We had the good fortune of connecting with Austan Wheeler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Austan, why did you pursue a creative career?
People always know when something is missing in their lives. They rifle through different experiences, friends, jobs, what have you and they diligently search for that one part that makes them whole. For me, acting is the creative outlet that makes me whole. It’s my therapy, my passion, my missing piece. We are all born to do something in this life. The ones with the knowledge on what they are the best at and act on it, turn out to live the life they always wanted and were meant for. That is why I choose to pursue an artistic career. It gives me the joy and purpose all of us seek to find.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think what sets me apart from other actors, is the fact that I like to be the villain. Most actors want to be the heart throb or the hero in a film or T.V. show, but I want to be the evil guy who loses. My whole life, as far back as I can remember, I always loved the villains in movies. I just thought they were cooler and as I grew as an actor it felt to me that they had no limits. Villains had so much space to be creative because, in the end, their craziness or their mistakes, always added to their character. It was fun as a kid, but as an actor it felt like a sense of freedom I was desperate to get my hands on. A pivotal moment in my life that made me think being the villain would be great was when I saw Sam Rockwell in The Green Mile. I thought to myself, ‘that dude is so evil and crazy, and this performance is amazing’. I absolutely loved his performance in that and I wanted to do the same thing.
Professionally, how I got here today was just grinding away at the business anyway I could. They say it’s always about who you know, but in order for that to even be a thing you have to get out there and get to know people. It’s a slow burn but the friendships and connection you make along the way are amazing. It is hard, no good thing isn’t, but with time and perseverance things can fall into place. Except when Covid-19 hit, that was a setback none of us saw coming. Now, it’s like starting over from scratch, which was discouraging but then I realized, I have so much more knowledge and self-worth that maybe this next “crack at it” will be even better than before. So I am very excited to keep moving forward.
The best thing I’ve learned from everything in my career and this COVID season, is to just be nice. Who doesn’t like or like working with a nice person? The more we show each other our appreciation, the more others are able to have the momentum in their own lives to keep grinding away and doing their best. We sharpen each other and nice words and attitudes go so much further than anger or entitlement ever will.
I want the world to know that my first feature film debut Filthy Animals directed by James T North Iv, will be coming out this December 2021 and to be on the lookout for it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite places to eat is in the south bay a place called Bettolino Kitchen. This Italian eatery is located in Torrance beach and is some of the best Italian food I have ever had. The beach cities are where I spend most of my time. I love the ocean. I’m really into surfing and just beach life in general. But when I get myself up to downtown L.A., I love to go to this speak easy bar called Birds and Bees and then eat at Bottega Louie, another amazing Italian food place. But if I’m hanging in Long beach, I spend most of my time at Ballast Point right on the water, and then zip down to fourth street with all of the awesome boutique stores, bars and eateries over there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The people who impacted me the most on my decision to take this career path as well as stay the course, are people I think of often and keep their wisdom in my heart:
My acting Coach John Homa of JH productions was one of the first people who seriously looked me in the face and said, “You can do this, like really do this”. That man was one of my biggest inspirations to just go for it. His class showed me the deeper meaning of what it is to be an actor and what it was to do a scene professionally. I learned so much from him and have been so thankful of his wisdom.
Another Amazing person in my life is my dearest friend, Jonathan Cipiti, who just this last year released his latest films he directed including Pray: The story of Patrick Peyton (2020), and The House that Rob Built (2020). I remember a phone we called shared in the beginning of 2019 where he encouraged me to go do what I loved the most. He affirmed my talent and told me that doing what you love makes life so much better. He still encourages me till this day.
James T North IV was my director for my first feature film Filthy Animals set to come out in 2021. Putting me in his movie was one of the biggest honors of my life and literally the most fun I ever had. I learned a lot from his creativity and vision during the filming of our film for which I am eternally grateful for.
My family has also been a constant support system in my life and my rock. I love them all so very much and thank them for everything they have been doing and continue to do to support me.
Natalie Pond, Nathan Baldonado, Shun Muroyama, Jeremy Lim