Colin Hanks Interviews & AOL Chats

Colin Hanks - Alex Whitman

I don't have the dates of all the articles, but I tried to put them in roughly the correct order based on content.
(I wasn't always great with saving sources. If I know where and when the article came from it is listed)

Here is a list of the articles and interviews below
Click a title to jump to the article

(these were short promotional interviews for season 1)

"Alex Whitman...he's a very interesting character.  He's the best friend to both Liz and Maria.  Yet even though he's the best friend he's been left out on this whole secret that they've been sort of keeping. He's a little quirky...he's wearing the baggiest pants and the wallet chain, and he can do these really weird things.  He's a lot like I was in high school - he's just a goofball.  But, yeah, very since, very serious friend, tries to come to the rescue when asked.  But overall, he's just a nice guy really, basically, and he's thrown into this really, really interesting situation."

"Well basically the story is this girl, Liz, stumbles upon this secret.  She gets fatally shot and Max comes and saves her and the whole story is trying to keep it a secret...trying to keep it a secret that there are these three aliens living as teenagers in Roswell, New Mexico.  And it's really interesting because people know but they don't know for sure so it's a whole trying to keep it a secret and who knows what and it's sort of this cat and mouse, cloak and dagger type thing.  So it's basically all the obstacles that the kids have to overcome to try and keep this a secret, so our three aliens aren't taken away from us."

"I think, hopefully, it's one of those shows that gets you hooked sort of, it's got some sort of catch.  That's what I've always loved about TWIN PEAKS and X FILES is there's always something going on and there's always something to hook you on and I think we're pretty good at that.  I know whenever I get the scripts every week I'm always, 'oh God, what's going to happen next, what's going on?'  All my friends that watch this show, they're constantly asking me questions, like, 'who's she?', 'what's that about?'  And either I know and I'm like, 'well, you've got to wait and watch' or I have no idea - 'you got to get back to me in two weeks, maybe I'll have a better idea.'  So I think it's sort of that hook to see what's going to happen next and all that stuff.  I mean, like I said before, it's sort of like a cloak and dagger type thing, it can be very suspenseful."

Colin Hanks
Source: Entertainment Teen

eteen: Is there someone in the cast who�s really into spaceship stuff? Who�s the most skeptical?
Colin: I believe. I�m the most likely one to step into "Star Wars."

eteen: Did you ever feel like aliens in high school?
Colin: I went to a really small private school in California. There were 35 people in my graduating class and I�d been at that school since third grade, so it was more of a community than school. So in that sense, I know what it�s like living in a small town like Roswell, where everyone knows your business and what you should or shouldn�t do. I�m pretty outgoing, so I was kinda the class clown. But we all have our teen angst periods. I wore the black pants and black shirt, so I had some instances when I was a bit alien. And I went to a small school so that was kinda alienating in itself, because I saw kids going to other schools with football teams. I guess I felt alienated in some ways, but overall I was pretty happy. Not that I�d wanna go back.

Here's the transcript of Colin Hanks on WPST, 97.5 this morning (10/9/1999). Mark (M), Chris (Ch), and Kent are all DJs, and Colin Hanks is just C. :-)

