It only takes one minute for a simple question, invoked after viewing a teasing movie trailer, to suddenly land itself into the incessant stream of Google’s internet query: “Who is the guy in the movie Ugly Love?”
Black and nondescript, the name “Nick Bateman” resides a top the page. Still unsure, the inquisitive internet detective turns to “images,” where a highly appropriate and maybe even universal response occurs: eyebrows raise, eyes widen, and chances are a mouth or two drops open in disbelief.
He is stunning.
And all the devoted readers of Colleen Hoover’s novel November 9 are clapping their hands and popping champagne bottles to see an actor-- who may even be more attractive than the character readers had imagined-- take on the astute role of airplane pilot Miles Archer in the film adaptation of Hoover’s book titled, Ugly Love.
While the discovery of this Canadian actor might still be fresh to some, Bateman’s presence has long been noticed in the martial arts world, social media community, and modeling industry. And, he’s got the success to back it up with four Martial Arts World Titles under his black belt, a casual 6.6 million followers on Instagram, and work as an international model with high-profile campaigns like Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, and Jockey. His accomplishments are certainly significant, but to Bateman, there’s always more that can be achieved.
“I want to be happy” Bateman explains, “and right now acting is what makes me happy.”
Bateman assures he isn’t quitting the industry, however he has taken a step back from modeling to channel his efforts into acting, an art that both excites and, most importantly, challenges him. In perhaps his most notable role (thus far) as Ivan, a raucous and sadistic villain in the violent comedic thriller Hobo With A Shotgun (2011), Bateman recalled struggling with his role at times-- a symptom he attributes in part to the acting instruction he received while studying in Canada.
And then, several years later, he moved to Los Angeles and discovered the Meisner method of acting. Studying intensively under Alex Taylor at his school in L.A. for three months, for four days a week, Bateman learned a new technique of acting that truly resonated with him.
“The most valuable thing I’ve learned from Alex is to react and live truthfully in the moment,” Bateman recalls.
He explains that no matter the situation a person cannot and will not react exactly the same in any given circumstance; insisting that it simply isn’t feasible because no situation is exactly the same, even if recreated to be that way. By realizing and accepting this, Bateman could find his own truth in a role, and by latching onto his “truth”, could create emotions and reactions that are malleable and genuine.
If only applying this knowledge was as straightforward as understanding it.
“The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome [learning the Meisner technique] is being vulnerable. Martial arts has taught me to not show any weakness or emotion. It was difficult to break down that wall and become vulnerable again, but I’ve learned to do that to accelerate in my acting career,” Bateman explains.
For over twenty years Bateman has conditioned his mind to ignore pain; like the the throbbing of his thigh after a swift, unexpected kick; or the sting of a crushing jab to his left temple that briefly distorts his vision and leaves a ringing in his ears. He will not wince. He will not cry. He might not even blink. Pair his conditioned self-discipline with his innately sunny disposition, and suddenly his dilemma makes perfect sense.
Now, having re-conditioned himself, Bateman is gearing towards the contemplative, more poignant roles. The ultimate goal? To be as versatile and well-rounded as all the actors he admires, like Bryan Cranston, one of his all-time favorites, “He really can morph into any character that he’s given, comedic or serious.”
We’re undoubtedly going to see a new facet of Bateman’s acting skill set with his debut in Ugly Love, but until then, Bateman says he’s taking his vitamins, working out, and grabbing a bite at some of his favorite L.A. restaurants.
“Blue Ribbon [is a favorite] for the atmosphere and fresh, decadent sushi, STK because they have an amazing 26 oz Steak and Inn & Out is where I always go for my cheat meal. Birds is hands down one of my favorite dive bars to go to for a beer with my buddies, and lastly, Aventine for their pizza.”
What, you might wonder, is Bateman doing when he’s not doing something for his social media, off working a shooting a modeling campaign, or filming? Well, he’s probably obsessing over something UFC related (like betting money on a Conor McGregor fight), pissing off other gamers while playing Call of Duty, or binge watching animated shows like South Park, or Family Guy when he’s feeling really lazy.
Damn. How relatable.
Photography by J Squared
Styling by Chanel Gibbons
Grooming by Nicole Del Rio
Written by Cheantay Jensen
Location provided by Michael K. Hedges
Courtesy of The Agency: 15701 Royal Oaks