Jacob Zachar stars as Rusty, an academically focused college freshman determined to have more fun in college than he did in high school, on ABC's new original TV series Greek. Jacob took some time to talk to us at BuddyTV about his budding career and his new lead role as Rusty on Greek which airs Monday, July 9 at 9:00pm.
Read the full interview transcript and listen to the mp3 audio below.
This is Royce from BuddyTV and I’m here with Jacob Zachar, who plays Rusty Cartwright in ABC Family’s Greek. How’s it going, Jacob?
Hey how’re you doing?
Good, good. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Jacob.
Hey you’re welcome.
So Jacob, let’s just start off by telling us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started on the whole acting business?
Well I started out in theater in Chicago where I grew up and I just moved out to Los Angeles recently to pursue film. So I moved out here back in September, and found an apartment, and just kinda entered in auditions and I got struck by lightning and got real lucky with this project and then I found myself going to work everyday. So the transition from Chicago definitely helped with the struggle I needed to wake up everyday and go to work. So it’s all complimentary.
Nice, nice. So you know given your experience on television so far, how does that compare with your experiences in theater and stage productions? Do you prefer one over the other?
Yeah there’s certain parallels between the two actually. I actually think you do more work in theater, and there’s a lot less complications, a little bit more intimate, a little bit more dangerous in theater, but film itself is a whole different art to me in my opinion, and having to deal with the complications in film is actually why I still pursue it because I feel I’m not satisfied with what I’m doing here. I’m trying to work as hard as I can in film and try to adjust to that.
So this is your very first lead role, right?
Yeah, first lead role, first TV opportunity. I did two films which were my first projects I had on screen. One of them premiered at the Heartland Film Festival, Little Bog Top with Richard Riehle and the other is called Drunkboat, that had John Malcovich and John Goodman and Dana Delaney and the last I heard about that is that they were trying to submit it to Cannes next year.
Yeah I was gonna ask you about that because I read about it and it looked like it was still in production or something to that nature?
Yeah the most I get from them and from what I read and even that is kind of unreliable.
So how exactly did you land your role as Rusty?
I had a general audition and I actually…funny thing about it was that I was auditioning for another role on the show, the kid who plays my roommate on the show. And when I went into FOX’s studios for generals, you know they said “You’re really fun to watch.” And they just kept calling me back for it, and in the last second, they had me passed for Rusty, which is the name of one of the main stories in the show. And I went into testing and the network executives had liked me I guess. In the end they gave me the job. The casting process is very crazy. A lot of people had tested for different parts and then got switched around so they really wanted to cast it as good as possible.
What were your initial thoughts about the show?
I love the project. I felt that there weren’t a lot of shows on TV anymore that gave kids who were nineteen to twenty-five opportunities to show their talent. A majority of the parts that I had auditioned for like guest spots on like cop shows and you know, things like that. That’s kind of repetitive and this project came up about college and immediately Animal House pops in my head and the writing was very sincere, there wasn’t anything broad and one very specific story and I felt that I really wanted to be a part of it, and got lucky and the rest of the kids on the show feel the same way.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the basic premise of the show and the character that you play, Rusty?
Rusty is a freshman at Cyprus-Rhodes University which is a school where the show takes place. He comes into school as a freshman who’s sort of very—the helicopter’s flying by me, sorry! I’m in the middle of a field! Yeah Rusty is a freshman at school. He’s very sort of maybe too traditional, for the frat life at the school and it’s kind of his quest to change that and really try to adapt to the frat life, a lot of challenges hanging on his head to join the frat.
Are you anything like the character that you play? Were you able to draw from any inspiration from your own experiences into your character as Rusty?
No, no I’m not a dork. Yeah I feel there’s a few parallels between the part and I. which is good in one way, it’s easy to relate to the dialogue and the relationships between the characters I meet. And in the other way it’s nice because there’s still acting work to do It’s all very real where I don’t have to do any work but sometimes I have to do some acting.
Cool so what can fans really expect from the series?
I think it’s gonna be a really solid and warm show to watch. With the problem I feel a lot of movies, even TV shows have is that the writing could be great, the lighting and the sound and they can have big names in it, but what’s hard to capture is the tone that you feel between the actors and the screen, and all the actors in the show, we got along really well and basically all our schedules are together now cause of work everyday. And we definitely are a good group of friends off screen also and so when we go to work, there’s a very, very trustworthy…I guess there’s a lot of trust between us, so we have fun together. And it’s gonna be a fun show. I don’t know, there’s gonna be a lot of little arcs here and there that might surprise everybody and but that’s why you watch it.
Nice. Are there any other projects in the works that you might want your fans to be aware of?
Well the other two films that I had done are still in production stage, even in distribution phases and I would say keep an eye out for Drunk Boat and Little Big Top for both movies are different and I do different things in all three projects, including Greek.
Cool. any final words for your fans out there, Jacob?
I’d say don’t grow up.
Alright, cool. Thanks so much Jacob, for your time and from all of us at BuddyTV, we just wanna wish you the best of luck.
Yeah thank you, Royce. Thank you.
(Interview conducted by Royce Yuen)