As part of our three-part interview series leading up to our review of Robert Rodriguez's superhero film We Can Be Heroes, we chatted with another one of the film's young heroes.
Nathan Blair, plays Wild Card, the son of Christian Slater's superhero persona Tech-No. Blair is a multi-talented performer who at just thirteen years old has already written, produced, directed, and starred in seven short films, among numerous guest-starring roles.
Nathan Blair Discusses His Role in We Can Be Heroes
Maggie Lovitt (ML): Have you seen the original Sharkboy & Lavagirl?
Nathan Blair (NB): Yes, of course, I have seen the original Sharkboy and Lavagirl. I watched it years ago as a fan and then watched it again once I got this part.
ML: What was the audition process like for We Can Be Heroes?
NB: My audition process for We Can Be Heroes was pretty interesting. I got the audition the day I was shooting a short film for school. I had to balance practicing the sides and filming the movie. When I auditioned, I came out feeling just okay about it. I felt I had stumbled and went a little too far off-script.
Then about a month later, while I was out with my sisters and dad, my manager called and said that I had a chemistry read as Wild Card. I got so excited and two days later I went in. That’s when I met Lyon and YaYa and we clicked instantly. A week later I heard that I got the part.
ML: What was your favorite part of shooting We Can Be Heroes?
NB: My favorite part of shooting We Can Be Heroes was when I got to shoot my stunts and get pulled up in the harness to look like I was flying. Also, it is really cool acting in front of a green screen but I think I liked the scenes where we shot on a built set like the spaceship and we could look around and see all the details.
ML: Were there any unexpected challenges while filming?
NB: For me, an unexpected challenge was the heat. We shot in the summer in Austin, Texas and our outside scenes were so hot. I felt sick one day, but I couldn’t let that show, and the next day I was 100% ready to go.
ML: Was there anyone in the cast that you were like, “Whoa, I can’t believe I get to work with them!”
NB: When I heard Christian Slater was playing my dad I was amazed. I am a big fan of the ’80s so I thought it was a perfect fit. I wish I had more scenes with him. Our scenes together were improv and his talent kinda blew me away.
ML: Did any of the superhero parents give you tips or advice?
NB: I didn’t really get any tips directly, but when watching them act I saw that it was important to stay focused between takes and not slow down the shooting time we had.
ML: You are already quite accomplished at filmmaking yourself, did you learn anything from watching Robert Rodriguez work?
NB: I learned so much from watching Robert work. On my past films I was always just thinking big picture. When I saw how he was taking time to make sure every little detail was just right, it made me want to do the same. Now I apply those thoughts to every movie or video I make myself. Also, Robert and our First AD, Brian, took the time to answer many technical questions I had throughout the shoot. Especially when it came to lighting.
ML: Who was the funniest person to work with on set? Were there any pranks?
NB: Everyone was super funny on set. Especially Andy, (Wheels). He would always make really funny faces that I couldn't help but fall down laughing. And Vivien (Guppy) also had us laughing a lot because she kept giving Robert a hard time. He often would say, “just one more take” even though it was always more like “just 20 more takes.” And she always called him out on that in her cute funny way that got the whole cast and crew laughing. As for pranks, that stuff happened back at the hotel but we needed to stay pretty focused on set.
ML: Do you have anything that you do to help yourself get into character?
NB: My day always started by getting into wardrobe and then going to hair and makeup. That whole process sorta got me into character. Also, just being around the cast getting into character helped. Plus, I think I put a lot of myself into this character so that transition was really kind of natural.
ML: How does Wild Card interact with the other young heroes?
NB: Wild Card knows he is a natural leader. He’s one of the oldest and certainly has the most powers. He embraces that leadership role almost too much sometimes. He always expects the others to follow his lead.
ML: What songs are on Wild Card’s playlist?
NB: We’re Not Gonna Take It (Twisted Sister), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), Summer of 69 (Brian Adams), and Born to be Wild (Steppenwolf) are four of Wild Card’s favorite songs on his playlist. Mine as well.
ML: What do you hope that audiences take away with them from the movie?
NB: Remember, we finished shooting this movie long before 2020. I think it is amazing that our movie is coming out at the very end of such a hard year for everyone. Our movie is about hope, teamwork, and a bright future. I think it has such an important message for kids and adults at this time.
ML: If you could pick one superpower to have, which would you choose?
NB: I would love the superpower of teleportation. I would never be late for anything. And, I could see the whole world much easier and faster.
ML: Do you have any real-life “superheroes” that you look up to?
NB: Well, my mom had brain surgery and then almost exactly a year later, my dad had emergency heart surgery. Doesn’t sound like superhero powers but the way they came out of that was really inspiring.
ML: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
NB: I would say Spiderman but not from the comic book as much as from the movie. I think the Tom Holland Spiderman is the best and the one I can relate the most to.
ML: I have always joked that I got into acting because I love set catering. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had on the set?
NB: Well, you can’t beat Texas BBQ and we had that on set. I think the best was when we shot on the 4th of July. It was an extra special smoked BBQ day!
ML: What do you always have to grab at crafty on set?
NB: I must always have my daily Chex-Mix. I love Chex-Mix. Some days they have donuts and of course, I would take one of those as well. And, don’t tell my mom, but I had a lot of Pepsi that summer as well.
You can find out more about Nathan Blair's Wild Card Christmas Day on Netflix.