Wonderland.

NAT WOLFF

The American actor and musician talks about his new film The Kill Team, and taking Alexander Skarsgård to his first Hanukkah…

Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Red

(Left) Jacket and pants WAN HUNG, turtleneck DIRTY PINEAPPLE, shoes GOLA, ring PATTARAPHAN, necklace ACTORS OWN. (Right) Jacket and robe DIRTY PINEAPPLE, tank HANES, pants ASPESI, shoes GOLA, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN.

Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Red
(Left) Jacket and pants WAN HUNG, turtleneck DIRTY PINEAPPLE, shoes GOLA, ring PATTARAPHAN, necklace ACTORS OWN. (Right) Jacket and robe DIRTY PINEAPPLE, tank HANES, pants ASPESI, shoes GOLA, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN.

Nat Wolff, the American actor and musician, has been a household name for Gen Z-ers ever since his humble beginnings on The Naked Brothers’ Band, with brother Alex of Hereditary fame, way back in 2005. Avoiding the fate of so many child stars before him, Wolff has aged with exceptional grace and an uncompromisable desire to give meaning to the roles he takes.

A coming of age darling, the Californian native’s prolific teen movie career began for many of us in the moody suburbs of Gia Coppola’s directorial debut Palo Alto. Wolff has since gone on to star in many of the genre’s other high profile offerings, such as tearjerker The Fault In Our Stars and John Green’s second book-to-film adaptation, Paper Towns, where he delivers a strong performance as the Cara Delevingne infatuated “Q”.

For his latest role in A24’s The Kill Team, Wolff ditches the angst and euphoria of high school to serve his country in the barren war zones of Afghanistan. Starring alongside Alexander Skarsgård, Wolff plays Private Adam Whinfield, a 21 year old soldier stationed near Kandahar, who with the help of his father, attempts to uncover a series of horrific war crimes perpetrated by the members of his division during their occupation of the Middle East. The film is a cautious look at the injustices of power rife in the military, it’s release coming at a more poignant time than ever with whistleblower Chelsea Manning still facing indefinite detention for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Manning was pardoned by Barack Obama in 2012 after leaking 700,000 classified military files to the political news website.

With gritty prison drama Semper Fi also out this month, we sat down with the actor to talk about getting into character, breaking his brother out of a cell, and where he’s taking his career next…

Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Contrast
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Sitting
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Fringe

Jacket MORSE, shirt DAVID HART, tank HANES, pants CALVIN LOU, shoes GOLA, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN.

Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Contrast
Jacket MORSE, shirt DAVID HART, tank HANES, pants CALVIN LOU, shoes GOLA, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN.
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Sitting
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Fringe

It feels like we’ve witnessed a 360 with your career, you started with high school rom-coms and now The Kill Team, what’s been the main reason behind this?
I feel like it’s been a somewhat natural progression just from being a high schooler. I started really working in film when I was 16/17, those were really the roles that were available, and also that was probably closer to where my heart was then. After a certain amount of time ‘coming of age’, I had to stop coming of age and start being somebody in a particular situation.

Do you feel more in your skin with the things you’re doing now or do you feel more challenged?
I felt a certain degree of challenge every step of the way, but what I would say now is that I’ve played enough teen romance roles where if I were to do that again not only would it not be challenging anymore, I think I would look a little out of place. But also, in terms of The Kill Team, I did feel like it was probably the most important movie that I had ever been a part of, pretty much due to the fact its about telling the truth under difficult circumstances and I feel like in the current climate we’re in that’s incredibly important.

Is that what drew you to the role? We’ve noticed a lot of your upcoming roles are based around military service, can you tell us why that is?
I did feel like I had an opportunity as an actor that I was so lucky to get these opportunities with Paper Towns and The Fault In Our Stars. In a way the world has changed since I made those films and even I’ve changed in how I view making art. In that I think I’ve been drawn to things that hopefully can move conversations forward, and it seems something like The Kill Team is more in that ballpark. But also in doing research for these roles, I didn’t think I could have more respect for the people who serve. Just to play army in a movie is hard, you can’t imagine what its like in reality.

How did you train for the films – it’s obviously very emotionally gruelling – what was the most challenging aspect?
Luckily my character was sort of the scrawny one, so I didn’t have to put on a bunch of weight or anything. But just the two weeks of training we did was super intense, psychologically it was pretty draining. I spent a little time with Adam, whom my character is based off, and stayed with him in Seattle. I already would have felt some responsibility but especially from meeting him I felt a real responsibility to go as deep as I could into that world. His story is really upsetting, because he got to a point where he did compromise some of his morals, because he had to. That’s a really hard thing to live with, and getting to spend time with him, he’s a really complicated guy.

