INTERVIEW: Actor Nathan Baesel

Viewers of ABC's TV series 'Invasion' can not easily forget the disturbing scene where Deputy Lewis Sirk cuts off his own arm with a chainsaw. Nathan Baesel is the actor who breathes life to the very likable character of Deputy Lewis. A versatile actor, Nathan brings his long theater experience to the TV and movie sets, where he is able to portray a full range of characters, going as far as a megalomaniac psycho-killer in his upcoming movie 'Behind the Mask'. We've been talking to Nathan about his acting career, his roles, the 'Invasion' set and more; here's what he shared with us.


1. Please tell us about your decision to get involved with acting. Was it something you always wanted?

Nathan Baesel:
Although I've only been acting professionally for almost 4 years I've been engaged in it for the better part of 15 years. I started taking an acting class to fulfill credits in high school. My brothers had done some school plays and I thought, "What the hell?" My friends gave me enough pats on the back to encourage me, and some shows at the junior college continued to bolster my confidence. When it came down to deciding what I was going to commit to for the rest of my life I figured if I was going to end up in debt regardless I should probably go in debt doing something I enjoy. And go in debt I did getting my bachelors in theater at UCLA and finishing the acting program at The Juilliard School. My family and my wife have always supported and encouraged me to continue training and working in acting but the man really responsible for putting me on the path in the first place is my high school teacher, Joe. He made me feel at a very formative time in my life that I was unique and had something special to offer. I guess I came to believe him.

Nathan Baesel

2. You have a movie coming up: "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon". What you can tell us about it?

'Behind the Mask' is a film I shot in Portland a little over a year ago with Angela Goethels, Scott Wilson, Robert Englund, and Zelda Rubenstein. I play a regular joe name Leslie Vernon who models himself after the greatest psycho-slashers of our time: Mike Meyers, Freddie, Jason. He solicits a grad school film crew to document his rise into the pantheon of greats. He dispels the assumptions that his profession is nothing more than mindless stalking and killing by revealing the training techniques, detailed plotting, and the rigours of execution required in order to make an event appear like mindless stalking and killing. The crew and the Dianne Sawyer wanna-be Taylor Gentry (Angela) are captivated by Leslie's quirky charm until the first victim falls and then a crisis of conscience leads them to try and stop this legend-in-the-making. Once they shut their video cameras off the movie shifts to film and the rest takes place in a traditional slasher pic style except the audience knows every move Leslie is going to make...or do they?

I had a ball playing a character who could've easily come off as pure evil; instead I took what seemed a much more interesting turn and made him a very sensitive, engaging everyman who believes his profession is truly valid. He provides a necessary counterbalance to all that is good, and pure. Sure he's got issues but don't we all? And I got a chance to work with some truly great actors. I mean, when I got the thumbs up from Freddy Kruger himself? Are you kidding me?

There is a trailer and production stills on the film's website "".

3. Have you done any theater work? Do you prefer working on TV, movies or theater?

I thoroughly enjoy working both in front of the camera and on stage but my acting training has all been in the theater and I'm more comfortable in the more lifelike confines of the theater than the technical restrictions of t.v. and film. I'm really fortunate to have struck up a great relationship with a tremendous theater near my home in Orange County. South Coast Repertory is a Tony Award winning theater in Southern California that produces an insane amount of new works, from commisioning new plays to work-shopping and staging original works. Last year I did "On The Mountain" by Chris Shinn and "Princess Marjorie" by Noah Haidle. Both were wonderful new plays by outstanding contemporary playwrites. I left New York shortly after finishing school and never had a chance to experience the theater scene out there. I'm really looking forward to doing a run for a few months in New York preferably in a play that I've had a chance to develop out here.

