The Real Deal New York

Ryan Serhant on movie role: Another way to win clients

Nest Seekers broker getting praise for part in "While We're Young" — but will not leave his day job

September 09, 2014 06:00PM
By Tom DiChristopher

From left: Ryan Serhant, Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts in "While We're Young" and Noah Baumbach with Adam Driver at the Toronto International Film Festival

From left: Ryan Serhant, Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts in “While We’re Young” and Noah Baumbach with Adam Driver at the Toronto International Film Festival

“Million Dollar Listing New York” co-star and Nest Seekers International broker Ryan Serhant originally moved to New York to take a part in the soap opera “As the World Turns.” Years after launching a successful real estate career, he has landed on the silver screen in Noah Baumbach’s new film, “While We’re Young.” Despite early buzz over the movie, Serhant is not ready to start contacting casting agents.

Others might be tempted, given that in a movie featuring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried and rising star Adam Driver, some critics have taken note of Serhant, who plays an obtuse hedge-fund manager.

The Huffington Post announced in a headline that Serhant is the film’s breakout star. Film School Rejects called his character, “delightfully dimwitted.” Serhant himself seems a bit taken aback.

“All I did yesterday was answer phone calls,” he told The Real Deal at his Nest Seekers International team’s office in Tribeca. “I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

Nevertheless, the part in “While We’re Young” does not represent a second chance at an acting career, but a means of advancing his thriving real estate practice.

During his five days of filming last winter, Serhant shot scenes from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. and then headed out to show apartments all day. Between takes, he talked property investments with Stiller. On the red carpet at the Toronto Film Festival, Serhant spent more time discussing the Toronto real estate market than he did promoting the movie.

“People spend a long time trying to find a job that they like. I think I have just lucked out that I get to do something that I really, really love,” said Serhant.

Serhant pursued theater from an early age, and was clearly thrilled to act opposite Stiller, who he grew up watching in films like “Zoolander.” But when he talks about his appearances in film and on television, it’s in the context of the exposure it affords his clients and his team.

Leveraging his media platforms to move property has worked for Serhant thus far, and he plans to expand his presence in the spotlight. In the coming months, Serhant said he’ll make announcements about two new starring roles in television projects. He declined to comment on specifics, except to say that he thought them through carefully, and that they’re both good for his real estate business.

That last part is key for Serhant, who maintains he is a broker first and foremost.

“At the end of the day, if you take away the shows and all that stuff, I make money when my clients are happy and they buy or sell property,” said Serhant. “No one’s paying me to wear shoes. There’re no endorsement deals.”

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