Home > Alexander Payne, Cinema, Film, Film Streams, Hollywood, Nebraskans in Film, Nicholas D'Agosto, Writing > Home boy Nicholas D’Agosto makes good on the start “Election” gave him; Nails small but showy part in new indie flick “Dirty Girl”

Home boy Nicholas D’Agosto makes good on the start “Election” gave him; Nails small but showy part in new indie flick “Dirty Girl”

In the late ’90s Alexander Payne returned to his hometown of Omaha, Neb. to make Election and in line with his desire of filling out his film with authentic representations of this place, he cultivated two fellow home boys for the cast. Chris Klein got the film’s third main speaking part. Nicholas D’Agosto got a smaller part but like Klein he used the film as a door opener in Hollywood and has built a nice career. Both were high school students in Omaha and had never acted professionally before when cast in Election. For whatever reasons Klein hasn’t had much to do with Omaha since he left here and rode the wave of fame that came with Election, followed closely by American Pie and a series of other youth comedies. At least D’Agosto is coming back to Omaha for an Oct. 17 Film Streams screening of one of his four 2011 releases, Dirty Girl. He’ll be joined by writer-director Abe Syliva and producer Jana Edelbaum. The film is getting good reviews, mostly for star Juno Temple, and D’Agosto is happy he got to stretch with his part as a drifter exotic dancer.


Home boy Nicholas D’Agosto makes good on the start “Election” gave him

Nails small but showy part in new indie flick “Dirty Girl

©by Leo Adam Biga

Soon to be published in The Reader (www.thereader.com)


When Alexander Payne cast locals Nicholas D’Agosto and Chris Klein in Election, he opened doors for the two dreamy, boy-next-door types.

Klein burned hot and bright before flaming out. D’Agosto’s gradual rise may reach new heights with his performance in Dirty Girl. He joined writer-director Abe Sylvia and producer Jana Edelbaum for a Film Streams Q&A screening Oct. 17, marking the first time he’s accompanied one of his films back home.

Dirty Girl opens wide on Friday.

D’Agosto plays Joel, an exotic entertainer who hitches a ride from wild child Danielle (Juno Temple) and her gay friend Clarke (Jeremy Dozier). Drawn together by shared outsiderness, the drifters form an instant family. D’Agosto’s screen time is brief, but he makes the most of it.

“It’s a small role but a memorable role,” he says. “It has a really beautiful scene that’s kind of the catalyst for the Juno Temple character finally finding some true relationship. Our characters share a sort of common understanding of two people who’ve been rejected by their fathers. They feel lost and sort of transient. I’m able to tenderly let her know she’s not alone in this kind of pain.

“There’s a lot of depth and dynamism to this character in terms of what he gets to do in a small period of time. For any actor that’s great and for me it’s a lot of stuff I haven’t got to play before, and I jumped at the chance. It’s just fun to take risks.”

Sylvia says, “What’s so funny is Nick does have a very sweet face and a very genial nature but in my movie he essentially plays a hustler. It’s a deceptive character in that you want to like him and yet you know he’s a bit dangerous, and I think it works in our favor Nick’s so likable.”

Edelbaum, who admired Nick’s work in Rocket Science, says, “The challenge was finding an actor who would be wish fulfilling to both a gay and a straight audience and Nick fits the bill. He’s sweet and he’s smart and he was so lovely to work with. He just gave and gave and gave, and you can just see it.”





In the 12 years since Election D’Agosto’s become a journeyman television-film actor, with four feature releases alone in 2011, but he’s ever-mindful of where it all started.

“The truth is while I was shooting that (Election) I really didn’t understand how important that moment would be for me. I didn’t realize this was my break, this was the thing that was going to bring me out to Los Angeles ultimately and have a foot in the door. I just didn’t know so many things. I was so naive at the time.”

He was a 17-year-old at Creighton Prep, whose artist alums include Payne, Holt McCallany, Conor Oberst, Richard Dooling and Ron Hansen.

He says Election was “such a singular film” it provided “a leg up” as an industry newcomer. Long after parlaying that success into a career he says “it’s exciting to bring my work back to Omaha.” Besides starting a new indie pic and auditioning for TV’s pilot season, he’s honing his craft in classes and trying stand-up for the first time. “I’m trying to push my own personal boundaries as a performer right now.”

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