Mark: Here he is�Colin Hanks!
Colin: Hello!
M: Hey!
C: Hey!
M: Hey Colin!
C: How�s it goin?
M: Hey man, how are you?
C: Good, how are you guys doin?
M: You know what?
C: What?
M: You have the same name as Tom Hanks
C: Uh, yes, my first name is Colin
M: Well I mean the last name�
C: Yes, I do
M: Any relation?
Chris: Now don�t tick him off Mark
C: A little�
M: Oh, I�m just being stupid
C: But you want to know what? I�m not the only one
M: I�m just being stupid Colin, I apologize
C: Oh, no, no, no�don�t worry about it.
Ch: Are you so sick of hearing, �Oh my god, you�re Tom Hanks� kid?�
C: Uh�you really want the truth?
Ch: Yeah, I do want the truth
C: I�m very, very sick of it
M: Dad�s awesome
C: Well, yes, okay, here�s the thing. He is awesome, I mean, hey, I�m not going to argue with you there. But, uh, I�m 22 years old, I�ve been living on my own now for a couple years, it�s not like he�s making me my box lunches to go to work.
M: {laughing} Right
C: Some people are like totally lost on that fact
M: {still laughing} Are you still doing laundry at home dude?
C: No, I�m not. I have my own laundry, my own washing machine, thank goodness. Yeah, some people think he�s like helping me memorize my lines before I go to bed at night. And I hate to disappoint people, but that�s not the case.
M: My dad always went to work in the morning and came back in the afternoon, and uh, we�d have dinner together�we�d sit and watch tv, drink beer, fight, you know, beat each other up�
Ch: They were a weird family
M: But every night of the week�you know�your dad is gone off on location, Europe some place for six months, you know, shooting a movie, and it�s tough to have a regular relationship with pops.
C: Well, you know, it is kind of trying�it is kind of weird cause sometimes when we want to get together we have to bust out, you know, the old pilot factions (? � not sure if I got that right, they were all laughing and it was hard to hear Colin), see how our day planer works out.
Ch: Right
C: But, with that said, we are a family, and when family gets together, family gets together. And, you know, that is that. We get along fine, and we make due perfectly.
M: Good
Ch: Did you grow up in a neighborhood of celebrity kids? Are you and the Travolta�s hanging out, or anything like that? Who was your group of friends, you know, your families group of friends?
C: Well I actually, although I did spend a lot of time with my dad in Los Angeles, I uh, grew up�went to school in Sacramento, I lived there with my mother, so I was in fact in Sacramento for a majority of the time.
Ch: So you weren�t around all the celebrities all the time?
C: No, not all the time. I would, you know, see my dad every other weekend, and spend summers with him and stuff like that, but when it came to what neighborhood I was raised in, I was raised in East Sacramento.
Ch: So when did you get the acting bug?
C: Um, hey, playing with my transformers when I was a little kid, that was the acting bug. I guess you can say I�ve always had it, it�s always been something that�s sort of interested me. I was doing plays in grade school, middle school, high school, college. So it was always something that was readily available to me at school. I always would leap at the opportunity, and then when the opportunity came to make the jump for this to be your job, I said, �Okay, yeah sure, yeah, I�m game.�
Ch: Is Roswell your first real show?
C: Yeah, Roswell was I think maybe anywhere between the 10th and 20th audition I ever went on. I landed the pilot, shot the pilot, and within a couple months started making the show.
Ch: Well it kinda sucks, cause some people may not know what a great hard worker you are, and may say, �Oh he got his job cause he�s Tom Hanks� kid.�
C: Yeah, and I get that a lot. People don�t realize what a double edge sword it is. Obviously people are very interested, and that�s how I obviously get a lot of auditions in the beginning, when I wasn�t working on anything and didn�t have a reel or anything�
Ch: but you have to prove yourself�
C: But, once I walked in the door�
Ch: Sure�
C: I had to prove myself because people are so eager to just say, oh whatever
M: The WB�Roswell�Monday nights at 9, it could happen
C: Yeah, who�s to say that it hasn�t happened
M: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, nice
Ch: This freaks me out Colin, I gotta tell ya
C: Well then there you go
M: Nice
Ch: So what�s coming up this season on Roswell?
C: Uh, oh man, a lot of cool stuff. We�ve already shot 7 episodes so far, so we�re seven deep. A couple of bad aliens come to town
Ch: Oh boy�
C: Bad aliens come to town�
M: Bad aliens
C: Uh, yeah, sorta sounds ridiculous, but it�s true, bad aliens come to town. I think I�m just driving that home. Bad aliens come to town.
M: But it�s fascinating
Ch: Is that all you can tell us?
C: Yeah, and, I really can�t give away too much cause it would ruin the rest of the season.
Ch: Well that�s great. We�re going to be watching�WB�s Roswell.
C: Thank you very much.
M: Thank you Colin Hanks�take care!
C: You too guys, bye.
M: How great would it be to have a Hanks gene? You know, I�m always impressed�when Tom Hanks wins awards, I�m always impressed by his intelligence, his clarity�
Ch: He�s very well spoken
M: Yep, and how well spoken he is�
Ch: But poor Colin Hanks, I mean, constantly in dad�s shadow.
Kent: Do you know how much on eBay you can get for Hanks genes?
M: Yes, you can. If he�s got one tenth of what Tom has, the kid�s going to go a long way.
Ch: You can tell that he�s kinda sick of it.
M: Yeah
Ch: Yeah, but I�d ride it, I�d ride my dad�s coattails he was Tom Hanks.

