Keiynan Lonsdale on the uncanny similarity he shares with his "Flash" character, Wally
Keiynan Lonsdale has been captivating audiences recently with his performance as Wally West in the CW hit series "The Flash." The show follows Wally as he becomes introduced back into the life of his father, Detective Joe West and his sister Iris, and showcases the family's complex dynamics. And although Lonsdale himself may not be the biggest drag racing fan like Wally or (unfortunately) have the power of super speed, he does share an uncanny resemblance to the character.
Like Wally, Lonsdale met his father for the first time later on in life. As he notes, "It's interesting because what we know about Wally is that he's grown up with his mom and that he didn't know he had a father or sister. And I had the same thing." Tapping into this unique experience, Lonsdale was able to make Wally's character not only incredibly authentic, but also undeniably relatable.
We recently sat down with the talented Aussie actor about his own past experiences' role in developing Wally, how he's adapted his craft from the "Divergent" films to "The Flash", and what has been his biggest takeaway since filming.
And if you want even more Keiynan Lonsdale news, head over to AOL.com at 6 p.m. ET to see more exclusive features, including what goes into Lonsdale's viral social media videos.
What has the "Divergent" filming process been like for you?
It's been really cool. "Insurgent" brought me to America because I self-tapped from Australia and that was my first US job. It's such a great cast and everyone is really talented. It's good to be a part of something so big. It's really overwhelming, but it's good.
What is the one thing you've learned from working on the set?
Probably to not be overwhelmed. When I was first there, it felt like it was too big for me. I had never doing anything like that before and I didn't know if I could handle it. But once you realize that it's just a job and that we happen to be on really big sets and there's lots of people and money involved, it's still a job just the same as any other. So that's what I learned: don't let it overwhelm you or else it could put a barrier between you and your work.
Now you're starring as Wally on "The Flash". Did you ever grow up with a love of comic books?
I didn't own any comic books -- it just wasn't in my household. I think if it was, especially The Flash comics since they're so beautifully done, I would have really been into them. I knew of The Flash so when I started the audition process I bought the comics and geeked out.
What's the biggest difference for you being on a film set versus being on a television set?
Well the main thing is that we shoot a lot for TV. My first scene that I shot for "Insurgent" took like six days for the one scene. As opposed to shooting five scenes in one day. The major thing for TV, especially "The Flash", is know your lines. Everything moves really quickly and once they have their shot, everyone needs to move forward. There's not a lot of room for error and it forces you to step up your game really quickly.
How much do you as a person relate to your character Wally?
It's interesting because what we know about Wally is that he's grown up with his mom and that he didn't know he had a father or sister. And I had the same thing. I met my dad when I was 10 and a couple years after that he brought some of his kids from Nigeria and I met them. When I got older at like 19, I met more brothers. So it was surreal how I could really relate to the character. But I met my dad when I was 10 and at that point, I was really eager to meet him where as Wally is the opposite. He's like, "I don't need you, I've grown up this whole time without you." So it's kind of fun to play. And I wish I had super-speed and I'm not a car guy like he is, he's all about cars and racing and stuff.
What kind of preparation did you do to get into the character of Wally?
They left a lot of it up to me and how I wanted to portray Wally. Obviously it's all in the writing and I have to go where the script goes but as time went one I took on different versions of Wally. I did the research on the comic books and even the cartoons. I wanted to have a sense of what everyone loves about Wally and even if that's not where his headspace is at this point, it's still there underneath. I still do my research now and I'm still growing with him as he's growing and he's changing every episode because of family dynamic and the world that's been thrust upon him. I'm just constantly in my head about it and I look at the script and think about where we're going and how I want to portray this character.
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 6 pm EST for more exclusives on Keiynan Lonsdale, including why he's created his signature #MakeItMonday videos.
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