4. Where would like to see the Lewis character on 'Invasion' go?

Nathan BaeselNathan: In Invasion episode #9 Lewis Sirk regained his arm that he lost in combat in Iraq. Fearing that the rest of the town wouldn't embrace this development, the sheriff convinces Sirk to cut it off with a chainsaw. That episode exhausted the character arch that I'd discussed with Shaun Cassidy (the creator). I guess I did a decent job and people responded to the character enough that Shaun decided not to kill me off. But I really have no idea what future (if any) is in store for Lewis. It seems that a strong relationship is developing between Lewis and Kira, the sheriff's daughter, which I'm interested in exploring. Beside the fact that I enjoy hanging out with Alexis who plays Kira, I think it would be creatively rewarding to find some shades of confidence and passion in a character who is admittedly isolated and insecure. Shaun and the other producers play everything really close to the chest in terms of what will happen next, but one thing I'm certain of is that whatever lies in store for Lewis will be fascinating. Shaun and his talented group of writers are constantly demonstrating their fertile imagination with every script.

5. How does it feel working next to actors like William Fichtner who have a long history in the profession?

William Fichtner comes across a lot like his character on the show: cold, manipulative, and completely indifferent to anyone outside the gravity of his egocentricity. But under all that he's a teddy bear. Seriously, I love Bill Fichtner! He's taken me under his wing somewhat and I've learned more from working with him in two months than I have in the four years I've been working in the industry. He's a consumate professional doing whatever it takes to get it right. I find myself taking mental notes all the time whether he's on camera or behind the scenes. And why not study him? He's spot-on with every shot that airs. I feel the same about Kari Matchett (Mariel). Whenever I'm at the studio and I find out she's shooting a scene I race over to the set and catch whatever I can. She's flawless but not technical, somehow a perfect combination of precision but perfectly alive and natural. I'm really honored to be involved with 'Invasion' because the level of talent behind the show combined with how nice everyone is is rare, truly rare.

6. Please share with us a funny moment that occured during the shooting of 'Invasion'.

I was in the front seat of the sheriff's cruiser while Eddie and Bill were in the backseat shooting a very intimate and intense scene. I looked in the rear-view mirror in time to catch Eddie saying, "I wish I knew how to quit you Tom Underlay!"

I had holiday cookies made up for the cast and crew which were ginger-bread men missing a left arm.

7. How is the one-arm effect of the Deputy Lewis character created on 'Invasion'?

We've shot two scenes with C.G.I. Most of the time we use a costume rig that binds my arm behind my back with a tight girdle, while a corset suspends a prosthetic amputation from my shoulder. Its a very cost/time effective way to do it. We can achieve a really convincing silhouette and by sliding my arm to my far camera side I can get a nice profile shot. The down side of this method is that movement is severely limited. I can only turn about ninety degrees before my arm starts showing up. Plus it requires a certain amount of self consciousness on my part to make sure my arm isn't exposed to the camera. When any amount of distraction can make the difference between giving a good take and a bad one, having to be aware of my body's relationship to the camera at all times is challenging. Its becoming more second-nature as time goes on, thankfully.

Although we can get a remarkably acurate representation of the arm with C.G.I. this method is surprisingly restrictive as well. We achieve the effect by throwing a green sock over the arm and shooting the scene and exiting the frame once we've cut. The camera continues to run for about ten seconds taking a sample of the background from the scene. In post production all of the green from the sock is removed and replaced by the sampled background. However if my arm ever crosses the plane of my body the shot is ruined because its much too time consuming to replace the arm with an unstable background. Still the look is pretty great. And the visual effects guys are really good at their job.

On the set of Invasion

8. How many times a week do you generally have to shoot for 'Invasion'? Where is the series being shot?

The show shoots in Burbank at Warner Brothers and locations around L.A. County. A great testament to the location supervisors is that in spite of all of the locations the show uses I've heard from several Floridians that the show looks convincingly like the Homestead area it portrays.

I shoot my stuff in two to three days out of a ten day shoot.

9. Who is your favorite actor and why? What's your favorite movie? What kind of music do you like to listen to?

I listen to all kinds of music but my desert island disc would be Miles Davis and Gil Evans' "Porgy and Bess".

My favorite actor? Wow... umm... I think Meryl Streep has been remarkable in continually broadening her range. And she doesn't quit! She has every reason in the world to rest inside the margins, but like an artist she keeps striving. I'm really awed by her.