5 Questions With Colin Hanks: Standing on his own feet
Author: Chelsea J. Carter
Date: March 8, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Being the acting son of a well-known actor is tough. Being the acting son of two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is tougher. But 22-year-old Colin Hanks has set out on his own, attempting to make it by himself in his TV acting debut on The WB series " Roswell."

This show is about a group of teens who share a secret tied to the crash of an alien spacecraft near Roswell , N.M., in 1947. "I know. It sounds crazy. When I first read it, I had a hard time explaining it. So now basically I end up just saying, `Just watch the show, please,"' Hanks said.In the series, Hanks plays an oft-maligned - but cute - sidekick, the odd man out to a pair of space aliens and their girlfriends. He's a ladies' man, of sorts; the advice guy for the pretty girls.

One of two children born to Hanks and first wife, Samantha Lewes, he grew up in the very un-Hollywood atmosphere of Sacramento, Calif., then attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he began appearing in stage productions. Hanks has a part in the not-yet-released feature film "I'll Be You," billed as a high school version of "Cyrano de Bergerac," and he had a small part in his father's 1996 movie "that thing you do!"

1. At what point did you decide to take the acting career path?
Hanks: It wasn't like I was thinking, `I can't wait to be an actor. I can't wait to do this.' I just sort of always knew. For me, it's like playing with toys. It's playtime. It's make-believe time. I always liked that growing up. It wasn't until really a year and a half ago, I decided to give it a shot and see if I really could hack it.

2. Have you noticed people treating you differently now that you're in the spotlight?
Hanks: Obviously, I've been around that for ages. But I was always the one not being recognized, and now I am. It is sort of strange. I must admit, I have had some uncomfortable moments. But I've had some really cool moments, too.

3. Is there something you do to prepare for it?
Hanks: It's not something you can prepare for. I think it's sort of a joke if you think about it too much and you try to avoid it. It's going to happen whether you like it or not. There are very many aspects to working as an actor. I've understood that for a while now. ... It is very strange to be in the shoes now. I'm not saying I'm 100 percent comfortable with it. I'm not saying I ever will be comfortable with it.

4. Do you worry about people drawing comparisons between you and your father?
Hanks: Very, very much so. Obviously, people are going to draw whatever comparisons they want. That's completely fine. People are going to want to know about it. That's completely fine. I can see their point of view. But overall, I'm just like any other kid on the show. I auditioned for the part. I went through 18 million callbacks. I had to do the final testing just like everyone else.

4 1/2 : Are there more expectations of you because of your father?
Hanks: Sure. People's first instinct is, `Is he any good? Can he cut it by himself or is he just riding the coattails?' It's fine. But I can't wait until I don't have to deal with it anymore and it hasn't even really hit too much. I've been working on the show and I haven't been really in the public eye all that much. But when I am, there is nothing I can do about it. People are going to do what they are going to do, and I just have to learn to keep going and doing my own thing.

5. Do you enjoy the spotlight?
Hanks: Working, being on the show, that is what I like. I like to act. But going out to various functions, no. I personally don't like to put myself on the pedestal. When you see me on the show, that is me as somebody else. I'm acting like someone else, I'm being someone else. I'm part of a show, a narrative, a plot. But going to movie premieres and clubs, that's not me. I'd rather be at home. My personal life is very, very important to me, and I keep it very close to me.

US Weekly
March 27th 2000
By Kindra Peach

AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Sacramento, California, where he and his sister, Elizabeth, now 17, were raised by their mother, Samantha Lewes, a former actress. (Lewes and Tom Hanks split when Colin was 8)

Current Residence: Los Angeles. Hanks has lived on his own since moving out of his mother's house at age 17. "I love my mother, but I don't talk to her much," he says. "It's a strained relationship."

