Five young hollywood hotshots get passionate about cars
When Kellan walked into Chequered Flag, the classic car shop in Venice, it was hard to miss the instantly recognizable actor from the beloved Twilight Saga book and movie series. He still looks like Emmet Cullen, even a decade or so later, and his youthful energy is palpable. In addition to his role in the blockbuster series, Lutz has been a busy actor, starring in a variety of roles both in films and television. He is also a noted activist, and his work with Saving Innocence – an organization that focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating child victims of sex trafficking in the United States – is one of his many commitments to making this world a better place.
A North Dakota native who now resides in New York City, Kellan walked in without an entourage, ready to work, and more importantly, ready to talk. The recently married Lutz is clearly smitten with his bride, Brittany, and our conversation starts with marriage and how it has impacted his career so far.
How has getting married changed the way you approach your career? It changed everything. It makes me very conscious about which projects I choose and where I go with my work. As a single man, you can just be gone for a while making a film, say, up to 8 weeks or so, and nobody really cares. Now, I want to be with my wife, and since kids are soon to be in our picture, it becomes doubly important. I crave consistency and stability, which is why I am thrilled to be involved in my new series FBI Most Wanted. There is a beginning and an end to the day, and I know that at the end of it, I’ll be going home. You can’t really put a price on that.
Do you have a dream car? Well, I don’t have it yet, but it has to be the Dodge Viper. I had the chance to drive one at the Super Bowl, and I was completely bowled over by it. I’m also a classic car guy, and I fell in love with one of the old Jaguars, might have been the F Series. It was one of those elongated cars that looked so cool. My dad was also a huge car fan. I remembered that he had an old 850 BMW that was his prized possession and ended up owning it. My love for cars starts with him. But if I am being honest, I am a truck guy… Just give me the new Dodge Ram Rebel, and I’ll be a happy man.
If you had to take a car ride across the country, who would be your passenger? Could be anyone alive or dead. If I can say that, my wife would be a great passenger. First of all, she talks a lot and always has something interesting to say; and she is so much fun. We would have all the right snacks and be well prepared, so that trip wouldn’t be boring! But if I were to select someone other than her, it would have to be these two: physicist Albert Einstein and futurist Michio Kaku. I would drive very slowly and watch them debate the great scientific theories of our time, and I could be the beneficiary of this great exchange!
If there is a recurring theme with the men in this fashion editorial, it is that they are all juggling acting and music. Brett Dier, one of the stars of Schooled on ABC, has been an accomplished musician from an early age. The Canadian actor talked to NOBLEMAN about acting, music, and, of course, cars.
You are both an actor and a musician; do you have a favorite? I would say that I am actor, and that playing music is something I do to have fun and relax. Acting is my first love. I was kind of forced into piano lessons at 6 by my mom.
How do you see the arc of your career playing out? One of the things I know for sure is that I don’t want to direct, which I realize is a bit of an anomaly in this town. I eventually want to write and develop my material. I’ve just signed on to this new show Schooled after being on Jane the Virgin for about five years, which, even though I loved it, was becoming a bit difficult to play the same character, time and time again, especially since it was a challenging and dramatic role. I am more of a comedic actor, or at least, that is what I prefer. Schooled will give me the opportunity to do just this, and I hope it runs as long as we can!
Do you have a favorite or dream car? I do! I am planning on getting one of those ’70s Ford Broncos. That would be my 30th birthday present to myself. I am also a big fan of the vintage VW buses.
One ride, one passenger, cross-country: who is riding with you? I would love to have Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle, which I realize would be a very different road trip, but I am sure that it would be interesting. That would be great to see how they interact with each other, and with me.
Do you find any big differences between Canadians and Americans? Besides access to free health care? [laughing] I have to say that I don’t find a whole lot of differences between the two. If anything, there is probably one thing that I’ve noticed, and it is that Canadians tend to stay home in one spot and stay put for most of their lives. It’s a big world, and I want to see as much as I can, so here I am in the U.S. making a go at it.
