IN CONVERSATION WITH KELLAN TETLOW
interview by JANA LETONJA
Actor Kellan Tetlow stars as Zoomer in FX’s gripping mystery thriller ‘A Murder at the End of the World’, the seven-episode limited series that premiered on 14th November on Hulu. He is best known to audiences for his memorable role as Nicky Jr., Kevin Pearson’s son in the final season of NBC’s ‘This Is Us’.
Kellan, you are starring in FX’s mystery thriller limited series ‘A Murder at the End of the World’. What can we expect to see in the remaining episodes?
There will be many twists and turns. What you think is happening isn’t always what is actually happening.
In the series, you are portraying Zoomer, the son of a reclusive billionaire. How would you sum up your character and his story in the series?
Zoomer is unusually intelligent and quite sensitive. He loves his mother a lot. He is curious and sweet, but also very lonely. He is trapped in a world where his father calls all the shots and things aren’t always as they seem.
Audiences best know you from the final season of ‘This Is Us’, where you portrayed Nicky Jr., Kevin’s son. How has starring in such a popular show opened doors for you in the industry?
I’m not sure if it’s done anything major for me just yet. I booked ‘This Is Us’ and ‘A Murder at the End of the World’ just weeks apart from each other, so I would say having two major roles come out in the same year probably is what is going to help me in the future. Fingers crossed.
Right after wrapping up ‘A Murder at the End of the World’, you went to South Korea to star in the popular Korean sitcom ‘Hello, Riley! Hello, Ryan!’. How was it jumping from one project right into another? How did you manage to get out of one character and right into another?
Ryan is the complete opposite of Zoomer, which made it a fun challenge to move from one character to the next. Ryan’s very mischievous and silly. And the show is a comedy, so it was a nice transition after playing someone a bit more serious in ‘A Murder at the End of the World.’
How does South Korean entertainment industry differ from American? What were the main differences you experienced?
The industry isn’t all that different, but they don’t have a lot of the same labor laws for children. I definitely worked a lot harder. I also was in every single scene, unlike my previous shows, so it was a ton of memorizing. One main difference is that the crew didn’t speak English. It was interesting trying to communicate. Luckily, they had an interpreter there who could help out most of the time. Although, I have to admit it was fun to find alternative ways to communicate. There were a lot of creative hand gestures and body gestures to get our point across.
The craft services were definitely different too. I enjoyed the Korean lunch box on set. It was exciting to try new foods and we always got milkshakes and hot chocolate when the adults got coffee around 4 pm, so that was awesome. I spent numerous months in Seoul during shooting and really loved it.
What got you passionate about acting and when did you know you wanted to become an actor?
My older siblings had all been acting my entire life and I saw them getting to travel and experience really interesting things. Watching them I always thought acting looked super fun. When I was 4 years old, I was always hearing about my siblings auditioning, so I asked my mom when can I go on auditions. She laughed and videotaped me asking again because she said she wanted to show me one day when I grew up. She told me then that she didn’t have time to take me to auditions because of my older siblings, but I kept asking her. Then Covid happened and there weren’t really any auditions. Finally, after Covid, when I was 6, she said she would tell my print and commercial agent that I wanted to audition for TV and film. I think my mom believed when I was four that I didn’t truly understand what auditioning entailed and that I was just asking not to be left out. By 6, when I was still asking, she figured I really wanted to do it and gave in. Right after that, I booked NBC’s ‘This Is Us.’
What are your biggest goals for the future of your career?
My goal is to be a series regular on a show that has multiple seasons, so I can grow with the character. It would be fun to be in a show where I get to wear period clothing or cool special effect makeup. I would also love to be in a Marvel movie because I am really into superheroes. I just watched ‘Leo’ and loved it, so I would love to be in an animated movie with Adam Sandler. I think he is very clever and quite funny. Someday, I hope to direct my own movie and I promised my siblings I would give them each a role.
Who would you say is your biggest idol in the acting industry and why?
I admire Clive Owen. He was super nice to everyone on set and worked really hard. He had a great attitude and kept a sense of humor even on hard days. He treated me like an equal and not like a child, which I appreciated. In fact, during the dinner scene in episode 1, he was the one who asked Brit and Zal if I could say ‘alternative intelligence’ with him. At 6 years old and with no front teeth, it wasn’t easy, but he believed in me. Clive also loves soccer and I do too. We would watch matches together on his cellphone and he taught me all about Liverpool. He even bought me my first professional soccer jersey. His career is really impressive and I would love to have a long and successful career like him.
I know you asked about my biggest idol, meaning one person, but I also want to say that if I can be even one ounce as brilliant as Brit Marling in my career, I would be the happiest person on the planet. She does it all, writes, acts, directs and produces. Even while doing everything and being so busy, she is the kindest and most humble person on set. You can’t help but admire her if you meet her.
What are the things you enjoy the most outside of acting?
I love soccer. I also enjoy my hip-hop classes, playing piano, surfing in Malibu and playing Roblox with my friends. I recently bought a PS5 with my acting money and I love playing FIFA. My family is also really into hiking, so that is something I love to do too. My favorite place to hike is Malibu Creek State Park. One time we met Justin Bieber hiking there.
photography DAVID MULLER PHOTOGRAPHY