Nolan Funk got his big break into the world of acting with leading role in an award winning Broadway show at a relatively young age, and he never looked back. This multi-talented Canadian born actor broke teenage hearts when he starred in the smash hit serial Glee as Hunter Clarington, highlighting not only his acting but also his dancing and singing skills.
The list of films and serials that he has appeared in, and indeed the actors he has played with, fills a far too many pages for us to list. And he his boyish good looks he has also created an impressive modelling career, including being the Face of Versace alongside the legendary Lady Gaga. We caught up with Funk in the five-star Hotel Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, where he was staying for a few days’ break, to dig a little deeper into his amazing story.
Nolan Funk soaking up the Adriatic sunshine - Photo Bozo Radic
Is this your first time in Dubrovnik and what are your impressions of the city?
I have found all the people to be really genuine and kind. I really love this cool beach town vibe that I pick up here, I wasn’t expecting that at all. I have been to the beaches and to the island of Lokrum, and they really blew me away. The nature on the island is amazing. Although I did laugh to myself on the island as I have a little phobia of rabbits, as I was bitten as a young child, but at least I enjoyed the peacocks. This is my first time not only in Dubrovnik but also in Croatia.
Did you have any preconceived ideas of what Dubrovnik would be like?
I have a friend who told me that when I’m next in Europe I need to visit Dubrovnik because it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is right up there with Paris in terms of beauty. I really didn’t expect it to be so impressive and that the Old City was so big. Seeing such an old walled city right next to the sea is truly a sight I will never forget. It is magical. I will definitely come back.
"One of the most beautiful cities in the world" - Mark Thomas editor of The Dubrovnik Times interviews Nolan Funk - Photo Bozo Radic
Are you in Dubrovnik on business or pleasure? Might we expect to see you on screen soon with the Old City as a background?
I am in Europe on some business, but my trip to Dubrovnik is purely pleasure. I would love to film something in Dubrovnik in the future, we’ll see. It kind of works like that. I recently went to Charleston, South Carolina, and a few weeks later I ended up doing a movie there, so you never know.
Out of all of the films and serials that you have acted in which are you proudest of?
It is really hard to pick to be honest. I would say that sometimes the work that you see on screen you’re more proud of, but the experience of filming wasn’t as enjoyable. Whereas sometimes you are having a great time filming and then when that show hits the screens it doesn’t do as well as you thought it would. I had some luck when I was young, I was the leading star of a major Broadway show when I was quite young. I love doing stage. I had a lot of fun filming the serial Glee of course. I also liked playing an assassin in Riddick with Vin Diesel. That role really pushed my acting skills and it was hugely enjoyable.
What’s your main passion, the big screen or Broadway?
Acting on Broadway was something I have only done once but it was a great experience. So for me probably film and television are closer to my heart, but saying that I would love to go back to the theatre and do a straight play. It certainly is much harder work on the theatre. But I love those constant challenges.
"I love constant challenges" - Photo Bozo Radic
You were the face of Versace along with Lady Gaga. What was it like working closely with her?
Yes, it was a crazy time. I remember we went to the Vanity Fair Oscar party together. What I love about Gaga is that she is so creative and innovative. So is always transforming. And that’s what I am trying to do with my acting career. People will Google me and get one impression, maybe think of me as a teen television character, but the reality is that I have taken on so many different and unusual roles. I have to say that when you walk into a room with Gaga the whole room stops; she has such a presence.
What advice would you give to budding young actors looking to break through into what is a pretty tough industry?
The first thing is to stop telling yourself that it is tough! People would always say to me at the beginning of my career that it is a tough business, but I would respond positively and answer “No, it really isn’t”. Obviously there are challenges, I have a long list of jobs I didn’t get. First of all, don’t do it unless you can’t see yourself doing anything else. You have to push 100 percent. Then I would say do it as much as possible. And try to enjoy yourself. I was once on the cover of the New York Times Arts and Leisure and instead of just enjoying that moment I was thinking about the next job.
Who are your idols or mentors in the industry, someone that you hold up as a shining example?
Obviously I love George Clooney and Michael Fassbender. I would love to work with both of those, I have been lucky to have acted with some great people, such as Jennifer Lawrence.
If you had the choice to work with any actor tomorrow who would they be?
Probably with Fassbender and then Emily Blunt, she is amazing. I would also love to work with Matt Damon.
What projects are you working on at the moment, where and when can we expect to see on the screens again?
I am committed to do a film in January next year. And I have just finished doing a movie shot in the southern part of America which should be out soon. Also a film called “Berlin I Love You” which I played alongside Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley. That should be coming out in Croatia soon.
All photos by Bozo Radic