IN CONVERSATION WITH KALE CULLEY
Interview by Jana Letonja
Actor Kale Culley is known for his co-starring role on CW’s series ‘Walker’. He was also seen on TV series ‘Black-ish’ and ‘Me, Myself and I’. ‘Walker’ aired its season 3 finale on 11th May.
Kale, you’re starring on CW’s ‘Walker’ as August, Cordell’s 14-year old son. How did you get cast on this series?
I went through a lengthy 7-step audition process to get the role of August. It was funny because when I showed up for the first audition everyone else auditioning was about as tall as my shoulders. Me and my mom walked out of the building saying “Well that was fun, on to the next”. Jared later told us that he knew I was the one as soon as he saw my first audition. I booked and started portraying August at 14 and now August is 17.
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The series is about Cordell, a legendary Texas Ranger and is a reboot of the 90s western series ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’. In the season finale we saw August make a decision on his future. He makes it clear that he wants to enlist. How would you say this decision impacted your character and his relationship with his father?
We don’t really get to see any relationship differences, as August wanting to enlist was only shown in the last couple of episodes of season 3. However, from what we did see, Walker was thrown for a total loop. If I were him in that situation, I’d want my son to stay home too. Walker is such a family man, he needs everyone there at one time or else things tend to get tricky. What would be nice in the future seasons would be that Walker shows his son some more love. Everyone in the family should show Auggie more love for that matter. At the end of the day, August made the decision to prove to his family that he is important and no one should ever have to seek their family’s validation.
Cordell, your character’s dad is played by Jared Padalecki. How is it having him as your TV dad and starring alongside him?
Jared is one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. It’s such a joy to work alongside someone who is genuinely good from the heart. He has taken me under his wing and has been a great mentor to me as an actor and producer,and also as a father figure.
How did you get into acting? What inspired you to be in this industry?
Legends like Jim Carrey and Micheal J. Fox always inspired me as a kid. Every time I saw them on the screen, I just felt the joy of acting radiate. Seeing them breathe their own life into the characters they played moved me beyond words. I struggled with identity issues for a long time because I’ve always been super sporadic and very outgoing and a lot of people who were my friends stopped talking to me because I was too much for them. I still experience this, but there’s always characters and filmmakers that inspire me to be myself. My motive for acting has changed as I’ve matured.
When I turned 14, I watched ‘Good Will Hunting’ for the first time and I became enamored over the art of filmmaking. I started watching clips of scenes from actors to study human emotions. I started studying the work of cinematographer Roger Deakins and directors like Steven Spielberg or Edgar Wright. These filmmakers showed me how magical films are. And my older brother introduced me to film scores, so I’m always listening to John Williams or John Powell.
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Was acting always on your radar as a career choice? Have you ever thought about doing something else?
Acting will forever be my passion, but I always tell people if I weren’t an actor, I’d be a chef. I cook a mean meal. Also, I’d be a musician, but I don’t limit myself, so I do all of those things.
Who is your biggest inspiration and idol in the acting industry?
I accidentally explained this answer earlier. If i had to give a top three, it would be Jim Carrey, Micheal J. Fox and Samuel L. Jackson.
We know you also play some instruments. Tell us more about this passion of yours.
Music means equally as much as film does to me. I live my life listening to music. I’m always searching for things that make me feel the way the last song did. My love for music started when I was like 8 or 9 years old. I did a photoshoot in a house with a grand piano for a company I forgot the name of. The directors would say “Alright Kale, go ahead and slam the keys and act like you’re playing”. And I’m thinking to myself “I’m not about to sit here and destroy this beautiful thing I can barely spell the name of”. So they would call action and apparently I managed to muster chords and melodies every now and then. Everyone would ask my mom how long I’ve been playing and she was like “About 5 minutes now”.
My mom grew up in a musical family and me, my brother and sister grew up dancing. All three of us had knowledge on how to keep a rhythm ever since we were little. I’m all about making instruments speak, telling you a beautiful story through the piano or teaching you how to groove through the drums. I think music is one of the most important things in film, because it’s one of the only non verbal ways to tell a story.
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You also like to produce music on Logic Pro X. What excites you the most about producing music and the whole process of it?
Producing music on Logic X makes me happy because it’s such an available outlet for creativity. Every song has its own personality. I tend to write for each mood I’m in or in the sound I’m currently in love with. For example, I’m on a gospel music binge right now, so I’m making gospel sounding songs that have soulful chords and melodies. I’m also in love with Japanese city funk, so I’m making songs with that style and sound as an inspiration.
The person who inspired me to get Logic X is Jacob Collier. His sound is incredibly unique and watching his logic session breakdowns has taught me how to use the app. I’d say all of the songs I’ve made so far have been R&B,Jacob Collier inspired. And another person who inspired me to start making music is Tyler the Creator.
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What are your goals for the future of your acting career? Do you already have any new, exciting projects lined up after season 3 finale of ‘Walker’?
My goals for the future, that aren’t that far from reality anymore, are being in films that inspire the world. I’m far alongin the process for a really exciting project that would absolutely be a dream come true, so fingers crossed for that.Also, ‘Walker’ season 4 was just announced.
Kale, when you’re not on the set or engaging in your musical hobbies, how do you like to spend your free days?
While in Austin, I’m either exploring the city, thrift shopping or at my house playing ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’. When I’m in LA, I’m always hanging out with all of my friends while staying up late either talking about life or filming shortfilms, or exploring the city. You’ll always catch me at Universal Studios. That’s like my second home. I also love going to the Warner Bros. lot and exploring that beautiful place. The possibilities are endless out there.
talent KALE CULLEY @kaleculleyofficial
photographer NICK RASMUSSEN @bynickrasmussen
stylist SANTA VERSACE-BAVACQUA @santavb
groomer TAYLOUR CHANEL @taylourchanel
lighting APUTURE @aputure.lighting
editor TIMOTEJ LETONJA @timiletonja