YRB Interview: Thomas Ian Nicholas

By Loriana Yaport

This spring, the original American Pie crew is back to their old tricks in the fourth installment of the film series, American Reunion. Actor Thomas Ian Nicholas, who plays Kevin Myers, sat down with YRB to tell us a little bit about the movie and how he balances the big screen and being a musician with fatherhood. Known for playing the role of Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year, the once child star has now moved on to making music with his band, the Thomas Ian Nicholas Band, and is featured on the soundtrack album for American Reunion. Nicholas is strumming his way through Hollywood and proving to himself and everyone that he is more than just a rookie.

YRB: It’s been almost 10 years since the release of the last American Pie movie (American Wedding).  How does it feel to take on the role of Kevin Myers again?

Thomas: It’s great, you know. I obviously know the character very well having played him in three other films, but at the same time, it’s been so many years. I think when we first got together for the table reading I was concerned about how my performance would be, but being there with everyone and hearing them say their lines, it was like everything kind of fell into place.

YRB: It’s kind of like going back into something you were so familiar with and getting back into the flow again.

Thomas: Yeah, it’s one of those things, too, where the most difficult work is the backstory of the character. So when you’re doing the first movie, you gotta do your homework, but when you start doing sequels the homework is all done for you. [Laughs] Like, I know what happened, and if I forgot, I could just go watch that movie!

YRB: You started your career so young as a child. Now, as an adult, have you been able to keep your private life normal?

Thomas: Yeah, I mean, [laughs] I don’t really know what normal is anymore. I certainly traded enough normal experiences for the success that I’ve been blessed with in my career over the years. A lot of people have asked how would I relate this to my regular high school reunion, [and] the truth of the matter is, this was my high school reunion. It was the closest thing that I will ever get because I did school on film sets throughout my life as a kid. So, I guess in one sense, I’ve been able to keep my private life as normal as I know normal to be.

YRB: Having gone through these experiences as a child actor would you want your son to get into acting?

Thomas: For me, it was always my choice. A lot of people think that if you get started when you’re a kid your parents are [talking] you into it, but my mom probably asked me every two weeks if I wanted to still pursue a career in acting. So it was always my decision, and I think that I would just support my son in his decision to do what he wants. And acting to me has always been something that has been fun, and so as long as it’s fun, I’ll keep doing it. I still feel the same way now. I would never force him to do anything that he didn’t enjoy.

YRB: As an actor you seem very versatile. Taking on everything from comedic roles to more serious roles, like your next film The Chicago 8, which roles do you prefer?

Thomas: Well, I think that dramatic roles for me come a lot more naturally. When I was studying and going to acting school, which I went to for like 10 years, in the beginning my acting teacher and mentor was like, ‘Ok, the drama stuff you got down; it’s good, it comes natural.  You’re only as strong as your weak points. Let’s work on your comedy skills.’ And from that point on, I literally did a slew of comedy films for years before I returned back to the more dramatic roles. I definitely agree with them, comedy is tougher than drama and one of the things that is the toughest is to keep a straight face when people are being hysterically funny around you. You don’t have that same issue in a dramatic film. But, you know, still in the American Pie movies the character that I play, Kevin, is definitely the straight man in the comedy group. That’s why the challenge for me is keeping a straight face when, like, Sean William Scott is busting out lines as Stifler and I’m threatening to break character and laugh.

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