Armen Nahapetian is a young American actor known for his appearances in popular TV shows such as “Daybreak,” “NCIS,” and “The Orville.” He began his acting career at a young age, working on promos for “American Horror Story Hotel” and taking acting classes. Despite his young age, Armen has already shown his versatility and dedication to his craft, taking on challenging roles such as his upcoming performance in the horror movie “Beau Is Afraid.” Outside of acting, Armen enjoys skateboarding, playing water polo, and working at a local Mediterranean restaurant. He is also excited to be working on a skateboarding film with his brother and friends, showcasing his passion for both acting and skateboarding. Despite his growing success, Armen remains grounded and focused on learning and collaborating with passionate artists.
Thanks to Jasper Vogel for co-hosting.
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READABLE INTERVIEW IS A SUMMARIZED VERSION OF THE AUDIO AND VIDEO.
What really inspired you to pursue your career in acting at such a young age?
I started when I was even younger. I started when I was like five or six. Growing up, and ever since I was a kid, my parents introduced me to movies and plays. My mom went to film school at UC Santa Cruz. I would read a book or watch a movie, and then we would go to the play version of it. So, when I was a little kid, I really liked Matilda. We went to the musical of Matilda and also Big Fish. I’ve been introduced to it at a young age.
In first grade, I did a play at my school, and I played Aesop in the Aesop fables thing. I had a lot of lines for a kid, but I really liked it. So, I’ve always been interested in it. Then my older brother Remy asked my parents to join acting classes, and of course, being a younger sibling, I wanted to copy everything my brother does, so I wanted to join as well.
I joined and I really liked it because, even as a kid, I’m very reserved and quiet. When you think of an actor, you think of someone who’s really energetic and great at talking. But I’m a lot more reserved and quiet. I’m pretty nervous. Acting and playing different characters allow me to express myself in ways that I otherwise wouldn’t have been brave enough to do. Stepping into that character allows me to expand my personality and express myself that way. That’s really why I got into it.
How did your experience of working on your first project, the promos for ‘American Horror Story Hotel,’ shape your perspective on acting and the entertainment industry, and what did you learn from that experience?
That was probably one of my very first acting experiences, and it was an amazing one because I got to work with Lady Gaga, which was awesome. But it was for the promos, so it wasn’t like there were a lot of lines or a lot of acting-wise that went into it. There were a lot of photos and commercials where I’d be sitting there or walking. But what it taught me as a kid was that, yes, acting can be fun most of the time, and it’s an amazing experience. But at other times, there’s patience and hard work involved.
For the American Horror Story promos, I had to play a young vampire, and I was in the makeup chair for hours. They had to cover my whole body in white makeup with an airbrush and then go over it. They also had to fit me for a wig and paint my lips. So, there was a lot of work on the hair and makeup side of things. Yes, acting is really fun. You’re on camera a lot, and you get to be with other actors. But there’s also a patience that goes along with sitting in the makeup chair for hours and maybe blocking a scene for hours. So, there are those two different sides to it.
What kind of preparation did you undergo to play the role of Beau in ‘Beau Is Afraid,’ and was there anything really fascinating you learned about Joaquin Phoenix through it?
watching Joaquin act and being around him, you definitely learn a lot of things, and the major thing I picked up on is that Joaquin is always ready and present in the moment. He’s always ready to act, very professional. Even when the crew is working, setting up camera angles or new sets, he never goes back to his wardrobe. He’s always sitting there, ready to go. That taught me a lot because it shows that the crew works just as hard as the actor does. So, you always need to be ready in the moment as well.
As a person, Joaquin is so sweet and he’s out there to make you feel good. For the premiere in LA, I wore a sleeveless vest, and we were standing outside getting ready to be introduced. Joaquin made sure I wasn’t cold or anything. My dad took a picture of us at the New York Premiere, and Joaquin was like, “Hey, you know that guy over there? He just took your picture.” He’s always looking out for the people around him. It goes to show how great of a person he is, and I want to be a lot like that. I want to be able to make others around me feel great and welcome.
What Did you learn about Joaquin through your research that you hadn’t known before?
Well, before getting this role, before playing Beau, I didn’t really know too much about Joaquin. I hadn’t watched a lot of his movies, and I had never been told that I looked like him, which is surprising. But when I got the role and I looked more into Joaquin, I learned that he’s really well-known for method acting.
For example, in “Joker,” he underwent a dramatic physical transformation, losing a significant amount of weight to portray the character. He became this really skinny guy. I don’t know much about what went on in his personal life during his method acting for that role, but I assume he completely changed his personality to fully embody the character. Then, later on, he gained a lot more weight than he lost for “Joker” to play Beau. And now, he’s filming “Joker 2” and has returned to his previous weight. It’s just insane to me that someone is able to do that and have such deep commitment to the character. They step so much into the character’s shoes that they can undergo such physical transformations. It’s truly amazing to me, and I didn’t know that about Joaquin.
What was your main takeaway From beau Is Afraid?
