The conversation the world needs right now.
Nathan Fielder and Alexa Demie (Mid90s, Waves, Euphoria) meet for the very first time. Topics covered include: embracing your animal essence, what high school is really like, the Euphoria chili scene, learning cinematography from reality TV, the secret to acting like Nathan, fairy portals, approaches to cat parenting, the kindness of strangers, and crying so hard you laugh.
Speaker: Hey, and welcome back to the A24 Podcast. Before this conversation, Nathan Fielder and Alexa Demie were fans of each other’s work, but had never actually met. By the end of it, they were discussing the existence of God and whether there are portals to other realms. You might be wondering why we felt compelled to set up this meeting, let alone record it. But after listening, we think you'll understand.
Alexa Demie: No one's getting fucking canceled today.
Crew: No one's getting canceled.
Alexa: Hello. Hi. My name is Alexa Demie, and I'm here with the icon and legend himself, Nathan Fielder.
Nathan Fielder: That's nice of you to say, Alexa.
Alexa: It's true.
Nathan: This is just us talking, and we are, I guess, risking our lives to do this.
Nathan: Is it worth it? Probably.
Alexa: I would say yeah.
Nathan: Yeah, so far it's going good.
Alexa: I would say yeah. We took all precautions. We got tested. The room was cleaned for four and a half hours.
Nathan: Right. A DJ was in the room—
Alexa: The night before, which is scary.
Nathan: —the night before, we were told. I guess this is as safe as you can be, although the tests are not fully reliable.
Alexa: I like to think that they are.
Nathan: But A24 was very clear they didn't want to do this outdoors because they were worried about a helicopter. But the audio quality is going to be great.
Alexa: We are six feet apart right now for anyone wondering.
Nathan: Yeah. Well, probably four feet. Yeah. I'm a little nervous, but it's okay. Yeah, we're doing great.
Alexa: Yeah, I'm nervous too.
Nathan: Alexa, tell me about yourself.
Alexa: Tell me about yourself, Nathan.
Nathan: You're an actress, or do you prefer "actor"?
Alexa: You can say whatever you want. I do many things. I don't like to just be called an actor.
Nathan: I'm sorry if I offended you off the bat because—okay, so I know—
Alexa: You know me as an actor. You haven't seen the other things that I've done.
Nathan: Yeah. I've seen all of Euphoria.
Alexa: Oh, you have?
Nathan: You're brilliant in the show.
Alexa: You don't have to say that.
Nathan: No, no, you're very good in the show, and the show is great.
Alexa: Did you like the show?
Nathan: Yeah. I really enjoyed it.
Alexa: What was your favorite part?
Nathan: It really gives me a sense of what high school is like now.
Alexa: Yeah. It's pretty hectic.
Nathan: It wasn't like that—does that reflect your experience in high school?
Alexa: Honestly, no, because I was never a cheerleader. I didn't really go to a lot of parties. I was quite a loner in high school, and yeah, I just kept to myself. Then in, I think like 11th grade, I started a sunglass business.
Nathan: Oh, really?
Alexa: Yeah. I just was focused on that, so that wasn't my high school experience at all.
Nathan: Did you feel like it reflected the experience of people? Because it seems like in the show people are having sex with old men and people pull out knives at each other, and then you ruin that chili contest or whatever, you ruin the vibe there.
Alexa: Yeah, I ruin the vibe by calling his mother a cunt.
Nathan: Right, yeah. It feels like a very dramatic portrayal of high school, but it also makes you like, "Oh, is this how it is for some people?" Or no, do you think not?
Alexa: I think it could be that way for some people. I think some people could definitely be hooking up with old men and pulling knives out. I hope not.
Nathan: But not for you?
Alexa: Not for me.
Nathan: That’s also a testament to you as a performer, because when I watched that show, I'm like, "Oh, she's definitely exactly like that."
Alexa: I don't think I am and I hope I'm not. [laughs]
Nathan: Well, now that I've met you, I know that you're not like that. I think when you're a good actor, you can't tell—because that's the first thing—well, no, I saw you in—you were in my friend Kyle's movie.
Alexa: Yeah, that was a tiny part, though.
Nathan: Right, Brigsby Bear—
Nathan: —which is great. You were in a movie, Waves, which I've seen and very much enjoyed. But you were saying, when I mentioned you're an actor, you kind of balked at that.
Alexa: No, I was just kidding.
Nathan: You do a lot of stuff that I—sunglasses and other stuff I'm sure that I don't know about. What are those things?
Alexa: Well, in high school, I started a sunglass line. I just went downtown LA and I got a box of wholesale plain sunglasses. Then I got a bunch of jewels and things and I started decorating them. My friend worked at a store on Melrose owned by this really nice Japanese man. She showed him the sunglasses, he showed his partner in Japan, and he ended up, like, making an order. I remember I stayed up for like three nights just making all these sunglasses, with these tiny little gems on them.
Nathan: This is like a real operation.
Alexa: It was a real operation. My boyfriend at the time, his mom would just drink coffee and stay up with me, and she'd give me coffee and I just made that order. I needed that money.
Nathan: How much did you make?
Alexa: A couple of thousand dollars, which was a lot for—
Nathan: That’s pretty good for sunglasses.
