AUSTIN ZAJUR [SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK]
Young actor Austin Zajur plays Chuck Steinberg in the Guillermo Del Toro produced film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It follows a group of teens who must solve the mystery surrounding a wave of spectacularly horrific deaths in their small town. Zajur’s Upcoming film projects include the comedy El Tonto from director Charlie Day and the thriller Countdown from director Justin Dec.
The actor is a creative storyteller who also creates a variety of videos and pranks in his youtube channel. In this exclusive interview, read through the actor’s acting journey so far and discover why he relates so much with The Alchemist. Also, see how it is to be on-set of Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark and learn what scares him the most and the scariest thing that he have done so far.
How are you doing today?
Really Good! Really Good!
Tell us about your story.
I’m from Richmond, Virginia and I got into acting when I was about 11 years old. I was an extra in an HBO miniseries called John Adams and being on set was the coolest thing ever. Being on a time period piece where the sets are of Downtown Philadelphia in 1776, during the declaration of independence, it made me feel like I was actually in that time and it made me fall in love with acting in general. Since then, I would convince my mom to get me an agent in New York. She paid for headshots and I saved some money and did all the research. From middle school to high school I will commute from Richmond, Virginia to New York for 3-4 times a month. I didn’t really book too much. I moved to New York when I was 20 and I did Fist Fight. Then I moved to LA when I was 22. And this past year has been one of the best ones for me.
Out of all the characters that you’ve portrayed, is there a specific favorite?
Honestly, it’s definitely Chuck Steinberg from Scary Stories. I think he is the most similar to me in terms of just trying to do ridiculous things to get reactions out your friends and stuff.
You mean Pranks?
Yeah. But it can be just the simplest things. Like if my friend Caleb is in the bathroom right now I will just wait outside the door and get a little scare in.
Speaking of Scares, do you like scaring people or do you enjoy being scared?
I definitely like to scare people. I hate being scared. I am a huge scaredy cat.
What’s the thing that scares you the most.
The fear of the unknown, which I know is vague. But the afterlife and death, in general is scary. Also spiders and snakes.
What’s the scariest thing that you’ve done so far in your life?
It’s probably bungee jumping. That’s pretty intense. Just getting the courage to actually go up and jump. It’s not skydiving but the rope can still break. I’m scared of heights also. It’s a little terrifying.
Let’s talk about the film, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. How was it to work with the cast?
The cast was so incredible. Everyone was cast really really well so in offset we kind of felt like we were actually friends and we all became friends with each other. The chemistry was real from the get-go. In some scenes it didn’t feel like we’re acting at times. We’re just being ourselves talking to each other in certain situations, which is really cool.
Which creature scared you the most in the film?
For me it’s definitely the Jangly Man even though I have to deal with the Pale Lady. He’s the one who crawls all over with demonic, reptilian vibes to him. He scared me so much because Troy James, the guy inside the prosthetics, is actually a contortionist. So on –set, I will be there some days and even though I don’t have scenes with him, he will just be crawling around testing the outfit and I will just leave the room. There’s one day that he will just be in the bathroom and he really freaks me out.
Going back to pranks, have you ever played pranks on set?
I actually did. I made a youtube video called Scaring the cast of Scary Stories on set and just basically scared everybody.
How did it go?
It went well. I actually made a second one where I snuck into the actress who played my older sister in the movie, Natalie Ganzhorn, I snuck into her room in LA cause her friend lets me in and told me when she’ll be home so I hid behind this couch in a blue suit and that really freaked her out.
It seemed like there’s gonna be a part 2 of this film. Do you think any of the characters who disappeared will come back?
I love the characters is much that I would like to see where we can take them and what we can experience. I guess that’s a question for Guillermo.
It’s very rare to connect with fellow actors naturally. We connected more than anybody on-set- all of us. I really hope that we can have the opportunity to do that again.
If you were a book, what book would you be and why?
Probably The Alchemist. Just because the story of that book, I relate to it so much. Just by trying to find my personal legend- from moving to New York not knowing anybody, then moving to LA. And the journey that the boy in the book goes through is kind of similar to mine in the modern day.
See Austin Zajur in Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark in theaters now.