Nick Zano killed two birds Friday night, but no animals were harmed during the actor's trip, and a lot of partying was involved.
The star of the upcoming One Big Happy, premiering 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, attended the red carpet opening of the new Tag Heuer store in the Miami Design District. Plus he got to reconnect with family and friends — and make some new ones. Zano mingled with fellow guest, speed demon Bruno Senna, in town for the Formula E, and especially bonded with Siena Tavern owner Fabio Viviani. The former Top Chef star invited the actor and his mom, a restaurant manager at Testa’s in West Palm Beach, to Viviani’s SoBe Italian spot the next evening.
Zano is a successful actor in L.A. now, but he's very much a Florida guy.
“Miami is a special place for me even though I was kind of a nomad growing up,” said the handsome 30-year-old New Jersey native who was fending off the ladies all evening and later partied at WALL. “But I can name every school I attended here.”
He then rattled off the list: Sandpiper Elementary and Bair Middle School in Sunrise; Crestwood Middle in Royal Palm Beach; then Wellington High School, from where he graduated.
Zano was also pumped to talk about his present gig: the new show, co-produced by real life couple Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi. He plays Luke, who meets the woman of his dreams, Prudence (UK’s Kelly Brook) right after impregnating his lesbian roommate (Elisha Cuthbert). Ruh-roh.
“One Big Happy is something we all worked very hard on,” he said of the six episodes. “I think it shows and just gets more and more entertaining.”
Of his laid-back character: “Luke is trying to get away with doing as little as possible. That’s a fair sentiment,” Zano said with a laugh. “We all know that guy who says, ‘I’m completely content being just below the middle.’ He’s not a superhero. He’s just like a really normal guy that doesn’t have that big of aspirations.”
Working with Brook was as easy as it looked.
“I believe she’s going to surprise a lot of people,” he says of the bodacious British actress/model whose last big role in an American movie was in Piranha 3D.
The two actors just fit.
“Casting the part of my wife was quite an ordeal. We saw a lot of actresses to do chemistry reads. They can be awkward because if it's not there from the beginning, you still have to commit to the scene. But with Kelly, it worked. Afterward, I was just like, ‘C’mon. That was it, wasn’t it?’ Everybody was like, ‘Yeah.’ She got the job, deservedly so. She’s a hard worker and very professional.”
Zano, who also costarred in What I Like About You and Two Broke Girls, wasn’t always positive showbiz was for him.
“I'm not sure I would tell my [younger] self to come out to L.A. and do what I did. That would be irresponsible advice. But this is my personal journey and everyone has a different, customized path to success. You have to embrace that even though it may take a while to figure out. Once you do you’re operating with a clear mind and spirit and then everything happens in a really beautiful way.”
Zano, who also worked as an MTV News correspondent back in the day, is not content just acting.
“I just got into producing and recently did a deal with Warner Bros. The business end is now piquing my interest. I get a lot of enjoyment out of writing. If you step back and look at Hollywood as a whole you don’t have to stay in one lane. It's a matter of you coming out of your comfort zone and exposing yourself and giving people the time to be cool with that in the interim.”