‘Moxie’: Why the Actor Who Plays Seth ‘The Shrimp’ Looks So Familiar in the Netflix Original
One of the newest originals to hit Netflix in March was the movie Moxie. It’s set in the Pacific Northwest and focuses on Vivian (Hadley Robinson), who’s an introvert and voted “Most Obedient” in her high school’s pretty inappropriate rankings that go out every year. A new girl, Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), shakes things up when she doesn’t stand down to the school’s popular quarterback, Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger), who’s a bit more extreme than your average bully.
And Seth “The Shrimp” ends up catching Vivian’s eye when she least expects it. But why does he look so familiar? The skateboarder who can recite all of the American Girl dolls and who might steal your heart has skated in a popular movie you might have seen before, too.
Seth “The Shrimp” is played by Nico Hiraga who had a hilarious role in ‘Booksmart’
Nico Hiraga is the actor that Seth “The Shrim” in Moxie. Hiraga’s portrayal of Seth is sweet, genuine, and definitely makes for a great on-screen high school crush. According to PopBuzz, Hiraga is 23 and from San Francisco, CA. He’s also proud of his Japanese heritage and is friends with rapper Tyler, The Creator.
Hiraga started acting around 2017 and appearing in Skate Kitchen and Ballers. But his most memorable role before Moxie was in Booksmart starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. He played Tanner, another high school student who skated but who memorably was going to go on and play soccer for Stanford in the fall.
Before acting, he had a pretty decent following thanks to being a popular skateboarder. And while that’s played a pretty big role in most of his notable characters, he’s not sweating being typecast too much.
“I wasn’t tripping too much, because I don’t think I would be where I am today in my life without skateboarding,” Hiraga told Teen Vogue on March 3 about Seth being a skater. “I can give skateboarding a good name in the Hollywood industry, especially if I’m playing this good character, Seth, and he’s the good guy and happens to skate then I’m all for it because already off the bat, a lot of skateboarders as a whole don’t really have best name for themselves.”
Hiraga thought Seth would be played by a white actor
Moxie is based on the novel by the same name by author Jennifer Mathieu. And according to BuzzFeed, Seth is a new kid in the book, just like Lucy. They report that he’s possibly written as Latinx because he has “olive skin” and his father’s name is Alejandro. However, it’s not explicit and when Hiraga read the script for Moxie, he thought it was a part written for a white actor.
“I like that Seth is f*cking Asian. That’s sick,” Hiraga told Teen Vogue. “Because honestly, I’ve never seen… I remember reading the audition and I actually hit up my manager, I was like, ‘Are you sure you want me to play this… I’m reading this script, and this Seth dude seems pretty built out for some white dude in Hollywood.’”
But, of course, Hiraga got the part and it fits him well.
“The fact that they gave it to a hapa kid, [who is part] Japanese, I was just like, ‘Oh, wow. Let’s go,’” Hiraga told Teen Vogue about being cast. “Like, ‘Okay. Hollywood, I see you. Netflix. Do your thing.’’
Hiraga was a little weirded out by the funeral date, though
Another difference from the book is the funeral date that Seth takes Vivian on. On paper, that sounds unromantic and kind of creepy, which might be a good reason why it wasn’t written in the first place. But in the Netflix movie, it works. But for Hiraga, it was a bit odd being in that casket.
“I’ll tell you, dude. I was like, ‘What the f*ck is going on the first date?’” Hiraga said. “I’m inside of a casket and I was like, ‘This is wild.’”
Hiraga said he probably wouldn’t take a girl on a date there, but Seth is imaginative and it was “super romantic,” so he gives him props for that.
Hiraga also learned the names of the American Girl dolls through the script, not beforehand. And it was one of the hardest scenes for him to work on, actually.
“I would say that scene and the scene where I get kind of angry, those were the scenes I had to work at the most,” Hiraga said. “I really had to get those names down.”