Alexa: It was a lot for me. I was like, "Whoa, I'm rich." He sold them at his boutique in Japan for a lot of money. They just got really popular, like ended up—
Nathan: Was there a brand name?
Alexa: Yeah, they were called The Mainframes or Mainframe.
Nathan: That's cool.
Alexa: This huge artist over there, G-Dragon, he wore them. They made a doll of him wearing them. Then, I don't know, J-Lo and Nicki Minaj, and all these people wore them. So I was traveling a lot to Japan and Taiwan and all of these places to show the glasses at trade shows and stuff like that. Then I started going into really designing them, but that came to a stop because I then realized I wasn't getting paid at all to do any of this. I didn't know anything about business. I just enjoyed flying to Japan.
Nathan: You were being taken advantage of, business-wise.
Alexa: Yeah. So I had a meeting with them, and I was like, "Hey, should I get paid?" And then we just stopped.
Nathan: Because they said no.
Alexa: Yeah, I don't remember specifics, but we just stopped, which was fine.
Nathan: You stopped making them all together?
Alexa: Yeah, I mean, it was just like a hobby.
Nathan: Were you acting at the time too, in high school?
Alexa: Yeah, I've been trying to act since I was really little, but I remember my mom took me to an acting class when I was a kid, and I just thought it was really stupid, because they would make us act like a gas pump. Like, “You're a gas pump and you're pumping the gas.” It just was really silly, so I stopped going, but yeah, I’ve kind of always been trying to pursue it in my own way.
Nathan: So it was just kind of posing like objects was the acting program?
Alexa: Yeah, which I would have enjoyed if we were acting like animals or something, but the gas pump thing really just threw me off.
Nathan: Could you do it?
Alexa: I mean, you just stand there.
Nathan: I guess you have to twist—put your arm like a spout or something?
Alexa: [laughs] Yeah.
Nathan: I don't understand the theory, because I do remember when I was young, they would have you do animals, like be animals.
Alexa: Yeah, I would've loved that.
Nathan: Yeah, it's actually not that fun. I think for some, maybe it would be.
Alexa: I would just like to be a jaguar or a leopard or something.
Nathan: Right. Is that something that you did on your own or did you need a teacher to tell you to do it?
Alexa: Being a jaguar or a leopard, or just acting in general?
Nathan: If you were like, "Oh, I would've liked to be a jaguar," would you have done that at home in your bedroom or something?
Alexa: Yeah, I still do it.
Nathan: You still do it?
Alexa: Yeah, I just crawl around my house.
Nathan: Just, for what?
Alexa: Because I enjoy it. I enjoy the feeling of crawling around the house like a leopard.
Nathan: What time of day do you do it?
Alexa: Usually nighttime.
Nathan: Because that's when they come out?
Alexa: That's when it comes out, yeah.
Nathan: So you'll just feel it and you'll be—
Alexa: It literally just like—
Nathan: Will you be watching TV or something?
Alexa: No. I don't have a TV.
Nathan: What will you be doing? Eating dinner or—when do you feel that and then go on to the ground?
Alexa: Probably after dinner, kind of late night.
Nathan: And then, do you have a destination or you're just like—
Alexa: No destination.
Nathan: Is it therapeutic in some way?
Alexa: Yeah, it is. I just go where my body takes me. Just feels really good to move that way.
Nathan: How long do you do it for?
Alexa: Depends on the night. Could be 10 minutes, could be 30 minutes.
Alexa: I do a lot of performance art in my living room.
Nathan: Just by yourself?
Alexa: By myself, or if I have guests over, for them.
Nathan: Huh. It's making me realize that I actually don't—when I have private alone time, I actually don't do anything like that, but I'm now thinking maybe I am missing out by not moving or doing things in ways that I would never do in front of other people, because I'd be embarrassed.
Alexa: I think you're missing out.
Nathan: Not that it’s embarrassing to be like a jaguar, but I'm saying—
Alexa: You have two cats.
Nathan: —maybe I always operate like I think I'm being watched or something. I don't know. I'm just realizing now.
Alexa: Just close your blinds or your curtains. Because I think like that, too. I always think someone's lurking in my window and they're going to, like, take me, but you just close—
Nathan: Oh, I don't have that.
Alexa: Oh, okay, I have a trauma. No one's watching you.
Nathan: I know. I guess I should—it's worth trying, or just moving in ways.
Alexa: Just try, could be any animal.
Nathan: I think it would be healthy for me, probably, to—
Alexa: I think a bird would suit you.
Nathan: Because isn't it an acting thing they normally say—like I remember when I did acting stuff, they were like, "You have an essence as an animal." There's an animal that you—
Alexa: Did they tell you what your essence was?
Nathan: They probably skipped over me because they were like—
Alexa: Do you want me to tell you?
Nathan: Sure, yeah.
Alexa: I'm reading hawk or owl.
Nathan: Hawk or an owl?
Nathan: Oh, interesting.
Alexa: I think flapping would be really good for you.
Nathan: Like, just doing this?
Alexa: Do it as strong and as fast as you can one night.
Nathan: Why hawk or owl? Why a bird?
Alexa: I don't know. That's just what I'm getting. Do you not like that?
Nathan: No, no. I mean, it makes sense. I wouldn't think that jaguar would suit me, something like that probably.
Alexa: I'm getting, like, you need a lot of upper body movement.
Nathan: I need more of that?
Alexa: Yeah, to just release some energy.
Nathan: Yeah, probably because I'm, like, gripping my leg right now [laughs]. Now, I'm like super self-conscious about how I'm sitting.
Alexa: [laughs] No, no, no. I think hawks and owls are beautiful. They're magical. I think you should just embrace that.
Nathan: Okay. Maybe I'll try looking up a YouTube video of them and then just copying that.
Nathan: I will try that. Seriously I will.
Alexa: Do it. So what would you do in your acting class? Or when did you start acting class?
Nathan: When I was a kid I liked acting. I don't remember—I did it young, but one of the things is I can't sing. When you're young, I think there's a lot of acting and singing that are combined.
Nathan: Well, musical theater and stuff like that. I would want to try things that were fun or funny to me, but I think they had a formal process where they would do these musicals, and that was the big thing in high school. Actually, I remember someone telling me, “Can you just sing quieter than everyone else?”
Alexa: No, that's a bad teacher.
Nathan: We did get to do a play in high school. We wrote our own play, me and two friends, and we put that on in Grade 12, and that was really fun.
Alexa: Oh nice. What was the play?
Nathan: It was called Yellow Squash.
Alexa: What was it about, and who was your character?
Nathan: It was about a scientist who invented an invisible suit. And the cops throw him in an insane asylum. He was living in a library, so they arrest him and they throw him in an insane asylum because they think he's crazy, because he said he invented the invisible suit, but then the cops actually find the invisible suit and start—
Alexa: How, if it's invisible?
Nathan: I think you could see it, but then when you put it on, it made you invisible.
Alexa: Okay, got it, got it.
Nathan: Then they basically used it to commit crimes, the cops, and then—
Alexa: Wow. You were thinking ahead.
Nathan: —the scientists rallied people in the insane asylum together to escape and then take the cops down, and I was one of the cops. Actually, we played multiple characters, so I was a cop but also someone in the insane asylum. But no one really told us in the play how to do—
Nathan: No, I know I just put my hand into fists.
Alexa: Oh, sorry. I got excited.
Nathan: Well, no one told us how to do anything really. So, to transition from one scene to another, we didn't know you could have sets on stage at the same time and just change the lighting. So we literally moved our set out.
Alexa: During the show?
Nathan: A scene would end and a scene would be like three minutes long. And then there'd be 10 minutes of moving the set out and moving the new one in with just music playing, because that's how we thought to do it.
Alexa: Why was it called Yellow Squash?
Nathan: We just thought it would be funny if it had a name that had nothing to do with it, but then one character says yellow squash as a metaphor at one point, and then we thought it would be funny to just name it that for no reason.
Alexa: Love that.
Nathan: I've never been good at doing—you're like a real actor because you, I think, can take—the character you play is not like you, but you can just take it and be so convincing. I'm not as much like that. I feel like I'm just—
Alexa: I think you are, though.
Nathan: But I can do basically me in little ways, but I'm not like—I can't disappear.
Alexa: Disappear into your character?
Nathan: I actually feel like my skills are more in directing and editing, so I can use those tools to make myself look like I can perform.
Alexa: Because you direct the show, Nathan For You.
Alexa: How did you make that show? That show is the best show I've ever seen.
Nathan: That's nice of you to say.
Alexa: It's true. How did you think of it?
Nathan: I don't know, we just figured it out.
Alexa: What sparked the idea?
Nathan: I guess I started making stuff right when YouTube came out, so I put videos online and I taught myself how to direct and edit just through figuring it out. Someone on a show in Canada called This Hour Has 22 Minutes saw my stuff and they hired me, but they were like—it's like The Daily Show a little bit, so they said, "We want you to do interviews with real people," and I had never done that before.
Alexa: So you are good at this.
Nathan: Well, I got thrown into it, but it was only like two and a half minute segments or three minute segments, so it was really short. I kind of figured out a little bit of the vibe there, and then was like, "Oh, maybe I could do something longer."
Alexa: Because you would interview them and troll them?
Nathan: [laughs] I don't know about troll or just—I don't know, I guess I would try to make funny interviews. I just wanted to do something funny. But I did notice, because they would show the show to a live audience, so people would sometimes laugh at things that I didn't intend to be funny, just about how I was acting.
Alexa: How did that make you feel?
Nathan: Bullied. No, I mean, it made me feel like—maybe in a way, you're kind of like, "Oh, okay, I guess that's funny about me, or people find that part of me funny.” Maybe it teaches you—when you screen stuff, it teaches you about maybe yourself as a performer or what's funny about that or—
Alexa: And you know now how—you're so good at like—you know exactly what to do or say to get a laugh?
Nathan: No, I don't know what to do or say, but, it's all an experiment. But that's why I think I know I can cut out stuff that doesn't work and I'll talk to people in ways. If someone's like, "Here's a script, and you're playing this character, and audition for this” or something, I—
Alexa: Would you not do it?
Nathan: Well, I used to do it, but then it was so embarrassing every time I did it that I—
Alexa: The audition?
Nathan: Yeah, I'm like—
Alexa: Well, auditions are terrible. I'm embarrassed auditioning.
Nathan: But I'm sure you're very good at it.
Alexa: No, I would get incredibly nervous, like shaking, before I’d go in.
Nathan: What is it about the auditioning thing that—
Alexa: You walk in a room and these people are sitting there just ready to judge you. They're usually assholes, and they like to be assholes because they have a lot of power. I mean, not every casting director is an asshole. But, you know, they're sitting there and it's just like, "Well okay, show me what you got." You know? And some days maybe you had a really bad day or maybe couldn't find parking and you're really flustered, or maybe someone in the waiting room is really anxious and you feel good, but they're anxious, so then you feel anxious. There's a lot to it, but I think I got better at it because I went to so many that it just became routine. You do it enough times that you're just—
Nathan: You stop caring, or you stop being afraid?
Alexa: I got to the point where I was like, "I'm over this, and I kind of don't even want to do this anymore." Then that's, obviously, everyone always says, "When you're ready to quit, something happens." But, like, it's kind of true.
Nathan: You wanted to quit performing?
Alexa: Auditioning, acting, yeah.
Nathan: Just because it was frustrating—
Alexa: Because I wasn't booking anything ever. Ever. It was really hard, especially because I feel like a lot of the lead roles I would go out for would go to a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl. Even for Maddy, I think some people saw her as that. They didn't really see her as me, so I had to go in and prove myself too.
Nathan: So did people try to say “This is what roles you would be good for” before that?
Alexa: Kind of without saying it. I just don't think I would be typically looked at for a lead role. You never see a mixed or a Latin girl as a lead. Yeah, it was hard and I was over it, and I was over people saying no to me.
Nathan: What changed it then?
Alexa: Honestly, I feel like what really changed it was Euphoria because—
Nathan: The show or the emotion?
Alexa: Just the euphoric emotion.
Nathan: Did you feel like that role, like you were really able to do what you wanted as a performer?
Alexa: Yeah, I just felt there was a lot—like Sam Levinson, the creator of the show, he just allowed for a lot of collaboration, even the look of my character and specifics, like her loving Sharon Stone in Casino, that was from a conversation we had and me expressing my love for that character. I like to be in control of the vision of it. I'm just very specific. As an actor, it's hard sometimes because you just have to go do whatever everyone else wants you to do.
Nathan: Do you write and produce your own stuff, too?
Alexa: Yeah, I do. I'm producing a few things right now, and I'm writing and, eventually, something will come out.
Nathan: I'm the same way. I feel like I like to—
Alexa: Have the control, right?
Nathan: I feel like, because I've also done things where I'm just a performer. In my head, I'm always thinking, “Oh, someone else could do this better than me.” I really like seeing through a thing from the idea through the edit. The edit's my favorite part.
Nathan: Yeah, I love it.
Alexa: Do you edit yourself?
Nathan: I used to, but now I have people that can do it way better than me.
Alexa: Oh my God. I've tried to edit, I can't edit. I can edit, but I can't. I'm too indecisive.
Nathan: Oh, really?
Alexa: Yeah, I'm like, "But it can go this way and it can go this way and this can happen here." I know what I want it to all look like beginning, middle, and end, but I feel like if I'm the one sitting there editing, that could just go on for years.
Nathan: I definitely understand. I guess the thing about the edit that I—that's when you know it works, or something. When you make something work in the edit, you know you have it. Versus up until that point, it's a little abstract, even on set. You can think it went well, but you don't know until you feel it, watching it through. I feel like being in the edit, that's kind of—I also think because I started out—
Alexa: You get off on the edit?
Nathan: I get off but not, like, sexually, just like emotional.
Alexa: Yeah, that's what I meant.
Nathan: No, of course. Just in case you didn't mean that, that's the only reason I specified that it wasn't sexual.
Alexa: Yeah, no, I didn’t—yeah. Would you, if presented the opportunity to be the lead of a film, like a dramatic film, would you do it? If you loved the script?
Nathan: I actually think drama maybe more than comedy because I think, with comedy, I have such a strong opinion about how to do it, but with drama, I'm like, "I don't know how you're going to put this together really."
Alexa: I feel like you'd be an incredible dramatic actor, like a Cassavetes or something.
Nathan: Oh, thank you.
Alexa: Do you have any favorite filmmakers or films or—
Nathan: I guess I went through this phase where I kind of watched all the classic—like I was not aware in high school of anything. Then when I was out in Halifax shooting that show, I caught up on all of them. Like 12 Angry Men, like Cassavetes' whole catalog.
Nathan: I think that also watching those at a time when I was figuring out actually making stuff on a show, I think really played into—because I think I experimented with all those styles early on, because I'm not—I have friends that had a formal film school education, and I think they were more, there was just so much more of a formal process, it seemed, in how they did things. Like you need a big crew, you need to spend the proper money on everything.
I considered maybe going at one point, but because I was just truly figuring it out—Like I didn't even know how to frame a shot. I was watching reality TV shows in my dorm room in college and I was like, "Okay, that's kind of where the head is." Because a lot of the other framing just seemed so sophisticated, very intimidated by all the stylized stuff. I just wanted to know, like how is a head supposed to look?
Alexa: In the shot.
Nathan: Because it's not in the center normally. You know what I mean? It's a little off to the side. Even just basic things, like how much of someone's eyes are you supposed to see? So I did actually learn from—
Alexa: So what did you learn about eyes?
Nathan: You want to see them.
