I met Garrett last year when he guest starred on Chicago Med at only 17 years old. Don’t let the age fool you -- he is FULL of talent. A true star. You may also recognize him as Zach on the hit show Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.
He and I connected right away, and I even got to meet his dad on set! It was heartwarming to see the support of his father and their tight-knit relationship. These are the types of relationships that would keep any of us grounded and remember what it’s all about. For such a young kid he’s really intelligent, knows what he wants, and is incredibly well spoken with drive. I’m really excited for what’s in store for his career. I saw his movie “Perfect” on the big screen for a premiere and wow, he was incredible. As the lead of the film, he carried a heavy role effortlessly. There’s no way anyone can deny his hard work and commitment to the craft. No matter this age, we can all learn from Garrett. I know I have. :)
What are you up to these days?
I’ve spent the past few months of my life working on the new “Pretty Little Liars” spin-off called “The Perfectionists” which has been airing on ABC Freeform. Also, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time traveling in Europe this fall. I filmed a movie called “Jill” in Switzerland, which was one of the best experiences of my life. From there I flew to the largest sci-fi/horror film festival in the world, Sitges Film Festival, to promote my new film “Perfect” presented by Steven Soderbergh. “Perfect” recently commenced its world tour with the LA premier and now the movie is touring around the world.
How do you spend time?
Finding time in this busy life isn’t easy. From premiers, to filming, auditions, and class, life can get pretty wild. With life happening all around you, it’s important to remember to live in the moment and appreciate what life is offering. I think it’s important to spend time with family and those you care about doing things that connect you to them and the world around you. While in Switzerland it was so apparent to me to live in the present and spend time appreciating the world around us all. I enjoy to spend time painting, watching movies, writing, and going to museums. I've also started learning American Sign Language. Each of these things is a way for me to be able to appreciate art, people, and the world in which we live in.
I find myself asking this question a lot: “would I have spent my time differently if given the choice?” In the 6 years that I’ve been on this crazy journey with my family, I have been so fortunate to be able to travel the world doing what I love, meet people who I’ve grown to love, and make art through movies and TV that I can be proud of. I am so grateful for every opportunity and experience that I have been fortunate enough to experience, especially alongside my family. From working with Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates in my first movie “Boychoir,” to fighting aliens alongside Jeff Goldblum in “Independence Day: Resurgence,” and even freezing our toes off filming “Chicago Med” with Arden Cho, I couldn’t be more blessed and grateful. As far as having spent my time differently, some of the best advice I have ever been given was from a great mentor of mine. This advice being, “Would your 80 year old self be thankful for the way you chose to spend your time in life?” I take this with me daily and live my life with this in mind. If anything, I would’ve told myself to watch the stars a little bit more, make sure to appreciate the sunset, and do more things that push you to become better even if it scares you. And hey, the cool part is we can all start those things now.
How did you get into acting ?
I think at some point in almost everyone’s life they see a movie and think, “I want to do that.” And that was me when I watched the original “Iron Man” movie on the floor of my living room. I wanted to wear his suit so bad (still do!). Both my siblings wanted to pursue the entertainment world as well, so we contacted a talent scout in my home town named Nikki Pederson. Thanks to her program, Nikki Pederson Talent, we were given the necessary preparation and knowledge to be able to move out to LA and try our hand at the acting world. So our family of 5 took a crazy leap of faith and moved from our small town in Texas to Los Angeles 6 years ago. I owe all the thanks to my parents for having the trust in their children to be able to do this.
What do you love about acting?
The ability to tell stories and connect with people is what really draws me to acting. Film has the power to connect and move people in profound ways and to be a part of that experience is something I am proud to contribute to. Also, meeting people and traveling the world is one of the coolest parts of the job. Having gone to Switzerland and spent time filming a powerful drama in the middle of The Alps with some incredible, newfound lifelong friends was amazing. To even be able to say these things and have had the experiences I’ve had so early on in my career is crazy to me. I count my blessings daily.
What do you do to relax?
I find myself watching the same movies over and over again to relax. It’s funny, I’d rather watch a movie I’ve seen 10+ times then watch a new one. My go to is always “The Neon Demon” by Nicolas Winding Refn. Call me a nerd, but recently I’ve been playing the new “Red Dead Redemption 2” on my off days and I quite literally can’t stop. I also enjoy exploring the mountains in my post-apocalyptic style Jeep.
Any advice for young actors?
