The official word, from Nate's mom: Former Uniontown resident, Nate Hartley, will make a guest star appearance on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on October 28. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is the original CSI drama series on CBS, Thursdays at 9pm, set in Las Vegas. Eighteen year old Hartley plays the role of Brian Lister on the fifth episode of the eleventh season of CSI. This is Hartley’s first dramatic role on a major network series.
He is known for his previous roles on Disney’s “Hannah Montana”, “JONAS”, and “Zeke & Luther”. Hartley has a recurring role on “Hannah Montana” playing the character, Aaron, to air in November. He is currently filming the third season of “Zeke & Luther” playing the recurring role of Ozzie. “Zeke and Luther” is a comedic series about teen skateboarding adventures on Disney XD. He is also working on an untitled comedic film by the Farrelly brothers to be released in 2011.
Hartley has starred in other films, including “Drillbit Taylor” (2008) with Owen Wilson, “Role Models” (2008) with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, “Great Buck Howard” (2008), with John Malkovich and Colin Hanks, “South Dakota” (April 2011), “Dirty Girl” (2011) with William H. Macy. Visit www.natehartley.net for more information on Hartley’s past and present works.
After the jump I have posted a 2008 interview I did with Hartley, as he was making his big-screen debut in "Drillbit Taylor."
At 16, Ravenna native Nate Hartley is happy to have short films he produced on YouTube and the Funny Or Die Internet site.
Oh, yeah, and Friday in a multiplex near you.
Hartley is a key character in Drillbit Taylor, a new movie from the vast comedic empire of writer-producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad, Talladega Nights). Owen Wilson is the title character, a homeless guy who is hired as the bodyguard for three overly bullied high-school students played by Hartley, Troy Gentile and David Dorfman. But the main stories involve the emotional changes in Drillbit and in Wade, Hartley's character.
This is Hartley's first big-screen role. In an interview at Cinemark Tinseltown in Jackson Township before a preview screening of Drillbit on Wednesday, he still managed to sound awestruck more than a year and a half after the movie finished shooting.
''It's indescribable,'' he said, noting that he even counted his lines when he first saw the script. (He had 293.) ''It was such a great honor. . . . I'm, like, so lucky. It wasn't my acting skill. It wasn't my look.''
Could have been a little bit the look. Wade is described as ''freakishly skinny'' and the 6'1" Hartley admits to tipping the scale at 120 pounds maybe 125. Still, he insisted, getting the role so early in a Hollywood career was ''pure luck.''
And he knows how luck can turn bad, even for actors who work.
''I have a friend who was in Meet the Spartans,'' he said. ''And he was, like, 'Please still be friends with me.' Why can't all movies be good? Why can't all movies be by Judd Apatow?''
Still, there was a lot of work along the way to good luck. Hartley is steeped in show biz.
The Beacon Journal took note of his family four years ago because Nate, his father Rei and mother Michele worked occasionally as clowns complete with clown school degrees.
Asked about the first movie he remembers, Nate says it was The Wizard of Oz, Rei's favorite, adding that Rei ''collects tons of Wizard of Oz stuff. He used to own a video store for quite a while, and I think that's how I was brought into the whole entertainment industry. It's like I grew up around movies.''
While that suggests the roots of his appetite for writing and directing, the acting came from another family endeavor.
''My sister (Danielle) was taking a theater class,'' he said. ''She was just doing it for fun. They were all girls. They had no guys. And so they were, like, 'Come on, you have to do it.' I was 5 at the time and I was, like, 'OK.' . . .
''I really just loved the feeling of making people laugh, of making them feel good,'' he said. ''I make movies with my friends'' he even has his own company, Prodigy Productions ''and I can watch them over and over and I never get bored, because I'm so entertained by entertainment.''
Indeed, when asked what he does for fun, Nate at first mentioned making his movies. And finally added, ''Xbox is one thing. I love Halo.''
The performing urge became more serious around the time Nate was 13, when Michele took him to Hollywood for a week of meetings with casting directors, agents and other professionals. The results were positive enough that Nate decided he was ready for a run at the big time.
''I am so blessed to have Mom put her life on hold for her child,'' he said. ''It's awesome. That's how all parents (of child actors) should be. They should always put their child before them, which is often somewhat not true with the child actors I see out there.
''No names,'' he added. But he said he was stunned when child actors are rude to other people. ''You're no one,'' he said. ''You're not Jack Nicholson. You can't yell at people and think you're better than them because it's so not true.''
Not that the actor's life is easy on adults, either. After finishing the movie, Owen Wilson reportedly attempted suicide and became tabloid fodder. Asked if he had seen any signs of depression during Drillbit, Nate said, ''That's what I hate about the whole celebrity kind of thing. People have their issues, you know, and whenever you're a celebrity, it's so public. Some things are not meant to be known. He's such a great guy. . . . He's the nicest guy. He really is.''
LIVING IN CALIFORNIA
And Hartley is settling into his new life. After a stretch of living part-time in California and part-time in Uniontown, he has settled permanently in California. He has gotten roles in some more movies, and in a pilot for a TV series.
He talks jokingly about winning Oscars, and more seriously about directing feature films.
Big budget or independent?
''I could do either,'' he said. ''I just want to direct something that a certain amount of people will see. Not just like my YouTube page.''
As it says in one of his Funny or Die pieces, he's now ''Hollywood's Nate Hartley.''