Stars of Sundance: Nick Jonas

Stars of Sundance: Nick Jonas

Back In January, V Caught Up With All Of The Stars Of This Year's Sundance Film Festival For Our Fashion & Film Issue. Below, Former Disney Star Nick Jonas, Stopped By To Talk About His Transition To Serious Hollywood Actor And Promote His New Film Goat. Download The Special Digital Edition Of V's Fashion & Film Issue For Extended Fashion Editorials And Additional Features Here

Back In January, V Caught Up With All Of The Stars Of This Year's Sundance Film Festival For Our Fashion & Film Issue. Below, Former Disney Star Nick Jonas, Stopped By To Talk About His Transition To Serious Hollywood Actor And Promote His New Film Goat. Download The Special Digital Edition Of V's Fashion & Film Issue For Extended Fashion Editorials And Additional Features Here

Photography: Charlie Engman

Styling: Emma Wyman

Text: Natasha Stagg

While most newcomers to the Sundance red carpet look stunned in the glare of its flashbulbs, Nick Jonas’s arrival created a frenzy that even the event’s most in-demand attendees likely found overwhelming. The pop sensation is used to attention of the squealing teenage girl variety paid to his efforts, but for the past couple of years, his focus has been on fielding more adult material. As many a former Disney Channel star has proven, it’s a difficult transition to make gracefully in this echo chamber that is the press.

“At first, it really was all about showing people that I mean business in the acting space,” Jonas says of his auditions for more serious roles, like his MMA fighting character on DirecTV’s original series Kingdom. “I think there was some bias towards my previous work.” That bias is perhaps, in part, a reluctance towards any implications an established audience brings. In the instance of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, for example, the teenaged fanfare surrounding Jonas’s appearance felt especially mismatched. He’s promoting the Andrew Neel-directed Goat. Based on the Brad Land memoir, the title refers to a fraternity’s threat when hazing freshman pledges: if one can’t endure the tests proposed, he will be forced to have intercourse with an ominously present goat.

“It is definitely hard to watch at times,” Jonas says of the depicted violence. “What’s scary is that this isn’t really an exaggeration of what that culture can be like, the fraternity culture.“ He plays Brad (Ben Schnetzer)’s older brother, who, unlike Jonas’s mostly clean public image, parties hard.

The youngest Jonas Brother is walking a line that few before him have managed to traverse without isolating a demographic. “Watching different actors make the kind of transition I’m hoping to make has been helpful,” he says. “Mark Wahlberg has done an incredible job of starting in one place and building an unbelievable career. Matthew McConaughey is the best example of someone that has made that dramatic shift.”

The Broadway veteran lists esoteric, dialogue-driven films as inspirations. “A couple years ago Annie Hall became a really important film to me,” he says. “The writing style, but also the human elements to all of Woody Allen’s movies. And if I could do a movie like The Graduate at some point, that would be a dream come true.” For now, he’s preparing to drop one of the most anticipated albums of the year, the decidedly adult solo follow up to 2014’s Nick Jonas, Last Year Was Complicated.

With Goat, he’s just happy that, judging by the reviews, director Neel’s sensitivity to the subject is felt. “You hope that people are moved by the material—that it pushes the dialogue forward,” he says. “I think those things happened.” 

JONAS WEARS JACKET GIORGIO ARMANI T-SHIRT PRADA
Credits: Grooming (Nick Jonas) Thea Istenes (Exclusive Artists Management) Production Sylvia Farago LTD Digital technician Jonathan Hokklo Photo assistant Michael Tessler Stylist assistant Coco Campbell Grooming assistant Tammy Yi Equipment ACME Camera Company

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