Jaiven Natt – When Calls The Heart
By: Ruth Hill
This season on “When Calls the Heart” has been a fantastic time of growth in the community and many of the featured new faces have been the children of Hope Valley. This time, Hearties were introduced to a character named Robert who didn’t get along with Cody (Carter Ryan Evancic) in the beginning, but Miss Thatcher (Erin Krakow) never gave up on him. With his signature curly hair and spot on facial expressions, we have not been able to overlook this character nor the boy who has infused him with life, Jaiven Natt. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with this 11-year-old who has become a delightful part of this weekly Hallmark escape.
What inspired you to become an actor at your age?
I always thought actors had such fun on TV and it was something I really wanted to do. We happened to hear about an acting camp and my mom asked if I wanted to go. Of course I did, and we had to go to LA for the camp. My mom had a GPS to get us there, but we got lost. We stopped off at a store and my mom wasn’t sure we should keep going. I said I really wanted to go and I begged her to keep going. We found the camp and I had such a great time. My coach at the camp was a real inspiration to me and now here I am on “When Calls The Heart.”
How did you get the job of Robert on WCTH?
I actually auditioned for a part on the first season and I didn’t get it. Then, I auditioned for another role on the show, but I didn’t get it either since they wanted a blonde-headed kid. So, then I heard about a role for season three that sounded perfect. I figured “third time’s the charm.” My audition went really well and I told my mom that I really felt like I got it. And I did. You will see my character 7 out of the 10 episodes in season three.
What was it like joining an established series when you were the “new guy” this season?
It was weird. I didn’t know anyone and I thought it might be hard being the new guy. But from the first day, everyone was wonderful. They came up to me and would introduce themselves. They were really welcoming. Whenever we had a break, we would all play together. Even the adult cast was great. Dan [Lissing] would grab a baseball and play with us kids. It was neat to see how the cast interacted with the kids. It was almost like being at recess at school. I loved it.
Tell us about how schooling works for you.
When we’re filming, the teacher takes the kids in one trailer and the extras go to another trailer. We do all our work on the set and we get to do lots of fun things as well as our schoolwork. When I go back to my regular school, I always hear from my friends, “Why were you gone? We miss you.” My teachers often say, “Hey stranger, what’s your name?”
Any filming stories you want to share?
Really, it is just so much fun and I made friends with all the kids. The hardest thing was when I had to pretend to fight one of the kids. We were friends and now we had to be mean to each other. It was not easy. And then when Jack comes and breaks us up, he actually picks us up. It scared me so much when Dan grabbed me and pulled me up. I wasn’t really expecting that. And I think you can see the surprise on my face.
Any special memories with the cast members?
I loved the whole cast and I became good friends with the other boys, especially Carter. But Erin was really nice. During the breaks, she would come over sometimes and sit with me. She would say, “Hey, how’s it going?” Then, she would ask if I wanted to go over my lines. I thought that was really nice of her.
What other works have you been involved with besides WCTH?
I was in one episode of “Arrow” and one episode of “X Files.” As far as any upcoming works, I am auditioning a lot, but I have nothing else right now I can talk about.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I take guitar lessons on Thursdays and on Fridays I take five hours of tech dance: hip hop, break dance, whacking, popping and locking. They are all elements of hip hop dance. Actually, I have been taking dance since I was two years old –hip hop and an Indian folk dance called Brangra.
As Jaiven discussed the various aspects of his character and his budding acting career, there was no denying the excitement he has for this profession. After talking with this young man (who honestly has a delectable sense of humor and is quite grounded thanks to his tremendous parents), there is no doubt in my mind that he is on the right course and he is just the sort of person who will resonate with fans now and in the years to come. I would say to watch out for this young man as he is on a path that will ultimately bring him (and us) great joy and fulfillment. Be sure to follow him every step of this magnificent journey as you watch him on “When Calls the Heart” every Sunday on the Hallmark channel, and follow him on twitter (https://twitter.com/JaivenNatt ).