This seventh-generation Texan talks about his journey to fame and his supporting role in the upcoming movie, “If I Could Ride.”
Tell us a little about yourself and how your interest in acting began.
A a 7th generation Texan, I love to make people laugh. My parents were both professional performers so I come by performing naturally. I was always acting out different characters and telling stories around the house when I was very young so my mom put me in some local theater productions. I was named after my mom’s great great grandmother who was a really strong woman. She had 11 children! My first name, Hawk, was her maiden name. It’s a cool name. I like it.
Tell us more about the other performers in your family.
My mom, Wynne VanBuskirk, is a versatile performer. She is a professional violinist and she was also an actor when she was younger — she was in productions with Dallas Children’s Theater, and other things in her 20s. Although she had studied film acting, too, she had to stop acting before she really got started. She was recently cast as the Queen of Spain in a Roku series but she pulled out of that project to support me in my career, and my sister, who is about to go off to college. It is too bad, because she would have been great at it. She’s very knowledgeable about acting and she helps me a lot with my craft. My great grandmother was also a talented actress who was a theater major at the University of Oklahoma.
What film shorts or TV commercials have you been in?
I have been in a few film shorts: Immaculate, The Wolf, The Secret Door, and Elves of Interlochen, but I only started in film right before COVID happened so there have not been many opportunities. I’ve also voiced a character in an animated series that has not been released yet. That was tons of fun because I got to use a dialect from the Deep South, kind of like Forrest Gump.
I also played “Cal” who has some mental health issues, in the trailer for Beneath the Trees, a fantastic mystery TV series produced by Blue Knight Entertainment, which is currently being pitched to networks. More recently, I played “Young Mike White” in MobKing the Movie, with James Russo, Robert LaSardo, Ciro Dapagio and a lot of other great actors.
You are starring (in a supporting role) in your first feature film, “If I Could Ride.” How did that come about?
I heard about If I Could Ride from one of my friends, award-winning teen actress Alexis (Lexi) Arnold, who plays one of the lead roles. I reached out to the Executive Producer, Don Miller, who then cast me as Ethan, the love interest to Lexi’s character, Jodie Davis. Filming that was a great experience. Everyone was top notch.
It’s a great story about overcoming challenges, friendship, kindness and young love. It is also about horses, and it was cool to be with so many gorgeous animals. It was directed by Shawn Welling (Welling Films), who is a great director. It was filmed in New England in the fall, so it was so pretty, with the trees turning all the different colors. The cast had a great chemistry and tons of talented people such as Tom Vera, who starred in Narco Sub, and Eva Igo, the dancer from World of Dance, who is also an actress.
Was there ever another life-choice you wanted to pursue besides acting?
When I was younger, I was really into astrophysics and theoretical physics, so I thought I was going to be a scientist. But I decided I didn’t want to spend all that time doing math, which is not my favorite subject. I also like to have philosophical conversations, so I thought I might like to be a real life philosopher, but acting is more fun.
Tell us about your future projects and plans.
I have several projects in the works for this year. I am playing myself in a series called Dirty Faith: Coming of Age, which is about my personal life experiences and those of several other actors I know. I am also playing the role of Ethlando in Realm of the Waterfall, which is a cross between Black Panther and Game of Thrones, where females dominate the lands, but my character is from a male-dominated society and is being trained to be an important warrior. It will be filmed in the Canary Islands, and Scotland.
In addition, I am still cast as Cal, in Beneath the Trees, and I am hoping that starts filming soon. Also, Ciro Dapagio may have me revisit my role as Young Mike White in his MobKing series, but that probably won’t be until next year.
And I just landed the 2023 lead role in Of Myth, Legend…and Gossip which is a Western film about Henry McCarty, or Billy the Kid. It has a stellar cast which includes Texas award-winning teen actress Kiley Opsal and Texas award-winning TV/film veteran actor Randall Oliver.
There are a few other projects that I am in talks about but, we shall see. At this point, I am just hoping I can do all of the projects that I want to do. That’s a good problem to have!
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Cover photo courtesy Hawk Meisenbach
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.