Chris Kerson

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Chris Kerson
Chris Kerson.jpg
Christopher Buckley Kerson

EducationIona Preparatory School
Alma materCollege of William and Mary
Occupation(s)film, television, and theater actor
Notable workTrue Detective, Gotti

Chris Kerson is an American film, television, and theater actor. He is best known for his roles as Nails in True Detective and Wilfred "Willie Boy" Johnson in Gotti.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Kerson was born in New York City, and spent his childhood in Manhattan and Westchester. He attended the College of William and Mary, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology. During his studies, he happened into an acting class to satisfy an arts elective and discovered a passion that would become his career. Following graduation, he spent time in New York City and Los Angeles for work and continued developing his craft.



Kerson's filmography begins with a role in Paul Duran's debut feature, Flesh Suitcase, which premiered at WorldFest Houston in 1995. He played the lead in The Ride by NYU filmmaker and Martin Scorsese Scholarship recipient Thomas Kim, which Scorsese named best short film of the year.[2] In 2010, Kerson found critical and audience acclaim as the lead in Sean Kirkpatrick's Big Break Movie Contest feature Cost of a Soul. The gritty drama about a combat soldier who returns to violence on the streets of Philadelphia opened in fifty theaters nationwide and screened at numerous festivals.[4][5][6][7][8] Kerson played a supporting role in Broadway's Finest, which won the Audience Award for Best Film at the 2012 Long Island International Film Expo.[9][10] He followed that performance as a co-star in Another Zero in the System before working alongside Lance Henriksen in the cult sci-fi Daylight's End.[11][12][13] Kerson won multiple awards for his co-starring role in the 2019 suspense short Rendezvous.[14][15][16][17] He played Paddy (son of Bruce Dern's character) in the 2020 comedy Last Call.[18][19][20] Chris played a lead role as Detective Kevin McKenzie in Equal Standard, a 2020 NYPD action and crime-thriller starring and executive-produced by Ice-T.[21]


Kerson's work in television started with a supporting role as Buck in the "Takedown" episode of Pacific Blue's first season. In 2010, he nabbed an uncredited role as the Cool Camera Guy in the "College" episode (season 5, episode 6) of 30 Rock. Next, Kerson played Gunnar in the Merchants of Menace episode in the 15th season of the hit show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.[22] In 2015, Kerson landed his breakout role as the recurring character Nails in the HBO hit True Detective.[1][23][24][25] Nails is named for the scars he bears as the result of a nail gun attack.


Kerson has worked Off-Broadway in a variety of theater roles. Early billings include Franz Xaver Kroetz's play The Nest[26][27] and Stephan Morrow's Hurry, a sold-out show at the Blue Heron Art Center. He played Carl the Usher in the New York premiere of Tennessee Williams's rediscovered play These Are the Stairs You Got to Watch.[28] Kerson also starred in Mario Fratti's Missionaries opposite theater icon Rose Gregorio.[29]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Event Film Result
2020 Platinum Award Best Supporting Actor Royal Wolf Film Awards[30] Rendezvous Won
2020 Jury Prize Best Team Performance in a Short Film
Shared with Katarina Morhacova, David Lago, Mike sutton Francis Jue, Casey McDougal, Lisa Boucher Hartman
South Film & Arts Academy Festival[31]
Rendezvous Won
2020 Grand Jury Award Best Ensemble Cast
Shared with Katarina Morhacova, David Lago, Mike sutton Francis Jue, Casey McDougal, Lisa Boucher Hartman
Oniros Film Awards[32] Rendezvous Won
2020 Jury Award Best Ensemble Cast
Shared with Katarina Morhacova, David Lago, Mike sutton Francis Jue, Casey McDougal, Lisa Boucher Hartman
Oniros Film Awards[32] Rendezvous Nominated
2020 Diamond Award Best Supporting Actor Mindfield Film Festival[33] Rendezvous Won
2020 Gold Award Best Ensemble Cast
Shared with Katarina Morhacova, David Lago, Mike sutton Francis Jue, Casey McDougal, Lisa Boucher Hartman
Best Actor Award - New York[34] Rendezvous Won
2020 Jury Prize Best Supporting Actor Dreamachine International Film Festival[14] Rendezvous Won
2020 Gold Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role International Independent Film Awards[15] Rendezvous Won
2015 Audience Award Best Short FIlm Long Island International Film Expo[22] Grace Won


