By the looks of him, you may think the 22 year-old actor, Griffin Gluck, is fairly new to the acting scene. Impressively, more than half of those years he has spent as a professional actor. Gluck’s career launched in impressive fashion with a role in the Adam Sandler film, Just Go With It, that was followed with main role in ABCs Private Practice, the popular Netflix Tall Girl film series, and even a starring film role opposite Pete Davidson. In total the young actor has over thirty film credits to date. Even while actively acting for over a dozen years, it would not be a huge surprise if a new audience is discovering Gluck as he takes on his most mature work to date in season two of Freeform’s popular anthology drama series Cruel Summer.
For the role Gluck has been asked to explore new aspects of his acting skill set that dives heavily into drama. The series which takes place during the summer in the late 1990s has him playing Luke, a very likable high schooler – so much so that he ends up in the middle of a love triangle with two friends, Megan (Sadie Stanley) and her friend Isabella (Lexi Underwood). By the end of the first episode fans realize that nothing is ever what you’d expect in the very twisty and dark world of Cruel Summer. Luke turns up dead, the victim of a suspicious drowning. The rest is best for you to discover on your own as Cruel Summer continues on Freeform with new episodes of the 10-episode season dropping on Monday.
Griffin sat with Awards Radar to discuss his work on the series, the start of his career, the challenges of drama vs comedy, and much more. Watch the full interview below, followed by some select excerpts from the conversations.
On playing a dead character:
“I’ve done actually two other projects where my character has died. I don’t know what it is about me. That’s the casting agency. It’s like, ‘Oh, this kid looks like he could die.’ I’ll take it as a compliment. I guess it’s keeping me busy. But yeah, this is definitely the first time it’s happened so early on in the story. That’s the cool thing about this show is that it happens early on in the show, but technically it doesn’t. It doesn’t really happen. I’m in every episode following that because of all the flashbacks and stuff. So we know my character’s fate, but we don’t know how it gets there. That’s what makes the show enticing.”
On the challenges of drama compared to comedy:
“It is nice to be able to express all of those emotions and use set and work as a way to release those things. For these dramas, it was nice to kind of let that side of me out and try to explore the drama space. It’s kind of a more difficult and uncomfortable space for me. I was and still am really nervous on on how people viewed the performance. I wanted to do my best job and I tried to do my best job, but I’ve never seen myself as the dramatic, dramatic type. I’ve very much like having a mix of comedy and drama. A little bit of one and the other in the same thing. At the same time, it was really refreshing to try and work those muscles and see if I could still do it and challenge myself and push myself to get to those places. It’s just a lot more vulnerable. There’s a lot of like mature scenes with making out and like some simulated sex and stuff, which is an area I’ve never explored before. All of it was just a challenge for my for me, pushing myself to kind of get into those vulnerable places and explore those.”
On shooting those mature scenes:
“I don’t think it’s any thing wrong to say that like kissing and making out is fun. I’ve told Sadie and Lexie both like, ‘You guys are are beautiful and that’s awesome, that’s great for you and stuff and this is part of the job.’ It seems like it should be a lot more exciting than it is. But once you get to set imagine making out with somebody and having fifty people stare, and like, watch you intensely as you do it, and then give you notes like maybe a little less tongue on this one. Or like, maybe a little more tongue on this one. Can you do something with your arms, maybe like you guys are like, maybe like you get on top. And like, you’re you’re doing the thrusting, you’re like, This just feels weird. Like, it feels uncomfortable. And the only way to get through it is talking it through with the other person being like, this is a job. This is you know, we’re getting paid to do this. Whether or not we like it doesn’t is kind of inconsequential. You know, at the end of the day, we have to make it look like we like it. We have to make it convincing.”