THZ Exclusive: Interview With Award-Winning Sean Nateghi

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Sean Nateghi, an award-winning actor, producer, and director recently produced and will star in Me You and Five Bucks as Louie, the cocky, competitive best friend and The Manhattan Times writer.

The film has earned several awards on the film festival circuit such as Best Feature and the Audience Award, Best Feature Award, Best Director Award, Official Selection Award, and Honorable Mention Award. The film is currently playing at Arena Cinema in Hollywood through October 1st and will be available on iTunes, Amazon, OnDemand, Playstation/X-Box on October 13th.

Mr. Nateghi recently spoke with The Hot Zone’s Brittani Medina, over the phone about his passion for theater and how did it all begin. He will also speak about his recent award-winning film, “Me You and Five Bucks.”

BM: Hello Sean, how are you doing? Are you ready to get started? 

SN: Hey Brittani. I’m doing well, thank you. Yes!

BM: You were born and raised in California, how was that for you?

SN: Uh, awesome! (laughs) California is a great place, the weather is amazing–it’s a cultural area. So, I just had a very good childhood over here.

BM: When and why did you decide to leave to New York?

SN: Well, there was a lot going on in between. So we moved from California when I was nine. I ended up going to many different states–Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. I went to college in Alabama. It was while I was in college, I was studying pre-med–I went on a trip to New York with my best friend because his family was living in Manhattan and during Thanksgiving break we went over there. I saw a musical called “Urinetown.” It was amazing! After I saw that, I just got hit with the acting. I was like ‘What is that! This thing looks amazing! I got to know more.’ So I stayed up until like four in the morning that night and I just did all these searches on ‘How to be an actor’ and ‘What is an actor’ as well as the film industry. Basically, I emailed myself about 20 links–next thing I know I am back in California but in LA this time.

BM: Was it something specific that you liked about the musical?

SN: It was the whole thing just being in a live theater. The energy and there is music playing. You know, theater is cool. There is an energy in the room. I don’t know just something about the experience.  From there, I moved to California–I signed up for a two-year acting school just to see if I really like this or do I think I like acting.

BM: When you started the acting classes, was it difficult or something that came natural for you?

SN: Verrrry difficult! (laughs) It was actually the hardest thing I ever did in my life because in my background there is a lot of math, science–I do a lot of martial arts, all those things, I guess you can call them ‘controlled-subjects’ because you need for a test or when it comes to math. It’s a lot of direction. When you do martial arts, you still have to react to the moment. You need self-control. You can’t get emotional. I excelled at those things but when it came to acting, it’s the opposite.  Art, dance and music is more about letting go. For me that was very therapeutic. It was really, really scary. It was so scary, I think that’s why I loved it so much.

BM: How was your first acting gig?

SN: (laughs) You know it’s funny, I got my first acting gig in college before I moved to California and it’s actually before I went to New York. It’s really funny because I think sometimes in life, you look back and you start to see signs like ‘You know what this is something I might have been interested in.’ When I was a kid in elementary school, I would always jump up when they said there was going to be a play like ‘Let me have the most lines!’ I just knew I wanted to do THAT! Years later I forgot about it–I got into Martial Arts and medicine.  When I was in college, I saw that there was an ad for a commercial. I auditioned for it and I got it! It was a commercial that aired nationally. People from campus recognized me, I was like ‘Well, this is interesting.’ Some way I was getting near and not even noticing it.

BM: You recently produced ‘Me You And Five Bucks’ but for those who are unaware of what it is about, mind explaining?

SN: Of course! So, “Me You and Five Bucks” is a new project that we shot in Manhattan. It’s a story about a waiter named Charlie who wrote the book called ‘The 7 Steps of Healing The Male Broken Heart’ after having his heartbroken by his ex. During this time, he is struggling to make ends meet. His roommate leaves and he has to put an ad out on the paper to get a roommate. The first person that answers the ad is his ex–the girl that left him years before. So at the same time, his book finally sells and becomes New York’s Best-Seller–she ends up becoming his roommate. It’s kind of a colliding of his past and his new future. I play his best friend Louie–that’s a womanizing kind of guy that is extremely competitive with him but there is more to him than meets the eye.

BM: Did you face any challenges while making this film?

SN: Oh, very much! When you are producing and then you have acting at the same time–they’re very different in nature. When you’re a producer, in my opinion, to do your job well–you have to be detached emotionally. You can’t get angry and be affected by all the problems. You have to be cool-headed. Now, when you’re an actor–what ‘s expected is that you react and they want you to be very emotional. I had to learn how to make that transition.

BM: Do you look up to any directors or actors in the industry?

SN: Oh yeah, for sure! I’ve directed but not necessarily planning on being a big time director. With acting, the obvious ones like Robert De Niro. They are kind of the foundation of a lot of modern acting today. I like Shia LaBeouf, he is always a very interesting person to watch.  I’ll tell you a funny story–I’m a huge fan of Johnny Depp because when I started, he actually gave me some great acting advice. Here’s the thing, I met him in a bar. I saw him and came up to him. I said ‘Hey, I’m a huge fan!’ He told me to sit down and he gave me some advice. Anddd this was all in a dream! (laughs) He almost looked like Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It was a dim-lit bar, kind of rusted and he was just sitting there by himself. The dream was like an hour long, he was like super, super nice. (laughs)

BM: Do you have any plans or ideas for another film?

SN: Yes! I am actually finishing up a feature dramatic script right now.

BM: Me You And Five Bucks won many awards, how does that make you feel? Did you expect that?

SN: (laughs) Awesome! It makes me feel fantastic! No, no you can’t. The cool thing about film-making, acting, or any kind of art is that it is a very vulnerable type of job where you have to put yourself out there. You have no idea how anyone is going to take it but you have to take a risk. People might love it, they might hate it. They might cuss at it! (laughs) But when you make a film, all do you do is hope people will like it.

BM: Where would you like to see yourself or production company within the next several years?

SN: You know I’m kind of very simple. I just like to work and make films. I just like to work, it doesn’t really matter to me–as long as I am doing what I love. I think that’s a huge blessing, a huge gift–I think I’m already fortunate to just be doing what I am doing. That’s pretty much all I need.

BM: After coming to New York and realizing that you have a large interest in theater–people struggle with making decisions like that because they fear failure. What advice can you give them?

SN: My advice for everyone is don’t be a “what if.” You have one life, you should live it to the fullest. Don’t worry about convention. If there is passion and love for what you do, you will be more likely to work harder for it because you love it and there is a gratification you can get from that you won’t get anywhere else.

BM: Okay, well Thank you so much Sean for taking out the time to speak with The Hot Zone about you and your career. We hope that all works out for you and wish you nothing but happiness and success.

SN: Thank you so much Brittani! Thank you so much and if anyone wants to check out what I kind of do in LA or upcoming projects–they can find me at Sean Nateghi on Instagram and Twitter. I would love to you know contact people, be in touch and show people what I am up to.

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