At the outset of each new TV season there are those faces which pop up on screen and elicit a familiar reaction: Who is this young, attractive person and why have I never seen him/her before? (Chances are you have seen said thesp, be it on a Burger King commercial or in bit parts elsewhere.) As the fall season approaches, we’re bringing you our round-up of fresh faces packing the holy Hollywood trinity: looks, talent, and staying power.
Meet James Wolk, the 25-year-old star of Fox’s new primetime soap ‘Lone Star‘ (Monday, 9/8c). In ‘Lone Star,’ Wolk plays Bob/Robert Allen, a deeply conflicted Texas con man living duplicate lives with two wives. Jimmy – as his friends call him – is best known for his critically hailed role as the Tourette’s-challenged Brad Cohen in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, ‘Front of the Class.’ With his classic boy next door charm and remarkable intensity, the Michigan native has been touted as the next George Clooney. It’s a comparison he humbly admits is “flattering.” Get to know him below:
What He Was Doing Before ‘Lone Star’: I was reading various scripts for pilot season, because there were so many out there, and [there were] projects I was getting upset about, but then this sort of came, and I said, ‘This script is unbelievable!’
How He Landed The Role: I got the script in January. But the character was in his late 30s, and I just said to my manager, ‘Love the characters, love the script, but I couldn’t play someone who was 38 for seven years ‘cause I’m not anywhere in that spectrum.’ Though I do look older than I am. To make a long story short, the producers were like, ‘Maybe James wants to come in and read for the part regardless.’ And I was like, ‘Of course, I’d love to come in and read.’ I didn’t want to lead anyone on, but when I came in and read for it, they didn’t give me the part but they said, ‘This could work.’ And when the words came out of my mouth I thought, ‘This is awesome.’ And so it was at that point that we really started going in that direction, and I came in once more to read for them, and they signed off on me. I actually was in Michigan, visiting my family, and when I came back to L.A., like a day later, I read for it once more, and they gave me the role. It was awesome. It was really exciting.
What He Did To Celebrate: I don’t scream. I’m more like, Whoa. And then it takes me like a day to come out of that so I think I just went to dinner with some friends, and just kind of digested it. I think it’s easy in any position of life, but especially in what we’re doing, and things happen so fast, so you just go, ‘Okay, okay, okay.’ So, I really like to try and digest things, and see what they mean to me and see how my gut responds to them. I took that next day to go to dinner with some friends, and think about how fortunate I was to get the role.
Preview ‘Lone Star’:
Who He’s Been Compared To: [Apart from George Clooney] I’ve gotten Jim from ‘The Office,’ John Krasinski.
His Audition Rituals: I had an acting teacher once who was like, ‘Do whatever you need to do to get your body, and your mind, and your excitement and your juices flowing,’ like you can’t cook a pizza in an unwarmed oven. This is…an analogy. So you have to like have an oven that’s hot to be able to cook that. So he’s like turn your oven on. So for me, I usually listen to music on my iPod. Some of it just makes me want to think or music that affects me emotionally or makes me want to move. [Before this audition] I was listening to -this is so ridiculous – Jay Z but it was this Dave Matthews recut. Dave Matthews meant a lot to me in my childhood and Jay Z makes me want to dance. So I just came in feeling like a million bucks.
Secret’s Safe With Him: I’m great at keeping other people’s secrets. I’m like a safe [laughs]. You could tell me anything, I would never tell anybody. My own secrets…I’m not a very secretive person. I’m kind of straightforward.
His Thoughts On Falling For Two Women: I have not been with two women at once, but I’ve been in love and I believe in that. I have not personally been in love with two people at one time. But I think playing the role, playing the character, allowed me to see that is possible and I think I have to believe it is possible to do justice to the character and play it honestly. I can’t judge the character and not believe in what I’m doing, I have to really immerse myself into it. So I do, I do think it’s possible to be in love with two people at one time.
His Approach To Bob/Robert: Bob is in love with both these women at the same time but in many way, he’s a boy. It’s going to be interesting to see him and the season unfold and him discover what he’s really trying to do. How truly in love is he? Will he feel one way towards one and another way towards the other? Is he trying to fill voids in his own life? He never had a childhood with a family. He never had money or luxury. So any relationship and love we see in real life, how much is it true love which he believes in right now, and how much is it him trying to fill something he doesn’t have in his own life?