When, where and how did you get hit by the acting bug?
I was running in the hills in June of 2004. A little girl spotted me. She recognized me from The Apprentice. She turned out to be a producer’s daughter and put me in a movie. It was not released but it made me SAG eligible, which allowed me to compete for legitimate TV work.
I started getting lots of co-starring roles and a couple of guest-starring roles. I booked NCIS. Then I was able to secure an agent, who got me on American Dreams. These were all small parts. Then I started taking acting classes. I must have gotten better because I started booking a bunch of parts and building my resume.
I always wanted to be in show business. I thought it was fun.
What was your first role — professional or otherwise?
I was cast as a marine staff sergeant on NCIS with Mark Harmon. It was a small co-star role.
Where does your focus lie — stage, film, TV or either?
TV. It’s fast-paced. It’s in and out and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, I don’t need to leave LA to take most parts. Other than that, it comes down to what I like and where I can make a living.
What is your dream role or type of role?
I would love to play the lead in a series as a detective with an edge — something like Jarek Wysocki in The Chicago Code or Jack Bauer in 24.
I would also love to play Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge”.
Would you like to win an Emmy, Oscar, Tony or Grammy?
What would you say in your acceptance speech?
I would keep it low-key and bland.
Who would you thank in your acceptance speech?
I would thank my managers, my hard-working agents and my supportive family.
How do you approach a role?
I build a back story. The script gives me some information but some things I need to fill in. Where are they from? How did he grow up? What’s been his experience? If it’s not in the script, I make it up. The more detail the back story, the deeper the work and the better it will appear on screen. It creates a richer performance.
What role has been your favorite to play and why?
Cops with guns and working class, blue-collar guys with an edge.
Have you ever felt pigeonholed into a particular type of role? If so, how did you combat the typecasting?
I’m not a big enough name to transform into Truman Capote like Philip Seymour Hoffman so I would rather the opportunity to work than to hold out for such a role. They can find what they need in LA because the talent pool is so large so only a portion gets the opportunity to transform like [Meryl] Streep into Margaret Thatcher.
I just enjoy working in TV and normal working actors in TV rarely get the opportunity to transform.
What was your struggle in pursuing acting full-time? What is your struggle now?
I travel a lot but actors need to act or you become rusty. I’m always working on something since I can’t be in a class all the time.
The struggle is in making a living. Jobs are few and far between. It’s difficult.
I need to get to the next level. I would love to do more guest star work and be considered for regular series roles. It’s tough to convince people to give me a chance. Lots of other guys in their 30s are very accomplished so it limits my opportunities to compete with them.
None of this, however, would be possible if I wasn’t selling book scanners.
What kept you from giving up?
I genuinely enjoy the process. I love auditioning, sitting in a room and competing – fifteen guys go out for the same role, but only one is going to get it. I enjoy the process a lot.
How do you describe your style of acting?
Truthful. I don’t try to be stylized. I don’t go in trying to be Matt Damon or anything. I would hope people see something unique in me that they like enough to hire me. I think it’s the uniqueness that makes someone hireable.
What has been your greatest acting experience?
Working on Criminal Minds. Ed Bornero hired me and he is one of the most prolific and talented writer/directors in television. I love that guy.
Ed Bornero did a pilot called Washington Field that sold but never aired for some reason. I was at the table read with Cole Hauser, Eddie Cibrian and Teri Polo. It was the best pilot ever. The script was incredible. I got tingles, it was so good.
What has been your worst acting experience?
Doing a play and having four people in the audience. That makes you feel like sh*t.
Who are your professional inspirations?
Ed Bornero, Alec Baldwin and Kiefer Sutherland.
What do you draw upon to find your character?
The script. It’s the only information I have that’s available. I look at the themes and what the writer had to say. I also use my imagination by creating that back story to enhance the performance.
If a production was casting for a “Nick Warnock” type, what would they be looking for?
A brooding, working class, character with an edge – an east coast guy wrestling with inner demons.
What is your ultimate goal — if you haven’t already achieved it?
To be a series regular on a drama, to do a “View from the Bridge” on Broadway playing Eddie Carbone – but a lot of sh*t has to go right in order for that to happen.
I appreciate the challenge. I enjoy the challenge. It’s a lot of fun. When it isn’t, then I’ll stop doing it.
What’s next for Nick Warnock?
I am going to be in the season finale of Rizzoli & Isles on TNT. It should air in December.
I recently met a guy who was in the process of transitioning from NY to LA. When asked what he was doing out here, he said that he was an actor.
A guy nearby responded, “so what restaurant do you work at?” and the actor took exception.
I asked Nick what he thought of such a response and how he would have reacted.
It’s insulting. It’s a shitty thing to say, but I probably wouldn’t have said anything back to him. My situation is different. I have nothing to prove to anyone.
Samples of Nick’s work can be viewed at www.bigreels.com/nickwarnock.