Interview: Nathan Kress Talks About 'The Game of Your Life'
In this new TV movie, Nathan moves from cool to being a nerd
Best known as the teen hunk Freddie on the Disney show "iCarly," Nathan Kress portrays a nerdy math genius in the upcoming Procter & Gamble and Walmart newest Family Movie Night offering, "Game of Your Life" on Friday, December 2, 2011 at 8e/7c on NBC.
This film for the whole family tells the story of college freshman Zach Taylor (Titus Makin Jr., "Glee" and "A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song"), who lands a scholarship to the prestigious Digital Institute of Game Design, led by billionaire gaming icon Marcus Bentton (Tom Nowicki, "The Blind Side").
His future will be promising if he can pass the infamous freshmen project that eliminates more than half of the class within the first three months. "Game of Your Life" underscores the importance of loyalty, family and friendship as Zach teams up with three other college students who will experience real-life challenges that threatens their victory in the virtual world.
Zach's design team includes determined group leader Sara Ramirez, (Dana De La Garza, "Knight Rider") and his brilliant, yet socially awkward, roommates, Phillip Reese (Nathan Kress, "iCarly") and Donald Wallace (Adam Cagley, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and "Good Luck Charlie"). Their project is based on the choices we make and involves the entire campus in a quirky new social interactive game.
With his widowed father in financial trouble, Zach decides to accept an invitation to do some freelance game design, something forbidden to early freshmen, which stretches him to the point of exhaustion, threatening his team's success.
With nowhere else to turn, he confides in Professor Abbie Lambert (Lea Thompson, currently on "Switched at Birth" and best known for "Back to the Future," and "Caroline in the City") and is forced to make a decision that will affect his future and the lives of everyone around him.
Nathan Kress, who plays one of Zach's teammates, Phillip Wallace, has been acting and modeling since he was three. Appearing in such popular TV series as "House M.D.," "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and "Drake & Josh," he landed the role of Freddie Benson in the hit Nickelodeon TV series "iCarly."
Phillip is nothing like Freddie, a character Kress has played since 2007. In "Game of Your Life" he portrays a socially challenged programming genius who dreams of being a game designer and is committed to his team and their project.
Was this a different role for Nathan Kress?
"Phillip was really different from anything I've ever done before," he stated. "By now 'Freddie' and I have gotten to be so similar that, by substitution, it was hard for me to be that way, too.
"It's the first time in several years that I've been able to play a very different character for more than just a week as a guest star on another show. It was really cool to be someone different - and a math genius - which was really fun."
"A lot of it had to do with how literal and simplistic Phillip is. He takes everything at face value. As Donald says, 'He's irony challenged.' He takes everything completely seriously. Being in that mindset was very different. When we would improvise I couldn't think how I would reply but how someone who takes everything literally and seriously would reply."
In the story, Phillip is almost inseparable from Donald Wallace (Adam Cagley), the team's art director and in-house comedian. From their very first scene, the chemistry Nathan and Adam was evident. In fact, all four of the young leads seemed to work well together.
"The chemistry between all four of us." Kress began to explain their chemistry and then shifted to how their relationships started.
"The interesting thing is that none of us had ever met each other. I met Titus in the airport when we were both flying to Atlanta to film the movie. I met Dana in the elevator in the Hotel on the way down to our video game tutorial session. And then I met Adam in the van while we were going to learn how video games were made.
"So we all just hit the ground running and fortunately, everybody had personalities that just got along with each other and we were all nerds and dorks and everyone got along awesome."
When talking about the scenes that he had with Adam Cragley, Kress stated, "Most of the give-and-take between Nathan and Adam was spontaneous.
"All the back-and-forth stuff was, as far as I know, completely improvised. Some of it was guided; our director would come up to us and say, 'Be sure you say this and see how the other person reacts.'"
In another difference from the character Freddie, Phillip doesn't get the girl.
"Yeah! Dana's character, Sara, is a little bit out of my league and you can tell when he and Donald are just flabbergasted and all we can make ...
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