The Green Mile: "I was on the soccer team in high school and during warm-ups I'd hear 'Run, Forrest, Run!'"

Dork Victory: Hanks stars as geeky Alex Whitman on the WB's sci-fi drama Roswell and as a square peg in the teen comedy Whatever It Takes.

Love Scene: Hanks met his girlfriend, Busy Phillips (Freaks and Geeks), three years ago, while studying theater at Los Angeles's Loyola Marymount College.

Hank you: Being Tom's kid does have it's perks, such as the time Colin met his idol, Les Claypool, lead singer of the band Primus. "He raised his hands and said, 'Ah, the son of Gump!'" recalls Hanks. "That's the only time I'll ever enjoy being called that."

Colin Hanks - New York Daily News
From New York Daily News, 30.10.2000. By Richard Huff.

By his own admission, Colin Hanks, a cast member of the WB sci-fi drama Roswell, flies "under the radar."

While others on the show such as Jason Behr and Katherine Heigl generate lots of media and fan attention, Hanks moves through his normal life without a peep. For some Hollywood types, missing out on the hype would be a hassle. Not for Hanks.

"I'm completely fine with that," he said. "I'm just happy to be working. I'm just a 22-year-old actor in L.A. who works consistently. That's what really comforts me, that I'm working and I have money to put food on the table."

Hanks plays Alex Whitman on the Monday night show about a group of aliens who look like humans and live in Roswell, N.M.

Hanks plays Alex Whitman, one of the humans the alien befriend.

"We know more about their history and their purpose," Hanks said of the current season. "We're seven episodes deep [into production]. We've been exploring all sorts of story lines about other aliens out to get us and trying to keep it a secret.

"We push the science fiction now, which is great because it opens up so many doors," he added.

The show debuted last season to good reviews and a strong cult following, although its ratings were generally weak. Then, when it appeared Roswell might be cancelled, fans began a campaign to get the show renewed that involved their sending thousands of bottles of Tabasco sauce to the WB. Show follows know, of course, that the aliens love Tabasco.

"It was great," Hanks said of the campaign. "That way, you know that people are actually watching the show and they like it. ... It's praise for a job well done."

Despite the media attention for the near-cancellation, Hanks said he was not overly concerned. If the show continued, great. If not, he would be back out on auditions the next day.

Part of his approach to the business, no doubt, is genetic. As the son of Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, Colin knows a little bit about the business.

Being the son of a famous actor is a double-edge sword, he said.

"When I was first auditioning, I hadn't been in anything, so people were going on the name," he said. "Then it was, 'Let's see what he can do; can he cut it?' But if I [stunk], people wouldn't ask me back."

Since starting on Roswell, he has landed parts in two movies - Whatever It Takes and the upcoming Get Over It - and he will continue to audition when he can.

"I just want to be able to work," he said. "That's the thing. If the big name and everything that comes with it comes, great. But I just want to act."

Rosie O'Donnell Show
Oct 5, 2000

Rosie: I meet the next guest when he was in seventh grade hanging out on the set of "A league of their own" with his dad now he's all grown up and staring on the TV show Roswell.

(clip from Roswell Skin and Bones)

ALEX: Oh, look! "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" is playing at the Revival Theater at the fairgrounds.
ISABEL: You know, Alex, maybe you should see what you can find out about cadmium x.
ALEX: Sure. Look, there are 4 showings on Saturday.
ISABEL: We're not going to a movie, Alex.
ALEX: Yeah, right.
ISABEL: Alex, I'm sorry. You know it's not you. It's just that with everything that's happening, everything on my mind, I can't think about being with a guy right now. You know, any guy.
GRANT: Excuse me. Uh, sorry. I didn't mean to...
ISABEL: N-no. You're fine. We're...
GRANT: Uh, Grant Sorenson.
ISABEL: Isabel Evans.
ALEX: Alex Whitman.

Rosie: Please welcome Colin Hanks. All right so I'm very very close friends with your step mother.
Colin: Yes.
R: I'm reading the notes two nights ago. I go, that's so funny it's the same name as Tom and Rita's kid, and I didn't even know you were on this show. Colin.
C: I'm working

R: When did you get into this acting thing.
C: I got into it professionally like two years ago. I've been doing it since I was a little kid. You saw me on the summer vacation in seventh grade. I had to go back and do the seventh grade play. Go back to school, so I've been doing it for a while.

R: You grew up on the set of so many movies. I know with "A league of their own" you...
C: I haven' seen you in so long.

R: Has it been that long?
C: It's been about nine years.

R: Hard to believe.
C: I was a little tyke. She was really sweet to me, we used to play that hat flipping game. Cause we would always be wearing hats she would sneak up behind me and flip my hat off. And at the end when I had to go off back to school the crew got me this nice little shirt, do you remember what you wrote on that shirt.

R: No.
C: You didn't write I'm going to miss you or what ever, you wrote, 25 to 17 I win.

C: And that was it.

R: That sounds like me. Because I'd sneak up behind you when you were eating a hot dog. and boom.
C: (cant make it out) I'm up five, I'm up five.

R: That was me, exactly. So where did you go to collage.
C: I went to Loyola Mary Mont University out in LA

R: And how did you do.
C: I did okay i just sort of did I mean I just went to college for the social part of it.

R: Right and sure.
C: I was hoping I'd have something cool to move onto, so I went and did my theater classes and stuff like that.

R: And what about your dad is he proud of the acting thing.
C: Ya he's proud I'll get a call every once in a while. "Hay I saw you on the show and that thing you did with the milk shake that was good we're having Chinese food for dinner come on over." He sort of hangs up the phone he's a sweet heart, he's proud of me.

R: He's a dad. So what about you sister does she have acting aspirations
C: No I think she want to be a writer. She started a little magazine in LA and she's doing the writing thing, she's doing her own thing.

R: Now are you getting recognized when you go out I know that show unbearably poplar.
C: You know a little I don't get it too much. And luckily, I've had some really embarrassing moments. Last week I went to the gas station and I put the nozzle in the tank, went in to the station got my Gatorade came out Drove out of the gas station with the nozzle still in my tank. There were like thirty people there waiting to get gas and I'm like please, please no one recognize me. This was the one time I'm like no please, and thankfully no one recognized me.

R: Was the gas everywhere.
C: Yea I was sitting there driving and like thunk, and I look in my side mirror and I notice the handle is broken and lying on the ground. I see like the cashier like come running out, and taking the tank there was gas spewing every where, He's like "go get a rag, get a rag!"

C: So I'm running in the garage and I can't find anything to fill up the hole and he was yelling at me.

R: At least you stopped some people would just have taken off.
C: Well the first thing after he finished making the gasoline stop coming out he grabbed the recite to make sure he had my name and everything. I had sit behind you know right him next to the register and everyone's paying for their gas. I'm going like my drivers license number is b something you know I like sitting there with a dunce cap on, everyone is going "Hay, that's the guy that drove out with the nozzle still in the gas tank"

R: Now your never do that again.
C: No I learned my lesson.

R: I remember you have a bad hand injury to.
C: You know you think you hand injury is embarrassing I fractured my wrist hacky sacking. This was the very next year after a league of their own.

R: Now isn't that the little bag.
C: Ya it's like a little bag filled with beans and every one stands around in a circle and kicks it and these professional hacky sackers... There are in fact professional hacky sackers.

R: Who knew.
C: Who knew I'm sure it was a Olympic sport I'm sure NBC just didn't cover it. And I was inspired by these professional hacky sackers so we got group of guys and we're hacky sacking we're doing great: And this one guy kick it very high in the air and I ran to get it, and I didn't notice I went from the grass to the cement. And I lean out and it rolls of my foot and I go Yea, and I fall back and break my wrist on the cement.

R: Oh how long did you have the cast.
C: A couple of months.

R: Did you tell everyone hacky sacking
C: Ya, but everyone was like you must have been trying this very hard trick, and I'm like I was trying this back flip.

R: Your just like me. I go fishing and they always ask if you catch it. I go we reeling that baby in.
C: Exactly

R: I was taking the price tag off when I cut it. Moron my son was sitting there like "mommy will get it" it comes off and bomb right through my hand.
C: Well hay we're being embellished now and we're going out in a blaze of glory.

R: Well it's nice to see you all grown up and handsome and doing so well little ColinHanks. If you had a hat on I'd whip it off you now.
C: There you go.

R: Great to see you and Roswell is on Monday nights on the WB at nine, definitely tune in to that it is a big big craze among the young people
C: They seem to like it.

R: They seem to like it. Thanks for being here.
C: Thank you for having me.

R: Colin Hanks.

Rocket Man
Author: Jenny Higgons
Date: Nov. 2000

Colin Hanks, who plays Alex Whitman on Roswell, may be the son of a huge Hollywood star, but his feet are firmly planted on the ground. The 22-year-old is as gracious and unaffected as his father, Tom Hanks. The WB show, which centers around a group of teen aliens and their human (including Alex) friends, is Hanks' first major venture into acting and has allowed him to prove his own merit.

In fact, Hanks has earned so much street cred that last summer he was rumored to be on the short list for the highly coveted role of Anakin Skywalker in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode II. Hanks insists, however, that the actual event was blown way out of proportion: "I only went in and talked with the casting director � along with tens of thousands of other people!" he explains. (Unknown Hayden Christensen ended up nabbing it.)

Hanks' inarguable talent, combined with his congenial demeanor and solid pedigree, indicate that his young Mr. Whitman is just a sampler of great things to come. He took a few minutes with Gist to talk about his personal life, his TV character, and why he's so keen on Roswell.

What attracted you to the part of Alex?
"It was refreshing for me to be able to not do a 'teen show' because they can be very predictable. Roswell was definitely something different. I don't think of it as a teen show; if anything, I think of it as a science fiction show."

Has your strong Hollywood connection benefited your career?
"In terms of getting the auditions in the beginning, yes. But now that I've been on Roswell, the show pretty much leads people to me. But it's a double-edged sword. People are always so quick to judge me in terms of, 'Well, he's so-and-so's son. That's probably why he got the job,' which is so far from the truth. If I couldn't act, if I couldn't make the grade, no one would hire me. No one's stupid enough to cast someone on name recognition alone. It definitely makes people interested in me, which is fine; there's nothing I can do about that. But ultimately they have to meet me and see if I'm right for the part."

Why do the parents of Alex and the rest of the gang never seem to need to know where their kids are?
"It's TV magic! I once read an article in which Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked why the gun that he was firing in a movie only had six bullets yet we never saw him reload the gun. He replied, 'Because it's boring.' And it is! I don't want to see him reload the gun, just like I'm sure a lot of people don't want to see Alex getting yelled at by his parents that he's home late."

Were your parents strict with you as a kid?
"I didn't have to worry about curfews too much. My mom [Samantha Lewes, divorced from Tom] was pretty relaxed about that. As long as she knew where I was and who I was with, she believed me and trusted in me to be able to make the right decisions � but sometimes I didn't. Most of the time, though, she was pretty laid-back."

When Roswell first started, some viewers might have prejudged Alex because he dresses kind of funky.
"So many teenage-themed shows prepackage kids in a way that they normally aren't. I didn't want Alex being a poster boy for Abercrombie & Fitch � not that there's anything wrong with Abercrombie & Fitch, but I wanted people to have no idea what to think of him when they saw him. I wanted to show them that, 'Look, just because a kid wears baggy pants and a wallet chain doesn't mean that he's not a nice kid,' because ultimately Alex really is one of the nicest kids on the show. He's very mature. I like to think that he's like any other normal kid who doesn't quite feel comfortable in high school. Luckily he dresses a lot like I do; it was very comfortable for me."

Did your pals envy you for the love scenes Alex had last season with his then girlfriend, Isabel [Katherine Heigl]?
"They weren't really 'love scenes!' My friends just teased me and stuff like that. They dug it. They were glad to see that their boy was getting some lovin' on TV."

If the romance heats up again, the lovin' will resume!
"I'll take it!"

Celeb Spotlight: Colin Hanks
Author: Jin Moon
Date: Dec. 31, 2001

Age: 24.
Date of Birth: Colin was born on November 24. That makes him a sexy Sagittarius!
Place of Birth: Sacramento, CA.
How You Know Him: Colin got his big break playing Alex Whitman on Roswell!
College: Attended Loyola Marymount University in Westchester, CA.
Celeb Connection: His father is Academy Award winning actor Tom Hanks. He recently worked with his dad in the HBO mini series Band of Brothers.
Trivia: There's currently a petition to bring Colin's Roswell character back from the dead! Check it out here.
What's in his CD Player: Red Hot Chili Peppers, A Tribe Called Quest, 311, Mos Def and Primus.

Cutie Colin Hanks chats about his latest movie Orange County, his Cast Away dad, and whether or not he'll rise from the dead on Roswell.

What made you think you could play surfer dude Shaun Brumder in Orange County?
My first opinion was, OK, this guy's an Orange County surfer so they're probably gonna be looking for some big buff dude, who knows how to surf, likes to get in the ocean, and who would be kind of funny crying how bad he wants to be a writer when he looks like some strapping, beau-hunk, surfer-punk dude. At first I didn't really think I was an Orange County kind of guy. [My co-star] Schuyler Fisk and I -- we're the two palest actors and here we are trying to pretend we're surfer bums and beach babes? Nah. But when I read the script, I believed could do the part. It was so well written -- it was so new and refreshing....Luckily, Jake Kasdan [the director] said we're not going for that surfer punk guy!

How did you come upon the script for Orange County?
I was working on Roswell, and we were able to do movies and stuff on the hiatus, but I sort of balked and started reading stuff during the season anyways! I'm 24 years old, but let's be honest. I was mistaken for a 14 year old a couple days ago! So obviously I get a lot of the same sort of teen movies. And to be honest, most of them are pretty boring, pretty bad. Orange County was hands down the best thing that I had read.

So you don't think Orange County's just another teen movie?
It isn't just another teen movie. And I don't think it is a teen movie. Without sounding too scary and a little bit too G-rated, the movie is sort of like a family film. I think adults could enjoy this film more than teenagers would -- and that's not a knock on teenagers. I just think [screenwriter] Mike White can write stuff that can be extremely funny and overly comedic -- kind of slapstick in a way. But the movie's also extremely heartfelt and sincere and real -- that was so, so, so refreshing, even though I knew at some point I would have to do a scene next to a locker! It was nice to be able to finally read something that was smart and wasn't about just getting the girl. It wasn't sort of throwing away the myth of what high school should be like.

What do you hope to achieve after this movie?
Well, I hope that work begets work, which I know it does. Obviously, the movie puts me out there on a little bit of a level where people are sort of familiar with me. I'm not looking to go to the next level or anything, but you know, sort of get my name out there, get my face out there so that hopefully I can continue to work on other projects.

Tell us about working with your OC co-star Jack Black.
When I first met Jack Black, he let me come down to the studio and watch him record [Tenacious D tracks]. Which is like if you're a huge Elvis fan, that's Elvis saying, "Hey, come down to Graceland and watch me record." We pretty much went to every show he did when we were making the movie.

Do you feel pressure to succeed in Hollywood because of who your dad is?
Not at all. I know that people form some sort of opinions. They're gonna wonder, "Oh well, can he cut it?" But it's not my job to prove to them that I can do it. It's my job to make the movie or the show or whatever it is I'm working as good as I can and do my homework. I mean, that's what I'm really more concerned with. I'm more concerned with the director getting what he wants and am I giving enough to my other actors so that they can work, too.

What part did you play in That Thing You Do!?
Man, I played the smallest role you could possibly imagine! My dad was just like, "Do you want to work on it for a day?" I said, "Yeah sure." I was a male page. I escorted Liv Tyler up some stairs....They only put me in the credits because they thought it would be cool for me.

What's the best advice your dad has given you?
Show up on time. Memorize your lines, hit your marks, that sort of stuff. The advice he gives me is really sort of the boring stuff. It's about the other half of being an actor, which is going out and publicizing a movie and what to expect and what to prepare for.

He said that publicizing a movie is gonna seem extremely awkward. When you think about it, you're going on TV or you're printed in newspapers and you're asking millions of strangers to go see your movie. That's weird. That's not a natural thing to do. But it's part of our job.

So are you coming back to life on Roswell -- or what?
I'm not sure. [Right now on the show] I'm a ghost, but I really don't know.

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