This story appears in VMAN 48: now available for purchase!



“My first time acting was the prized role of Soldier #2 in my high school’s production of Antigone. I had a whole two lines and was terrified to go on stage, but as soon as I got up there, I fell in love. It felt electric, and I immediately knew I wanted to keep chasing that feeling. Every role [I’ve taken on] is challenging in its own way. Whenever I go into a project, I’m always stressed about doing it justice and trying to make it as honest as possible. It can definitely be hard when coming out of a role that requires intense emotional immersion. If I’m being honest, I’m still figuring out how to take care of myself, but acting is such a cathartic art form for me. It’s often helpful for me to just let myself feel the range of emotions that come with playing any character.” Czar Van Gaal

Schlesinger is starring in “Generation” on HBO Max






“I’ve known [I wanted to act] since I was very young. When I was growing up, there was an awesome theater that inspired me because those were the first people that I saw that were really talented–I just wanted to do what they did. The audition process [for the Lord of the Rings series] was relatively quick. I had chats with Patrick (McKay), then an audition, and it just all seemed to happen. The next minute it was like, ‘you need to be in New Zealand tomorrow.’ I have a passion for J. R. R. Tolkien and [the show] allowed me to go further into a brilliant mind like his and [learn about] all of his books that I never heard of. I hope I get to [continue] working as an actor and work with talented people, just like I have in my career so far. I get overjoyed when I get the opportunity to do what I love.” Kevin Ponce

Aramayo is starring in “Lord of the Rings” on Amazon











“In all of my roles, I like to make sure I know a lot about the character, and that I read the entire script. I want to get into the psyche of the character. I spend a lot of time alone on the set doing this, actually. It helps me feel centered when we film. I sit by myself before emotional scenes to get into the mode of the character. For Jake in Chucky, I also talked to creator, writer, and director Don Mancini, who gave me so much insight into how Jake would feel and how he envisions the character. Don is such a cool person and really knows everything. He was always there to give me direction or advice. I love working with him.” Dania Curvy

Arthur is starring in “Chucky” on Syfy





Colin in Black & White was definitely the most intense pre-production in my career, so far. On top of all of my emotional and script preparedness, I was also trying to learn to be a football, baseball, and basketball athlete. With that comes physical and emotional aspects. Mentally, what does it take to be an athlete, to stay headstrong, keeping yourself in the game regardless of what your mind tells you is your limit? Physically, thinking of breaking those barriers and improving from there. The experience definitely contributed positively to my mental health. Every time I went in believing perhaps I couldn’t handle something, I left having accomplished that and more, all while setting new goals and expectations for next time. It’s really an empowering experience.”Alex Blynn

Michael is starring in “Colin In Black & White” on Netflix














“In general, I find there’s no cut and dried way to prepare. You have to stay open to the unique rhythms and details of each project. There’s always research, writing, physicality, memorization…those all figure in somehow, but there’s hopefully something new each time, too. It’s simply very fun: acting. You prepare very seriously so that you can play. I love how much intensity goes into having fun. But honestly, I don’t yet know the trick to fully shaking off any character. I manage to return home and get on with my life, but I don’t believe that the characters completely leave. I think they stick with you and change you in little or big ways, every time. I’ll miss every character I play at one point or another. That, or they come back and say “Hi,” at odd moments.”AB

Hechinger is starring in “The White Lotus” on HBO Max






“Growing up, my mom was heavily involved in community theater. The rehearsal room in our church basement became my playroom. I was enthralled as our shows would come to life over the weeks of rehearsals. Those rehearsals in Iowa instilled a sense of playfulness in me and gratitude for the theatrical process and my creative community. My aspirations have grown and my dreams are more ambitious, but I try to remind myself of that kid in the church basement happily playing make-believe. [As an actor] a lot of this career rests in other people creating and offering opportunities to you. With new platforms and increasing accessibility, I think we’re heading into a whole new media age that will amplify and give rise to stories and points of view that expand our belief in what’s possible for humanity. [I want] to tell a greater story and to keep exploring what it means to be human.”CV

Ahlers is starring in “The Gilded Age” on HBO Max





“[Pete’s Dragon] was my big turning point—that was the one moment where I thought, ‘I really do enjoy this. I love being around these people. I love learning all about this process.’ It was a completely different world that I had never really been in before. We filmed in New Zealand for four months when I was 10 years old. I never really did anything major before that…and then I booked this starring role in a Disney movie. I was able to do all of my own stunts for it because David Lowery, the director, wanted me to and I was like, ‘I will totally do that.’ They had me fitted for harnesses and I worked with so much stunt equipment and training with the team—it was a really awesome experience.”KP

Fegley is starring in Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” in theaters this year




“I grew up in Chicago in my family’s circus. If I had to describe my childhood in a few words, I would have to say unique, eventful, and soulful. I was lucky enough to be around performers and artists from all over the world at a very young age. Because of this, I felt a deep connection to the world, even then. I always had a sense that the world was a very big place, but because I knew people from so many different countries, that fact never scared me. And the aerialists and contortionists and acrobats all had incredible work ethics…they would train for thousands of hours for just a couple minutes in the ring under the spotlight. Today I feel like that really rubbed off on me. I love to be super-prepared.”AB

Jenkins is starring in “Reacher” on Amazon

This story appears in VMAN 48: now available for purchase!

Discover More