Albert Nicholas began his acting career in theatre, but soon turned his sights on the big and small screen. The Ottawa born actor has been on a variety of hit shows including Supernatural, Lucifer, Shut Eye, Nickelodeon’s The Astronauts, and recently Motherland: Fort Salem. We had the pleasure of chatting with him about his varied career.
Nerds and Beyond: You began on the stage but then turned on screen acting, so what got you into stage performance?
Albert Nicholas: I never actually wanted to do stage, my parents used to take me to theatre shows when I was a kid all the time. I hated it and I used to count the lights. I think part of the reason why I hated it was because I actually wanted to be acting and I knew that from a young age. I always wanted to go into film and TV first, but where I’m from film and TV wasn’t in bloom. Ottawa doesn’t have a huge film and TV industry, so I ended up not acting until I was 19, and I was going through a hard time in life health-wise. My dad encouraged me, along with my mom, to get into theatre and try and find an artistic outlet. Next thing I knew I started doing two or three shows a year for about five or six years. I fell in love with it. If I could I would try to do one theater show every year. It’s not always possible but I love it.
Nerds and Beyond: What show would you most want to be in?
Albert Nicholas: One I’ve always wanted to do was The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute. Since I’ve known the play I’ve really wanted to do it. Other than that, I think it’d be trying to figure out what character I’d want to play. I’ve done so much stage up to this point, which I’m so thankful for, now it’s about trying to figure out creatively what will challenge me or bring out something new that I haven’t explored. That’s my thought process when trying to figure out what to do next.
The Mercy Seat happens just after 9/11, and it’s this gentleman and his boss who is older than him who are having an affair, essentially, and they’re stuck in her apartment seeing what just happened and things unfold from there. It makes them reflect on life and their actions.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you lean more toward dramas like that or do you prefer comedies?
Albert Nicholas: I love comedies, I do, I don’t think I’m funny. Some people think I’m funny, I really don’t. The movies that I enjoy are Rush Hour and Bad Boys, these action-drama but there’s clearly an aspect of comedy. Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson are making a lot of these kind of movies recently where there’s a lot of action but also a lot of comedy. I hope to venture into that eventually but as it’s been, my career has been really geared toward drama.
Nerds and Beyond: With having been in theatre, do you find yourself relying on those skills for television and film?
Albert Nicholas: When I get on stage I’m a different person than on film and TV. I think part of that is the experience. My experience on stage comes so naturally to me and very second nature now. There’s a certain confidence that comes with that experience. Theatre is good for emotional range and pushing the boundaries on the emotional aspect, but when you bring it into film and TV there’s a whole new technicality to it that you have to learn. It doesn’t necessarily translate.
Nerds and Beyond: Within television and film, is there anyone you look up to?
Albert Nicholas: Yeah, the first person that comes to mind is Will Smith. I was a huge fan of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I grew up watching it. Some of his movies have really stuck with me. Seven Pounds is one of my favorite movies and he’s done stuff like Bad Boys which are also great. He’s someone I would love to work with one day. There’s something about his mentality that I’m really drawn to and I’m interested in what he has to say about certain things.
Nerds and Beyond: Your first on screen credit was Supernatural. What was that experience like, because that’s a well established show? What was it like to step into that world where everyone already knows each other?
Albert Nicholas: I was fortunate that I came in at the beginning of a season, I was on episodes 1 and 2 of season 11. There was at least that aspect of “we’re starting something a little bit new,” so coming in at the beginning isn’t as harsh as coming in the middle of a season. In general, they had been so established for so long that it was like a well-oiled machine. It was a great learning experience because you’re jumping into something that’s moving so quickly and efficiently. I got to be with the gentleman who plays Castiel (Misha Collins). He’s such a lovely man, very welcoming, and very sweet. He obviously knows that we’re coming in just for a couple episodes, and he was very aware of that and responsive to making sure we felt at home. We’re there to do the best job we can to help them tell the story. Everybody on that set was very nice. Here in Vancouver it’s like a stepping stone to starting your career, being on Supernatural. I’m really fortunate to have had that as my first experience.
Nerds and Beyond: Did you find that held true for Lucifer where you played Aimee Garcia’s brother? It seems like that could be intimidating to join a well established crew.
