Guys! Are you sitting down for this?! It’s time to take a trip down memory lane as the infamous iCarly is back and Nathan Kress has a lot of exciting news to share with us. Known as Freddie Benson, the actor has grown into a successful man who is making moves in the world of film and television! Feeling all kinds of emotions about the reboot, this time he will find himself on both sides of the camera! Evolving into directing and podcasts, Nathan is enjoying every minute of his career in the world of Hollywood. Also a father of two, you won’t want to miss this exclusive interview with Nathan Kress!
Share with us your journey as an actor up until now. How have you evolved both as an actor and individual?
I started when I was very young, around 3 years old. My parents noticed that I would constantly memorize and recite verbatim the things I was seeing on TV. I was such a ham and loved performing in front of family (and the family camcorder). After seeing an ad in the paper for a massive casting call for kids to find talent agents, my parents figured it was worth a shot, to see if it was something I might be interested in. At that point, I wasn’t really aware of the fact that I was “acting”. As far as I knew, I was just going into rooms, meeting random people, and being myself. I thought the auditions were the jobs themselves, and I was having a blast. I did book some work… nothing that substantial at the time. But after a few years of missing out on getting to do “normal kid stuff”, my interest waned. I asked to quit, and my parents happily agreed to let me make the call for myself and choose to stop on my own terms. Fast forward 5 more years, the acting bug bit again after doing several school plays, and I asked to get back into it. Thankfully, my parents were willing to help make this happen, at no small expense to our family’s daily routine. After a few years of auditioning my butt off and working somewhat regularly, I got the audition for iCarly, and the rest is history! Immediately after iCarly ended, I did my first major studio film, Into the Storm, but quickly found myself being drawn back into the world of multi-camera comedy. However, this time it was on the directing side. Over the years, I found myself becoming passionate about working behind the camera, using my experience as an actor to make children’s comedy come alive. Building on that foundation, and gaining more experience, my goal is to move up the ranks and find myself working in the primetime network sitcom world. That has been a primary focus for me, of course up until now, as iCarly is being brought back! But in my mind, these things are not mutually exclusive. Especially since I’ll be getting the chance to direct episodes of iCarly, which will be a blast to wear both hats as an actor and director on my own show.
I think my evolution as an actor is closely tied to my evolution as a person. As I’ve experienced more, encountered more people, grown in my relationships, adapted to new realities, and stretched myself on set, I’ve seen that relate directly to how I go about my daily life. My approach to my personal growth is very similar to how I conduct myself while I’m working. I’m doing everything I can to keep from growing complacent.
How are you feeling about the iCarly reboot? What do you intend to bring to it that will be different from the original one?
Can I say this, or is it “passe”?– I literally feel all the feels. Excitement, anxiety, joy, exhaustion…. it’s all there. I think our ultimate goal is to deliver something that hasn’t been done before. We’re taking a beloved children’s comedy universe, letting it marinate for 9 years, and bringing back this totally new show that incorporates the things you know and love, but shows it in a fresh, current voice. Our show is specifically designed for the kids who watched iCarly while they were growing up between 2007-2012. Now that those kids are becoming adults themselves, we’re making a show that meets them where they are– as adults, not kids. The show has grown up, alongside its audience. The characters of iCarly are now going through things that a person in their late 20s would be dealing with in everyday life, which is obviously something we couldn’t do before. So when our fans are watching, we hope that we’re delivering something that feels familiar and nostalgic, but also has a new and exciting take on what’s been done before.
What can fans expect from this reboot? What was it like reconnecting with the cast?
Fans can expect the return of some of their favorite recurring characters, and plenty of antics and wackiness. But they should also expect to see something different from what they probably have in their mind. It may be almost jarring for the first few episodes, just like it was for me as we filmed it! But as the fans keep watching, I think they’ll feel right at home.
Reconnecting with the cast has, of course, been the highlight of this whole experience. It has been such a blast getting to see where our characters are now, how they’ve changed, and the backstory that’s brought them to where they currently find themselves. It has felt so natural getting to work with Miranda and Jerry again. In a lot of ways, it felt like we never stopped.
You also have a podcast, RadioActive Dads. What pushed you to develop that?
The concept for RadioActive Dads stemmed from the seemingly endless conversations that I have with my buddy Brett Davern, who co-hosts the show with me. He’s a fellow Nick/MTV guy (he played Jake on Awkward.), and a fellow dad. We met while racing cars for a couple of charity events, and just hit it off right away. Since becoming a dad myself in the years since we met, we always had a lot to talk about any time we ran into each other at events, and eventually, the idea of doing a podcast for dads sorta sprung out of our own relationship. We realized that there just wasn’t much out there for dads, in terms of resources, conversation, or just plain ol’ catharsis. Men generally aren’t that keen on the whole “talking and sharing” thing, so we figured we could bring those conversations to them in the privacy of their own earbuds. It’s not just dad-stuff though. We talk about our lives as actors, our hobbies, and the day-to-day of life as dudes. For us, it’s simply having our weekly hang and catch-up, except we have a pair of mics in front of us.
Tell us more about your other projects. Do you have some favorites? Why?
If we’re talking about past work, I think one of my favorite projects was a cartoon I did for Netflix, called Pinky Malinky, with Lucas Grabeel and Diamond White. It was absolutely absurd. A mockumentary series about the life of a sentient hot dog in middle school, along with the hot dog’s human best friends. I played JJ, Pinky’s ultra-swaggity best bro. That guy was a blast, because I got to create this insane character out of thin air, and every week was an opportunity to add more fun stuff. It was a very collaborative and improvisational project, so it was always the highlight of my week to go and play with these people. The show itself was a great balance of gags, heart, and a weirdly bangin’ soundtrack. To this day, I don’t know why we didn’t get to make more episodes, but the show will live on Netflix for all of eternity for the world to enjoy!
Share with us something about yourself that most people do not know.
Fans of RadioActive Dads of course know this, but it always seems to surprise people that I’ve got two kids! Rosie is 3 and a half, and Evie is 3 months. Being a dad has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling things I have ever attempted. My wife, London, and I are in the phase where every completed day feels like completing a marathon, especially with my work schedule being so crazy right now and not being able to stay home and help out. We had Evie right after we finished our first episode of the new iCarly, so juggling the newborn phase and work has been a very delicate balance. Thankfully London is a great teammate, and an absolute trooper. I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this without her.
If you had to compare your life to a cartoon, which would it be and why?
Yikes… I dunno. I guess a weird combo of Bojack Horseman, and The Simpsons? A dad juggling family life and his life in Hollywood… just without all the substance abuse and shenanigans.
Where do you see yourself going in the next 5 years?
Well, if all goes according to plan, hopefully, we’re still making iCarly! Aside from that, I want to continue to stretch myself and work in different mediums. I still love making movies, so hopefully, another feature or two might be done by then. I’d love to land my first directing episode of a primetime network’s multicam series, and build off of that experience. I want to learn to write a proper screenplay and develop that part of my brain’s creativity. So having the first draft of a film might be a reality by then. And 5 years from now, we’ll have both kids off to school, so you better believe I’m going to be taking COPIOUS amounts of dad-naps.
Talent Nathan Kress @nathankress
Photo Credit Giselle Hernandez/Paramount+. © 2021 Viacom International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Interview by Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites