Friday, August 01, 2008

Next up for Nicolas Coster: "Family of Four" and "Race"

It's been a while since we checked in with Nicolas Coster, the enigmatic Lionel Lockridge of "Santa Barbara," as well as Lyle Sloan and Joe Morris in the earlier days of "Dallas." Coster has two brand-new projects this year, and he gave BRBTV the rundown on that and much more ...

"Family of Four" is a drama written and directed by John Suits. It filmed in Los Angeles from New Artists Alliance. The name of Coster's character is Dr. Wallace in the movie, which also stars Alexandra Paul of "Baywatch" fame. There's a couple of brief homemade videos from the taping on YouTube.

"'Family of Four,' a well-done film, was done by a very talented lot of people," Coster tells us, "as was 'Family Plot,' another recent film -- a horror film which was shot by a brilliant cinematographer who was a recent graduate of the American Film Institute, where I have done a number of student films."

"Race," also filmed in L.A. but from Picture Magic Entertainment, explores two meanings of the word race -- a type of person and a competition. The plotline, from the IMDb: "Kira, an Asian-American woman, and Luke, an African-American man, work together as vice-presidents of a research firm. When their Caucasian boss, Jack, announces to them that one of them will be promoted to become senior vice president based on the presentation that needs to take place the following morning, Luke and Kira suddenly become at odds with each other."

Coster's character is the boss, Jack Gibson, in the comedy-drama, from director Peter Coyote and writer Hira Ambrosino. It's a shortie -- 20 minutes -- as noted on Coyote's website.

"'Race' was great fun and Peter Coyote, the director, was terrific," Coster tells us. "He is so imaginative and even used a bit I was doing where I make a trumpet sound (not too badly) with just my lips and playing an imaginary trumpet."

He adds, "The character I was playing, I did it in private and by using it on film it gave a dimension to the character I would not have thought of. It was a short film for festivals mostly ... so far no prizes that I know of, but well-worth doing. I played a real rat of a boss ... but a funny, drunk rat."

Coster stays busy in a lot of arenas, as BRBTV learned when we interviewed him for the "Dallas" and "Santa Barbara" reference guides. He gives us an update on those other activities, as well:

"I have also done five student films at USC in the past three years ... I sorta did the Master's Program with them. I just finished a thesis film for one of the master's candidates. We share. They seem to appreciate my experience in all those 40 features, New York University Film School and countless TV things, and I keep my wits sharp trying to keep up with them ... and still learning every time I do it.

"Also keeping busy as an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia. I go there several times a year. I am sort of the 'survive-in-showbiz-prof' who goes out and does it in L.A. and New York and then goes and tries to share with them -- what not to do as well as what they might do! I go there again on August 27, to teach and do a play, 'Art' which was on Broadway recently."

Coster had shared with us his love of scuba diving, which was expressed in the early years of "SB." He even taught co-star John Allen Nelson, his on-screen son, how to dive. It's work that he feels very strongly about.

"My 'give-back' to the wounded veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," he tells us now, "is teaching a brand-new pilot program of scuba diving to seven recently very seriously wounded vets, both me and women. It is the most gratifying experience of my life. I have always -- for over 30 years -- found the teaching of disabled persons most fulfilling, and this is a kind of terrific final chapter ... I can't do it forever, can I?

"I am also training others to take over when I do hang up my fins. We have a foundation, the Challenges Foundation,, which I founded in 1998. I sustained it with mostly my own funds all these years but can no longer do it alone. We do need help. We are a nonprofit foundation and we can receive tax-deductible contributions. The reason we can do this most exciting wounded veterans project is that the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation gave us a generous contribution to start with."

To learn more, visit the site -- and consider donating to this valuable cause.

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Coster; copy at your own risk

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