In anticipation for Alexis Wajsbrot and Damien Mace’s directorial debut, Don’t Hang Up, we look back at our HERO 10 interview with the film’s star Garrett Clayton. Centred around high school prankers Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton), the psychological thriller turns the tables when the pair find themselves victim to a menacing phone call, and hanging up is not an option.
We caught up with Clayton after the release of his film-come-musical Teen Beach Movie – a far cry from his latest role – to chat last minute auditions, Hollywood living and playing the ‘cool guy’.
‘Don’t Hang Up’ (2016) dir. Alexis Wajsbrot and Damien Mace
Fabien Kruszelnicki: Hey.
Garrett Clayton: Hello!
FK: How’s everything going?
GC: Good! Just starting the day right now, how about yourself?
FK: It’s the late afternoon here now, been a long day, did you just get up?
GC: I did. [laughs]
FK: [laughs] I had a bit of a lie in this morning, but not that late. Have you had breakfast?
GC: After this I am going to eat and get ready.
FK: What have you got planned for the day?
GC: A fitting at Armani for the Teen Vogue Young Hollywood event on the 27th, and then lunch with my manager after.
FK: Nice, did you get to choose Armani yourself or was there something else you wanted to wear?
GC: I’m more than happy to wear Armani, I have worked with them a couple times already and they are top notch.
FK: Yeah they do some nice bits. So what did you get up to last night?
GC: I went over my lines for a self tape I need to film later today and watched The Emperor’s New Groove.
FK: What’s that for?
GC: The audition?
FK: Yeah, or are you not allowed to say yet?
GC: Not allowed to [laughs].
FK: OK, so do you prepare a lot for auditions still? Like in advance?
GC: I always work on my auditions in advance. Or as much time as I can get. Sometimes I’ll get a call at say eight at night with an eleven AM the next day, or even a call for an audition on the same day. But I do tend to prefer more time to work on things. A day or two is nice.
FK: Wow that’s crazy. Is it all teen stuff at the moment?
GC: For auditions?
FK: Yeah, generally the parts you’re going for.
GC: I do get about 95% teen-aged roles. But the other 5% it’ll be twenty or over and then I find myself trying to age up.
FK: Do you want to start doing older roles, I mean it’s nice to do the younger stuff while you can right?
GC: Exactly! I know that I will get the older roles in time, right now I’m using my youth to its advantage. Don’t get me wrong. If I was offered the right older part I would be happy to do it.
FK: Do you like all the attention you must be getting at the moment – there must be about a billion girls outside your house right now?
GC: I feel indifferent about it. The positive side is that it helps a lot with work. But the other side of it is that weird part when I’m out living normal life and people notice me.
FK: When did that start happening? People recognising you?
GC: It started happening about the time the beginning of summer rolled around.
FK: Oh so not that long ago?
GC: Not at all.
FK: Where do you go to get away from it all?
GC: When they say Disney changes your life overnight they aren’t kidding. I like the beach, or going for hikes.
FK: Yeah Disney is a whole thing in itself, but it seems like all the young actors in LA come through there.
GC:Disney, Nickelodeon, MTV, CW, ABC, Family [laughs]. My friend and I know of a spot on top of the hills around here that not a lot of people know about. It’s nice to go there to get away.
FK: I bet you’re not going to tell me where, right?
GC: Then it wouldn’t be a get-away anymore!
FK: Yeah I guess. Do people still go to Mulholland Drive at night?
GC: If they do they don’t invite me.
FK: Do you live in the Hills as well?
GC: No I’ve been in the Valley since I moved here. But I’m moving in about three weeks. My roommates and I are looking for a new place.
FK: Do you live with other actors?
GC: Two writers and another actor.
FK: Is it nice living with people from the same industry?
GC: Definitely, also they have been friends of mine for a couple of years now. In general it’s nice to have them around.
“It’s funny… even though it’s my job, I still turn to it when I want to not think about other things. Kind of like when someone who paints or does track ignores the world for a little bit while they’re doing it.”
Garrett Clayton from HERO 10. Photography by Doug Inglish, fashion by Mecca Cox. All clothing by Levi’s.
FK: Where did you live before you moved to LA?
GC: In Michigan, Detroit Metro.
FK: Wow that’s quite a change.
GC: LA feels like home just with more money, cameras and people who care for no reason [laughs]. At least that’s what I think…
FK: Does it feel fake or is it just that you need to adjust to a different way of living because that’s where everyone lives in the industry?
GC: A certain amount of people that live here tend to be fake. Which I think takes adjusting, but as long as you find good friends who you trust you’ll be fine.
“A big part of my life has been taken up by learning how to sing, dance and act, and it hasn’t felt like work one day yet. But the day it does, I’m gonna get a new job.”
FK: So how come you got into acting?
GC: It was a snowball effect. I started modelling when I was about twelve or thirteen, then I got into acting then dancing and singing.
FK: What do you enjoy the most? Singing? Dancing?
GC: Is it weird for me to say I like them all them same? I couldn’t imagine doing one without the other.
FK: I guess you can. So tell me more about Disney, what’s it like when you first started there?
GC: It’s funny… even though it’s my job, I still turn to it when I want to not think about other things. Kind of like when someone who paints or does track ignores the world for a little bit while they’re doing it. I feel like when that spark goes away from my career I will wantto find something else that gives life that spark again.
FK: But in acting still? Or do you think you’ll get unhappy with it one day?
GC: I’m speaking generally – a big part of my life has been taken up by learning how to sing, dance and act, and it hasn’t felt like work one day yet. But the day it does, I’m gonna get a new job.
FK: But for now you get to put that all into practice and enjoy it, and you’ll still be challenging yourself with different roles?
FK: Phew, I was worried it was gonna go all dark there for a minute.
FK: So Teen Beach Movie was the last thing you did right? How did it go?
GC: The last thing I did that came out, yes. It went great! We hit #2 of all time and #3 on the Billboard top 100 for three weeks.
FK: They’re pretty big numbers. Is there going to be a sequel?
GC: If there is I am happy to be a part of it. But as of now they haven’t told anyone anything yet. I think Disney is just taking a moment to let the success sink in before they go jumping too quickly into anything else.
FK: So what was it like playing the stud, do you get bashful?
GC: I do actually. [laughs] I’m still getting used to the idea of playing the ‘cool guy’.
FK: Why’s that? Are you not the cool guy in real life?
GC: I wouldn’t say I am or not… I have always just been the goofy awkward guy. Ask any of the people I have worked with [laughs]. In my head anyway.
Don’t Hang Up is out December 1st across US cinemas.
Interview taken from HERO 10: California Future.