After making his professional acting debut as Stradivarius Helberg on the television show ‘Quintuplets’, actor Michael Nardelli went on to star alongside Zac Efron in the independent film, ‘Derby Stallion’ as well as the comedy ‘Grassroots’ with Jason Biggs. He’s also had recurring roles on such shows as ‘American Crime Story: ‘The People Vs. OJ Simpson’, ‘CSI: New York’, and ‘Nashville’.
But as 2016 comes to a close, Nardelli’s creative prowess is really starting to heat up. Beginning with the new Hallmark film, “Christmas in Homestead’.
In ‘Christmas In Homestead’, Jessica (Taylor Cole), one of the most famous actresses in world, heads to the Christmas-obsessed town to shoot a holiday-themed film. While there, a romance brews between Jessica and a local innkeeper. Nardelli plays the role of Ian Cooper. An aggressive paparazzo who makes his living by chasing down celebrities and getting the dirt on their love lives.
In real life, Nardelli is currently producing, writing and starring in a new digital series called ‘Dark/Web’ that’s slated for release early next year. Each episode consists of a portion of a serialized tale and a stand-alone science fiction / horror short centered around technological themes.
I recently spoke with Nardelli about ‘Christmas in Homestead’, ‘Dark/Web’ and more in this exclusive interview.
How did “Christmas in Homestead” come about for you?
It came up with an audition. My agent sent me the request and I taped it. Nowadays, a lot of auditions (and even callbacks) are put on tape rather than in room. I actually never had to audition in a room with anyone. The glory of modern technology [laughs]!
What was it that attracted you to the script?
I’d just come off several really dark, challenging roles so to run off and make a Hallmark Christmas movie felt like going on holiday! I liked the idea of doing a feel good romantic comedy. I also liked Ian’s arc a lot. Going from someone very self-centered to someone who realizes he must become a better person to keep someone he cares very much for in his life.
How would you describe the story of “Christmas in Homestead”?
It’s an old fashioned, fish out of water Christmas story. “Christmas In Homestead” is about a Hollywood production that goes to a small-town in Iowa to film a Christmas movie. There’s lots of hijinks and clashing of morals: big city folk kind of rediscovering their values in this small town where things like family and tradition are more important than fame and fortune.
What else can you tell me about your character, Ian Carter?
Ian Carter is a paparazzo and makes his living chasing down the big photo and the big exclusive in Los Angeles. When we meet him, he’s very bottom line driven and doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for others’ privacy. He’s been chasing one of the biggest actresses in the world, Jessica (played by Taylor Cole) and follows her to Homestead to get the big scoop on whether or not she’s getting back with her ex. Along the way, he meets a local Innkeeper who kind of changes his entire world.
What can you tell me about your new series, Dark/Web?
I really like stories that deal with the human condition and also what it means to be alive today. And “today” means technology and social media. We’ve opened these doors in our lives that will never close again in terms of the Internet and connectivity, and most of us don’t really know its impact on our daily lives and our future. “Dark/Web” came out of that. For this project, I teamed up with my brother, Tim Nardelli and Mario Miscione.
How would you describe the series?
It’s a scary, fresh, relevant take on where we are today with technology and the dangers of a world that is “always on.” It’s reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone” in the way it tackles modern issues we’re all dealing with thematically, but hides some of that in stories that are meant to be entertaining, scary and thrilling. The show has an anthology aspect to it, so a cool variety of filmmakers and actors pop in and out for episodes. There’s also a serialized portion of the show though that spans across the eight episodes and kind of ties everything together. It’s the kind of show where the more you watch the more you see how everything is connected.
Do you have a timeframe as to when it will be released?
We still have three episodes to film in February and we’re hoping to release it in spring 2017.
Did you always know that you wanted a career in entertainment? Was it something you always aspired to do?
Yes. I grew up watching old movies and TV shows with my mom and always wanted to be up on stage or in front of the camera (or behind) doing the same thing. In middle school, I’d write, direct and act in little shorts that my classmates and I would make. I’d always ask if I could put a little film together instead of writing a paper and sometimes even got my wish! I did all of the theater I could in high school and college. Because I didn’t grow up in Hollywood or New York and didn’t have family in the entertainment business, it was an unconventional decision to make. But there was never any other option for what I wanted to do!