Definitely not a boy anymore, Nolan Gould chats with DAMAN about life after “Modern Family,” using his voice to support the BLM movement and more.
Everybody knows the little boy Luke Dunphy from hit-series “Modern Family.” For eleven years the series has filled our days with great humor and heart-warming family stories. In short, it’s the kind of show that will surely be on many people’s watchlist long after it has ended. And it’s time for us to know the man behind Luke: Nolan Gould. Acting is something that comes naturally to him. In fact, he has been acting since he was five years old. That is five years before his breakout role on “Modern Family.” Interestingly, Gould started performing at such a young age that he didn’t even know what stage fright is.
Saying goodbye to something that has been part his daily life for more than a decade was surely sentimental and bittersweet. But Gould sees it as an opportunity for him to take on other roles and other challenges since he has the time to do it. But then the pandemic hit and the world ground to halt. It would take more than a global health crisis, however, to bring Nolan Gould down, and he has shifted his focus to be present in the moment. He actively supports the Black Lives Matter movement and uses his own platform to educate. Certainly, he has quite a few tales to tell us.
DA MAN: Hi Nolan, awesome to have you with us. Hope you’re doing well…
Nolan Gould: All things considered, I’m doing okay! I think it’s a difficult time for everyone in the world right now and I’m not excluded from that. I’m looking forward to everything hopefully going back to normal in the near future.
DA: Are you still in self-quarantine?
NG: I am. I’m self-quarantining in my home in Los Angeles and limiting the amount of people I see.
DA: A lot has happened in the past few months. How do you cope with everything that’s been going on?
NG: I find it very difficult to stay productive in quarantine, so I try to give myself one or two tasks a day to help motivate me to get out of bed in the morning. I celebrate the little victories I’m able to accomplish while stuck in quarantine instead of focusing on things that I may be missing out on or time that is getting wasted.
DA: How do you adjusted to the so-called “new-normal” lifestyle?
NG: It’s been a big adjustment for me, as it has been for everyone. The entertainment industry is completely shut down, so almost everyone I know is out of work and trying to figure out what to do with their time. I’m not sure what will happen to the industry moving forward, but I’ve adjusted by using this time to do things I was never able to get done while the show was still filming.
DA: You’re very passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement. Can you tell us a bit more about your stance on the issue and why you are so passionate about it?
NG: Our country has a long history of racial injustice and white supremacy. I never really spoke out about the subject until recently. I think for a lot of people, the murder of George Floyd was a wake-up call. Because of the Internet and social media, it’s so easy for people to share videos of racism and police brutality. Because I’m white I’ve never experienced these things personally, but I decided I couldn’t stay silent on the issue any longer.
DA: You recently wrote an article titled “Nolan Gould’s Six Tips for Being a White Ally.” What inspired you to write it and how do you feel after sending your thoughts out to the world?
NG: For a couple of weeks, I opened up my Instagram and allowed black activists, creators and artists to share their stories and experiences using my platform. Eventually, someone wrote to me and said that I should write an article on the subject. I didn’t want to at first because I wasn’t sure I had something valuable to add to the conversation, but they told me that I have a large following and so people might listen if I was the one saying it. The article was definitely the first time I’ve ever taken such an opinionated stance on an issue before. It definitely made me nervous but it got a lot of positive responses and hopefully convinced a few people to speak up as well.
DA: Other than acting, is writing something that you’re seriously looking into?
NG: Definitely. I’ve had plenty of free time now that the show is over and we are in quarantine so I have been writing every chance I get.
I CELEBRATE THE LITTLE VICTORIES I’M ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH WHILE STUCK IN QUARANTINE INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THINGS I MAY BE MISSING OUT
DA: Tell us about the last day filming on the “Modern Family.” What was that like?
NG: It was very emotional but it also felt like a celebration of our show. It was very surreal and there were times when I wasn’t sure if it was really happening. I had spent 11 years straight with this group of people. I’m sad that I don’t get to see them as often now.
DA: Where did all that confidence performing in front of camera come from?
NG: I started acting when I was five years old, so it’s kind of the only thing I know. I started performing before I developed anxiety or stage fright, so it never really set in when I got older.
DA: Coming out of “Modern Family” after 11 years, how do you detach yourself from your character, Luke Dunphy?
NG: It was strange detaching myself from Luke after playing him for so long. It makes me sad to think I’ll never act or read lines as him again. But at the same time, I spent over half my life pretending to be him and so I look forward to seeing what other roles I can do and how I can push myself as an actor.
DA: Who do you miss the most from the “Modern Family” cast and crew?
NG: Ariel Winter, who played Alex Dunphy, is one of my best friends in real life. We haven’t been able to see each other except from a distance because of COVID-19. One of the first things I’m going to do when the pandemic ends is to have a board game night or something at her place.
DA: What was the most memorable episode from “Modern Family” and why?
NG: I’d say the episode where the family goes to Australia. We actually got to go as an entire cast and crew and so it became like a giant family vacation.
DA: Looking back, is there anything that you would do differently in playing Luke?
NG: As far as performance goes, no. I think that I would be a little gentler towards myself when I was going through puberty. I had a tendency to judge myself kind of harshly for the way my body looked or my voice sounded.
DA: Who did you watch the last episode of “Modern Family” with? And how’s that like?
NG: Some of my best friends. It was emotional and very surreal. Afterwards, the entire cast got together on a Zoom call to celebrate and discuss everything.
DA: And, by the way, congratulations on signing with A3 Artists Agency for literary representation. Can you tell us a bit about how the process of signing up with such an agency goes?
NG: It’s very exciting and super different than being in front of the camera. Part of me prefers it in a way because you have more creative control and freedom of expression than you do as an actor.
I’VE NEVER EXPERIENCED THESE THINGS PERSONALLY, BUT I DECIDED I COULDN’T STAY SILENT ON THE ISSUE ANY LONGER.
DA: And what kind of work are you aiming for next?
NG: My best friend and I wrote an adult-comedy, animation, sci-fi project that we are beginning to pitch to various companies while we have been in quarantine.
DA: What do you miss most from pre-pandemic life?
NG: Eating at restaurants. I’m a terrible cook and so have been hungry for most of the quarantine.
DA: What was the most memorable saying, motto or quote that stuck with you and become words that you live by?
NG: I’m a big nerd and one of my favorite books is “Dune” by Frank Herbert. There’s a quote in it that goes: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” For me, this quote means to not live your life in fear because that is what will ultimately kill you, not death itself.
DA: On the flip side, what is your biggest pet peeve?
NG: People who don’t care about the environment.
DA: What is your biggest fear?
NG: Not living life to the fullest.
PHOTOGRAPHY Ian Phillips
STYLING Kimberly Goodnight
U.S.-BASED CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mitchell Nguyen McCormack
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