Born in Dodge City, Kansas Nick Holmes is a poet/photographer/actor who has appeared on television series such as Gilmore Girls and the Hulu exclusive Quick Draw. He has also graced the silver screen in such films as Super, The Giant Mechanical Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Did you grow up in Dodge City or did you move from there before having the chance? What are some of your most fond memories from your childhood?
I lived in Dodge City until I was seventeen and it was a great place to grow up. The best memories I have of it include the landscape, the carefree feeling that only a child in a small community can know, and the burgeoning Mexican culture.
Do you think your being from there came in handy while playing Frank James on Quick Draw? What is it like to work on an improvised Western comedy? Is improv something you would like to pursue further?
Quick Draw is set in Great Bend, Kansas – which is a real place that’s only about eighty miles from my home town. It was cool to be on set and see things like directional signs with “Dodge City” on them. Being in a western is about the most fun you can have as an actor; you get to dress up, say cool things, ride horses, carry a gun – it’s a playground. Add the element of improv to that, especially alongside John Lehr (also a Kansan) and Nancy Hower, and you have an environment that is such a delightful fantasy that it never felt like work. Since the end of Quick Draw – I’ve done another project for John and Nancy that just got picked up by HBO. So hopefully they don’t screw that up for me…because I love them.
Do you happen to remember what you very first favorite movie was?
My first film was a campy vampire flick called The Thirst – the film’s distributor later changed the title to Blood Wars and made a poster for it with three mercenaries carrying sniper rifles…even though it was a comedy set on a college campus and there’s not a single gun (or mercenary) in the film. It was a lot of fun to do and quite an education. I still have my vampire teeth somewhere.
When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
A level of disdain washes over me when I hear actors say “I always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can remember.” But the more I think about it as I get older, it’s absolutely true for me. Anything else I wanted to do along the way was just another path that I thought might give me the same attention fix.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an actor? What do you love most about it?
The hardest part for me, specifically being a film/tv actor, is enduring the downtime. There are often long periods between jobs with little to encourage or satisfy the desire to participate in the acting experience. But that does make the days at work all the sweeter and that is my favorite part – to be on set.
Do you think the general public tends to underestimate how much dedication goes into learning the trade?
In America, yes. Even American actors underestimate how much dedication is required to learn the trade. Los Angeles is full of charismatic good looking people who have no idea what they’re doing. You can meet them at expensive coffee shops any hour of the day.
Who do you consider to be some of the greatest actors to ever live?
My favorite film actors are a mixed bunch of the charismatic and the poetic; Peter O’Toole, Gene Hackman, Sidney Poitier, Vanessa Redgrave, Newman, Connery, Freeman, Streep, Katharine Hepburn…I could go on and on.
What led you to write poetry? Do you think world could use more poets in days such as these?
It’s something I rediscovered about myself in a long period between the end of a marriage and the beginning of a love affair. The world probably doesn’t need any more poets – it needs to notice the good ones again. I read a lot of beautiful poetry on platforms like tumblr and even more bad poetry – there’s little commercial market for it anymore. It’s a terrific art form when it’s done well. The great rise above the good at the point that the idea being expressed is so eloquently distilled that you want them to dance on the notion a little longer than they do – leaving you with the feeling that you’ve been personally understood, or, even better, that you understand yourself a little better.
You are also a photographer. Are the photos you caption on your website all your photos?
I am a portrait photographer which is quite a different subject matter than my blog.
My tumblr blog, “Nick Holmes Is The Most Attractive Man I Have Ever Slept With”, is an agglomeration of stuff I find on The Internet. I originally started it as something completely different, lots of short films that inspired me and scientific things I thought were cool…then it morphed into what it is now – a lot of cat photos (that I didn’t take).
There do seem to be a lot of cats on said site, why do you think felines have such mass appeal when it comes to the internet?
Because cats don’t care.
As someone who has worked in both television and film do you prefer one more than the other? How do the two differ most?
The main difference between television and film, from the point of view of an actor who has never worked more than a couple weeks at a time on a series, is the efficiency of the production. Television is a moving machine and there’s not time to second guess things. Film is a slower more deliberate process. I couldn’t pick a favorite – they’re both gratifying in different ways.
What was it like to work on Guardians of the Galaxy? Did any of you know going in that it would be as popular as it is?
It’s better to be lucky than to be anything else. I was very lucky that my good friend James Gunn, who wrote and directed the film, found a place for me in the movie. Knowing James and his wonderfully empathetic writing style as well as his lifelong love of comic books, I was certain that Guardians would be a great film that people would respond to…and they certainly did.
Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?
I taught a squirrel, that I’m pretty sure was Abe Lincoln reincarnated, how to ride a bicycle. It was very rewarding.
What would you say is the best advice anyone ever gave you? (who was it)
Every time I hear this question I can only think of song lyrics.
At the risk of sounding (even more) trite – a girl named Jordan, who had a crush on me when we were kids, suggested I get contact lenses. That ridiculous little change effected my life drastically because it gave me confidence. I make a lot of mistakes – but I do so confidently. Thanks Jordan.
Do you have a dream project you’d most like to bring into being?
There’s no screenplay sitting in my head that I haven’t birthed…but I daydream often about being a Bond villain, my first gallery show, and making out with Grace Jones.
What do you think is key to a life well lived?
The ability to be relaxed and really al dente spaghetti.
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished a film called The Little Migration that I hope will make it out into the world next year. My book of poetry Time Spent Falling is nearly finished and will probably live it’s life on Amazon and as an ebook. There’s been a lot of encouragement toward having a gallery show of my portrait work – but I haven’t given that a voice yet.
Anything you’d like to say in closing?
Follow me on instagram. I’m obsessed with it. @narcissusholmes