Young actor Nathaniel Potvin is a star who lights up the Disney XD channel. He is best known for his lead role of Ryan Walker on Mech-X4, an action/sci-fi series about a group of friends defending their city against monsters. With both the ability to telepathically control technology and a little help from his friends, Ryan must figure out how to pilot a giant robot named Mech X-4 in order to protect his city. Currently airing its second season, Mech X-4 already has a dedicated fanbase and a tight-knit cast.
Nathaniel’s latest venture is a gig where he will play a character who’s also named Ryan. He will join the cast of Alexa and Katie, Netflix’s first in-house, multi-camera sitcom as Ryan, a shy theatre kid with a huge crush on one of the main characters, Katie. Nathaniel is also apart of the upcoming film A World Away, where he will act alongside Rowan Blanchard. We got a chance to talk to Nathaniel about his starring role on Mech-X4, what we can expect from season two of the show, whether or not his two Ryan characters would get along, and much more! Read our full interview below.
Hi Nathaniel! We hope you’re doing well. To start off, how did you get into acting, and what were your first few gigs like?
I got into acting when I was 11 years old. Our local college was offering a summer academic enrichment program for kids, and admissions required that I sign up for two courses in order to be enrolled there. When I met with the counselor in her office, I cried and told her that I didn’t want to take a second course. She told my mom “he’s crying so much we might as well put him in drama,” and so that’s what she did! I actually got the lead in the student play and had a blast!
That fall an acting class opened up in Woodland Hills at Dance Dimension Studios where I was taking dance classes, and it was there that I was discovered by my Talent Manager. I landed my first job dancing and doing synchronized backpack-throwing in a Target Back-to-School campaign. The super cool thing about that was that 3 of my dance buddies and I auditioned as a group, and we all booked the job!! That rarely happens! My next job as a professional actor was in Deep Williams’ independent short film called Palms where I played the lead role, Solomon, who was a foster child being shuffled around by families. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about all the ins and outs of movie making.
The second season of MECH-X4 premiered just a few weeks ago on Disney XD! What kind of reactions from fans have you been seeing so far?
The reactions from fans this second season have been fantastic! Everyone’s been binge watching and loving the first five episodes that have aired so far! I can tell by social media response that fans love the show just as much as we do.
Your character, Ryan Walker, is able to control technology with his mind. That would definitely have its benefits, but if you could have any superpower what would it be?
Any superpower in the world?? It would definitely be teleportation, so I can get around traffic, or just quickly get to any place I want to go! It would be awesome to travel the world in a couple of days, or just pop over to Fiji or London for dinner! And wouldn’t it be a great party trick? I’d say, “Hey, you guys want sushi or something?” And then I’d disappear, go get food, and then come back and be like “here you go!”
Tell us about your dynamics on set with your MECH-X4 co-stars, Raymond Cham, Kamran Lucas, Pearce Jose, and Alyssa Jirrels. You guys must be pretty close!
The four of us guys are like real brothers – a big giant family! We all love each other and we all play pranks on each other. And this season adding Alyssa to the mix we have an even bigger family. The funny thing is that Alyssa is like an older sister. She definitely acts more mature than us on set — even though she’s younger!!! We have so much fun.
What are some things you’ve learned from your time on the set of MECH-X4?
I learned a lot of things from being on set with Mech-X4 like how a show is produced from the first draft of a script to delivery. There is a lot of work that happens in pre-production before we even shoot one scene. We film right outside Vancouver, and one of the things that sticks out the most to me is that areas in Canada can look like any city in the U.S. I’ve seen productions up there filming like it’s New York or filming like it’s Los Angeles. There’s so much going on in Canada and it’s a beautiful country.
Can you sum up what we can expect from Ryan and Season 2 of the show in general?
A lot of Mech-X4 is about fighting off monsters, saving Bay City, and the relationships on board the Robot. But one of the storylines Mech-X4 fans can expect to see Season Two is surprisingly sensitive, heartfelt, and intense. Ryan is going to find out new things about his family, his birth parents, and himself, and his morals and values will be put to the test.
You’ve also guest starred on some shows like Girl Meets World and Jessie. What are some other shows you’d be down to make an appearance on?
If there’s any show that I would want to appear on, I think it would be Stranger Things. The set, the special effects, and the cast look so cool! Or maybe a comedy like Raven’s Home or Black-ish.
Your latest project, Netflix’s first in-house sitcom called Alexa & Katie, has you playing a completely different Ryan. How do the two Ryans you play differ? Do you think they would get along if they met?
My Ryan character on Alexa and Katie is completely different from my Ryan Walker character on Mech-X4. Ryan Walker is a lot more confident in his game and is a leader who has a superpower. The other Ryan is an insecure theatre kid who gets all tongue-tied and intimidated around Katie, the girl he likes a little too much. I really don’t think the two Ryans would get along that great. Ryan Walker would be like, “Dude, get it together!”
Alexa & Katie is a multi-camera sitcom. How is this method of shooting different from your other projects?
Multi-camera is so different than single-camera because of the time it takes to rehearse and shoot. An episode of single-cam can be rehearsed and shot anywhere from 4-7 days, and usually, scenes are shot out of order. On multi-cam shoots, the scheduling is more rigid. On Alexa and Katie, we rehearse for three days, do run-throughs and then shoot for two. And the second day of shooting is done in front of a live audience. I love shooting on both multi-cam and single-cam… I really don’t have a preference.
What do you think fans will enjoy most about your role in Alexa & Katie and the show in general?
I think my fans will really find Ryan, my recurring character on Alexa and Katie, very relatable. Every teen knows how awkward it gets when you crush on someone. Plus everyone will also get to see me play a comedic role — with funny physical comedy.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about your ongoing projects or to fans of MECH- X4?
Yes, I would like to say that Mech-X4 will be showing brand new episodes in November, so get ready to watch and enjoy some more awesome action, and let me hear from you! Hit me up on Instagram: @Nathanielpotvin or Twitter: @natepotvin and tell me if you like the show. If you missed any of the Season 2 episodes or if you want to binge Season 1 to catch up, you can watch Mech-X4 on the new DisneyNow app.
Thank you to Nathaniel for taking the time to answer our questions.
Are you enjoying season two of Mech-X4? Share your thoughts about our interview with Nathaniel Potvin by tweeting us @CelebMix.