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Exclusive Feature: Nolan Funk

TIME TO FUNK. Hollywood’s in-demand actor Nolan Gerard Funk gushes about his Versace campaign shoot, a lesson from the erotic-thriller “The Canyons” and his darkest film yet

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Shirt by Dries Van Noten

Either you recognize Nolan Gerard Funk from his rebellious attitude in the black-and-white, smoldering Versace campaign or from his role in the scandalous movie “The Canyons,” one thing is for sure: He does not hold back when it comes to showing off his sexy moves in front of the camera. Funk is the devil-maycare type who exudes a certain je ne sais quo other young performers hardly possess.

The Canadian actor is turning 28 this year and already his portfolio has vastly incorporated all kinds of roles in all kinds of productions. A list of big Hollywood blockbusters, festival Indies, television series and Broadway plays graces the pages of the ambitious actor’s résumé; to wit, this immensely talented actor had been hopelessly in love with a L.A. trust-fund girl played by Lindsay Lohan in “The Canyons,” charmed Broadway enthusiasts in the revival of 1960’s “Bye Bye Birdie,” sung his heart out in megahit TV series “Glee,” played Jennifer Lawrence’s love interest in the suspense flick, “House at the End of the Street,” and had a teenage love affair in teen comedy series, “Awkward,” among others.

The bad boy actor is also the new face of Versace this season. The campaign took the fashion world by storm and made people wonder: Who is this well-chiseled man with a larger-than-life attitude? This year, Funk will be featured in another independent film titled “Wildlike” while also starring in the much-anticipated movie “America Romance.” The actor then extends his impressive portfolio with a writing debut, penning a screenplay for a movie featuring Sundance alumni Marianna Palka. Funk once tweeted, “Taking a moment to acknowledge writers. Writing is challenging and the imagination and outreach of great writing is priceless.” We are definitely Team Funk.

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Suit by Louis Vuitton, shirt by Calvin Klein, shoes by Versace

DA MAN: Hi Nolan, your campaign for Versace rocks! Looking back, how would you describe your journey with the Italian brand?
Nolan Funk: The campaign was kismet. It was all about being in the right time at the right place and having the right spirit to represent.

DA: And you met with the right team.
NF: True. I loved working with Mert and Marcus (photographers of the campaign). They were extremely innovative and surprisingly collaborative. We all know and love their work, as they have become the newest members to join a short line of iconic photographers. Working with Mert and Marcus alongside Donatella was such a cool experience. And it’s cool to finally get to know people beyond the image and see what great people they are. I also loved meeting Allegra. We all had a blast shooting the campaign in London, and the team was incredible. Giovanni Bianco, Garren, Lucia, David Bradshaw, all these people are among the top in their field. So the climate was insanely creative. I loved what we all made together.

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Jacket by BOSS by Hugo Boss

“For me, fashion is character. It expresses different sides of being a man.”

 

DA: Being on set with so many creative people, did you have a notable moment during the shooting?
NF: Mert asked me to rock out … And we had this moment where I blasted some Elvis tunes and let the music take over me. There is a beast in me that I awaken only for special occasions. It’s not something I can walk around showcasing because I would probably get arrested.

DA: The campaign definitely exhibits your rocker side! But are you into fashion yourself?
NF: For me, fashion is character. It expresses different sides of being a man. I go from under the radar “don’t notice me” to “F you rebel yell.” Then if I want to be classic, I go for a suit. I think a suit shows respect.

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T-shirt by Givenchy, denim pants by BOSS by Hugo Boss

DA: Then there’s your acting career. What project keeps you busy these days?
NF: I am currently preparing for a movie I will shoot in Arkansas titled “The Revival.” But I have to keep most of the details under wraps for now. It’s a role that I have never done before—this role has a lot of depth and edge that make the character vulnerable at times. And the film’s subject matter is something I have not seen done in this way. All the characters are Arkansas-native, and I have always felt that a lot of great American stories and playwrights originate from the South. It will also be great to shoot in a place where the accent you’re using is authentic to the exact place you’re shooting! Above all, it’s my darkest movie to date.

DA: We thought that “The Canyons” where you acted alongside Lindsay Lohan and a porn actor named James Deen was the darkest—and one of the most scandalous.
NF: “The Canyons” ended up a lot different than what it seemed when I put myself on tape for the audition. Stylistically and casting wise, it ended up differently than how I read it. After all, that is the number one rule of the business: You need to be flexible. I loved Bret’s script, and it was a great opportunity to work with director Paul Schrader because he’s so well-known. It does, however, pain me a little that I couldn’t at least see what the final edit by Steven Soderbergh would have been like as well … At least to compare the two.

 

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T-shirt by Helmut Lang, shorts by T by Alexander Wang, shoes by Christian Louboutin

DA: In contrast to “The Canyons,” you play Hunter Clarington in the TV series “Glee.” How did it all start?
NF: “Glee” was sort of a “meant-to-be” type of thing. I was actually supposed to fly out to Canada, but I delayed my flight. I received a last-minute call—a day before, I think—to come in for “Glee.” Robert Ulrich and Alex Newman, the casting directors, had been trying to get me on the show for a while but there wasn’t a role that was the right fit. Finally, when I came in, Robert took the time to really work on the material. I sang “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Rebel Yell.”

DA: Back in 2009 to 2010 you portrayed Conrad Birdie in the Broadway show “Bye Bye Birdie.” What’s Broadway to you?
NF: I loved starring on Broadway. I actually dreamt I was doing a show in NY last night. Strange you should ask about that [chuckles].

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T-shirt by Dries Van Noten

“There is a beast in me that I awaken only for special occasions.”

 

DA: Will you go down the musical path again in the near future?
NF: I love music and I’ve missed making music in my life. So, hopefully the right acting or music opportunity will arise. I think there is this fear we have as all actors have, that if you put your music out there, it’s hard to be believable in your roles because people will know you too well as one thing. This is honestly the main reason why I’ve never dropped a record. But we live in a world where all the rules are changing, so you never know what I might decide to do.

DA : Lastly, if you could give some advice for budding actors who have just started working in the showbiz, what is it?
NF: I think people should only act if they can’t see themselves doing anything else. Like any art, the ups are really high and the lows are really low. It requires a lot of self-discipline, because you’re the captain of your career. There is also a fine line between those who want attention and those who want to create characters. I have always been more comfortable in character. You bring aspects of yourself to a role, but the role isn’t you.

Exclusive outtakes:

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Photographer: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
Stylist: Alexa Rangroummith Green

Grooming: Elle Leary @ Cloutier using Tarte and Kevin Murphy
Photography assistant: Brandon Sosa
Special thanks to Usa Green, Sandro and Pam Schneider of Agoura Fitness

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