You know the story: Child star gets a role in a Disney movie, gets touted as the next big thing...and then self-implodes. But that story is not the Sterling Beaumon story, even though he got his start in a Disney Cruise Line commercial and was the lead in the channel's Mostly Ghostly: Who Let the Ghosts Out? R.L. Stine-helmed flick. Instead, the San Diego-born actor has bagged roles in Lost and now ABC's Red Widow, not to mention joining the all-star cast of The Pretty One (think Ron Livingston, Jake Johnson, Zoe Kazan, and Danny Pudi), which plays this week during the Tribeca Film Festival. We caught up with the 17 year-old, who graduated from high school earlier this year, to talk hockey, having high standards, and being in not-so-secret talks to work on a project with teen queens Bella Thorne and Isabelle Fuhrman.
The Pretty One premieres this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Have you seen it yet?
No, the only thing I've seen is I've gone in to do ADR [dubbing], that's about it. So I'm going to be seeing it first the night of the premiere! I'm very judgmental of myself, I hold way too high of a standard, everyone says. I do watch myself, but it's not always like, "Oh that was good." Most of the time it's like, "I wish I did that differently."
What do we need to know about the movie?
It's shot in a very timeless way; there's not really anything that will tie it down to a specific time period in history, so it has this really cool feel and vibe to it. It's about these twins and one twin is very successful and has a good carer and is very sociable, and the other still lives home with her dad and is not the best with social interactions or anything. And I am the next-door neighbor to the one who is still a little awkward, and when the successful one comes back home they get in a car crash and the awkward one gets confused with the pretty one, and my character has been sleeping with the awkward one to get to the pretty one. He's a lot younger than them and used to get babysat by them. He's this douche-y guy who thinks he's hot stuff.
It seems like it would actually be fun to play the jerk.
That's definitely the sort of role that you just have as much fun with as possible. Every day on set, you're always trying to come up with the next funny, witty thing to say. It's a good character to play, it's a good face to put on.
You've also got the TV series Red Widow--how different has it been versus your previous TV work?
It's very different from shooting Lost, because Lost was shot on Hawaii and it's warm all the time. Red Widow films in Vancouver, and the reason they shot there is mostly because it has this darker cloud always, it has this more gritty look to the show. It kind of does look a bit like San Francisco, where the show's set.
For someone who hasn't tuned in to Red Widow yet, why should they?
Red Widow is about a mother of three kids whose husband gets killed over bad cocaine, and when he dies her hand is forced into having to take over where he left off. So it's all about this suburban housewife who comes from organized crime but never really fully experienced it until now, and she's thrown under the watch of this other huge mob boss, and he doesn't really guide her. She's trying to get out of having to work for him, but by doing it she has to finish what her husband has started. My character is always trying to protect his two siblings and look out for his mom, and in some cases he gets in the way of it.
Do you watch a lot of TV?
I don't, but I do have my shows that I always watch [laughs]. I love Boardwalk Empire, Revenge, Breaking Bad--I'm obsessed with it but I haven't been able to watch the latest season yet, I haven't had time. Oh, and Shameless! I love Shameless. So those four.
You're working on something with Bella Thorne and Isabelle Fuhrman--what can you tell us about that project?
That is something that may be something that we're working on in the future. [We had] just a general meeting with a bunch of teen stars--you could say for a new film project. We'll see what happens to it; it's a long way out, if anything.
You've been acting for a while--in your experience, how difficult is it to transition from being a child star to an adult actor?
Not really for me. I personally don't really see myself as having been a kid star or a Disney star--I did one Disney movie and I did work when I was younger, but I didn't have that level of success that I have now. The way I view it, I was able to get my training and experience when I was younger and now having developed I really think I can take on these deeper roles.
Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
I've known for quite a long time. For me there hasn't been anything else I've experienced or wanted to do--other than being a professional hockey player. I actually play ice hockey, and I've played since i was three--I still play! But at a certain point I had to choose where I was going to focus. It never really came down to having to decide, it was always acting.
What else is in store for you this year?
There are a few things, but I'm not sure I can fully get into details with those. But I'm hoping to have a film to be working on over the summer, and fingers crossed that Red Widow will be picked up for a second season--we should know in mid-May. But the fact that we haven't gotten cancelled yet is really good, because a lot of shows starting up recently have one or two weeks, and they're cancelled! So that's good!
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS