Austin’s Jordan Elsass has some exciting news. (As if playing Reese Witherspoon’s son in an upcoming Hulu mini-series wasn’t enough…)
Elsass will be co-starring opposite Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch in “Superman and Lois,” The CW’s drama about the iconic couple. The Texan is slated to play one of the couple’s twin sons. (His on-screen brother will be Alexander Garfin.)
Before that, in the upcoming high-profile Hulu series “Little Fires Everywhere,” which starts March 18, Elsass can be seen opposite Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. As Trip Richardson, he plays Witherspoon’s eldest son and the love interest to Washington’s daughter.
We caught up with Elsass shortly before the Superman news broke.
How did your role of playing Reese Witherspoon’s son come about?
“Little Fires Everywhere” is about the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and a mysterious mother and daughter who upend their lives. There was a really crazy chain of events that led me to becoming a series regular. My parents would not take me to LA. They felt that if I still wanted to act after graduating high school, they would take me out for a bit after I turned 18, but not before.
My mom has a friend who encouraged us to talk to her LA manager when I was only 16, even though we had no plans to be there for some time, if at all. The manager signed me, and I started receiving self-tape auditions to do, including “Little Fires Everywhere,” which eventually led to a screen test.
What’s it like working with Reese Witherspoon?
Working with Reese was fantastic. She is positive, friendly, warm and really funny. She made scenes fun.
Why did you want to be an actor?
When I was younger, I was interested in acting but terrified by the audition process. My first theater audition for our local community theater was for a role in the musical “Annie Get Your Gun.” My mom knew I would enjoy it, but also knew that I was afraid. She offered me a little extra video game time to jump out of my comfort zone and try it. I missed a word in my monologue and cried afterwards in the car, because I was sure that they laughed after I left the room. I got a role in the ensemble cast, so that was the first thing I was cast in.
What do you like—and dislike—about acting?
What I like most about acting is all the people I get to meet. I enjoy chatting with cast and crew. I also enjoy trying new things, from horseback riding to doing stunts. I was able to do my own fight scene in “Little Fires.” There was a stunt double there, but I was proud to be able to carry it myself. Some things I don’t love about acting are when I have hours of downtime and really early morning call times, and the thing I hate most is when I don’t have much to do in a scene.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy hanging out with friends, visiting car dealerships to look at and test drive cars, and playing video games. I also enjoy reading—my favorite series is still Harry Potter.
What would be your ideal role?
There are actually three iconic characters that I would love the opportunity to play. The first is James Bond. I have always enjoyed watching the series, and probably every boy wants to be a spy and all that entails. The second role would have to be The Joker. This role is a huge acting challenge, and to even attempt to measure up to the great actors who have tackled this role would be an honor. The final role that comes to mind is Max Payne, my favorite video game character.
Name one fun thing most people would not know about you.
I used to have an affinity for memorizing things by their shapes. When I was three years old, I had a musical globe, and I memorized every country in the world, along with many capitals and bodies of water. That knowledge translated to maps as well. No one asked me to, I just enjoyed learning them for some reason.
What sort of advice would you give other kids who want to act?
I would definitely suggest what I did: Start in theater to see how you enjoy it. A lot of casting directors have told me that they love to see theater on a resume. However, you should go into it with the knowledge that acting for theater and film are very different in style. You should also go into it with the knowledge that it’s difficult and not always fun. It will almost certainly take you out of your comfort zone. You have to be prepared for anything.
Cover: Some of the “Little Fires Everywhere” cast at a wrap party after shooting the last episode. Photo courtesy Jordan Elsass
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.