“I started acting when I was young and just kind of stuck with it, it was one of those things I immediately fell in love with and never really let go of it. I decided to take it a little more seriously and studied the craft in college. I did a three year conservatory where I studied Meisner for three years which is an acting technique.”
INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
STORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS
Charismatic and talented, it is no surprise that Austin Amelio landed a role on one of the hottest shows on television. The Walking Dead star spoke to us at Imagista about growing up in Texas, working with Richard Linklater and his passion for skateboarding.
Imagista: Where are you from exactly?
Austin: I live in Atlanta but I am actually from Texas. I was born and raised in Austin then my dads job kind of took us to a couple different routes, from California, to Singapore and then back to Austin for the past ten years. Austin is amazing, that’s where my heart is.
Imagista: Growing up, did you live in a creative household?
Austin: My dad is the exact opposite of me, he is business oriented, a complete A type personality. My mom was a little more creative, she always took me to concerts or Broadway shows. I grew up skateboarding and my influences of creativity were from the skateboard world and the art, music and fashion that surrounded that, it was definitely a primary influence in my life, it changed my life and the way I saw the world.
Imagista: How did you get into acting and writing?
Austin: I started acting when I was young and just kind of stuck with it, it was one of those things I immediately fell in love with and never really let go of it. I decided to take it a little more seriously and studied the craft in college. I did a three year conservatory where I studied Meisner for three years which is an acting technique. From then on, I just started booking gigs here and there and it started working out.
Imagista: Was all this in Austin or California?
Austin: The start of my career all happened in Austin.
Imagista: What kind of work were you involved with in Texas?
Austin: Really whatever was in front of me. I did a bunch of improv and theater was my background so I did a bunch of plays. My buddy and I put on True West which was and still is kind of a big deal for us, it was one of those moments we look back on and think “oh man I have really changed” both who I was as a person and as an actor. I did the Sam Shepard show and it sold out, we did the entire play in a barn behind my buddies place, it was an off the grid kind of thing. I just did stuff because I loved it and wanted to be productive. I ended up booking a Richard Linklater film called Everybody Wants Some, which is what catapulted me to Los Angeles.
Imagista: What was it like working with Richard Linklater?
Austin: That dude is the Texas God of film-making, actually he is just a film-making God everywhere, not just in Texas. There aren’t many words I can use to explain that experience, I think the best way to put it is that it was the best thing I have ever been a part of, really. I don’t have to go into too much
detail, but it was the 1980’s comedy baseball film where he cast twelve dudes, and we all lived together for two and a half weeks on his ranch. By the time we started shooting the film, it was like shooting a film with your best friends. I don’t know if it gets any better than that.
Imagista: In terms of people who inspire you?
Austin: It varies from day to day. The classics for sure, like Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Steve McQueen. Then you know people like Jim Carey, I grew up on that guy, I remember watching him and thinking to myself “now that’s an actor”. Nowadays, my inspiration is all over the board. I look at people my age like Jesse Plemons who is just awesome and from Texas as well, everyday is a different person to be honest.
Imagista: What are you working on right now? Where are you at with Walking Dead?
Austin: We are wrapping up! We got three episodes left of the season. The first episode should be premiering soon so everyone is getting pretty excited about that. We need to finish strong!
Imagista: We have spoken to a few of your cast mates from Walking Dead before and they have told us about how great the energy on set is. What has your experience been like?
Austin: It really is like a big family. We just got together the other night and just had a game night. Everyone is so down to earth and awesome it is a really great experience, it is awesome I love it.
Imagista: If you were not an actor, what do you think you would be doing?
Austin: I have no idea, partying and skateboarding probably. I would be in more trouble than I am in now, that’s for sure.