Friday, May 7, 2021

Beyond Nick Blaine: Max Minghella

For many, the name Max Minghella is synonymous with Nick Blaine, a character from the hit Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. But before Minghella won viewers over with Nick (the one decent man in Gilead), he stepped into the shoes of a variety of characters throughout his career.Read on for some of our favorite roles from Minghella.

The Mindy Project (2012-2017)

Hulu

Though far from his first time on screen, The Mindy Project was Minghella’s first TV role, in which he played Richie Castellano, Danny’s gay younger brother. Richie was only in eight episodes across the show’s run, but Minghella creates a memorable character nonetheless. His energy complements Chris Messina’s Danny, and watching them interact is a delight. Richie also stands on his own. Minghella effortlessly matches the humor the show, bringing a likable character to the screen who fits right in.

The Mindy Project is streaming now on Hulu.

About Alex (2014)

Screen Media Films
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About Alex follows a group of old college friends who reunite after one of them, Alex, attempts suicide. Over the course of the weekend, the group reminisces and old crushes and tensions return, putting the group’s friendship to the test.

Minghella as Isaac fits easily into the group’s dynamic. Early in the movie, viewers get a sense of how each friend’s job created distance between them and Isaac specifically in how they react to him when he returns. Minghella brings a sort of laid-back quality that eases some of the tension. He’s also a great complement to Aubrey Plaza’s Sarah. Though it’s been a while since Sarah and Isaac last saw each other, Minghella and Plaza paint a clear picture of their history and how it continues to affect them, whether they realize it or not. As a whole, the cast brings a dynamic group to the screen that’s worth a watch.

About Alex is streaming free with ads on Vudu.

The Internship (2013)

Twentieth Century Fox (now Studios)

Are you an intern at Google looking for full-time employment? If so, have you found your rival vying for the same position yet? If not, then Graham Hawtrey from The Internship is your guy. The movie focuses primarily on Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s Nick and Billy, respectively. But every great protagonist needs an antagonist to match, and that’s what Minghella brings with Graham.

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Along with Nick and Billy, The Internship follows Google interns who take part in a series of challenges to earn coveted positions with the company. From the moment we meet him Graham establishes himself as one of the most ambitious interns, ready to do what he needs to secure his spot at Google. Minghella’s Graham provides the perfect foil for Nick and Billy. He easily matches the same general energy of the rest of cast, only adding to the movie.

Elvis & Anabelle (2007)

Burnt Orange Productions

When Anabelle (Blake Lively) dies after being crowned Miss Texas Rose at a beauty pageant she’s brought to a funeral home where she comes back to life just before Elvis, a mortician, embalms her. After going back home, Anabelle soon returns to live a more relaxed life with Elvis and his father. Elvis and Anabelle are at first an unlikely match but quickly become a swoon-worthy one throughout the film. Minghella does an excellent job bringing the offbeat but endearing Elvis to life. He plays into the unassuming nature of Elvis, whose protectiveness of his father causes him to be guarded. He also shows the way Elvis begins to open up with Anabelle around in a way that feels organic and fits well within the story. Minghella and Lively also have wonderful chemistry and shine as the title pair.

Another highlight of this movie is the relationship between Elvis and his father Charlie (played by Joe Mantegna). Minghella and Mantegna both bring great performances to the screen, creating a wholesome and heartwarming father-son duo. It’s easy to root for them through the good and the bad.

Not Safe for Work (2014)

Blumhouse Productions

After noticing two men acting suspicious a law firm employee, Tom Miller, investigates and finds himself trapped in the building while a killer is on the hunt for information – and for Tom. The movie is a tense thriller and viewers will be on edge watching Tom try to survive the night. Minghella plays the level-headed Tom, who’s able to keep a fairly calm demeanor despite the immense stress the situation creates. Minghella showcases Tom’s fear while also demonstrating how he is able to think through the situation and avoid becoming the next fatality. Minghella’s performance adds to the overall suspense of the movie, bringing his own nail-biting tension.

Agora (2009)

Newmarket Films

Set in Ancient Egypt under Roman Rule, Agora follows Hypatia, a philosophy, astronomy and mathematics professor who encourages her students to view the world beyond religion, concerning herself more with faith in the universe. Meanwhile, two of her disciples – Orestes (a student) and Davus (her slave) – vie for her affection, and the three later follow drastically different paths.

Davus, played by Minghella, is quite an interesting character. He has a clear arc from the beginning of the film to the end. Minghella skillfully demonstrates Davus’ progression throughout the film. He shows Davus’ shift from the submissive servant pining over his mistress to a man who shifts his allegiances to pursue a different, freeing life. But rather than make an immediate shift, Minghella clearly shows Davus’ initial hesitation and the evolution that leads Davus to where he ends up, presenting a well-rounded character.

Agora is streaming free with ads on Amazon Prime Video.

Minghella has also carried his talents off the screen as a writer and director. First up is the 2016 film The 9th Life of Louis Drax. Written and produced by Minghella, adapted from the Liz Jensen novel, it follows a psychologist, Dr. Allan Pascal, who works with a 9-year-old boy, Louis, after he suffers a near-fatal fall. Dr. Pascal soon finds himself drawn into a mystery that pushes the boundaries of fantasy and reality. The movie was a well-written and fascinating story with twists along the way that will keep viewers watching until the very end.

Max Minghella on the set of ‘Teen Spirit’/Bleecker Street

His most recent behind the camera endeavor was the 2018 film Teen Spirit, which he wrote, executive produced, and also marks his feature directorial debut. The movie follows Violet, a teenager who wants to leave her small town to pursue bigger dreams. When a singing competition brings auditions to her town she decides to enter. With the help of an unlikely mentor, Violet works her way towards her dream of a singing career.

Teen Spirit is charged with an upbeat pop soundtrack that will have viewers singing along with Violet. It’s a captivating and feel-good movie, and Elle Fanning shines as Violet. Overall, it’s a solid debut from Minghella that should be on your watch list.

Teen Spirit is streaming now on Hulu.

Bonus: Music Video for “Shot At The Night” by The Killers

Minghella has a couple of upcoming projects. The first is season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale, which is slated to premiere on Hulu on April 28. He also stars in the upcoming Spiral (releasing May 14) as William Schenck, alongside Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. Visit Minghella’s IMDb page to view the rest of his filmography.

Julia
Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds. She joined the team in 2019 but has always enjoyed talking about her favorite fandoms. When she isn't writing or working, you can find her reading, watching her favorite shows and movies, and building her repertoire of Dad jokes.

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