Tell us your story. Who is Sean? Do you remember that moment when you knew you wanted to act?
I grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. I did the usual things that kids do: played basketball, soccer, flag football, etc. I’ve been told that I was somewhat shy when I was younger, but when I performed in my elementary school variety show I was very loud and ready to do anything. And my role let me do standup/improv. I loved doing that show. That’s the moment I knew acting was something for me. Soon after that, I got into acting professionally in commercials being shot in Chicago.
Everything especially picked up after booking the voice-over role of Jeff on Cartoon Network’s “Clarence.” This was very instrumental in getting me to Hollywood. I came to Los Angeles to record with the cast from Clarence and it happened to coincide with pilot season. I was asked to go to two auditions while I was here and one of them was for The Goldbergs. The audition got really crazy with me walking out at the end throwing up the script and saying, “You’re out of my will.” That was all it took. This audition was on Wednesday; I was called back for ABC on Thursday; signed the contract on Friday; did a red-eye back to Chicago on Saturday and played a basketball game; flew back on Sunday and began filming the pilot on Monday. So crazy.
As you’ve begun to grow up as a working professional, has your desire for particular roles changed over time?
Not Really. I don’t really think about particular roles unless I have an audition. This sounds weird, but I think I love making movies/TV shows so much that I get excited about a lot of different roles. I enjoy the challenge.
Do you find yourself relating to any of the characters you’ve played?
I have a lot in common with Adam Goldberg. I have always loved movies, particularly 80s movies like Star Wars, The Goonies, and John Hughes movies, even before I was on the show.
My brother and I always made home movies, too. Probably the only difference has been that I liked to play sports and Adam isn’t a huge fan of them. I related to both Adam and Russell in Mark and Russell’s Wild Ride when they showed a streak of mischief—I have a tendency to be that way around my house.
By playing a long-term character like Adam Goldberg, is there a little bit of your personality that we see in Adam, or a bit of Adam that now exists in Sean?
Like I said, the bit of Adam that exists in me is his mischief and some nerdy maneuvers, but definitely, you will see a bit of me in Adam on the show. I do think over time the show writers have come to know me and add some quirks that I have into the role.
What part of you might we find in all the roles that you’ve played?
Lately, I’ve had a lot of energy, so I think that’s one quality that is in a lot of my performances.
Is there any method to your acting that you find to be particular to you?
On days when I’m acting, I’ve been eating bananas. I read somewhere that it is good for your digestion and mood, so I signed up because those are two things that stand in the way of a good take.
You’ve worked on some animated roles like Jeff Randell in Clarence, is there a big difference for you between being directly on the screen and being heard?
I approach acting in them differently. I think more specifically, on how I want to say a line with voiceovers. With on-screen acting, I think of the basic intention of the line beforehand, but usually come up with the delivery while I’m doing it. So yeah, I do approach them differently.
Could you see yourself investing in long-term television characters again down the line, like you have in The Goldbergs?
Absolutely! Being a character long-term has been great. I’ve really made great relationships with cast and crew that I don’t think is possible with the shorter projects. Also, it allows you to experience the character growing, which presents its own challenges and challenges are, part of the fun.
What is your absolute favorite moment about the 80’s that you’ve experienced on a show that takes place in the 80’s?
Doing the Goldberg versions of the classic 80’s movies have been my favorite moments. We’ve done Goonies, Karate Kid, Ferris Bueller, Risky Business, Dirty Dancing, Weird Science, etc... Those movies were the 80s to me before the show, so recreating some of the scenes make me feel like I’m there.
What is your all-time favorite 80’s jam?
“I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls, “Save it for Later” by The English Beat, or “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy. My favorite 80’s does/has changed a couple times, but these songs are definitely my jams right now. Just like Smuckers, I have many jams.
On the subject of time, what’s a piece of advice as a young professional that you’d like your older self to take?
Stay loose; when I’m relaxed and in the scene, I do much better. It’s easy to think too much about your performance, especially the more things you learn.
Do you have any projects you’re looking forward to in the next coming months? Goals for the big picture? (No pun-intended)
Well I’ve been enjoying working as Richardson Mole on the ”Big Hero 6” animated series and am looking forward to watching the show when it airs.
Is there anyone right now in acting that you deeply admire or aspire to?
Right now and always, I’ll admire George Segal. He is the greatest professional, a really incredible person, and a very special comedian/actor.
If you could play absolutely anyone or anything, who or what would it be and why?
There’s a couple projects that are coming soon that have my childhood dream roles in them: Star Wars, Goonies, and Batman. So any part in those three movies would be awesome. And I thought historically, it’d be fun to play a young Teddy Roosevelt, his life was very dramatic and eventful.
If you had a book, what would you call it?
Fiction Book: Marmite in Jamaica Biography: Don’t Turn Off the Lights.
For no reason, other than it sounds like a biography.
Are you reading anything at the moment?
I’m reading “Machiavelli: A Biography” by Miles J. Unger.
Would you suggest it to our readers, or is there anything that you think people should absolutely be reading?
Yeah I’d suggest it. It’s dense and takes more than average concentration to get through each chapter, but the stories are really unique, unbelievable, and real.
You’re involved in charity, most recent being the Ronald McDonald House, is that something that’s important to you? What kind of charities do you think are important at the moment and why?
Charity and RMHC is definitely important to me. Charities are key in helping people, which is really great. Of course, the ones recently that are most important are the ones that are responding to the hurricanes that have hit the coasts and he islands. Why Ronald McDonald House speaks to me particularly is the ongoing support that it gives to families with very ill children. This can be such a trying time for many of these families and this gives them hope and comfort.