Nathan: You want to see both the eyes.
Nathan: I learned at that point a lot of emotion is conveyed through eyes.
Nathan: I learned that in my 20s. I kind of feel as though I'm constantly figuring out new stuff, but I'm also—maybe there's a benefit, in a way, to just doing that. Because when you fail, you fail really hard. It's really bad, but then you figure out a new way of doing things too sometimes.
Alexa: When you're doing Nathan for You, do you feel like you’re very present and grounded in who you are as a human being, as Nathan Fielder? Or do you feel like you lose yourself a little bit in this version of yourself?
Nathan: Yeah. Usually when we're done filming a season, I need to almost take three full months to kind of get my personality back. Because it's not so extreme. It's just, I do feel like my tendency in a real conversation is to make it okay. I don't want you to feel uncomfortable or something. But in the show, I wouldn't correct that. I would just let that failure hang, and from an outside viewer, it would be funny, the failure. But for me, in the moment, I'm sitting with that discomfort.
Alexa: Which is acting.
Nathan: You end up hardening yourself a little to the person you're across. Then if you're doing that eight hours a day, it does chip—I did need to reset.
Alexa: What do you do to reset? We know you don't do any body movements.
Nathan: Yeah, I basically just sit in a chair for three months. I don't know, I guess I'll just spend time with friends or just try to live life outside of production. I feel like I basically have one acting technique, and I don't even know if it's a technique. It's basically just like I'll put myself in situations that are genuinely hard for the real me to do. And I'll just try my hardest to do it, and that's basically it. Then I don't have to pretend, really, I'm bad at something, I'm just actually trying my best. I think for me, that is social interactions a lot. That's why I think that I'm able to do it, because I genuinely do flub and mess things up in that way.
Alexa: I don't think you give yourself enough credit. Like you're saying, “You're a real actor, and I'm just being a version of myself.” As a real—whatever that even means—actor, you are just bringing out versions of yourself. I'm sure there's a part of me that is Maddy or a part of me that is, maybe I don't act like that in my day-to-day life, but it's in there somewhere and you just pull it out.
Nathan: What were you channeling when you called her a cunt at the chili contest? What were you channeling?
Alexa: I honestly think of a lot of personal stuff. I think of a lot of experiences I've had in my life. I think I get too personal, which I need to learn not to do because it messes me up a little bit as a person.
Nathan: What do you mean?
Alexa: I just get too emotionally involved in the character, and I tie it into my real life or like traumas I've experienced. Even if it's not the same trauma that Maddy was experiencing, I look back at that trauma and I think, “How can I make that her trauma in this way?” Which brings up a lot of old shit, which messes me up. I want to learn not to do that so much.
Nathan: When does it mess you up? Do you feel like when you're actually performing or after?
Alexa: No, after.
Nathan: So maybe it's similar. Yeah, maybe it is a similar thing because it is after that I’m like—
Alexa: I think it is, yeah. Yeah, you're fucked up and you have to just find ways to be somewhat happy again. I want to learn to not do that.
Nathan: But don't you feel like that is maybe what makes your performance so compelling?
Alexa: Yeah, but I think it'd be interesting to try to make it compelling without doing that.
Nathan: Do you know actors that do it that way?
Alexa: Yeah. I know actors that are very—they just make shit up that, like, it's never happened to them before. I mean there's imagination in my work to some extent, but when it's an emotional scene, I do get very personal. But I know some actors that don't get that personally involved.
Nathan: For example, you can probably—I keep speculating. I should just ask you rather than say you could probably—
Alexa: No, go ahead.
Nathan: It's just because I'm impressed by you as a performer that I assume you can do these things. Like in a script, you see a script and it says you need to cry in this scene. Like, you can do that?
Nathan: Yeah, so I can't do that.
Alexa: That's okay. Also, I don't think you always have to cry, and I think there's been scenes or there’s times where it says cry, but it's actually more powerful not to cry, or to hold it back.
Nathan: What do you do to bring yourself to cry?
Alexa: To cry?
Alexa: I think of my traumas. I think of the shit that's happened to me in my life that makes me cry, or I listen to a song that makes me cry. But yeah, usually I think of something personal and then I relate it to my character and then I listen to a song. That could really get me going.
Nathan: You do this right before you perform?
Nathan: Do you say to the director that you need that space before to get into—
Alexa: Actually, I just did a film recently that's not out yet that I had to start off really happy and then cry. That was really hard. I also pray a lot.
Nathan: What does your prayer look like?
Alexa: Like I just say, “God, please let these tears come out.” Well, specifically for that film, it was a very small role, and I didn't audition. So that was really nerve-wracking, like showing up on set, what if I can't do this? I don't know, spirit was with me and I cried every time.
Nathan: Wow. So did you have to stop and do multiple takes?
Alexa: Yeah, we did a lot of takes.
Alexa: That was a challenge, but I got through it. Do you cry?
Nathan: In my real life?
Nathan: I mean, doesn't everyone?
Alexa: It's good to cry. Yeah, I love crying.
Nathan: How often do you cry in real life?
Alexa: I would say like once a month, I have, like, a chaotic breakdown where I can't breathe.
Nathan: What about smaller cries?