I think Alec Baldwin is the greatest host 'Saturday Night Live' has ever had!

I don't think I have a favorite movie, but 'Die Hard' is one of my favorites. It's a perfect action movie. And the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy? How did they do that? And I think Milos Forman deserves a lifetime achievement award for "Amadeus" alone.

10. Do you believe that for an actor it is more important to live in LA or in NY? Which city offers more opportunities?

I think living in L.A. is a must for a career in TV or film, and living in N.Y. is a must for a career in theater. Unless you are an accomplished actor and you can live wherever you want and do whatever you want. I intend to be an accomplished actor.

We thank Nathan for his kindness and for the time he spent answering our questions.


Hey, great job man! I thought you had one arm for real when I first saw you on TV!

Thank you! It sure is a lot less painful to have the two arms but the costume and effects people came up with a pretty darn good way to get rid of the one.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this show and I hope it has a long run! My favorite character is the sheriff. With any luck they'll send Larkin off to Iraq and we'll never see her again.

I do not understand why people dislike Larkin .. I think she is great and the best woman character on Invasion .. Personally I think Mariel is annoying and needs to be taken off ..


I enjoy Invasion ,, I think all the Characters are intrumental in the series being successful ,, The addition of Nathan is an added bonus to the already talented cast .. I like all of them not just certain ones and think it is sad how so and so is being slammed .. I think Larkin, Mariel,Tom,Russell,Mona,Jesse,Kira,Rose,Lewis, and yes even the Baby Russell and Larkin are having are all interesting and makes Invasion worth checking out ..
Kudos to all the cast and crew of the show and I'm hoping Invasion is renewed for another season ..


Thanks for your vote of support and I second you. I think the cast is extremely talented and I enjoy working with them all. I wish for everybody a shocking second season!

I'm a huge fan of the show. The episode where the sheriff persuades Lewis to cut off his own arm is a tough one to pull off credibly, but they did it! Keep up the great work and I'll keep watching! :-)

The script for that episode was pretty daunting but Bill is a pro and we worked hard to pull it off. Thanks,

I find the Lewis Sirk character a very sweet guy and I hope he eventually gets more screen time.


Thank you. The next two episodes I've got some good stuff coming up. Hope you enjoy!

I must leave you a comment telling you how I almost choked on the "I wish I could quit you." ROFLLL. Good one bro.


On the last episode I was working on Bill and I were setting up to shoot a long sweeping crane shot on the balcony of a beach front home, eagerly scanning the horizon for any signs of our "missing person". Bill takes my hand and starts leading me to the balcony saying, "Let's ruin the take." I was ready to play ball and act Underlay's submissive "partner", but on action Bill changed his mind and let me go. I think it would've been good for the outake reel.

Nathan, thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights on Invasion, acting in general, and especially the nice comments on your costars, Kari and Bill. I've learned how to act by watching Bill's work - and I'm not even an actress! He's the man! Fortunately for all of us, you heeded your teacher Joe so that you could bring us your sweet and charming - and now heartbreaking - performance of Lewis. I look forward to what's next for him and for you!
Eugenia, thank you for the great interview! Excellent photos!

I appreciate your support and hope you're pleased with this Wednesday's episode. It was my first time working on the show since that long hiatus in December and I was so happy to be back there with Bill and Alexis and everyone. Also Harry, the director, was really cool.

Thanks Nathan for doing the interview and the first time Lewis appeared I was immediately captivated by him .. I also like the facts he talks about God and Faith and does it respectfully .. Far too often religion is treated disrespectfully which is sad :( Do you also share a strong Faith ?
Also is Lewis and Kira going to get together romantically ? Is there anyone of the show you would like to work with more often which you do not get a chance to now ?
I'd like to see some scenes between Lewis and Larkin, Lewis and Mariel, and Lewis and Dave :-)
Who is the funniest on the show ? Who is the most serious ?

Many Thanks!

