Taylor Nichols [Interview]

Photo by Richard Wright

 

Hello Everyone! As many of you regular readers may remember from our recent interview with Stacey Osei-Kuffour, a recent obsession of mine has been the new Hulu Original Series that was released this last February entitled PEN15. It is such a god damn gem of a show, and I simply cannot say enough good things about it. And today, we have the distinct honor of being able to showcase some wonderful words from one of the stars of this damn fine program. It’s Taylor Nichols! Taylor portrayed Curtis Kone, father one of the main subjects of the show, Anna Kone as portrayed by Anna Konkle. And boy does he do it well. Nichols has a delightful bit of awkwardness in his character that is absolutely delightful and such a joy to watch, especially as the impact of his character continues to grow throughout the season.

Taylor has been an incredible character actor in the world of film and television for close to 30 years. His work beyond PEN15 has included 3 projects from acclaimed writer & director Whit Stillman, one of which is a personal favorite of mine entitled The Last Days of Disco. Other films include Congo, Chappaquiddick, Boiler Room, and many more. In the world of television he has worked in all of your favorite programs! Seriously Folks, everything from Murder She Wrote to NCIS he has been around. And as another wonderful surprise for you all….we have another Becker-based conversation. Taylor made a wonderful appearance on the program, much like several other guests we have been so fortunate to have grace our digital pages.

Taylor Nichols is an extremely talented person, who has a brilliant body of work that is not to be missed. And we are so excited to have him with us here today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely brilliant artist in front of and behind the camera, the brilliant Taylor Nichols!

 

******

 

What was your inspiration to get into the world of performance? Was it something you have always had a passion for, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

No lie, when I was at the University of Michigan studying business a peer said to me, “You will make a great middle manager at a car company.” I think he meant that as a compliment, although I don’t know what kind of compliment that is, but in my mind it was a fate worse than death. I spent the rest of my time at U of M studying Theater. Then, once I graduated I started working in local, then regional theater and never stopped working and never looked back. I have done a bunch of car commercials and that is as close as I ever got to working in the auto industry. And now I much prefer to ride my bicycle rather than drive my car, so I think I made the right decision.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of acting? And was there anything from this first gig that taught you any sort of lessons that you still incorporate into your work today?

I did have quite a few summer stock gigs that paid, but I’m not sure I would call them “professional.” My first real money job was working the Food Show in NYC. I had to memorize this spiel about some wine company and then recite the info back as I poured wine and  all the buyers got drunk. I learned that when you connect your work with the corporate world you get paid a hell of a lot more money, but you might as well get drunk, because if you don’t, the work may kill you it is so boring. I still feel that way today, whenever I do a commercial, I can’t help but think, “God, we have all this equipment and talent and we are wasting it shooting a car commercial… that some middle manager is making a fortune on.” To this day I would much rather do a Whit Stillman or Mike Binder film for a fraction of the money I might make on a commercial.

One of the best new shows to come out recently would hands down have to be PEN15 on Hulu. And you have been incredible portraying the father of a “13 year old” Anna Kone. It is such a fun show to watch, I am curious to know how your experience has been working on this fine program? And what initially drew you into this show?

An audition is what drew me to the show, and for that I thank my manager, Darlene Kaplan, and my agent TalentWorks. I think the show is hysterical and at the same time oddly moving. My 94 year old father may be on the fence about it, but everyone else I have heard from, under age 93, loves it. Anna and Maya, the two leads and creators along with Sam Zvibleman are geniuses. Hands down, it has been one of the best experiences I have had working on a show since Miind of the Married Man on HBO. We did a lot of improvisation on the set and Melora Walters, who plays my wife, and I have a great history from working together on an indy film I produced called Case 219.

 

Taylor Nichols, Anna Konk, & Melora Walters on the set of Pen15, courtesy of Taylor Nichol’s Twitter.

 

In 2001, you appeared on a wonderful episode of my favorite television sitcom of all time, which is Becker. Now, I know it was only one episode, but any time we have the fortunate chance to feature anyone who has worked on this program we have to ask about that experience? So with that, how did you enoy working on this program? Was there anything memorable from this experience that set it apart from the plethora of other shows you have worked on before or since?

Ted Danson is one of the best, most supportive people in this business. There is a reason every show he does is a hit. The episode I was on was actually very interesting. That week, the cast, sans Ted, walked off the show due to a contract dispute. So the whole show was up in the air. The writers were amazing and wrote an entirely new show featuring just Ted and me.  I was going to hold him hostage in a botched robbery, that way it would be just the two of us and some police on the outside. Basically, Ted and I sat around all week not knowing which lines to memorize, in the end the cast settled and we filmed the original show.

You have worked extensively in the worlds of television, film, and theater. I am always curious to know about any actor’s preference in performance. So, if you were forced to only be able to work in one particular field, which would it be?

The one that pays the most… No, that is an impossible question for me to answer except to say I prefer the platform that I am currently working in. They are all so different and yet exactly the same if that makes any sense. Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances and the different fields have different obstacles and offer different advantages to achieving that goal. That said, hearing an audience laugh is a real drug.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Directing. Directing. Directing. I have made a few short films, Two Heterosexual Men Get Ready to Go Out… One Has A Girlfriend which stars the late Jay Thomas won a couple awards.  Currently, I’m working on an amazing feature called The Beautiful Dark, by Erik Gernand. It is a gut wrenching story about a single mother who must decide what to do when she fears her son may be planning a school shooting.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My seventeen year old daughter. Sometimes she can really tick me off, but lately she just makes me smile I am so proud of her.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

3 Responses to Taylor Nichols [Interview]

  1. Bates Gill says:

    Hey Taylor! Great to see you are doing so well and congratulations! From an old friend from 1977-79. Bates

  2. Pingback: Sunday Matinee: Becker [TV Classics] | TRAINWRECK'D SOCIETY

  3. J. Irvin Nichols says:

    Great interview. I’m going to view more episodes of Penn13, now that my age (94) has identified me as one who doesn’t sufficiently appreciate early teen girls. I must admit I was father of 3 boys, no girls. Too bad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: