Born in London to a Greek mother and raised in Greece, actor Nathan Thomas plays the character of Eddie Whittall in the movie Smyrna My Beloved (2021), a movie about one of the most horrific tragedies that occurred in recent Greek history – the 1922 burning and destruction of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir).
Thomas is known for his roles in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Man of Steel (2013) and Godzilla (2014).
After completing his bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from the Queens Margaret University of Edinburgh, Thomas was given a leading role in the play Apt Pupil by Stephen King directed by Zafeiris Haitidis in a theatre in Athens and shortly afterwards was given a supporting role in the movie The Prophet by Dimitris Poulos.
He then moved to London to further pursue his career in the movie industry and has participated in a feature role in a couple of series as well as commercials.
Thomas has worked closely with actors such as Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in ‘Before Midnight’ which was filmed in Southern Greece in the Peloponnese and his experience extends to behind the camera as well, working in animation and visual effects.
Was acting your first choice or did it come after a long period of reckoning?
I fell in love with theatre and performance at the age of sixteen when I joined the school’s drama class and firstly, I was interested in becoming a director. However, when I went to university, I was advised by one of the professors to first try out acting and then make a decision about directing. It made sense at the time because even if I had ended up not liking the performing aspect. I would have at least gained the knowledge of how actors work and the process they go through to put on a good performance. But it seems acting won me over and continues to do so to this very day.
Were your parents supportive of your career choice?
Yes. They have always been supportive of my career choice(s) and I am incredibly grateful to them every single day of my life. A thank you is not merely good enough to express my gratitude to them for all sacrifices they had made out of love for me. Therefore, I try to repay them with love! That doesn’t mean that they weren’t worried about me because we all know the hardship actors face in life when choosing this sort of path. So, they advised me to have a backup plan just in case everything went south which I ended up doing as well.
Did you receive advice early in your career from other actors?
I received quite a few in the early stages of my career but the one that really stood out for me was from the lovely Julie Delpy, whom I had the chance to work with years ago in the movie ‘Before Midnight’ which was shot in Greece. She told me “Be patient and good things will come at the right time and the right place.”
That’s what I did, I worked on my patience, which allowed me to work on my craft but also taught me to not be disappointed every time I didn’t land a part or role. She also predicted at what age I would take part as an actor in a big production: “30 or 31.” she said. And so, it happened. At the age of 31, I took part in Greece’s biggest movie production ‘Smyrna, My Beloved’ (2021).
You must have been in awe of some of these huge stars you have worked with when you were new to showbiz.
Definitely. Antony Hopkins was and still is my all-time favorite. There aren’t enough words to describe the artistic mind of this man and I truly hope I get the chance to sit down and have a good chat with him one day.
Looking back on your career, do you have any regrets?
I wouldn’t say that I have, as odd as it may sound because I believe that everything happens for a reason. Even when we make a wrong decision, there is always a higher purpose behind the reason for making that decision which can help us grow spiritually and mentally as individuals.
How did you find yourself in Greece?
My mother is Greek and at the age of three, my parents decided we should move to Greece for a better future. I mean, who wouldn’t want to move to such a beautiful country, right? Therefore, we ended up traveling from London to Athens by car, a journey I still have a few memories of, such as sleeping at the back of the car squashed between my beloved older brother and sister. It is a journey that I really want to relive with them, especially now after so many years. And knowing how crazy and different we all are in my family. I’m sure it will be an unforgettable journey with plenty of highs and a few lows.
Do you prefer performing on stage, on TV or in the cinema?
To be honest, I love all three but I do prefer performing in the cinema only because of its further attention to detail and because so far I have experienced tougher situations/challenges when performing in cinema. Personally, I really do enjoy a good challenge for it helps me grow more and more as a person and as an artist and the cinema has given me such memorable challenges that really helped my craft.
What occupies your time when you’re not working?
Taking care of my beloved ones and reading. It’s not an easy task to take good care and to truly love someone and yes it does take up a lot of our time-some would even argue a whole lifetime-but in the end the rewards are greater than you could ever imagine. The peace and serenity your heart is left with after every kind and loving action is indescribable and priceless. As for the reading part, I am currently studying Religion at the King’s College University of London, which has also fascinated me from a really young age as well but perhaps that is a discussion for another time.
Many actors believe that going to a casting call is degrading once they have a strong bio, a process that they shouldn’t have to go through. What do you think about this?
I think everyone should be auditioning for a part regardless of their strong or weak bio. If some go through more casting call stages than others simply because of a stronger bio, really doesn’t bother me. But to find it degrading? I disagree. Once you consider yourself top of the best, that is exactly the moment you have lost it. Because in this craft, there is not a day that goes by without learning something new. And when you consider yourself the best you automatically claim you know all there is about acting and shut the door to anything new.
What are some of the past and recent characters that you have played?
I would start with my first appearance on stage in a theatrical adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Apt Pupil’ where I played one of the lead characters, Todd Bowden. He was a character I really enjoyed playing because he was very twisted in a sense and as I mentioned before, I do love a good challenge.
As for my most recent role, I played the character of Eddie Whittall in the movie ‘Smyrna, My Beloved’ by Mimi Denise and Martin Sherman, a movie that tries to remind people to never forget their history and to help them understand a bit better all those who flee their countries to save themselves from the devastations of war. The movie accomplishes that by taking us back in time, to one of the most horrific tragedies that occurred in recent Greek history; the burning and destruction of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir). This once cosmopolitan city was turned suddenly into dust. It can be seen as a dire warning to future generations as well.
What is your mantra?
Trust in God.
Photo credits: Jordan Eagle, Vasia Anagnostopoulou