Keep going! Find an acting class you feel like you’re constantly growing in, that you’re challenging yourself in. Watch movies, be on set, learn! Learn as much as you can. I find that I learn so much more just sitting on set and observing than anything else. Work hard, that being said, do the right kind of work. There’s a role for everyone, so stay motivated. And don’t be afraid to make your own opportunities. I watched Clive Barker talk at a convention and he said something that got me to sit down and just start writing. He said, don’t be scared of the paper, don’t be scared or your ideas. Just stop caring what you think of your own ideas and get them out and watch them evolve. This impacted me and inspired me to just create. My advice, write your own scripts, get some friends, grab an iPhone and shoot a short. The most important part is getting ideas out and getting the creative juices flowing. I believe that work begets work. And remember - this isn’t an easy business, but those who have consistency and patience will prevail. This is something I have to remind myself of.
What keeps you going?
Ah, the ever imposing question. I’ve talked with many people in this business about this very topic. The answer I’ve found for me and prevalent throughout each of these conversations is the strive for creative fulfillment. No matter the 200 auditions you go on that tell you “no” over and over again, films that never quite perform the way you’d hope, or the years spent not working, the love we have for it is what keeps us going. Not every day of this journey has been one to brag about. In fact, the majority of those days were spent striving to find that creative fulfillment. And failing. This being said, I wouldn’t change it for the world. All the bad times make the good times so much more worth it because you understand what it’s like to work for it and feel stuck. The people you meet along the way, the experiences you have, and the strength you gain is what makes it worth it. I look for roles that challenge me, that force me to evolve and become better as an actor, that is what keeps me going. That constant search for something to put myself into that I can collaborate with my director on and eventually create something that I can be proud of - and fulfilled by. And that is a never ending cycle.
Is there something you'd like to do in the future?
As an artist, I’m always looking for new ways to explore what I do as a creator. Acting has always been a passion of mine, but as I venture deeper into the world of filmmaking I have discovered an increasing love for directing and other behind the scenes work. I directed a music video early 2018 just to see what it was like. Got some friends together, saved up some money, found a camera and a place to shoot and gave it a shot. I immediately fell in love and can’t wait to eventually explore future directing adventures. Aside from directing I’m also a beginning writer. It’s cool to watch one’s own process. I understand that the first, second, third scripts that someone writes won’t always be the best, but I’m learning and growing with each story I write. For me, this is an example of learning to appreciate the journey and improving on where one has been in hopes to see what they can achieve in the future.
Do you like to accessorize?
I’ve never actually been one to accessorize until I found Leonard & Church. Their brand has allowed me to find style in everyday life. I really love every watch style that Leonard & Church has to offer, but I find myself wearing the Bleeker and Essex most often. A nice black watch goes well with almost anything.
What do you want to share with the world?
I think I want to share the message that hard work and genuine kindness will always prevail. Not trying to get something from someone because of who they may be, but getting to know someone because you have a genuine interest in who they are and the work they do. On a set, we’re all there for the same common goal, everyone matters and everyone should be treated with respect. Even in life, we’re a team, and appreciating one another and being kind to one another is one of the most important things I’ve learned thus far. We’re all just fans, and we’re all making movies because we love it. We should at least. This business is hard enough if you love it, it’s not worth it if you’re not in it for the right reasons.
Where can we see you?
I’ve been so lucky to have had such a great year, and I have my team and my family to thank for that. I just wrapped a personally impactful, character driven family drama movie called “Jill” that we shot up in Switzerland. Without revealing too much, I like to liken “Jill” as a fractured fairy-tale of familial despair. Set in the 80’s, this family is hiding from the outside world in the sequestered mountains until everything begins to fall apart. Aside from “Jill,” a movie I lead and is being presented by Steven Soderbergh called “Perfect” is going to be releasing later this year! It’s a super cool artistic sci-fi flick that I’m proud to be a part of. Keep an eye out!
And then we have “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists”! I play Zach Fordson who works three jobs to stay in school and still manages to maintain stellar grades. I may or may not get into some mischief with everyone’s favorite Pretty Little Liars and some new faces ;). I’m thrilled, honored, and excited to be a part of this new show to say the least. The love and support the fans have given “The Perfectionists” has been more than we could have ever hoped for! Thank you guys!! Catch the show Wednesdays on ABC Freeform and streaming on Hulu now! I’m excited for you all to see what else The Liars have up their sleeve.