. “If the only think I can take away from [Enter the Void] is the fact that I am in the industry now, then I’m happy. You know?” If not, there’s probably a drug for that.

Photography Hedi Slimane

Enter the Void is out in September 2010 from IFC Films.