I think Shaun Cassidy is very interested in exploring the role that faith plays in the events on the show. I'm very happy to be one of the ways he can do that.
I don't know what the future holds for Lewis especially on the romance front, but I do know that the bond he shares with Kira is extremely important to him.
I only had one scene with Kari around episode 4or 5 that ended up on the cutting room floor, but I enjoyed working with her and everyone I've met on the show.
And the prize for the funniest and most serious both go to Bill Fichtner!
Thank you.

> I only had one scene with Kari around episode
> 4 or 5 that ended up on the cutting room floor

Yup, I remember that episode, it was Episode 8 ("The Cradle"). It was the one where Mariel is asking you to let her see the female prisoner, if I am not mistaken. Looking back at the episode I can see you in the scene for a total of 2-3 seconds, in the background. Such a shame that they cut out the full scene. :(

That's amazing you remember the scene (which never appeared) along with the episode number and name. You clearly follow very closely. You'll no doubt be very interested in tonight's episode. There are some startling developments.

Hey, thanks! I am a fan, so I look out for your appearance very carefully on each episode.

BTW, unfortunately tonight's episode is a rerun (according to Yahoo's TV Listings site). The "All God's Creatures" episode will air next week instead. I can't wait!


I'm so embarassed about not knowing that last night was going to be a re-run rather than the new episode. It just goes to show I'm really at the bottom of the information chain. Whenever it rolls around let me know what you think.

Although I was personally devastated :) at a rerun so soon again, we all know that sort of thing is completely out of the artist's hands - or hand, so to speak. At least we saw you in the enticing preview! By the way, it was not lost on me in the interview that you went to Juilliard. Wow! Cream of the crop, indeed - and very impressive. It is no surprise that you bring so much to Lewis.
Hanging on until new Invasion!
Yours truly, jayesse8 (aka Joanna)

Thank you. Ya, Juilliard and my time living in New York was a kick in the head.
Keep the faith,

Thank you for responding Nathan and I'm hoping the hiatus of Invasion is short and the series is given a renewal too ..
I'm hoping Lewis is going to be on Invasion alot :-)


Thank you,

Just wanted to tell you man, you give a very convincing performance. Though I found the arm-cutting scene a bit far-fetched (even brainwashing, evil glowfish wouldn't force me to cut my limbs off :P), your portrayal of how Lewis was slowly beginning to doubt Tom's wisdom was excellent. And I really, really enjoyed the moments (in the last episode) where you would see the killer's arms; at all times, there was only one (in the car, and holding the gun).

P.S. Glad to see a celebrity that's down to earth, and took the time to talk to his fans. I applaud you, sir.

Celebrity is far from what's going on over here. But I love what I do and I'm hungry to take on even the greatest of challenges even if its the most farfetched idea imaginable; I'm thrilled to try and find a way to make it work.
Keep the faith,

Well, every show has reruns... and the fact that you guys needed not one, but two weeks to prepare, means that either something broke down, or that we'll have Jedi coming to the rescue and fighting hybrids. I hope for the Jedi.
But again, good luck in the future shows, and I hope for yet another long period of suspense to come! Turning movie material into an excellent TV series isn't something many people can do, so just don't be too modest :P
Anyway, I'm sorry for taking your time (I often get talkative), and thanks again for talking to us humble cityfolk! Adios,

I promise great future suspense. I'm constantly impressed with the quality of the scripts and I think the execution of each one is solid most every time. Great things are coming.

No worries. I'm having fun doing this.


Great future suspense ? Hmm sounds intriguing and interesting Nathan :-)
Too bad you cannot offer any hints but I think it is better keeping the surprise element going instead but sure hope to see Russell & Larkin's Baby be born and not any alien LOL
But I'm hoping too Lewis is on alot and used more in the plot !!


And I was also going to ask... is Lewis a kind of brother to yourself, in terms of similarities? Because from what you've posted, you sound a lot like Lewis. Modest, upbeat, and philanthropic, but also dedicated to your occupation (i.e. when Lewis investigates deeper into the body in the swamp).

The person from before

P.S. Sorry if I double post, my computer has started submitting form fields multiple times.

I don't know computer speak. This is my first computer. But don't worry, its cool if you write.

I think unfortunately I can only portray a character as different from me as I'm capable of creating, and though there are some things about him that aren't me, my defalt is me. I'm always going to run back home to what I know and what I'm familiar with. Ultimately I'm trying to create a very sincere guy who's interesting to watch. I hope to keep stretching and trying new stuff and in aid of that I'm writing a script for Invasion, which I hope to finish in the next week, that would create some neat acting situations for some of the people on the show. We'll see if anything comes of it.
Thanks for your time.

You're accomplishing making Lewis interesting to watch Nathen and doing outstanding :-)
I think it s great you're writing a script and by all means please do let us know how you make out on it :-)
I'm hoping if Invasion is given a reneal for another Season you'll be added as a regular and Lewis is going to become a key character more so than he is now :-)
Nathan .. Is Invasion being considered moving to a new night/timeslot and why the 6 weeks hiatus ? I personally think ABC is making an enormous mistake taking Invasion off the schedule for so long and it was off not too long ago too :(


I really have no idea what the schedule for the show is or what chances it has for another season. I'm at the bottom of the information food chain. In fact this morning I read from an online article that the show is being cancelled. I don't know if the source is credible or not, but I'm already moping around the house like the show is over. My wife is going to go crazy if she has to take care of "Little Nate" AND "Big Nate" today.
Sadly yours,

Everyone is upset about the cancellation rumor going around Nathan :(
We are fighting though to keep the show on and will not give up !!
Too bad you're on the bottom of the food chain :( I was hoping you could offer encouragement but could you try to find out maybe please ?
How old is your Son ? If you prefer not to answer I do understand and that's ok :-)
Do you have any other projects coming up in the meantime ?

Thanks Again !

He's a very precocious two and a half year old.
As of today we're still in production, at least post-production on episodes we've already shot. I have an A.D.R. session tomorrow for episode 14. And I'm assuming regular production is still moving forward because I was scheduled to shoot on Wednesday and I haven't received a call yet about that changing, so...we'll see.

Aww 2 1/2 years old .. I bet he is a cutie Nathan .. Children are so sweet at that age and again thanks for responding :-)
If you get any definite information about what's going on concerning Invasion please could you let us all know BUT more importantly do what is best for you and your Family ..
Whad does A.D.R. mean ? Sorry for being so naive but I'm not familiar with that ? As always though Nathan Keep The Faith and God Bless !!

Take Care !!


We are still in production and as far as I know we will continue to be.
A.D.R. means something I don't know. Its the term for going into a sound studio and re-recording dialogue that got lost or muddled during the shooting. If you look closely at outdoor scenes on real locations and not on a studio lot you'll notice actors voices not matching up with their mouths because they went in and did a.d.r. on lines that were messed up because a dog was barking, or a plane was flying over.

I looked it up: ADR stands for "Automated" or "Automatic" Dialog Replacement. :)

It's true that having Invasion coming back for a second season is a bit tricky given ABC putting the show on hiatus twice and never promoting it properly. The TV business is always an uncertain business. But don't lose your faith and don't let this situation disturb your goals and dreams in life. Hang on in there, but of course, always put your family's needs first on every decision you are about to make. I will pray for you tonight.

thank you.

Before I start ranting how large a mistake the "suits" would make if they cancelled Invasion, I'd just like to say; if at any time I get carried away, please stop me, as I don't want to bore everyone.

Hopefully the rumour is that, just a rumour. If Invasion is being considered for removal from the schedule... I'm really starting to think that they're starting to put a ban on anything actually with a bit of smarts in it on TV. Sure, Invasion isn't a day with Discovery Channel, but it's still much more involving than, say, shows which force you to eat a cockroach to win money. Meanwhile, I'm going to a)look for a petition that supports the show, or b), failing that, start one. Good luck to you guys, and congrats for staying on top without eating cockroaches!

Person from before, again (call me Bob)

I'd eat a cockroach to keep the show on. Does that count?