'No Good Nick's Kalama Epstein compares working on the Netflix comedy with his stint in 'The Fosters'
Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, Kalama Epstein has always been a performer. You might know him from 'The Fosters,' but more recently, he has made quite the buzz as a certain Jeremy on the Netflix comedy, 'No Good Nick.' The show allowed Epstein to work alongside the likes of Sean Astin and Melissa Joan Hart — the sweethearts of American TV — but it was his brilliant performance which made him absolutely impossible to overlook. While he might have been drawn to the overachieving, investigative Jeremy on the show, he would also like to remind fans that his work on 'The Fosters' — even though vastly unlike that on 'No Good Nick' — was just as enriching for his career.
On 'No good Nick,' Epstein plays the role of the eldest child of the Thompsons family, while Hart and Astin play the roles of his parents. The titular Nick is a random teenage con-girl who shows up at their house to seek revenge for the family ruining her life but makes her entrance in disguise as a newly orphaned girl whose only next of kin alive are the Thompsons.
Epstein's Jeremy grows "suspicious of Nick from the get-go!" reveals the actor in an exclusive interview with MEA World Wide (MEAWW). "Jeremy wasn’t just going to be a talking sitcom character stereotype. He was going to be human, and the show was going to explore his character and the other sides of him," he shared about what drew him to the character. "From the moment there’s a 13-year-old girl in his house saying she’s a long lost family member, he’s immediately suspicious. He’s not going to buy into anything before he checks it out himself."
But while the premise for 'No Good Nick' might make it seem like a typical comedy, there are deeper undertones of physical violence, manipulation, and trauma, which has led to certain critics labeling the show as a more serious drama. "From working with my co-stars to the challenges this show has provided me, the journey has been amazing," Epstein tells us about his performance on the Netflix show. "The show’s involvement of these dramatic moments has actually been one of my favorite parts of filming. The balance is hard to find, especially in the multi-cam sitcom format. It was all about finding the right tone for the show from the beginning and sticking with that. Being able to de-escalate something that is high energy comedy, and then re-escalating into drama is a big challenge but it was all about finding our way through it together as cast and crew."
And that takes us back to the intense role that Epstein played on the Freeform show, 'The Fosters,' as Noah — a preacher's son struggling to come out as gay in the coming of age drama. But even though 'The Fosters' was directly labeled a drama, unlike 'No Good Nick', Epstein assures that the latter was just as serious. "This was a very different experience than 'The Fosters'," says Epstein about how different the two experiences were, adding: "specifically because 'No Good Nick' is a multi-cam family sitcom, and 'The Fosters' was a single-cam drama. The tone of both shows are incredibly different, and the way the sets work are unlike (each other) as well."
But at the same time, he believes both the shows were equally important at helping him shine as an actor. "I don’t think there is any particular takeaway from either 'No Good Nick' or 'The Fosters'. I've learned things from both experiences as an actor in many different ways," he shares. At the same time, when it comes to 'No Good Nick', he says he didn't know what fan reaction to expect. "At the end of the day, no matter how proud I am of the show, it would be naive of me to expect everyone to love it. I was really happy to see how many people love it and want more. The fan reactions are great and it’s awesome to see other people be as stoked about this show as I am!"