Interview: Nathan Dean Parsons Talks ‘Roswell, New Mexico’, Favorite 90’s Song, Star Wars and More!
You may know Nathan Dean Parsons as Ethan from General Hospital, as Nick/Jack/Hansel in Once Upon A Time and as Jackson in The Originals. Now, he’s taking over TV screens as Max Evans in The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico. Since the show premiered, our staff has been hooked; the writing, amplified by the casts’ performances, really bring a whole new look into a world we thought we already knew, and one of our favorite characters since the beginning has been Max, thanks to Nathan. We recently wrote an article about why we love Nathan’s portrayal of Max Evans, and you can read that here.
We got the chance to ask Nathan about the show, being directed by Shiri Appleby, his chemistry with Jeanine Mason, and Star Wars. Read our interview with Nathan below!
Nerds and Beyond: Had you watched the original Roswell or read the books before getting cast in this role?
Nathan Dean Parsons: No I hadn’t! I was of course familiar with both and knew the concept but I never really watched TV. When I got cast, I asked our showrunner Carina [Adly Mackenzie] if I should check ’em out. She said not right now. We wanted to create our own take on the story. She did however give me a few specific passages to read from the books which were really informative.
Nerds and Beyond: Did you go into the audition specifically for the role of Max?
Nathan: Eventually, yes. It wasn’t their first choice though. I was reading for Michael. I went through the whole process for that role and when it came time to screen test they still couldn’t figure out Max. My task became to test for both. As I re-studied the script through Max’s eyes this whole character and world opened up to me. I guess it worked out!
Nerds and Beyond: What was it like to act in an episode directed by Shiri Appleby? Did she give any advice to the cast?
Nathan: Shiri was wonderful. Her enthusiasm for this project is infectious and her preparedness and sense of play surrounding this world made for some really fun discoveries. In terms of advice, she was full of knowledge and anecdotes and more than happy to sit with us and talk about what we could expect going forward.
Nerds and Beyond: What kind of preparation did you do for the role of Max, knowing that you are playing a slightly older version of a previously established character?
Nathan: Since I wasn’t familiar with Jason’s interpretation of the character I looked to the script. Max is very grounded in my loyalty and my relationships to the people I care about. Being older, as I actually am (high school was quite a while ago) I didn’t have to do much on that front. However the gravitas of decisions, desire vs duty, all that just helps heighten what are already difficult odds.
Nerds and Beyond: Did you get to speak with Jason Behr about Max? Did he offer any advice?
Nathan: I haven’t had a chance to! I know he’s been very supportive though and I hope I get to sit down with him at some point.
Nerds and Beyond: You have great on-screen chemistry with co-star Jeanine Mason, and convey an incredible depth of emotion as Max when he is talking about Liz. This was really impressive coming out of the pilot and had us hooked. Does this part of the character come naturally for you?
Nathan: It’s easy to have great chemistry with incredible actors and Jeanine is definitely that and more. This story is about our relationship so that comes at the forefront of everything. There is an emotional honesty between Liz and Max that is unmatched, even though the situation continues to pull us apart.
Nerds and Beyond: Is there a particular episode or scene this season that you’re excited for fans to see when it airs?
Nathan: I love the parts of the story that really move the plot forward. When new secrets are discovered and the spiral that barrels us to the finale. I can’t wait to see what people think.
Nerds and Beyond: All of the episode titles for season one are various hit songs from the 90’s. As someone who grew up in the 90’s, what’s your favorite song from that list?
Nathan: There are so many but I have to go with 8 – “Barely Breathing” and 10 – “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”.
Nerds and Beyond: You’ve played a vampire, werewolf, and now an alien. Are you more drawn to supernatural roles or has it been a coincidence?
Nathan: A little of both. I love sci-fi and the supernatural because it automatically allows for a little broader range of imagination but ultimately, I don’t get to cast myself. I do love bringing everything back to its true empathetic humanity so the supernatural thing has brought a little extra twist to a few things.
Nerds and Beyond: We have a few nerdy questions. What do you “nerd out” to, what are you a fan of?
Nathan: Star Trek, Firefly, Star Wars. Anything about future space travel, exploration and what life among the stars could be.
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite superhero?
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite movie?
Nathan: The Fifth Element.
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite book?
Nathan: “The God of Small Things” [by Arundhati Roy].
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite band or musician?
Nathan: Right now? Chris Stapleton.
Nerds and Beyond: Favorite word?
Nerds and Beyond: Finally, we like to close out interviews by asking a Star Wars related question. If you could pick, what color would you want your lightsaber to be?
Nathan: Definitely purple. In the immortal words of The Man In Black, Mr. Johnny Cash, “I Walk The Line”.
Thanks to Nathan for this interview! Roswell, New Mexico airs on The CW Tuesday nights at 9/8c.