Known for TV series such as Mech-4x, Five Points, Alexa & Katie, and the upcoming film The Prom, actor, director and producer Nathaniel Potvin fully embraces his creative talents on all levels. Before becoming an actor, he pursued dance and landed his first professional dancing job in a Target “Back to School” commercial at age seven. Now at age 21, he is featured in the new Ryan Murphy film, The Prom, alongside Hollywood A-listers Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington and Nicole Kidman. Potvin portrays the character Kevin in the teen musical that tells the story of a high school girl who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom.
His creative talents go beyond acting on camera as he makes his directorial and producing debut with the recently released film short, L.I.P. In the film short, three youths cross paths in a fight for survival amidst an apocalyptic landscape. Potvin also stars in L.I.P. as a character named Trey and is joined by co-stars Brandon Bassir, Raymond Cham Jr., and Joseph Miller.
Aside from acting and directing, Potvin is an outspoken advocate for equality, racial justice, and ending gun violence. He actively supports Every Town For Gun Safety and The Cameron Boyce Foundation’s Wielding Peace movement (a campaign to build awareness of gun violence, which was named after his friend and fellow actor). Potvin inspires the younger generation through his positive influence and uses his platform to invoke change. In a chat with QG, he discusses his experiences as an emerging talent in Hollywood, advocacy and more.
How did you make the transition from dancing to acting?
I made the transition quite seamlessly because the studio where I was dancing is where I was first introduced to acting classes. I started attending regularly. When [where] I met my first manager, it just took off from there.
What challenges have you faced and overcome as an emerging talent in Hollywood?
The biggest challenge I have faced and had to overcome in Hollywood is sometimes having to separate myself from others. I try to be a unique, multi-faceted individual that isn’t like anybody my age, finding solace and comfort in who I am as a person and being okay if people don’t accept me for who I am.
Are you able to share a bit about your character Kevin in the upcoming movie, The Prom?
Of course! Kevin is one of the bullies where the main character, Emma, attends school. He, with the help of four others, harass her for being gay and for wanting to take another girl to the prom.
How does the musical shed light on LGBTQ Rights?
The musical shines a light on LGBTQ acceptance and equality, which should be the right of every person. It is their human right to be able to love whomever they want. I think that the film does a great job portraying that theme and conveys that it’s okay to love who you want to love.
What’s it like to work with acting legends such as Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington and Nicole Kidman?
These acting giants were so special to work with [on set]! They’re such beautiful women [who] are and will continue to be pioneers in our field, and I was just so thankful to be able to study at their feet. I learned so much by watching them in every take.
Can you share a bit about your directorial debut and the film short?
My short film “L.I.P.” was a film I directed and starred in with my great friend and a bunch of other talented individuals about two brothers faced with a difficult decision in an existential situation. They have to struggle with human decency during a trying time. It was fantastic to experience, and I plan on making more.
As an advocate against gun violence, can you share a bit about your experiences working with Every Town For Gun Safety and The Cameron Boyce Foundation’s Wielding Peace movement?
Working with the Cameron Boyce Foundation’s Wielding Peace movement and with Every Town For Gun Safety has been gratifying. I find that because of the way gun violence has affected my own life [that] I am more than willing to offer up my participation and support for these organizations that are trying to eradicate gun violence around the world.
How are you using your platform to speak out on racial justice?
I have used my platform to advocate against racial injustice because I live every day as a young black man in this country. I’ve frequently spoken out on the multitudes of injustices that we have seen this past year and continue to bring attention to them. I took to the streets when we were marching here in L.A., and I made my voice known and heard. I try to relay as much information as I can so that people understand what other people like myself have to go through every day.
What can your following expect from you in the future?
I have some things in the works - various shorts directed by me and opportunities that are presenting themselves in the future. My friends and I are always working on new projects.
The Prom is available for streaming on December 11 on Netflix.
Check out the trailer below!
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Fountain