The Show Must Go On… Eventually
The arrival of the coronavirus immediately brought everything to a standstill. Businesses closed, schools sent students home and most nonessential employees began working remotely. There was a “new normal,” and even Hollywood felt the sudden change.
Actor Nate Corddry ’00 said, “In terms of work, I’ve had both the good and the bad. I worked for several months on the new Perry Mason show for HBO, and we wrapped up production in mid-February. So by the skin of their teeth, they were able to release the show without a pause. Unfortunately, I was also working on an Apple series titled ‘For All Mankind’ and still have one more episode to shoot. In fact, my last day of shooting was supposed to be Friday, March 13. That was the day when Los Angeles went into its first steps of a lockdown. So now I wait for the state to enter into Phase 3 of the reopening, so I can shoot my final scenes of the season.”
Corddry said his love for acting began while studying communications at Colby-Sawyer. He took a class with Professor Jerry Bliss, and credits Bliss with giving him the foundation for what he practices everyday while working in a play, film or television.
“Jerry was, and is, the real deal, and I am forever indebted to his patience, expertise and constant unwavering support of me. I did not make it easy for him at times, and Jerry was always my advocate,” Corddry said. “Jerry gave me the confidence and support that every young artist needs. Everyone needs an advocate early on, to push, nurture and support them. Jerry and his wife, Janet, were those people, along with many other faculty members. Whether it was specific teachings on acting technique, or learning how important it is to be prepared, Jerry gave me my first start into what the professional world would be like. I owe him everything.”
While at CSC, Corddry was involved in a play titled “Guarding the Bridge.” He admits that the impact that performance had on him showed him for the first time in his acting career the power of theater and how it can change people’s minds. Taking part in that play showed Corddry the importance of storytelling and it was this experience that convinced him it was the only thing he wanted to do with his life.
After graduating in 2000, Corddry moved to L.A. and played a role in the NBC series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” It was a highly competitive job to get, and put him on the map for the first time.
“If they had not cast an unknown actor for that part, I would not be in the position I am in now,” Corddry said.
Corddry has worked on numerous television shows and movies. Some of his favorites include: “The Daily Show,” “Studio 60,” “The Pacific,” “30 Rock,” “Mom,” “Harry’s Law,” “Mindhunter” and “The Heat.” He also spends every summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival. Although he says all jobs have been wonderful, he said working on the set of “The Heat” was perhaps the most fun job he has had.
When asked if he has a favorite actor/actress he has enjoyed working alongside, Corddry said there are too many he has learned from. He said, “Sam Rockwell taught be a lot on ‘Fosse/Verdon.’ David Fincher taught me a lot on ‘Mindhunter.’ Tina Fey was so great to watch on ‘30 Rock.’ Watching Kathy Bates was my graduate school. There are just too many great actors to name.”
Corddry said he realizes that things will be different when he returns to the set. He said, “There will be daily testing of everyone on the set, staggered call times for everyone, strictly enforced social distancing rules and most likely the only time I will not be wearing a mask will be while the camera is actually rolling. I’d also expect fewer takes to be shot, so the silver lining may be shorter hours on the set.”
He admits his worry lies more with theater artists moving forward. He said, “I think it will be at least until next year that theaters will begin putting up productions, and even then, the box office will be much lower because fewer people will be allowed into the theater to see the play. There will be a lot of professional theaters going out of business in the next several months. Donate to your local theaters if you have the means. They need your help.”
Since Corddry has not been on the set, he has been keeping busy in other ways, finding things to do during the quarantine. He has been taking classes through the Harvard Extension School for the past several years in hopes of obtaining a master’s degree in English, and is currently taking a class now. He also meditates twice a day and tries to exercise daily.
“I have experimented with new BBQ recipes and working on large Lego projects. I am reading a ton and am currently in two book clubs. I meet with friends and family via Zoom. I’m just like everyone else. Trying to manage my anxieties and worries during these challenging times. I am lucky to have a wonderful partner who I’ve been quarantined with,” Corddry said.
Corddry said he thoroughly enjoys his profession. His advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting is this: “Be fearless. Take risks. Don’t let anyone tell you what kind of life you should lead. Being an artist is near impossible, but that shouldn’t stop you from living your life. Also, wear sunscreen.”
And an interview with a Hollywood star would not be complete without knowing what his favorite movie of all time is. Corddry said, “Impossible to answer! But if there was a gun to my head, I’d say ‘Jaws.’ It’s a perfect film.”