(Photo by Larissa Underwood)
It’s hard getting started as an actor in the cutthroat world of Hollywood, but there’s nothing quite so special than seeing a young, fresh, deserving actor get that first break. I had the great honor of interviewing Luke Schroder, son of veteran actor Ricky Schroder, who makes his acting debut in the upcoming TV movie, A Mile in His Shoes, on September 25th on the GMC channel.
Luke proved to be one very pleasant, level headed young man (even after I woke him up). He’s no stranger to this business, having grown up around the life and watching how well his dad has handled it all. In our chat Luke had plenty to share about the film and what it was like being in front of the camera for the first time, about making the bold choice of pursuing an acting career at the age of 18, and how much influence his famous father has had in his life.
This is the big debut. Are you excited about the film premiere?
Yeah, this is my acting debut. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to seeing the film. I’m definitely a little nervous too to see what it exactly looks like. I know I did a good job and I trust the director a lot so I’m not too worried. I think it’s going be great.
A Mile in His Shoes sounds like an ideal first break for you. The character you’re playing, Mickey Tussler, has a special condition. What’s his story all about?
Mickey Tussler, he is a 17 year old boy. He was born with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism. He’s a little bit different than most kids his age but he’s also really smart at the same time and a talented baseball player. Arthur Murphy, who’s played by Dean Cain, discovers Mickey out on his farm while his car’s been broken down and gives him a shot to play on a semi-pro baseball team.
How did you find out about this role?
I was contacted by the producers. They wanted to see an audition from me so I sent them a tape. Then they liked me and I met with them. I don’t know, it was a pretty normal audition process and they liked me enough to hire me.
What was it like working with Dean Cain?
It’s amazing. Dean Cain such a good guy. I can’t find one bad thing to say about him. He’s really good at baseball too so he really helped me progress with my game so I could look as good as possible for the camera.
Have you played baseball before?
I played little league, but baseball is definitely isn’t my sport. With the help of Dean and a bunch of other people on the set they were able to get me to where I need to be.
Is the movie a period piece like the book?
No. The book is but the movie is in present day.
Oh, so you didn’t have to go back and learn about customs in 1948?
(laughs) No, I didn’t.
That’s good. So it’s a modern day, minor league team?
It’s a modern day town in Ohio.
You filmed up in Vancouver, right?
Yeah. I love Vancouver. I’m actually a dual Canadian citizen because my mom is from Canada so I was able to be hired as a Canadian.
What was the whole experience like on the set? How long did it take to shoot the film?
We were up there for a month. A pretty short schedule, but it was a lot of fun. We had such a great crew. The first day was a little weird being thrown on set. It was my first day working as an actor so it was a little bit weird but I fell right into it in a few hours. The rest was a lot of fun.
What sort of processes have you had to go through to get started with acting?
I’ve done a couple of TV commercials and my dad sends me out on two auditions a month, but not very much. I’m pretty new to all of this.
Your other acting credit is one of your dad’s projects, Wild Hearts. Both these roles are family oriented. Is that the type of role you want to keep doing? Are there any other roles you’d like branch out into as your career progresses?
I’d like to branch out to anything if I could. My first two roles have been family projects which I think are good to start out. They’ve been pretty positive and simple, no huge leaps. I’d really like to branch out to anything. Action, comedy, romance, I’m ready to try it all.
They film a lot sci-fi in Canada. You willing to do that?
I’m ready for anything they throw at me. If it’s sci-fi I’m down. If it’s horror I could even be ready for that.
It says in your bio that you’re a Shakespearian trained actor.
I took a year and a half of weekly Shakespeare classes with my brother. We worked with this guy who’s been studying Shakespeare his whole life and knows every little detail about everything Shakepeare has ever written. I was able to learn a lot about acting and voice and presentation and stage presence.
Is your brother an actor too?
He isn’t currently doing anything but he’s interested in it a little bit.
Your bio says you’ve done some modeling too.
I’ve done some JCPenney ad work and Sears and did a fashion show in Paris.
So, after seeing your dad act all these years, you’ve decided to give it a go?
Growing up and having seen my Dad act I’ve always been interested and always wanted to get my feet wet and see if I liked it. Considering it was such a big part of his life I wanted to see what it’s like to act and be in front in the camera. I have that creative blood in me, why not use it?
Absolutely! Without giving away my age too much, I watched your dad when he was on Silver Spoons. I remember that show and all those fun 80’s sitcoms. What has it been like for you seeing your dad in those old shows and what about his career has most inspired you?
I never really watched any of his shows growing up. It’s only recently. A few months ago I downloaded Silver Spoons on my computer off of iTunes and watched the first season. I was completely surprised. I thought it was the funniest show ever. I thought it was entertaining and my dad was a pretty talented, young kid. I looked up to him in that way. Here’s this kid that’s a lot younger than me with this huge stage presence and a huge talent that I want to find and see if I have in myself. The most inspiring thing about my dad is how much success he had at a young age and how he’s been able to continue that through his life. I admire that.
He’s had some great roles throughout his career. I absolutely loved him on NYPD Blue.
I know, I know.
You got to go to Hollywood for the TCA’s and promote your movie. What was that like?
That was weird. I’m used to going with my dad to those things. I’m not used being the one that they need there. It’s was really cool. I love promoting the movie, I love promoting what I work so hard doing. It’s a no brainer to just go and be my best.
Do you have any future roles lined up or any auditions coming up?
I just got back from a six week trip to Washington state working behind the scenes as an assistant camera man for a reality show. I’m just getting back to LA and hopefully will find another project.
I did notice on your IMDB page that you had a camera operator credit. Do you like doing that?
Yeah, I love all areas of production. They’re all different and they’re all hard in their own ways. Being in the front of the camera is my favorite area of production so far.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Luke Schroder in front of the camera in years to come. I want to personally thank Luke for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions (he had to catch a plane after our conversation). Don’t forget, A Mile in His Shoes, GMC, September 25th. Check your local listing for times.
(Photo by Larissa Underwood)
Luke Schroder makes his acting debut in a principal role playing ‘Mickey Tussler’ opposite Dean Cain in the GMC television movie “A Mile in His Shoes,” which premieres in September 2011.
Growing up listening to his Golden Globe winning dad Ricky Schroder run lines through the house, the decision to act came naturally to the Shakespearean trained Actor.
In 2004, Luke enjoyed a taste of acting in Brad Pasley’s and Alison Kraus’ award-winning music video “Whiskey Lullaby.” Six years later, he decided to get his own commercial agent while spending a year in Spain with the Schroder family. Luke spend his time modeling for a national stop-motion Sears commercial, walking the runways in Barcelona and Paris, France, and shooting fashion for various magazines.
By the end of 2010, Luke returned to California taking on a supporting role in the TV movie “Wild Hearts” before rising to the challenge of portraying a young farm boy with Asperger’s Syndrome in the GMC film “A Mile in His Shoes.”
Luke is an avid and talented surfer, excellent snowboarder, skier and ice skater and speaks fluent Spanish. Growing up in a combination of rural and city life, Luke knows how to handle horses, terrain vehicles as well as a camera boom on set.
When not hitting the waves off the Malibu shore, Luke stays fit on a ranch in Topanga with his family, two dogs and two donkeys.