Alexa: Yeah, all the time. The kindness of strangers is my weakness. The other day, for example, there was a car flipped over in the middle of the road, and all of these cars just sped up and parked in the middle of the street, and they were all running out to help this guy get out of his car and I just started sobbing.
Nathan: I mean, that's a tragedy.
Alexa: Well, he was okay. It was his car being flipped over, but it was also everyone's instinct was to stop what they're doing immediately and go help, which is our instinct.
Nathan: Actually, yeah that is—one of the weirdest cries I had that I don't know where it came from fully, I was watching a movie. I don't normally—
Alexa: I thought you were going to say watching Euphoria [laughs].
Nathan: No, but almost, maybe, I don't know.
Alexa: No, no, no. I just—go ahead.
Nathan: I'm sorry if you were expecting a compliment and I didn't give it to you.
Alexa: Yeah, I was, but it's okay.
Nathan: I'm sure in the future watching your work, or maybe the second season, I might cry.
Alexa: I hope so.
Nathan: I saw this movie that wasn't—I don't know if it was a big hit or not. I don't know.
Alexa: What was it called?
Nathan: It's called What Maisie Knew. It's basically from a kid's—this is my memory of it, so I might get it wrong if someone who made it is listening. I saw it with my friend. It was about a kid whose parents were going through a divorce, but it was all shot from the kid's point of view, really focused on the kid's reaction, when the kid is left alone, you're sitting with the kid. At the end, it—I mean, not to spoil, it's an old movie—
Alexa: Go ahead.
Nathan: Is it okay to say the end of the movie?
Alexa: Yeah. Say it. I want to know.
Nathan: Well, I think basically these people that helped out the parents that were getting divorced ended up taking care of the kid because the parents were so problematic. It was like a nice ending of the kindness of people. And at the end of the movie, it cut to credits, and I just burst out crying but in a really intense way, where actually when I was walking out of the theater, I had to lean on a wall and my friend was like, "Are you okay. What is—?" And I'm like, "I don't—" I was like laughing while crying because I was like, "I don't know why I'm crying." My parents are not divorced. I didn't have a childhood that—
Alexa: You're just empathetic.
Nathan: I don't know, but I've watched other movies and I’ve never had—
Alexa: But it was a kid.
Nathan: Yeah. They did a good job. I mean it was really—
Alexa: Maybe that kid was just a stunning performance.
Nathan: Yeah, I remember it being—
Alexa: I had an experience where I cried so hard in a theater I laughed, because I was embarrassed I was crying.
Nathan: What movie?
Alexa: It was—fuck, he has cancer? Joseph Gordon—50/50.
Nathan: 50/50, yeah.
Alexa: I don't know why. I just started sobbing uncontrollably in the theater and I started laughing because I was embarrassed.
Nathan: Then you left?
Alexa: Yeah. It comes out of nowhere, you know?
Nathan: I think it's probably weirder, or it shouldn't be, but to me, it feels weirder if I'm a guy and I'm crying all the time in public.
Nathan: Probably based on just how you’re—
Nathan: Yeah, maybe. I don't—
Alexa: It's so healthy to cry though.
Nathan: There's definitely moments where I feel like I might but then I'll pull it in.
Alexa: See, that would be a beautiful performance.
Nathan: Sure, and I wish I could do that.
Alexa: You can.
Nathan: You believe in me a lot.
Alexa: I do.
Nathan: I mean, I might cry based on your kindness.
Alexa: Cry, it's really healthy to cry. I do feel like you could do, and I'd love to see you in, a dramatic film.
Nathan: Thank you for believing in me. I'm not very good at taking compliments, sorry.
Alexa: Me either. That's why every time you said one I'm quiet.
Nathan: But you were expecting a compliment earlier?
Alexa: No, no, no. It was a joke, it didn't land.
Nathan: So you were saying you pray a lot. Were you raised religious?
Alexa: My grandma, my aunts, they were always really religious, but my mom, she's just more spiritual. My stepdad's dad was Christian, and so they would force us to go to church and I hated it. I'm not religious like that, I'm just spiritual. I just believe in a God, which is in all of us, and angels and fairies and aliens.
Nathan: What does that represent to you?
Alexa: I just think they're beautiful, and I love Jesus, but not as a Christian or a Catholic person.
Nathan: Just, like, as a hot guy?
Alexa: No, just as a human being who sacrificed a lot and who was a messenger. I'm not religious like that. What about you? Do you believe in a higher power?
Nathan: I was raised Jewish.
Alexa: Oh, okay.
Nathan: I went to a Jewish elementary school where you do Bible every morning, or Torah studies.
Alexa: Did you like that?
Nathan: It was just kind of like that was the world I was in. I don't really know what my— I can't tell. I do enjoy the cultural aspect, the social aspect of it and stuff.
Alexa: What's the social aspect of it?
Nathan: Well, there's the holidays where you're with your family and it's a reason for everyone to get together and you go through the traditions of it. I actually don't know really what to believe in terms of God or all the—I just don't know. I feel like I'm not equipped, but I also really—if you do believe strongly in God, I also totally understand that.
Alexa: But have you not had a moment in your life? Have you not ever struggled so hard or something really terrible happened and then you lose all faith and you're like, "What is life?" and then something happens that just makes you believe in something?
