Earlier I had a chat with the talented actress Natasha Calis who’s starring in the NBC series “Nurses”. She plays a young nurse who dedicates her life to helping others along with figuring herself out. We talked about how Natasha plays characters with vastly different personalities and how her experience as an actress has helped her portray them flawlessly. We also spoke about how your co stars help you better portray your characters.
AM: Since you’ve been acting professionally since the age of 7, what inspired you to become an actor at such a young age?
NC: It’s something that just came so naturally to me from such an early age. I always had such a fascination for movies and would watch them over and over again studying the stories and characters. I would re-enact them and pretend I was one of the characters in that world. It’s just something I loved doing before I even knew what “acting” was.
AM: Nurses is an amazing show and has become a hit amongst fans, how does it feel being a part of it?
NC: It’s an incredible honor to be a part of a show that centers on nurses. There are so many medical shows out there that seem to only follow doctors and I never understood that. It feels really important to tell stories about nurses and all of the things that come along with the job that people might not realize.
AM: You play “Ashley Collins” who is a very interesting character on the show, what drew you to this role?
NC: I loved her complexity and depth. There’s so much more to her as a person than you might originally think. She’s strong and fierce but also so caring and empathetic. I really loved that about her.
AM: Do you find any similarities between yourself and the character you play and how the audience could relate to your character?
NC: Ashley would do anything to protect the people she cares about and I think we’re very similar in that way. Once she lets you in, you’ve got a friend in her for life.
AM: You have an amazing cast surrounding you on the set of nurses, how important is it to have a good cast around you, and does it better help you to express your character?
NC: An amazing cast and an incredible group of writers and a team of people working behind the scenes. We all trust and support each other. You can’t ask for anything more as an actor. It makes the job effortless and I’m so honored to be a part of this show.
AM: You have been a part of many independent film productions as well, do you feel that independent films provide budding actors a good platform to showcase themselves?
NC: Yes absolutely. Indies have such a special place in my heart because I had the privilege of being a part of some incredible ones when I first started acting. I learned so much being on those sets, working alongside the actors, and watching the filmmakers. Those experiences shaped me into the actor I am and gave me an even deeper passion for the industry than I ever thought was possible.
AM: You have an acclaimed TV as well as film career. What are the major differences between TV and film when it comes to acting and portraying your character?
NC: I wouldn’t say there are any differences as far as portraying a character. I think the differences come into play with the filming style and rhythm involved in that process but as far as acting goes, for me, it’s character dependent regardless if it’s for film or TV.
AM: Working on the film has made you work alongside well-acclaimed actors, how does it inspire you to share the big screen with such actors?
NC: It’s a huge honor. I’ve learned so much from the actors I’ve had the privilege of working with and it’s so inspiring to see their professionalism and passion. It drives me to work hard at being the best actor I can be all while remaining true to myself.
AM: You are best known for your role in “The Possession.” Tell us a bit about what goes behind portraying horror on screen?
NC: You would walk onto that set and not know it was a horror movie. Being so young all while filming such intense material, snapping in and out of character was a natural occurrence. I didn’t know any different. I would film a crazy scene and then skip off to grab some candy before heading over to the school trailer. I learned the most about my range as an actor while filming that movie and I think it really paved the road for the depths I could go.
AM: You have also played a variety of characters with different personalities throughout your career, how do you truly make a character your own, and what is your acting process when it comes to portraying a peculiar character?
NC: My process is ever-changing and really depends on the character. One thing that remains consistent, however, is that I give a slice of myself to every character I play.
AM: Even though nurses is a hit, do you plan on getting back to film anytime in the near future?
NC: YES. I love making movies.
AM: As we know you have an interest in directing as well, are there any directors whose style of filmmaking has inspired you?
NC: So many. Martin Scorsese, Greta Gerwig, Martin McDonagh, Bong Joon-ho, Regina King. To name a few.
AM: What’s your message for JAMO Readers?
NC: I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this time and is enjoying watching Nurses Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC!
The Interview was originally published in JAMO Magazine March Issue 2021