Starring as young Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) in a recurring role on Marvel's The Gifted Season 2 on Fox, Christian Finlayson maintains an active career. We catch up with the rising star to get some insight on his newly-released projects and his personal style.
For those who’d like to know, tell us a little about how you got started acting and what inspired you to do so?
When I was seven years old, I would write skits, act them out, and record them with a small Canon camcorder. Later, I would upload them to my YouTube channel. Of course, they were all terrible, but I enjoyed making them so much that I didn't stop, despite only having 3 subscribers. When I was eleven, my interest in acting was reignited because my mom had started taking classes, performing in plays, and was booking roles in independent films in and around Atlanta. I also started training and attending workshops. At one acting workshop that I attended, I met an agent from Atlanta Models and Talent. She invited me to visit the agency and I signed with them the following week. I started booking commercials right away and my first feature film booking would come the following year. It was an independent film called Steel Country. I’m in a scene with a British actor that I greatly admire, Andrew Scott (Sherlock). I still haven’t seen it, because it was filmed by a British production company and is still working its way through the film festivals over there!
Bigger is an interesting story of Joe and Ben Weider, fathers of the fitness movement. Did you know anything about the Weider brothers prior to the film? What was something you found out about that would be surprising to fans?
Honestly, I had never heard of them. When I received the audition for Young Joe Weider, I started researching to find out more about Ben and Joe. I was immediately inspired by their perseverance and rags to riches story. They are the creators of the fitness industry as we know it, founders of the body building movement, and founders of Mr. Olympia. Something that is surprising is that when they were scouting talent in Europe, they met a young bodybuilder and decided that he would be the new image of their brand. They brought him to California, settled him in, trained him, and taught him about the media. He would eventually become Mr. Olympia and later one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors. His name is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Photo by Bjoern Kommerell Photography
How was it working on set and your cast mates? How did you prepare for your role? To confirm, will Bigger be in all theatres Oct. 12 in the U.S.?
I have so many great memories from working on the set of Bigger. I play Joe Weider when he was around age thirteen. The setting for my scenes is in Montreal, Canada (actually filmed in Birmingham) in the 1930’s, so our wardrobe reflected that time period which was really cool. Tyler Hoechlin (Superman, Teen Wolf), plays the older Joe Weider. We didn’t have any scenes together, but I met him while on set and again at the red carpet premiere. He’s a great guy, super humble and very talented. Ben and Joe Weider’s mother was both verbally and physically abusive, and the actress Nadine Lewington really embodied her character well. Miles Emmons, who plays my younger brother Ben, and I were both genuinely afraid of her when she was in character, so it made our acting much easier. Both Tyler Hoechlin and I had to have dialect coaching in order to portray Joe Weider. Joe had a Jewish-Canadian accent that was also just very unusual and was a bit tricky to master. Bigger is out in limited theaters now. Visit their website biggermovie.com for locations.
You also have a role with Goosebumps 2 movie, how familiar are you with the franchise? Were you ever a fan of the books?
I was familiar with the franchise, and had read some of the Goosebumps books when I was in elementary school and loved them. Just having the audition was very exciting, and then booking the movie was crazy! I play Cooper, one of the bullies in the movie. The set was so fun to work on, and I became close friends with the other four young actors in the movie. We would go back to the hotel after working all day and we would play video games, go to dinner, watch movies, or just hang out. We all live in different cities, so it’s really hard to meet up right now. We still have a group chat in which we talk every day or play video games online.
If you could name your favorite horror film to date, what would it be?
A big part of me really wants to say Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, but I think I have to say Get Out, directed and written by Jordan Peele. That movie is just genius. Jordan Peele, coming from a comedy background, impressed me with how he was able to switch genres, and create such an amazing film. Daniel Kaluuya is so captivating on screen and he was perfect for the role. Get Out is not only my favorite horror movie, it’s probably in my top 3 favorite movies in general.
Photo by Blake Ballard Photography
Who influences your craft, any other entertainers you look up to or model your skills after?
Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio for sure. DiCaprio is so interesting to watch and i’ve learned so much about acting just by watching him on screen. Catch Me If You Can and The Basketball Diaries are two movies that showcase his talent. I have never believed an actor as much as Al Pacino in Scarface. Tony Montana might be my favorite character from a movie. Well, Scarface is my favorite movie of all time, so it’s hard not to be a huge fan of the lead actor.
As for style, how would you describe your everyday look? Any obsessions like sneakers, hats, etc?
I have a HUGE obsession with style. I collect extremely limited sneakers, shirts, hoodies, and will spend a good part of my day researching upcoming drops from my favorite brands. My everyday style leans toward LA skate style. I used to wear super athletic clothes, but once I found a desire to skateboard, the style came along with it. Also, skate brands are really cool in general. Some of my favorite brands are Urban Outfitters, Supreme (I have to be super careful about buying Supreme as to not be called a “hypebeast”), Vans, Anti Social Social Club, to name a few. I had a huge obsession with shoes a couple years ago, with a lot of super rare sneakers by different brands, but recently i’ve decided to stock a lot of them. As long as i've got a beat up pair of Old Skool Vans, some shoes to skate in, and maybe a pair of nice shoes to wear out to dinner, I’m good. That being said, I have REALLY been checking out the new Yeezy shoes. Besides acting, style is something I really enjoy, so just like someone might buy a nice fishing rod, I would be super interested in a new Supreme hoodie.
Photo by Blake Ballard Photography
If you’re able, please fill us in on any new projects in the works, dates and cast.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve been cast in a coming of age movie that starts filming in Savannah next month. It’s called Summer Gold and it will be my first leading role in a feature film. Follow me on my social media sites for more updates. From the Summer Gold IMDB page: Summer Gold is about four best friends on an adventure as they are sent to an off-the-grid summer camp; no phones, no devices, no wifi. There the kids encounter four suspicious camp counselors, uncover the truth about Civil War gold that’s been missing for almost 200 years and discover that there is a whole world waiting to greet them-if they just look up to see it.
Follow Christian Finlayson: @christianfinlayson