Interview: Garrett Clayton

From the interview archives.

Michigan native Garrett Clayton has been seen in productions like Hairspray Live!, Teen Beach Movie and perhaps most notably in his recurring role on The Fosters as Chase. VULKAN caught up with Garrett to talk adapting to abnormal filming schedules, alien encounters, and how he manages having such an extensive social media following. You can see Garrett in his upcoming horror film Welcome to Willits and alongside Nicholas Cage in Between Worlds.

For those unfamiliar with the film Welcome to Willits, can you give us a brief overview?

Honestly, I had so much fun filming this with the cast. It has two storylines that intertwine. The first plot has to do with a guy who grows and sells drugs at his house and ends up going on a crazy drug trip; and the second is a group of younger people going out into the woods to camp for the weekend, who find themselves the victims of this crazy drug-ridden person’s experiences… 

Who is Zack and how does he end up in Willits?

Zack, my character, is on a weekend trip with his friends. He is your typical “douchey” guy, but it was fun to play him. I had a blast.

If you heard about a town like Willits, are you the kind of person that is inclined to check it out for yourself or stay as far away from it as possible?

I am the type of person who – if I hear a noise when I’m out walking my dogs at night, coming from a bush or something – will yell “NOPE!” and walk (run) the other way. Haha! I don’t mess around with any of that stuff. Plus, I’m a horror fan, so I know where a little misplaced curiosity will lead you. 

You’re by yourself and you stumble upon an alien. Do you try to befriend them, run, or attack?

I would have to hold my keys between my fingers in case I have to punch and slash it, but I’d probably be inclined to check it out to see if it’s friendly. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with an alien? I guess that seems to make the answer to my last question irrelevant, but aliens are out there somewhere! And fingers crossed that they are curious about us too. 

If there is alien life out there, what do you hope we could potentially gain or learn from them?

I would hope we could learn how to have a fully clean and sustainable source of energy for the planet. It would also be amazing to fast-track our technological developments so that we could travel to other planets and learn about other ways life/life forms out in the universe… I doubt that will happen in my lifetime, but here’s to hoping! 

Given the genre, I imagine a lot of filming took place at night. How do you adapt to filming schedules that are a bit more outside the norm?

It did take a minute for us to get used to filming from 6pm to 6am every day, but luckily I had really cool people in the cast to hangout with during and outside of work. We literally hung out every day when we weren’t filming, so we got to know each other pretty well. 

You’ve done a lot of work in musical theatre; what’s the most challenging part of a musical role for you?

The most challenging part of doing a musical for me is when they want me to dance like crazy and sing full voice. I’ve had to do that A LOT and it’s always difficult in rehearsals… but it’s always worth it in the end.

You also have a role coming up in the film Between Worlds with Nicolas Cage. Can you tell us anything about that film? 

Between Worlds is another sci-fi thriller, but this one is more… spiritual. I really like the character I get to portray in this movie, because he’s different than anyone else I’ve ever played. That’s really all an actor can ask for really: to continue to be challenged with new, dynamic roles. That’s always exciting!  

What’s your favorite Nicolas Cage movie? Everyone has one!

National Treasure, for sure! That was a pretty epic franchise, and I loved the historical aspect to it. I’m sure it made a lot of U.S. history teachers mad, but hey! It was definitely entertaining. 

Do you hope to see yourself in more musicals going forward or would you prefer to continue working in film? 

I’m lucky in that I’ve gotten to do both hand in hand with The Fosters, Teen Beach 1 & 2, and Hairspray Live!, among others. My hope is that I get to continue acting in film, TV, and stage my whole life. I would love to be apart of a big broadway musical one day, maybe originating a male lead role. 

You have a whopping 1.3 million followers on Instagram, which is wild! What is your favorite part about using social media in conjunction with your career?

I’ve been very fortunately in that I’m living out my dreams… right now! It’s great to be able to go on this journey, and I like that I get to share this with the people I love and who appreciate what I love to do. I honestly couldn’t ask for more.  

Do you ever struggle with what kind of content you should post knowing that you have such a wide reach? 

Of course! If I post for a cause, it’s because I truly believe in it. Not everything is going to be heavy, and other times it’s about the path I’m on and the people I’m able to meet and the experiences I get to have along the way.

Social media of course can really help get people noticed, but in what way would you say it hinders artistic careers? 

Personally, I’ve always thought that I have the responsibility to pick and choose what I stand for or post on any medium, because otherwise its power and intent is watered down. There’s power in knowing who you are and what you stand for, but the reality is that not everyone is going to like or agree with your opinion. Sometimes when I speak my mind, I do so knowing that it may lose me a job, but at least I’m being true to myself and speaking my mind. I like to think people respect that. 

What do you think is the biggest misconception your fans have about you?

While I am and always try to portray a positive energy on social media – like many people tend to do – I don’t always feel that way. My philosophy is that if I’m having a bad day or feeling negative, it’s my job to do something positive and send those good vibes out into the world. And sometimes that may be via a post on social media! It may just be my Instagram account, but that’s what I have control over. I can send something positive to my followers on socials, and hopefully make someone else feel better than I might feel in that moment.

What is the trickiest thing you have had to learn about training your adorable dogs Dart and Dash?


Any other projects upcoming we should keep an eye out for?

What I am allowed to say right now is that I’m working on a show that I’ll be doing in Houston over December, for the holidays. I know there’s a long road ahead with the families and rebuilding in that city, and the flooding still isn’t completely over, so I hope this show brings some light to their holidays and can give them at least an hour-and-a-half break from how hard it must be to return to normalcy after everything that’s happened this month.

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