10 THINGS with Nickola Shreli
RM: You’re a jack of all trades, which include owning a bar, producing music and the list goes on. How did you make your way to acting?
NS: Acting, as a paid occupation, is one of those life gigs where there just isn’t a clear path. As I was finding my way in my late teens/early 20s, as an artist/entrepreneur, it was in my nature to want to dabble and explore everything before zeroing in on something. My underlying #1 love and passion though it all though was acting. I could remember running home after school to play with my camera or watch old Al Pacino movies. In Albanian Detroit, the options for us ethnic derelicts was limited (artistically speaking). I had a couple friends locally, in Detroit, that were a part of this indy film movement that was brewing in the early 2000’s. I did some smaller stuff then. Through one of them, I met a manager out of NY that helped me get my first real job on NBC’s Law & Order.
RM: Do you still remember the feeling you had when you booked that first role?
NS: Yeah I do, It was like finding a dollar on the street when you were a little kid.
RM: Who are your favorite actors to watch and which ones would you love to work with?
NS: I’m really feeling some of the cats that came out of Europe such as, Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel, Mads Mikkelsen. I would love to work with Jean Reno. He reminds me of a calm version of my Father.
RM: You’re currently on AMC’s Low Winter Sun. What initially drew you to the series and your character Gus?
NS: I wanted to work at the highest level of TV (everyone is doing TV now). It’s comfortable and really consistently fulfilling. This was a dream job considering it was in Detroit (where home/family is for me) and I tracked these cats down, showed them my skills and got the part. The material is really well written. I mean we’re all intrigued with crime, but a mature crime noir done by AMC with Detroit as the landscape, has the makings of something real and special. Gus is just a product of this environment. I know a lot of Gus’ in real life that just settled with what was around them and were too ignorant and or maybe hard headed for change. We all have circumstances. Gus is just playing the hands he was dealt as an ethnic, low level Detroit fella hanging with the wrong crowd.
RM: What can we expect to see with your character’s development on the show?
NS: Loyalty and violence.
RM: We previously mentioned your many talents, one of them being music. Do you have any plans on developing a career in the music industry?
NS: Yes, I would like to develop a cool audio/visual experience under my “nickname” DJ Alias. Go to some far off place and spin some eclectic music. I’ve always wanted to start a trip hop group but never really got around to it. Well see.
RM: Do you have any other aspirations that we haven’t mentioned?
NS: I’m actually working on a unique hat line. I’m bald, hats help.
RM: When you’re not on set, what do you like to do for fun and relaxation?
NS: Been doing a lot of Yoga lately. Crash Weddings too (J/K)
RM: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
NS: I love peanut M&M’s!
RM: We look forward to seeing more of your work on AMC’s Low Winter Sun. Do you have any other projects coming up?
NS: Yes, a really dope thriller named Landlord, directed by Malik Badar (Street Thief, Crush). It comes out next year. I’m also directing a boxing program geared towards the youth.