One important thing, not just in acting but in general, is to never give up. It may sound basic, but it’s crucial. If you have a dream, continue pursuing it and work hard. Eventually, you will achieve that dream as long as you don’t give up. Before booking Beau, I had gone really far in an audition for another series. I thought I was going to get it, and I was ecstatic. I was even signing contracts. However, they later informed me that they decided to go in another direction. I was deeply disappointed and saddened by it. But then, I got the audition for Beau, and here I am now, part of this amazing movie and having this incredible experience. Who knows, maybe if I had gotten that other series, I wouldn’t be here. It taught me the importance of never giving up and continuing to work hard.
Another lesson I learned from playing Beau is that if you want to be a great actor and deliver the best performance possible, you can’t care about what other people think. To fully become the character and evolve into that person, you have to let go of other people’s opinions that don’t really matter. For Beau, in my self-tape audition, I had to kiss myself in a mirror. Some people might find that strange, but that kiss was a crucial part of Beau’s story. So, I didn’t care if people thought it was weird. It was an important element, and as an actor, you have to be willing to fully embrace and portray the character, regardless of what others may think. To be the best and an amazing actor, you need to let go of external judgments and truly transform into the character.
Do you plan to continue in horror?
horror is something I would love to explore in my acting career. It has always been a dream of mine to be part of a slasher-related project, such as “Scream” or “Halloween.” There’s a certain appeal and excitement in being involved in those types of films. While I have already had the opportunity to be part of a psychological thriller, delving into the realm of physical horror would be truly amazing. It presents a different set of challenges and allows for unique character dynamics and intense storytelling. Being able to contribute to the world of horror, whether it’s through a slasher film or any other subgenre, is definitely a dream I aspire to achieve.
what was it like meeting jenna ortega?
Well, during the premiere, my brother actually spotted her first and he was like, “Oh my Armin, that’s Jenna Ortega! Go get a picture with her!” Initially, I hesitated because I understand that not everyone wants their picture taken, so I thought it would be okay to let it go. However, I’m a huge fan of her work, particularly in “Scream,” and I admire her talent. So, realizing that I might not get another chance to meet her, I started feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness. She’s incredibly popular right now, and I couldn’t help but be starstruck.
Despite my nerves, I gathered the courage to approach her and introduce myself. I simply went up to her and said, “Hey, what’s up? I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Armin. What did you think of the movie?” We ended up having a conversation about the film, sharing our thoughts and impressions. And, of course, I couldn’t resist asking for a picture. She was really nice and down-to-earth, which made the experience even more enjoyable. Meeting her was truly awesome, and I will always cherish that moment.
What is something that you wish people knew about the entertainment industry that isn’t often talked about?
I guess it kind of goes with what I said earlier about what I learned with the American Horror Story promos. That Hollywood isn’t just super glamorous, there’s a lot of hard work behind it. When I first started, I didn’t know that, but now I do. There are processes, and it’s not always fun. Like I mentioned before, Joaquin Phoenix and his method acting, starving yourself isn’t always a fun thing. The fun comes afterwards when you get to watch it and see all your hard work pay off. You get to see the movie you’ve been working on for so long finally come to life.
Also, a lot of kids at my school think acting is really easy. They say, ‘Oh, how do you get into it? Can’t you just go on auditions and read lines off a script?’ Many people think it’s simple, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. It’s not just what people see—red carpets and amazing events. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication behind it.
How has working at a restaurant and interacting with customers influenced your understanding of character development and portrayal in your acting work?
That’s an awesome question. Yeah, I still work there. It’s just right down the street—a Mediterranean restaurant. You know, there’s a reason that the best actors today have worked in food service. First of all, you learn hard work, and second of all, you learn a lot about people by working there because you’re interacting with them. Working there, I get to see a whole bunch of different personalities—some amazing people, some weird people who like to talk to the girls at the cash register for too long. So, I get to learn a lot about different personalities, and it adds more of a human element to my acting. It’s important for me to have these normal human experiences and interactions because it helps me incorporate them into my acting
You could do only ONE more project. what would it look like and why?
That’s deep. For a final project, I definitely want it to be impactful. You know, I guess I’d like to shed some light on people’s journey to pursue their dreams. Whether it’s skateboarding—I’m really into skateboarding—and who knows, maybe I’ll be a professional skateboarder one day. But right now, my dream is acting, and there are so many different ways that can go. So, I’d like to make a movie about or be a part of something that shows the process and the failures that go along with it. Like you said, the challenges that help a person grow and eventually lead to their dream and them achieving it. But I really want to emphasize the parts where it’s not always easy and there are a lot of rough patches. But if you stick with it, then you’ll eventually get what you dream of and what you want.
New Projects Coming Up? Perhaps a Skateboard youTube Channel?
Well, yeah, speaking of skateboarding YouTube channel, I’m making a movie right now with my friends. It’s going to be a skateboarding movie, and I’m really excited for that. My older brother is going to do some music for it. He plays guitar, drums, pretty much everything, so he’ll handle the music. The movie is basically going to depict my life and some funny things that have happened to me. I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences with my friends, and I’d like to make a little movie about that. It’s all about skateboarding and having fun. Also, I’d really like to travel. Experiencing different cultures and traveling to various places can teach you a lot, and it’s something I’d really like to do.