Nathan: Yeah, I guess it's just—
Alexa: It's okay if you haven't. I didn't mean to word it that way, but—
Nathan: I think there's a grounding of just being Jewish and having that experience or belief system that's always just there. I understand the purpose it serves, but I think this is getting a little beyond what I can articulate. I know I introduced this subject matter, so it's like now I feel a little bit like I don't know how to articulate beyond what I say.
Alexa: If you're working on a project and everything is going wrong, do you feel like that is your—
Nathan: Fault? Yes.
Alexa: Okay. Do you feel like you can turn it around with switching your mindset or trusting in a higher power?
Nathan: I usually think I got to figure it out.
Alexa: You're more logical.
Alexa: What's your sign?
Nathan: Apparently whatever the date is, it's like—
Alexa: You're a cusp.
Nathan: I'm double or triple or whatever.
Alexa: You're a triple Taurus?
Nathan: Double, or maybe one of the two. What does that mean? Do I—
Nathan: It just means you're bullheaded?
Alexa: Yeah. I don't really know. I just think it's interesting when people are triple or double the sign that they are, but I don't know. Everyone says Taurus’ are stubborn. I think of Taurus—yeah, you're more logical.
Nathan: What is the Taurus trait that you've heard—
Alexa: I just hear the word Taurus, and I automatically think they're more logical.
Nathan: Yeah, I would say that that's definitely a theme with me.
Nathan: I think so.
Alexa: So you wouldn’t—if I was like, "Nathan, we're going to go into this fairy portal.”
Nathan: Fairy portal? What does that mean? Like a terminal?
Alexa: Like a portal, an energetic vortex, an energetic portal that allows spirits from other realms to come through to earth. If I was like, “We're entering here, would you—”
Nathan: And we're leaving the earth, or are we—?
Alexa: If I was just like, “We're going to go into a fairy portal,” would you immediately be like, "Fairies don't exist. There's no portals. Whatever, this is just a place," or would you like, "Oh..."
Nathan: No, I think I would want to know when we're coming back and what's going to happen when we're there. I don't think I would doubt the idea that fairies were real, maybe. If I saw the portal.
Nathan: I have a picture of one that was caught on my camera in my backyard. I'll show it to you later.
Nathan: A real fairy?
Alexa: Mhm. They like spaces that are very lush. If you have a lot of trees and plants and flowers.
Nathan: Are you talking about mosquitoes?
Alexa: [laughs] That's really disrespectful to the fairy realm.
Nathan: I don't know enough about it to offend—
Alexa: I'll show you after. You have a cat, two cats.
Nathan: How do you know this?
Alexa: Because I was being prepped for this, and I was sent a video of you giving a tour of your home.
Nathan: Who prepped you? Why didn't I get prepped?
Alexa: Because she asked your team, "Does Nathan need to be prepped?" And they said, "No, he is prepared to speak to Alexa," which scared me.
Nathan: Well, I just feel like, “Oh, well, we should just talk—”
Alexa: Yeah. I mean honestly, I just watched two videos.
Nathan: I was giving a tour, about my cats?
Alexa: You were giving a tour of your house, which wasn't really a tour. It was just a tour of your hemorrhoid suppositories. And you were yelling at your cats.
Nathan: Oh, yeah. I did this Zoom college—
Alexa: Reddit? Was it with Reddit?
Nathan: No, it was for this college, University of Washington, I think. They had me talk to a professor over Zoom, as a thing.
Alexa: You planted those there. Or do really have those there?
Nathan: I put them there for the joke.
Alexa: Yeah, that's what I mean.
Nathan: I guess I did have them.
Alexa: Okay. But yeah, you were talking about your cat and Jackie was the crazy one.
Nathan: My hemorrhoids aren’t, they're not like—
Alexa: They're not that bad.
Nathan: No, they're not even there.
Alexa: They're not there anymore.
Nathan: I don't even know actually if they're—I probably don't have hemorrhoids, I don't know.
Alexa: I think it's just, you probably don't have them, you just had that there for safety. Some people just have things in their house, like just in case.
Nathan: Yeah, come to think of it, it could have been the previous homeowner who left them, now that I'm really thinking it through, because I guess I don't have them. Yeah.
Alexa: Yeah. Or for guests. It's nice to have things like that for guests, like an emergency kit.
Nathan: Yeah, that is a benefit to have that.
Alexa: But you were saying Jackie was the crazy cat.
Nathan: Yeah, Jackie. I think she's maybe mentally ill.
Alexa: What does she look like?
Nathan: She's gray.
Alexa: Is she big or small?
Nathan: She's small.
Nathan: She's been throwing up half her meals lately. I don't—
Alexa: Is she okay?
Nathan: She had a urinary thing that I took her to the vet for a little bit ago. When I bring her outside, she'll eat grass nonstop, and then she'll throw it up.
Alexa: Oh yeah, they throw it up.
Nathan: Also she would yell constantly. If you're not in the same room, she'll just yell nonstop.
Alexa: [laughs] So does my cat.
Alexa: Yeah. If I'm not in the same room or if I have the door closed, he's screeching. Then I just open the door and he just runs around like a maniac.
Nathan: Yeah, I think they just want to be where you are, but I don't know. I'm not really a cat person, but I've grown to love them.
Alexa: Why do you have them?
Nathan: Because I inherited them from a previous—
Alexa: A previous relationship. Yeah. It's good of you to keep them.