How was it starring against opposite Alexander Skarsgård? He looks absolutely terrifying in the film.
He’s absolutely terrifying in real life. I’m kidding. You know, he’s such a nice guy, actually after the movie I brought him to his first Hanukkah. So if he converts to Judaism, I’ll take credit. I think he’s really such a great actor and also he’s so physically imposing, he’s so tall that I think it does some of the work for me.

Moving on to Semper Fi, it looks like a super gritty, gruelling film to be a part of. You have this insane bond with your brother in the film, would you break yours out of prison, and vice versa?
Yeah, I mean the truth is I have, many times. Alex gets into trouble a lot and I’ve had to break him out, you know it’s almost like a weekly call that I get. The prison guards are kind of used to him, they leave the door open and I let him out.

Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Scream
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Floor
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Orange

Button down DAVID HART, tank HANES, pants XIMONLEE, shoes GOLA, sunglasses GARRETT LEIGHT, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN

Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Scream
Button down DAVID HART, tank HANES, pants XIMONLEE, shoes GOLA, sunglasses GARRETT LEIGHT, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Floor
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Orange

What kind of roles do you think you’re gravitating to now? Is there anything you haven’t explored yet, like horror, or even just complex character studies?
I think I’m drawn to characters that are many different things, and I think one of the traps of modern movie making, and most of the scripts I read, is that characters serve functions in plots, but people don’t serve functions. People are vast. It’s very disheartening to play those kinds of characters. So, I’m trying to push to characters that have a lot of levels, and also in stories that have something to say. That doesn’t mean I’m looking for movies too hip or cutting edge, I think sometimes the simpler is more impactful.

What character have you portrayed so far that you feel like you’ve related to the most?
I think in all of them I find different aspects of myself and it’s like turning up a dial and turning down a dial, you know? Levels. I just did this movie with Gia Coppola, it’s her second movie, and she’s doing it with Andrew Garfield. I play this romantic-artist-environmentalist, and I did feel like even if I wasn’t that character, I didn’t want to leave that character. He was such a good guy; he was somebody that I aspire to be because he’s so true to himself and his morals. That’s like the vastness of everyone; I think I’m just starting to learn about myself, which is helping me as an actor.

Back to your brother, you’re both very active and getting established on the film scene, is there ever an element of competition?
Alex and I are like each other’s biggest fans and supporters. So if it comes to it, there’s no one that either of us would rather see get the part, and its not just because he’s my brother, its because he’s an incredible actor. There’s definitely an element of competition in the business that we’ll both be like, “FUCK! Why didn’t we get that part?” But if one of us gets it, we’re happy. We still play music together and we just put out a couple new songs and we still have some more coming out…

Is it something you both would ever pursue full time?
Yeah, I mean I think right now, any time we’re not working on a film project; we’re working on music. But the hardest part is playing shows, just scheduling is such a bitch. When you’re recording its easier to just change recording dates, but if everybody buys tickets to something… you know. If somebody has to go do a couple of days in a movie or something like that it just totally screws up. But I mean we’re working on it, the iPhone calendar has helped.

It feels like you’re really getting to do the roles you want to do now, if we were to ask you what your five-year goal was what would you say?
I guess my five-year goal, and my goal in my career in general, is to have a career that reflects who I am and how I feel and what I’m trying to put into the world. I do have a real aversion to being part of anything that is going to be part of the ick of the culture. I want to be part of the antidote, I think films like The Kill Team especially, and Semper Fi where I really got to dig in into a character and a story that had something to say, I feel proud of it. I feel proud of those movies.

As an actor it’s really difficult to be in the driving seat of your career. There are a lot of factors, but as much as you can its definitely important, I think, to push yourself to not take the easy money and try to fight for roles that mean something to you. I feel like if anything is really personal and it means something to you, it will start to mean stuff to the audience. I also want to continue playing music with Alex. I got to direct for the first time this year, which was a really great learning experience. I did a short film where I cast my girlfriends little sister who’s seven years old, she had never acted before and she’s brilliant. I guess in my five-year plan, I want to start pursuing that more.

Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Hawaiian

Button down DAVID HART, tank HANES, pants XIMONLEE, shoes GOLA, sunglasses GARRETT LEIGHT, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN.

Button down DAVID HART, tank HANES, pants XIMONLEE, shoes GOLA, sunglasses GARRETT LEIGHT, necklace and ring PATTARAPHAN.
Nat Wolff Wonderland Louis Browne The Kill Team Hawaiian
Photography
Louis Browne
Fashion
Shabdiece Esfahani
Grooming
Cecelia Romero
Photo Assistant
Sam Leviton
2nd Photo Assistant
Jordi Cerdas
Studio
WMA SPACES, Brooklyn
NAT WOLFF

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