Nick Krause: Breakout Star!

Nick Krause: Breakout Star!

It was a young Austin, Texas actor’s dream come true to be cast alongside George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in the darkly funny new film The Descendants. 19-year-old Nick Krause (pronounced Krou-see) had a blast in Hawaii playing the sweet but dim-witted Sid the surfer/stoner in the film. He’s been noticed bigtime and the offers are flowing in.

Nick is actually the total opposite of his character having taken college classes at age 10 and forming a science club at school. He also plays guitar and was actually in a School of Rock! This dude is so cool! He gives the best “pitch” to get teens interested in science I’ve ever heard and talks about a truly romantic date and hanging with Hawaii high-schoolers.

TeenHollywood: Everybody is raving about you as Shailene Woodley’s surfer dude friend/boyfriend Sid in The Descendants. Has all the sudden attention been just crazy?

Shailene Woodley as Alexandra and Nick Krause as Sid in "The Descendants." | Fox SearchlightNick: It has been pretty wild with all the good reviews about the film. It’s been really cool.

TeenHollywood: Shailene told us that you guys were both big on the outdoors so every spare minute you had in Hawaii you went hiking or snorkeling or kayaking or jumping off waterfalls and bonded that way. True?  What else did you do?

Nick: It is true. It was awesome being outside in Hawaii. There was so much stuff to do. There were hikes. You could go to the top of a 400 foot waterfall and go surfing or be waterboarding down a river or climbing up a ravine. It was amazing. There’s such a wealth of natural beauty to explore. Growing up in Austin, I had no idea how much there was in Hawaii. I always thought of it as a tourist destination but to get hit with all the culture and people and music at once and really see it all was amazing.

TeenHollywood: Do you and Shai stay in touch?

Nick: We stay pretty busy but we do keep in touch. We got to be pretty good friends on the island.

TeenHollywood: You did a great job shifting from the clueless, kinda carefree stoner type guy to very serious when you talk to George’s character about your dad dying. I know that’s just called “acting” but was it difficult to achieve that kind of balance with this character? 

Nick: It definitely was one of the things I was thinking about but it was made really easy by Alexander Payne, the director. He just did an amazing job working with us as actors. He came to set knowing exactly what he wanted.

Nick Krause and Shailene Woodley in "The Descendants." | Fox SearchlightTeenHollywood: Tell me something funny that happened on set between scenes.

Nick: Just they’d be setting up the camera and we’d have me and Shai or Amara (the little girl playing Shai’s little sis) punching each other in the arm. That’s about it.

TeenHollywood: What was the first cool thing you bought with your earnings from The Descendants?

Nick: I took out a chunk of the money and got myself a really nice laptop. I’d never had a nice computer before and I wanted to see what it was like. I went all out. I went to this gaming laptop company and they built one all souped up for me. But, a couple of months later, I sold it to another guy for parts so I could build my own computer which I have now. 

TeenHollywood: So you are a techy guy who can build computers? Cool.

Nick: Yeah. I’m seriously a nerd, man.

TeenHollywood: And you are sweet cuz you have a kitty cat, right?

Nick: I do. His name is Supercat. I adopted him out here (in L.A). I went to a shelter and he was the last one they had left.

TeenHollywood: I assume you didn’t grow up surfing or loving a beach lifestyle if you were raised in Texas.  How did you get into Sid’s head?Shailene Woodley as Alexandra, George Clooney as Matt King, Amara Miller as Scottie and Nick Krause as Sid in "The Descendants." | Fox Searchlight

Nick: One of the cool things that Alexander did for me is schedule a couple of meet and greets and tour of local Hawaii high schools so I went to see the grounds and meet the kids, see what they were like and chill with them. So, a lot of Sid’s whole performance really is me trying to channel as much of those Hawaii kids that I met as I could.

TeenHollywood: Texans are really big fans of the land and wide open spaces so did you relate to George’s character really wanting to preserve his family’s land?

Nick: Being from Texas, I have a couple of friends who have family-owned ranches that have been around for generations.  After a while, it becomes another member of the family. It’s the heirloom, the legacy they hand down across generations so it really means a lot for a family to have that tied to their name.

