You became famous for playing the role of Zeke Beakerman in "Wizards of Waverly Place", one of the funniest Disney characters ever. How did your love for comedy and comedic roles start? What was your first professional acting experience?
First of all, thanks for saying that Zeke is one of the funniest Disney characters ever! There have been some incredibly funny Disney Channel characters over the years so to have you say that really means a lot to me. My love for comedy started at a very young age. One of my favorite comedic actors of all time is Chris Farley. I would watch "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep" over and over and they never got old to me. I loved his big expressive physical comedy style and I felt like I could relate to Chris. I was picked on a lot as a kid because I was a very sensitive and empathetic kid and I also have always looked really young for my age so I was the target of a lot of bullying when I was in middle school. I think I just found out that people stop picking on you and want to be your friend when you are really funny. I also was a gymnast so I also was developing an incredible amount of body control skills that eventually led me to being very physical in my comedy style.
My first professional acting job was for a Tang commercial. You remember Tang? It was like the orange powdered drink. I will never forget that first phone call from my agent when I booked that first job. I have never been more excited for anything in my whole life. My line in the commercial... "Vrooom Vrooom". Haha! It is crazy how much of your life can change with one line. :)
From being a background character in the beginning, Zeke was slowly becoming one of the members of Russo family. What in your opinion was so special about Zeke that he became so popular and well-liked by viewers?
It is crazy. When I first booked the role on the show I actually booked the role of "Friend #1" in the episode "Movies" at the end of season 1. When I got the chance to come in and do my part I went all out! I kept doing the line in the most insane over the top ways that I could. I had been studied improv comedy for years by the time I booked that role so I knew that when you only have one line you have an opportunity to create funny moments without speaking and body language is the most powerful way of doing this. So I took that one line and gave it everything I had! A month or so after that I got a phone call from my agent saying they wanted to bring my character back on "Wizards" and I was like "uhhh...what character? Friend #1??" Apparently Justin needed a best friend character and I was the first one that popped into mind. :) I think most kids can relate to Zeke. He is loveable, genuine, and wears his heart on his sleeve and he never lets what other people think effect him.
Apart from being a talented comedian, you also had an opportunity to show your amazing skills as a voice actor in "Rick and Morty". What is the most exciting thing about voice acting and would you like to do it more often?
Oh yeah, "Rick and Morty" is one of my favorite shows of all time! I feel so honored to be a part of that show. My character Ethan only comes in like once a season and I only have a few lines, but it is something that means so much to me. I think that "Rick and Morty" will go down as one of the most influential shows of our generation and to be a part of that is really special. Voice acting is so much fun! I love being in the booth recording and working with Justin Roiland (the creator/director). He has exactly what he wants in his head and he has a way of pulling exactly what he needs out of you in the booth. I also get to play a bunch of random small characters as well which is super fun doing all these unique crazy characters. If I could do voice overs the rest of my life I would!
Now you work in Ader, a company which promotes e-sports and helps gaming influencers. Can you tell us something more about your job and responsibilities?
I have made quite a dramatic change in my life recently. I stepped away from acting for a bit to focus on some of my other passions. One of them is e-sports. I am a huge gamer, and I spend countless hours playing "Dota 2", "PUBG", "Overwatch", and all sorts of other games with my friends. I started working at Ader where we help connect influencers and brands and help organize e-sports events. Right now I am working with Netmarble on their new game "Lineage 2: Revolution". We are helping them put on an exciting showcase event at TwitchCon coming up next week. It is going to be epic!
We know from your Instagram that you care about healthy lifestyle and you exercise a lot to stay in shape. How can you describe your favorite sport activities and ways of spending free time?
Yeah! I am obsessed with working out. My best friend and roommate Ryan Kelley is on the hit MTV show "Teen Wolf", and when he first got on that show he had to put on a lot of muscle. So we started going to the gym everyday to lift weights. At the time, I just had my heart broken and I felt this overwhelming drive to stay focused on improving myself. So we went to the gym every day for basically 3 years. After a while it becomes part of your routine and now I can't image not going to the gym. I don't look quite as ripped as Ryan but it helped me so much in so many different aspects of my life.
As I have mentioned, now you are more focused on e-sports than acting, but I guess you will star in a film or a TV series again sooner or later. What are your plans for the foreseeable future?
Yeah life is pretty crazy right now! Obviously acting is one of my biggest passions so I always will be looking for opportunities to get in front of the camera. I will just have to take it one step at a time and grab a hold of any opportunity I am given and make the most of it. I just turned 30 this year so I gotta think by the time I turn 40 I should be able to play the "Young Dad" roles out there. Haha. I have just had such an incredible career so far and I feel so blessed to be able to be doing so many different exciting things. I can't wait to see what happens next. My goal is to just go out there, have fun, and make my mark on this world one smile at a time. :)
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