‘Nevel has continued to exist in my head’: Q&A with ‘iCarly’ star and Boca Raton native Reed Alexander
Boca Raton native and TV star Reed Alexander is stirring up trouble again on the new “iCarly” revival.
Alexander, 26, will reprise his role as Nevel Papperman on the young-adult sitcom, which will premiere on the Paramount+ streaming service on June 17.
On the original hugely popular and Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon series “iCarly,” which aired from 2007 to 2012, Alexander’s character Nevel was a snobbish web critic who antagonized main characters Carly, Sam and Freddie and their popular web show, iCarly, after Carly refused to kiss him.
When “iCarly” ended, Alexander quit acting to pursue journalism, inspired by the reporters he interacted with as a child star. He has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and lived in New York, though he returned to Boca Raton during the pandemic. He now is a finance reporter for Insider.
Here’s what Alexander says about revisiting his character, meeting “iCarly” castmates old (Miranda Cosgrove, Jerry Trainor and Nathan Kress) and new, and what he’s up to now.
What should viewers expect from the grown-up Nevel Papperman?
Old habits die hard. If you remember all the things [fans] loved about the character from the original show years ago — his big vocabulary, his really theatrical dramatic persona and his penchant for nefarious tricks — I think you’ll be very satisfied.
What started your acting career in South Florida?
I was a member of the drama club at Pine Crest [School in Boca Raton]. Those experiences really showed me at a young age that I love being onstage, and I love the art of acting. We had a teacher, Debra Blakely, who was the most phenomenal coach that anyone could hope to have. She knew that I had ambitions to do this professionally, and she kept encouraging me, but my parents had some real apprehension about me at 8 years old pursuing a professional career in acting. I was a very willful kid.
I left the [acting] industry, so coming back to “iCarly” was a real change for me. I’ve been a journalist now for almost seven years.
You’ve left acting to be a journalist, but your character, Nevel, keeps bringing you back. Why?
So many people over the years have stopped me to say, “Your show, ‘iCarly,’ was a huge part of my childhood.” That’s something that [the cast] hears a lot, which is a really amazing compliment and a real privilege. I met someone the other day who almost got choked up when he was talking to me about what the show meant to him throughout his teenage years.
Nevel has continued to exist in my head off-screen for eight years. Of course, we all wonder where our characters would be now. So to not answer that question about where Nevel is now in the remake, I feel like a lot of people would have been very disappointed.
It’s not as though I’ve been out canvassing to do this. I’m very happy in the life that I have as a reporter. But to be able to reprise this role, there’s such a great sense of bringing the band back together. I hope that my presence in the revival is able to make somebody laugh. I know it made me laugh and made me feel very grateful to have this opportunity.
What makes South Florida a place that grounds your work?
So many things about Florida sing “home” to me. I live very close to the beach, so I really enjoy taking advantage of our proximity to the water. There’s one little French bakery in Mizner Park that I used to go to for my favorite croissants growing up. When I go for Japanese food, I love to go for sushi at Lemongrass [Asian Bistro]. I had a couple of fun dinners at Flagler Steakhouse at The Breakers.
How did you feel about returning to “iCarly”?
I was nervous that after eight years I would have some difficulty remembering lines. I remember [being] on the plane out to California, thinking, “Oh gosh, is this going to work? Am I going to really remember how to do this?”
It was so natural to get back into that role and I think part of it is, I also was getting to visit Nevel, my old friend and character that I played for so long.
I was most looking forward to seeing the original castmates and meeting the new castmates. The show has two new stars [Laci Mosley and Jaidyn Triplett] who are really phenomenal.
When I think back to when I first auditioned for “iCarly” years ago, I could never have known that, 14 years later, I would be going back on a plane — in the middle of a pandemic, no less — to go to California to see my old friends and to bring the show back again. What a gift that so few people get.
“iCarly” will premiere June 17 on Paramount+.