Interview: Nick Krause Talks ‘White Rabbit’, Moving to LA and His Advice to Young Actors

"It took me months to get into the flow of things and adapt to audition rooms here" - Nick Krause on moving to LA

Nick Krause in White Rabbit

You remember Nick Krause. He played the goofy and loveable Sid in Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants. He got a lot of well-deserved praise for his work in that movie and since then has been adding some nice credits to his resume, with roles in Boyhood and NBC’s Grimm and Parenthood to name a few.

Now, he’s starring in the new film, White Rabbit, about a young man named Harlon Mackey (Krause), who’s been tormented by visions since his alcoholic father (True Blood‘s Sam Trammell) forced him to kill an innocent rabbit while hunting as a kid. Things start to look up when Julie (Britt Robertson), befriends Harlon. But when she betrays him, the visions re-appear, taunting him into committing a terrible act of revenge.

I talked to Nick recently about the film, moving to LA after shooting The Descendants, his advice to young actors and more!

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Check out White Rabbit in theaters, iTunes and Amazon on February 13th!

I heard you had jury duty last week. Hope it wasn’t too terrible!

Nick Krause: Hehe. Turns out my civic duty wasn’t necessary this week. Which really is a shame, I was going to have a lot of fun donning my princess Leia costume to try and wiggle out of it.

Your new film, White Rabbit, looks intense. Tell me about the film and your part.

Nick Krause: I play the role of Harlon Mackey, a teenager who lives in a rough household and is bullied every day. He has an obsession with comic books and begins to hear voices and experience visual hallucinations that eventually spur him to violence.

White Rabbit is the story of a neglected human being who suffers from mental illness and is denied help at every opportunity. It is a study of a character in need, that takes an analytic view of the forces and influences that come together to ignite events as terrible as they are preventable through his eyes.

Among other things, your character hears voices. Did you have to do any reacting to imaginary voices in your audition? What was your actual audition like?

Nick Krause: I was offered the part by producer Robert Yocum, who handed me the script one day and asked me to read through it and see what I thought. As soon as I was on page 2 I couldn’t put it down and contacted him to express my excitement at the opportunity.

Before shooting, I met with Robert, Shaun Sanghani and Tim, our director to make sure I had an accurate gauge of the story we were going to tell and a solid, shared view of Harlon to depict.

Regardless, I was still nervous about things on the first day of principal photography – but Tim was so supportive and easy to work with that he put my fears at ease and let me relax in order to do my job as best I could.

I worked Tim McCann years ago on an episode of Homicide and I loved working with him. What was your experience like with him?

Nick Krause: My experience with Tim was absolutely fantastic – he’s a talented director with a great mind for story and a brilliant cinematic eye. Whenever shooting got tough ( which happens when you’re deep in Louisiana without the AC going ) he kept a strong sense of leadership about him that helped shape WR into the wonderful picture that it is.

After filming The Descendants, you moved from Austin to LA. What’s the one thing about living in LA you didn’t expect, acting wise?

Nick Krause: How tough it is! It took me months to get into the flow of things and adapt to audition rooms here. It took a lot of personal exploration and discipline for me to be able to go into a room, be honest with my performances and leave with the confidence that I did the best job I could do every time.

Outside of auditions, the biggest surprise here was a very positive one – just seeing how passionate actors here are about about their craft is inspiring to me. Nowadays I try to surround myself with those kinds of people as much as I can – it keeps me on your toes when I have a first person POV of all the people here who are working just as hard, or harder than I am. That sense of competition is healthy and keeps me working hard to improve myself.

What’s the worst audition you’ve ever had? One that still gives you nightmares!

Nick Krause: Hoo boy.

A while back, I walked into an audition room with a well known casting director for a major part in a film. I looked at the sides over the days before, thought that they were “simple” ( as if any good performance is simple ) and let myself go totally unprepared. Before we started reading, she started asking me questions about the character, his arc, his place in the script… that I didn’t read.

It was so embarassing – once she learned how little of an idea I had together for this character, she kicked me out. I felt so bad I sent her flowers. It was a major learning experience for me, never to walk into a professional environment thinking that I can just wing it and be fine. Nowadays I’m much more thorough before I read for anything, no matter what the sides look like on first impression. When I have a script, I read it and take notes. When I have sides, I make sure that I could read them backwards and off book if it were asked of me. Whenever I think back on my first few months in LA I realize how much better I’ve gotten with preparation and how much more confident it’s made me over time.

Any advice to younger actors?

Nick Krause: Take huge risks! Fall in love with your craft and with each character you ever play. Find new reasons to be passionate about acting every time you do it.

Never stop learning! About yourself, about your craft, about the world. The more things you know, the more opinions you will have. A wide set of personal thoughts and opinions will shape you into someone who is always interesting to watch and be around.

Don’t drink caffeine before you perform. Trust me on this one.

Have fun! If reading a scene feels like work, you need to find a different way to approach it. There’s a reason we say actors “play” characters. People love watching people who are having fun, and when is having fun not awesome anyway?

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