  1. ^ a b Calia, Michael (2015-08-10). "Meet Chris Kerson, the Actor Who Played 'Nails' on 'True Detective'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  2. ^ a b "Westchester Native Plays Pivotal Role With John Travolta In Movie 'Gotti'". White Plains Daily Voice. 2018-07-01. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  3. ^ "Review: Overly reverent bio-pic 'Gotti' strands a solid John Travolta performance in less-than-epic drama". Los Angeles Times. 2018-06-15. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  4. ^ "Chris Kerson Talks 'Cost of a Soul' [Exclusive]". Movieweb. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  5. ^ "Cost Of A Soul". AV Club. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  6. ^ Benardello, Karen (2011-05-17). "Chris Kerson and Will Blagrove Talk About Their Roles in Cost of a Soul". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  7. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (2011-05-19). "A Solemn Homecoming". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  8. ^ "Cost of a Soul: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  9. ^ "2012 Winners". The Long Island International Film Expo. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  10. ^ "'Broadway's Finest': Local man has ties to featured movie at Prescott Film Festival". The Daily Courier. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  11. ^ "ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM". TIM MCCANN. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  12. ^ unclecreepy (2016-08-19), Exclusive First Look: Daylight's End, Dread Central, retrieved 2020-04-25
  13. ^ Benardello, Karen (2014-02-03). "Daylight's End Offers Insight in Sneak Preview Promo Trailer". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  14. ^ a b "Award Winners". Dreamachine International Film Festival. Retrieved 2020-04-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ a b "Gold Award". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  16. ^ "Rendezvous". Film Threat. 2019-12-09. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  17. ^ "Rendezvous Short Film Review". OC Movie Reviews. 2020-01-07. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  18. ^ "Indie Comedy CRABS IN A BUCKET Fills Out Its Fun Cast with Jeremy Piven, Bruce Dern, Jamie Kennedy, and More". GeekTyrant. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  19. ^ "Indie Comedy Crabs in a Bucket Nabs Jeremy Piven, Bruce Dern". 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  20. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (2019-09-23). "Jeremy Piven, Bruce Dern, Taryn Manning & More To Star In 'Crabs in a Bucket' Comedy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  21. ^ "Equal Standard movie review starring Ice-T Assignment X". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  22. ^ a b "Chris Kerson". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  23. ^ "HBO Taps Afema Omilami And Chris Kerson In Spots For 'True Detective'". Highlight Hollywood News. 2014-12-06. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  24. ^ "Here's a Description of the True Detective 2 Premiere". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  25. ^ "Wynn Everett Joins TNT Pilot 'Lumen'; 'True Detective' Adds 2". Deadline Hollywood. 2014-12-06. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  26. ^ "The Nest". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  27. ^ John Willis, Ben Hodges (Jul 1, 2008). Theater World 2005-2006: The Most Complete Record of the American Theater. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 212. ISBN 1557837082.
  28. ^ "Tennessee to the rescue of 13th Street Rep". amNewYork. 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  29. ^ "Trio Review – Villager Staff | Mario Fratti, Playwright". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  30. ^ "Royal Wolf Film Awards". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  31. ^ "Winners #30". sfaaf (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  32. ^ a b "April 2020 Award Results" (PDF). Oniros Film Awards. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. ^ "Mindfield Film Festival - Albuquerque". Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  34. ^ "Best Actor Award Results" (PDF). Best Actor Award - New York. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 11 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)