photographer / Stephen Busken
story / Heather Seidler
stylist / Wilford Lenov
When first meeting actor Nolan Gerard Funk, you notice his wide wholesome smile, his six foot, well-built frame and his Ferris Bueller-like charm. Along with those attributes comes Southern gent manners, gregarious enthusiasm, and a handful of intriguing projects that will show this 27-year-old Canadian is serious about his craft and can hold the screen rather well. In August, he starred in Paul Schrader’s erotic drama THE CANYONS, the much hoopla’d flick with tabloid-favorite Lindsey Lohan and porn star James Deen. Although his CANYONS character, Ryan, is an impoverished actor, offscreen Funk has little problem finding work. With his recurring parts on hit shows Glee and Awkward, his stint on Broadway [Bye Bye Birdie], his horror film EVIDENCE with Steven Moyer. With his current Sci-Fi swashbuckling role alongside Vin Diesel in the newest RIDDICK installment, Funk’s visibility is only growing.
Funk took a moment to talk about his experience on set, sexual taboos, and how regret is his biggest regret.
LADYGUNN: What was it really like on set with [director] Paul Schrader and Lindsey Lohan? Was it how the media has dramatized it to be AKA the infamous NY Times article?
NOLAN GERARD FUNK: It was unpredictable, exciting and challenging, which is what I signed up for. But the [NY Times] article was selective, had some pretty great stories it left out.
How cool is Brett Easton Ellis?
The coolest. Contrary to what you may pull from his Twitter account, he’s real, gentle, and a great soul.
What was the most challenging part of playing Ryan?
He’s an uncomfortable person to play- he’s always acting because he’s half a person. He’s an idea of himself. He’s supposed to be wooden and off.
How did the guerrilla style film-making lend itself to the intensity and atmosphere of your scenes?
It enhanced the experience. For example, the scene where the producer puts the moves on Ryan, my coverage was shot at 6 am at the end of a night shoot. It was to make me more vulnerable, because Paul [Schrader, the director] said I seemed like too much of a winner and Ryan was more interesting as a victim. We weren’t always on the same page about that.
How comfortable or uncomfortable were with you with graphic sexual nature of CANYONS? Why do you think full nudity is still so rare onscreen in America? Do you feel it exploits or liberates depending on material?
People’s brains are blown out on a daily basis on TV, yet if a guy goes down on his girlfriend onscreen, the film gets the NC-17 rating. We saw this with BLUE VALENTINE. There’s something wrong with that picture. Obviously there are a few moments onscreen in this film that didn’t totally interest me, but that’s about my own taste, not about being offended.
How do you feel about identity in this celeb-obsessed culture and how do you navigate within its parameters?
You try to stay on the right ship. Avoiding certain waves.
What was it like on the RIDDICK set? I get the sense that it’s somewhat a dream come true for any boy: getting to run around with big guns, hanging with awesome actors, chasing after aliens.
I fucking loved it. I love Vin [Diesel] and the rest of the gang. It’s a big ass action film…most guys’ dream for sure.
Do you think it’s vital for actors to constantly adapt themselves to stop themselves from having a limited shelf life?
Yeah, you gotta keep making new product and packaging. And avoid going to your Broadway opening whilst forgetting to remove your stage makeup…blush and all. I love Google – except when those damn photos stick around forever.
You have a day to live: what are your regrets in life and what would do with your last day?
The time I spent regretting is my biggest regret. On my last day, I would eat cake, go on rides, have sex, and probably drink a lot.