From the interview archives.
Best known for his role as Ryan Walker on Disney XD’s Mech-X4, actor Nathaniel Potvin is quickly making a name for himself in TV and film. VULKAN caught up with Nathaniel to talk about his role in the Netflix series Alexa & Katie and his future aspirations of directing.
You’ll be appearing in the new Netflix comedy Alexa & Katie as Ryan. What stood out to you most about Ryan upon reading the script?
The thing that stood out to me most while reading for the role of Ryan was that the character is so awkwardly funny. I thought it would be challenging to embody this role because Ryan and I are different in many ways.
How does Ryan fit into the story?
Ryan fits into this story by being a part of the school play and playing opposite of one of the girls.
For teens that are entering a new school this year, do you have any advice for those first day jitters?
One word of advice for teens starting a new school year would be to do what interests you the most. High school is the start of the career you want, so you need to start making choices that best suit your career.
I hear you have an interest in directing in the future, who is your favourite director?
My favorite director at the moment is Spike Lee. The reason being is that on his first film he did more than half of the work on the set. He was the writer, director, producer, catering, 1st AD, transportation, a camera operator, and an actor all in this one film. That is why he is so amazing, because he didn’t let the lack of workers on set distract him from making his film.
What type of film or series are you most interested in trying your hand at directing?
Mostly drama, because I feel that those types of movies are the most impactful towards the audience.
This past weekend we all watched as kids, teens, and adults alike came together for March For Our Lives. What are your thoughts on that event and what do you think the next steps are?
I think that this event is much needed—It’s very important to address the problems in this country and we need to see positive action. We find our youth in America scared to go to school because they don’t know if they might die that day. Gun control needs to be in our future for the safety of the future generations to come. We need to keep this issue relevant so that the government has no choice but to change it.
Today, we’re seeing a huge trend in teens speaking up about their experiences online, and while it can be therapeutic for many, it can also create backlash. Do you think it’s important for teens to continue to share their lives and thoughts this way?
Teens should share their thoughts with their parents or friends or even a psychologist because those are the people who know what is best for them. I think that this recent trend — while it can be helpful — can be more of harm because people on the internet can be cruel and ruthless. As a result it can end in more damage than they were hoping for. Instead of divulging to people you don’t know, divulge to people who love you.
What are some rules you think young people should follow when opening their lives to the world online?
I really think that they need to be safe online. It is super important because if you think that everyone is who they say they are online you are mistaken. Young people should also be aware of knowing what they are talking about fully before being completely biased on a subject. They need all of the facts to have an opinion, and should be careful with what they say because internet trolls are really hurtful.
What has been one lesson you’ve learned while working on Mech-X4 that you’ll take with you to future projects?
One lesson I have learned on Mech-X4 is that you have to think about the crew on set. I like to think that you want to make life easy for them so that they will make life easy for you. It is a real golden rule situation.
What would you do if suddenly all the technology we use in the world (automated street lights, phones, internet, etc.), say, because someone was misusing their technopathy abilities… began to fail?
I think that it would be really devastating to people at first, but I feel that since we are such an innovative race we would carry on nicely; we did it all once before technology and we can do it again.
Which one of your Mech-X4 co-stars would you want by your side?
Can’t I have them all?!?!?!? Uhggggg you guys are trying to start problems! If I had to pick one it would be Raymond because he is very innovative and creative and I feel he has a good survival trait to him.
What do you see yourself focused on twenty years from now?
I see myself focusing on major films. I also see myself directing my own projects on the side.
If you were to adopt a pet tomorrow, what would you get?
I would get a Hermit Crab–only because when I was little I was never nice or gentle with them, so I want a do-over.
What is your mantra for 2018?
My mantra is to keep my head down and do good work