Nathan: There was a point where, because we were just fostering them at first, we had the understanding that they were going to be adopted after, but we got them when they were little, really little.
Alexa: Did you feed them with a bottle? Did you rub them to make them go pee and poop?
Nathan: Like a tinfoil ball, they’d play with and stuff. But then, at a certain point, it came time, the thing was up and it's time to send them off.
Alexa: How do you do that? I could never do that.
Nathan: Well, that's the thing. When the people came, I was like—
Alexa: You were like, get the fuck out.
Nathan: I was like they're not going with that.
Alexa: Maybe they were really down and out and emotionally needed a friend, which were the cats.
Nathan: No, that wasn't the vibe I got from them. It felt reckless and I was like, no.
Alexa: Your father instincts kicked in.
Nathan: So then I kept them, but you know what? They make me laugh every day because they're so funny in how annoying they are.
Alexa: Yeah. Do you get on the floor and play with them? I lick my cat.
Nathan: Oh. Really?
Alexa: Yeah. I lick the top of his head because moms will do that. Because I found him in my backyard. Eyes weren't even open yet. I want him to just feel like he's having the full experience of his cat mom.
Nathan: Well, mine are brother and sister, so they lick each other. Actually it’s mainly just Rocket licking Jackie. Jackie doesn't really lick back.
Alexa: Well, Nathan.
Alexa: You have a new show on HBO, can you tell us about it?
Nathan: Well, there is a show. I'm not the best promoter, but I'm producing a show for this New York filmmaker named John Wilson, who does these first-person documentaries that are really funny and also sad. I was a fan of his stuff and I asked him if he wanted to make a show, and I've been helping him make it. This is my first thing, just doing a producer thing.
Alexa: How do you like that?
Nathan: I feel like I get really invested in whatever I'm—Even if it's supposed to be like I could not be as involved. I get attached to it, and I want to help or pitch ideas.
Alexa: Well, if you weren't, then that would mean you don't really care about it.
Nathan: Yeah. The experience overall has been very—I think the show is great. I'm really curious to see what people think about it.
Alexa: Is it done? Will it be out soon?
Nathan: It's almost done. We're just finishing remote editing. Alexa, tell me when is Season 2 of Euphoria, when can the fans expect that?
Alexa: The fans will be waiting a really long time.
Nathan: Really? But it's going to be made, right?
Alexa: It will be made eventually, at some point.
Nathan: Now, which character in Euphoria would you most likely be friends with in real life?
Alexa: I don't want to say that because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
Nathan: But they’re just characters.
Alexa: I'd be friends with all of them.
Nathan: Even the bad guy?
Alexa: Who's a bad guy?
Nathan: Isn't like, your boyfriend is a bad guy, right?
Alexa: He's just misunderstood.
Nathan: Okay, because I think he—
Alexa: [laughs] He's a bad guy.
Nathan: No, okay. He's misunderstood.
Alexa: No, Maddy would say he's misunderstood. He does a great job playing that character, right?
Nathan: Yeah. I mean, I think everyone is great.
Alexa: What was your favorite episode, 5?
Nathan: That one had the best mise en scène.
Alexa: [laughs] I'm sorry.
Nathan: Are you okay?
Alexa: I'm okay. I’m okay.
Nathan: What's next for you? When you're 70 years old, what type of roles do you want to be playing? Where do you see yourself in 50 years?
Alexa: I just hope I get to play a role like Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence.
Nathan: And that would be, like, the old person role.
Alexa: I mean, it doesn't have to be that old, but that would be—I like kind of crazy— that's why like Sharon Stone in Casino. I like really chaotic. I'd really love to play just the most chaotic version of myself. It could be subtle, but crazy.
Nathan: When was the last time you did something where you were like, "Oh, I didn't think I was capable of that." When's the last time your real self surprised yourself?
Alexa: Honestly, the film where I had to be happy and then cry in the middle of it.
Nathan: You were just impressed that you were a better actor than you thought you were?
Alexa: I'm not going to say I was a better actor. I just was like, that was a new challenge for me, because I didn't have my usual—the scene didn't start emotional, where you could get there. It was like, I'm excited and then it went there. I probably did terrible in that role anyway, but at least I cried.
Nathan: What was that? That's not out yet?
Alexa: It's called Mainstream. Gia Coppola directed.
Nathan: Well, and when can we look forward to that dropping?
Alexa: I don't know, probably next year.
Alexa: Yeah. In these times, we don't know what's happening.
Nathan: Yeah. Have you been okay during these uncertain times?
Alexa: Yeah, I've been okay. I've been up and down. I've had a lot of breakthroughs. I've become very internal during this time. I've cried a lot, and I've had a lot of fun too.
Nathan: What were your breakthroughs?
Alexa: We'd have to have a whole other hour to talk about that. Because I think before this I was working so much and just going, going, going, going. I get obsessed with work and I just want to do that all day, and I had nothing to do for the first time in a long time. Can only imagine what one thinks about during that time.
Nathan: Yeah. Well, I think this has been a success. Right?
Alexa: We're really good at this.
Nathan: Because I think we we both didn't know how it would go.
Alexa: We love to speak. I was really nervous.
Nathan: We hadn't met before this, and I do think this was a huge success.
Alexa: Yeah. I hope so.