Home Interviews Cobra Kai: Nick Marini discusses playing ‘Twig’ and new film ‘Night Night’ – Exclusive Interview

Cobra Kai: Nick Marini discusses playing ‘Twig’ and new film ‘Night Night’ – Exclusive Interview

by Conor O'Brien
Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai actor Nick Marini discusses playing Twig/Young Terry Silver in Season 3, joining an established legacy and his new film ‘Night, Night’.

Nick Marini chatted to Courageous Nerd about his role as “Robert Mitchel” in Night, Night. The new film is directed by Niki Koss and will have a limited theatrical and VOD release on Nov. 16th.

In addition, Nick also told us about his experience playing Twig/Young Terry Silver on Season 3 of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai. The series is a continuation of the classic 1980s film trilogy. Nick portrays the character originated by Thomas Ian Griffith.

Read on below for Nick’s full interview with Courageous Nerd.

Welcome Nick and thank you for taking the time to chat with us today.

Nick Marini (NM): Thanks for having me.

We’ll be primarily discussing your leading role in Night Night. Before we get into that directly, could you discuss your background in acting and why you decided to pursue a career in this industry?

NM: Sure. I grew up on the East Coast of the United States, both my parents were heavily involved in theatre. Especially on the East Coast. So, it was sort of like the family business. It was something that I wasn’t sure I wanted to do, partly because I was so close to it. As I got older and started to realise what other careers might look like, I think I quickly realised that acting and storytelling were just in my blood. Something I absolutely had to pursue.

Who do you play in Night Night? What makes this character stand out in comparison to your past work?

NM: I play “Robert”. The movie’s a psychological thriller, so I don’t want to give too much away in any direction. He’s the partner of the main character when we begin. There’s an intense situation and he sort of has to come to her rescue. It was a really fun role, a different character than what I’ve gotten to play before. Maybe a little older than many of the characters I’ve played. A very different script than I’ve worked on before.

I think I had 2 days between when I got the role and when we started filming. In that regard, it was also an exciting leap into the unknown.

In your opinion, what makes Night Night unique and why should people check it out?

NM: Firstly, I think it’s got a great cast and I loved working with everyone. This deals with… I think a lot of psychological thrillers can get very heady. However, I think [Night Night] sits more in a realm where maybe some people have experienced things closer to this than some other psychological thrillers that get made. I think in that regard, it sits a little closer to home.

How was your experience working with director Niki Koss on Night Night?

NM: It was great. I think what was so fun for me was that I felt like I had a lot of input into the character. As it was such a last-minute thing, there wasn’t really an expectation of… I didn’t audition for the role. There wasn’t an expectation of what I’ve already done and doing that again. The trust was put in me to bring what I was going to bring to the role. That was really exciting and fun.

One of the days on set when we were shooting in the hospital, she is gluten intolerant. Somehow, she got some gluten. Literally, had to direct a scene from a real hospital bed via FaceTiming in. To say she was a champ is an understatement.

You recently appeared on Season 3 of Cobra Kai. While we’ll get to who you played later, how familiar were you with The Karate Kid franchise before signing on for Cobra Kai? Did its legacy intimdiate you at all?

NM: I definitely was a fan of The Karate Kid. My brother, who is about 12 years older, was more his era. He was, like, super stoked that I got to play in that world. When I found out who I was playing, I was very honoured. To get to play such a pivotal character. Especially in the flashbacks, where we get to see my actual work. I just really wanted to… not only honour his legacy but also show a new side of the character. I think when you meet me, it’s very different than when you meet him in The Karate Kid III.

Thomas Ian Griffith is such a talented person, both as an actor and a martial artist. There was definitely that, “Oh, I’d better bring it” on the show, physically, mentally and athletically. I think it’s been really fun to… it’s the first time I played a character that has a direct comparison. When you do theatre, you play a role that someone else has played but you can’t literally put up two photos. It was really an incredible experience. Anytime that people reach out to talk about it, I’m so happy to talk about it.

Uniquely for Cobra Kai, your character (known as “Twig”) appeared only through flashbacks. Were you aware of Twig’s true identity as Terry Silver from the outset or did it come as a surprise to you?

NM: It was revealed to me a little bit later. I knew going into the first episode I shot that I was Terry Silver. I did not know when I auditioned…. Ithink even the audition wasn’t for Terry Silver. If I remember correctly, it was for Young Kreese. They just used the Young Kreese sides, knowing it was going to be a little meatier than when we meet him.

It was really fun to get that call. I’ve always been told I’m a little pasty and originally, the nickname was “Mayonaise”. When they cast me and changed it to “Twig”, I was like “Ow! You guys really think I’m scrawnier than I am pasty?” It’s been a blast to be part of that vaunted universe.

Image courtesy of Netflix

Having had the opportunity to work on a Netflix series and feature film, among your other projects, do you have a preferred medium to work in?

NM: Yeah, totally! They’re so different. Getting to work on a film… really, it’s theatre then film then television. The closer you get to television, the less time you have to really prepare. With Night Night, I only had a couple of days before I knew I was playing the character and was going to be on set. Once I got through those scenes, there were still weeks of time to read, think and ponder. When you’re doing a play, you have months of rehearsal, sometimes.

With Night Night and Cobra Kai… with Cobra Kai, you just jump in. I think being comfortable doing that really helped with Night Night, where I did just have to jump in. Just jump in the deep end, trust my instincts and it’s so much fun. I’m definitely someone who if I’m given the opportunity to think for a long time, I will. Sometimes, it’s nice to just trust yourself and leap in the deep end.

What do you think more aspiring actors should be aware of before pursuing a career in the industry?

NM: I think… it’s a marathon. It is truly unbelievably rare that someone comes out of nowhere. The general public may not have seen them before. Usually, it’s someone who’s been working their butt off to try and get better at acting. Get in front of casting directors, get callbacks.

I did a lovely movie called Summer Of 8 when I first arrived in LA. It was my first audition in LA. I was super lucky to book it. Even before then, I was auditioning all throughout college. I’d been almost in things. I’d signed contracts and it was waiting to see whether they signed mine or the other guy’s. You just don’t see any of that.

Even before that, I had a couple years of high school where I was auditioning. I’d also my entire life watching my parents act and direct on stage. I think it was easy for people who’d never met me when I got to LA to be like, “Man, you just got here and you’re already doing a movie?” Yes, but also I’d been not doing anything pretty hard for 6 years.

It’s about persistence, not getting… you know, being an actor is being okay with rejection. You can lose a job for a 1000 reasons, not all of them are a critique of you as a person. If you’re someone who wants to financially plan your life, being an actor is a horrendous decision.

To wrap this up, what do you hope to accomplish in the coming months as we head into 2022?

NM: As difficult as this year has been for the planet… I’ve gotten to work on a few things this year. Some stuff I can’t say. I’ve got at least one short film I’m looking forward to filming in the New Year. I did an episode of NCIS LA, which is coming out soon. I’m not totally sure. It’s been really fun getting to be on sets a little more often.

My goal always is to be working steadily. Just to be auditioning, getting that experience on sets. Looking forward to finishing up some writing I’m doing. Hopefully, will be getting some projects off the ground that I have instigated. As an actor, the more cards you can hold, that’s always going to be helpful.

Thanks again for taking the time, Nick. Take care and stay safe!

NM: Thank you so much, you as well, wish you the best. This was wonderful.

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