Berlin: Nick Jonas Says Family Upbringing Prepared Him for Frat Hazing Film 'Goat'

Courtesy of Sundance Institute
'Goat'

"Any time you grow up with siblings close in age as we were, there's that sense of fraternity life," Jonas told a festival press conference.

It turns out the Jonas Brothers didn't have such a wholesome, family-friendly upbringing after all.

Nick Jonas on Wednesday told the Berlin Film Festival that growing up with brothers Joe and Kevin, and launching their successful boy band before a fraternal breakup was a perfect training ground for the teen heartthrob to star in Andrew Neel's fraternity film Goat. "Any time you grow up with siblings close in age as we were, there's that sense of fraternity life as such, plus we worked together for so long and spent a lot of time of impressionable lives together," Jonas said.

"There's definitely a training ground there," he added. Goat, which debuted in Sundance before playing in the Panorama sidebar in Berlin, sees Jonas play a frat member whose brother — played by Ben Schnetzer — decides to join Greek life and undergoes hazing.

Jonas said he also prepared for the hazing ritual film by visiting a college bar in Bowling Green, Ohio, while on a concert tour around a month before cameras started rolling for Goat. "I went out to a college car and had a really unique experience that I can't really remember, but I know I didn't do anything too stupid," Jonas recounted.

"I just had too may shots of tequila, which became a good training ground for the movie as well, I think," he added. Jonas met with director Neel to discuss the part before auditioning, and recalled "relief" when later meeting Schnetzer, his co-star.

"He's not only an amazing actor, obviously, but he has a really great heart, and he's someone I immediately connected with. We had a limited amount of time to build our chemistry, so that's important," Jonas said of rehearsals. "Some were good days and some were bad days, and it was all to set up the making of this film. It was great, one of the best experiences of my life," he added.

For director Neel, Goat called for emotional performances from his cast, and precautions on set. "We had a safe word, it was pineapple," he told the Berlin presser.

Neel wrote the screenplay for Goat with Mike Roberts and Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green. James Franco, who plays a supporting role in the film, produced Goat along with Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa and Vince Jolivette. Robert Halmi Jr., John Wells and Jim Reeve acted as executive producers.

Paramount Home Media earlier acquired the worldwide rights to Goat. The deal is for worldwide rights to the film, which will get a day-and-date VOD release, with a third party handling theatrical distribution. MTV will get the first TV window.

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