About five years ago I wrote a play called Main Beach that was about lifeguards in East Hampton. The show had an off-Broadway run in New York City, produced by Joe Brondo, who it is currently acting in Macbeth at LTV studios in East Hampton. It was great fun, and for the nights that it ran, the house was sold out. Among my many memories was meeting one of the actors, Michael Nathanson, and although back then I had never run across him before, he was a big part of the local performance community here on the East End. Everybody who acts in East Hampton knew him.
I later figured out why.
Michael completely blew me away during the show. We became friendly through email and every once in a while we would speak, and he would update me on projects he was doing, like appearing in a Verizon commercial or a low-budget movie. Over the years I would spot him in different shows on television and he just oozed talent. “If this guy can’t become famous, then show business is all about luck and connections,” I said to myself.
Then my mind was blown last week. I was casually browsing trailers online when I suddenly heard Michael’s voice in the preview for Side Effects, a movie starring Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones that currently boasts the top trailer on the internet. Michael seems to have a fairly key role in the movie, but it doesn’t stop there. I also learned that he has serious role in the upcoming Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey and Jonah Hill—and with director Martin Scorsese at the helm.
Although he didn’t grow up in the Hamptons, his family has a house here, and Michael is one of those people who has developed genuine local ties to the community. I will be interviewing him for a bigger story when Side Effects is released in February, but for the moment I am just thrilled for him.
I am always amazed when I see people start with nothing and rise from the acting trenches in New York City to make it onto the big screen—especially with Oscar winners and big-time Hollywood players. It makes me a believer in the idea that talent can overcome any obstacle. And it’s nice to still be able to believe in that.