Albert Nicholas: Lucifer was another great experience. You’re right though, it is very intimidating. It can be unsettling because you’re essentially the wrench that’s being thrown into something that’s already working. It can be intimidating and in the end you just have to go in there and do your job as best you can and not disrupt the flow of things. Lucifer was great because they were all super nice, I loved working on that show and the scene I had. I love the small impact I had on that episode and on her storyline. I was a huge fan of Dexter and Aimee Garcia played David Zayas’ sister. I actually happened to work with him a month or two before on Shut Eye. I spoke to Aimee about it, and coming to Lucifer I had the sense that there was some kind of synergy — this was all supposed to happen. She was great and introduced me to everybody that could shed some light on why I’m entering the storyline for a little bit. It’s always great to know because then you feel more involved. She was also generous in wanting to establish the relationship between her character and my character. She wanted to make sure that things were solid if ever I were to come back and that’s always a gift.
Nerds and Beyond: In contrast to those shows, you’ve also done Nancy Drew and now Motherland: Fort Salem which are both new. How did those differ?
Albert Nicholas: I think the one thing that differs is with a new cast they’re very much all still trying to figure it out a little bit. Everyone still has a bit of that sense like, “are we in the right direction?” versus something that’s so established where it’s very rare that you get those doubts. Nancy Drew at least has some background because there’s been movies and books, so there’s some background to do research and get familiar with what you’re getting into. Motherland, I watched season 1 to know what was going on. Even while watching season 1 I did some research. There’s a lot of moving pieces.
Nerds and Beyond: We’re only half way through season 2, but it feels like there’s so much for them to explore.
Albert Nicholas: Oh yeah, there’s a lot left to explore which is great because that gives them a lot of room for future seasons. They have so many directions they can go. I know where they are going in the near future, but there’s a lot of moving pieces to that show. Going onto that set and working with Diana and Amalia, they were so lovely to bring me up to speed. I actually had a lot of questions when I got there. There were a lot of things that weren’t fully established because I’m just coming in, you see the scene and it’s almost as if I just appear so there’s a lot of unanswered questions. They were lovely with answering everything I was asking and I could tell they love to collaborate and love their craft. I had a blast on that set as well.
Nerds and Beyond: Are there any current shows that you’d like to be on?
Albert Nicholas: Currently, I’ve been watching John Wick. They’ve been straightening my hair for a show and I’ve been telling people it’s time for Keanu Reeves to have a long lost son somewhere in John Wick 5 that shows up. That’s where my energy has been, but as for a TV show, I watched Firefly Lane and that would be fun to be on. I’d also love to be on the upcoming show based on a video game called The Last of Us. That’s something I’d love to be on, it’s the right kind of tone.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you have any projects coming up that you can tease without spoilers, of course?
Albert Nicholas: Yeah, most of it I can’t talk about anything to be honest. There’s not much I can say, but I did take a little bit of a break after filming Motherland. I was very fortunate, I got to work through most of COVID so I took a little bit of a break. Now it’s back to the grind.
Nerds and Beyond: You’ve also done some writing?
Albert Nicholas: Yes, I’ve got two or three projects right now with writing partners that are also on other things, so it’s on hiatus. I’m interested in writing but what I’m really interested in getting into is directing. I think part of writing, which happened through quarantine, was already my brain starting to want to direct. Writing became that outlet because I had ideas and I could visualize. I’m very visual in that I’ll visualize scenes and then I’ll write them down, and I think what it taught me is that I want to slowly dip my toes into directing and shadowing some directors. I’m very interested in that.
I’d love to do film more than anything, There actually aren’t a lot of movies that film here, but it’s very TV based. If The Astronauts continued for more season there would have been opportunity for me to request to start shadowing. I’m currently researching and asking people about directing though.
Nerds and Beyond: I love to close interviews by asking a fun question. We’re all nerds here at Nerds and Beyond, so what do you nerd out to?
Albert Nicholas: Oh, space! Space! My buddy and I were looking at What If videos about like what if you fell into Jupiter or Saturn. Honestly, that stuff is so scary when you watch it, but space is just so fascinating to me. When they had the whole sign up to go to Mars thing, I signed up. I was very much the person who was like, “cool, I’m out. I’ll hopefully see you guys, I guess never. Hopefully on Mars!” Space is definitely the thing that I nerd out on probably the most.
Nerds and Beyond: Space is definitely fascinating. Thank you so much for talking with us!