Published on June 28, 2012 by Amy
Nathaniel Arcand is Plains Cree (Nehiyaw), from the Alexander First Nation Reserve. He was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The oldest of six children living with a single parent, Nathaniel had many responsibilities taking care of his siblings so that his mom could work to put food on the table. Nathaniel also has great grandparents who have helped and supported him throughout his life.
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Nathaniel was bitten by the acting bug at age five when he first saw a Bruce Lee movie at the drive-in. After the movie, young Nathaniel leaned over to his mother and asked how he could be in the movies “doing stuff like Bruce Lee.” His mom told him she wasn’t quite sure, but if he wanted to be an actor, he should follow his dreams.
Many years passed before Nathaniel would get his first taste at acting. He was part of a drama group in junior high school where he and ten other students put together their own play and performed for their school. They also took it on the road and performed in a different city and school altogether. Nathaniel was the only student to play two different characters in the play, and he was more than happy to do so.
It was many years and many lessons in life later that Nathaniel was introduced to acting again. This time it was something a little different…film and television. This was what Nathaniel had been dreaming about since he was but a wee lad. Now here it was!
Nathaniel was discovered by a man named Darryl Mork. Darryl, a talent agent, saw something in Nathaniel and decided he would take a chance with him. Only two weeks later, Nathaniel landed his first gig, also his first speaking role. Nathaniel was excited not only about the role, but also about the fact that he only worked one hour and forty-five minutes and was paid $250. From that experience, he decided that he would make acting his career.
Although Nathaniel worked very little in his first two years, he still was determined to make it in the business of acting.
Nathaniel’s first small break in film was the role of Tree-Climber in a movie called “Savage Land” starring Corbin Bernson, Graham Greene and many other notables.
It wasn’t until he landed a role in the television series”North of 60″ playing William MacNeil that his career really took off. From that point on, Nathaniel’s resume has built into something to envy, working with the likes of Lord Richard Attenborough, Kathy Bates, Pierce Brosnan and many rising stars.
Nathaniel hopes one day to become a star like his fellow workers, but not just any star, an action star. Nathaniel has been training in martial arts for many years and wishes to use his skills more in the roles he plays. Nathaniel has noted that the native people of the U.S. and Canada do not have a native action hero and would love to be their first. Just like Bruce Lee first did when he brought Asian martial arts to this side of the world, Nathaniel would like to bring a whole different flavour of martial arts to the big screen.
Most recently, Nathaniel had a lead role in a television pilot for “The Lone Ranger” as Tonto. This makes Nathaniel the youngest Tonto in history. He brings a new flare to this character by using his fighting arsenal, martial arts. In the pilot, this Tonto does not use a gun like Tontos of the past. In its place are a knife, a tomahawk and two flying feet! Nathaniel adds, “Bruce Lee style.”
When Nathaniel is not training in martial arts, he is being dad. He has three children: one daughter, Trisha, and two sons, Jaden and Griffin. He is very proud of all of them. Nathaniel’s youngest son, Griffin, is following in his father’s footsteps. He landed a speaking role in an upcoming mini-series called “Dreamkeepers” as the character Thunderboy.
Nathaniel attends many youth conferences for native children and teens to talk about self-esteem and self-empowerment and how to break into the acting business. Nathaniel strongly believes that the children are our future, and adults should show them the best paths to follow to make this world a better place for everyone.