TeenHollywood: You took college classes at age 10 and founded a science club called TACOS (Totally Awesome and Cool Organization of Science). What can you say to encourage other teens to get into science? What is cool about it for you?

Nick: OMG, dude there is so much that is cool. It’s infinite. People put together the pedals that you step on when you want to turn the distortion up on your guitar. That was made by an electrical engineer. People who make your pudding mix.. that’s science! Your car.. it’s a combustion reaction. You can balance out that equation. It’s all science. Everything you see, everything you are part of…. you, yourself are a scientific relationship, fusion, particles. It’s the breadth of the universe. Everything is made from it. Everything can be discovered through it. Why wouldn’t you not pay attention to science. It’s the coolest thing ever!

TeenHollywood: Wow! Well-said. So you play guitar and have been in bands. What music artist or band are you into listening to lately?

Nick Krause in "The Descendants." | Fox SearchlightNick:  I’m into pretty much anything whether it’s Ben Harper or Black Sabbath. I listen to it all. I really like playing a lot of folky stuff myself. On a guitar it’s easy to make a one man band if you’re playing in an open area it sounds really big so I like to play around with that.  

When I was younger I joined this thing called the Paul Green School of Rock. It’s basically just like that Jack Black movie. We were a bunch of kids and had these instruments but didn’t really know what to do with them. We would get our music lessons and work on shows. We might do a Black Sabbath show or a Led Zeppelin show or a ‘70’s Prod rock show. Every week I would be playing around Austin or Texas or being on a national tour. It was really cool.

TeenHollywood: Do you keep up your music?

Nick: Well, since I’m now out here (L.A. area) trying to do the acting thing, I’m really trying to apply myself to that so it’s more of a side thing but I pick up my guitar all the time. Sid was actually going to say “I’m a decent tennis player” but because Alexander wanted us saying everything as humanly as we could, I asked him if I could say “guitar player” instead so that was really cool.

TeenHollywood: What must a girl never do on a date with you or she won’t get a second date?

Nick: My pet peeve is people who smack their food and don’t close their mouth. So if you are on your first date with Nick Krause… keep your food in your mouth [we laugh] and it will be smooth sailing! I’ve actually had little bits of crumbs come and smack me in the eye.  Be classy, act snazzy, be chill.

TeenHollywood: What is your idea of really fun things to do on a first date?

Nick: Go find something that neither of you have ever seen before. The best first dates I’ve been on with anyone I’ve ever been with, we’d go out into the forest, hopping through hills, sneaking around a theater just to see what the backend of (the screen) looks like. Creating an experience that that night, between the two of you, you know it’s just unique. You’ll never have it again. That’s how you know a date is really working.Nick Krause as Sid, Amara Miller as Scottie, Shailene Woodley as Alexandra and George Clooney as Matt King in "The Descendants." | Fox Searchlight

TeenHollywood: Wow, that is romantic! What character in history or in a novel would you love to play some day?

Nick: I would love to play Albert Einstein. He’s my hero. He completely revolutionized everything when he put out the general theory of relativity. Einstein or a world leader; a President or a Prime Minister. 

I think the positions those guys get put into are so unique, such powerful and dramatic situations to be in, something that you can make a really great character out of. 

TeenHollywood: Who would you just die to work with?

Nick: Oh man, if I could work with anyone in the entire world it would be Darren Aronofsky, the director of Black Swan. I love all of his work. It’s pretty dark but also amazing.

TeenHollywood: What is The Unlimited 12 Year Project that you are involved with? 

Nick: I am in that. It’s kind of cool. It’s being shot over 12 years, 12 ten minute episodes for a grand total of 120 minutes. We’re following the same cast, the same film family; Ethan Hawk, Patricia Arquette are the parents then the kid and they are shooting them over the course of 12 years and watching them grow organically.

There’s minimal make-up on the set. Trying to catch a real story of a boy growing up from age 6 to 18. I play his friend’s older brother that takes him out to a house my parents are building and get him drunk for the first time. We help write the new scenes, asking kids what they would actually say.

TeenHollywood: Cool. So what is next for you?

Nick: There’s lots of stuff falling into place; a lot of stuff in the future but there’s not anything else I can talk about right now. But, a lot of stuff.

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