Part of the new wave of young stars who have truly benefitted from social media, Rome built a sizable following on Instagram, which led to his discovery by several talent scouts who were clearly taken by the young actor and musician’s talent. After a two-year stint on daytime drama The Bold and The Beautiful, for which he garnered a daytime Emmy Award for Best Younger Actor in a Drama Series, Rome was cast in the hit series How To Get Away With Murder, which he has appeared in since 2018. Flynn is also a musician, and we talked with the Chicago native about how he split his time between acting and music.
You are both an actor and a musician. Do you have a preference? Not really. Both endeavors are so different and serve a different purpose. It does something different for me. I also approach them in different ways. Music is much more of a creative and organic process. With acting, for the most part I have a script in front of me, and while there is a creative process, it’s just from a very different perspective. I don’t have to choose; I can do both, and they bring me a lot of joy.
How surprised are you at the success of How To Get Away With Murder? No, not really. We’ve been very consistent and it could have gone for many more seasons, but ultimately, we are all happy that the network has done a great job in giving us the opportunity to tell the full story, and ending the series on our terms.
Are you a car guy? Yes, I am. I love a great sports car. I am a big fan of the McLaren. It’s sleek and sexy.
Name someone, alive or dead, whom you would have as a passenger for a cross-country ride? Muhammad Ali. He spoke with charisma and integrity. It would be fun to have that conversation!
James came rushing into our interview like a hurricane: fast, furious, and full of positive energy. Maslow came into the public view as one of the stars of Big Time Rush, an unmitigated success for Nickelodeon, and a project that would help him bridge his career to what it is today. As a musician in July 2017, James was declared the winner of Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star competition and opened the iHeartRadio Music Festival, leading Macy’s to snag him to host The Big Stage, the upcoming TV show on The CW network. “I wasn’t really keen on hosting anything, especially not a competition, but I think that I can make my own experience relevant to whoever will come across the stage. I’m excited to add yet another tool to my performing arsenal.”
It is hard to avoid getting swept away by the wave of enthusiasm that emanates from him. With his focus on music nowadays, he continues to create what inspires him and his fans, while keeping an eye on what’s coming next. We sat (standing still is not his forte) and chatted about music, about being grateful, and of course, cars.
Do you have a favorite or dream car? I am working on refurbishing a 1972 Bronco… My dad had one and I rode countless times in it, so that is what stuck in my head; it’s just more my speed.
Passenger in a ride cross country? James Maslow: Ryan Reynolds. It’s a long ride, and I think it would be cool company. Plus he is a very funny guy who seems to have multiple interests, so that would avoid the monotonous grind of the road.
Acting or Music? I am very comfortable doing both. As a kid, I went to a performing arts school, acting, singing, and dancing. I want to do it all. I love what I do in front of the camera, but then again, I crave the interaction with the fans while I am on stage performing. In some ways it is therapy, especially writing my own material, which comes from real-life experiences. Even the sad, down-on-my-luck songs, because every time I sing them, I am reminded that I went through it and came out OK.
You were a well-known performer when you were young; some young actors who have had the same experiences have not fared particularly well. How have you managed to do it? It’s about the company you keep. My manager has been my best friend for 15 years and has looked out for me all these years. My circle of friends is small. It’s easy to get lost in the “fun,” but I want to continue to grow and develop the kind of career I ultimately want. I am given opportunities to do things that I never thought I would do, so I want to maximize this. Therefore, it is important for me to surround myself with people I can trust and who have the same objectives as I do.
I really feel that I am now in “Chapter 2” of my life. BTR (Big Time Rush) was “Chapter 1.” I love that these are only the first few chapters of what I hope will be a great book one day. We are just releasing a new project called BTX, and we are unbelievably proud of it. The first song released will be “Did You Forget” and I hope that fans love it. It’s about staying in the race, continuing to learn, being coached—Tiger Woods has a coach— and never settling. I really want to be able to control my own destiny.
Meeting Chris Wood leaves you feeling like you’ve underachieved somehow. The actor, known for his starring role in Supergirl and the Vampire Diaries, is a noted mental illness advocate and activist. Our conversation went quickly from cars and motorcycles (Chris is an avid rider and an unabashed fan of everything two-wheels) to his passionate commitment to bringing awareness to the perils of leaving mental illness unchecked.
I’ve heard through the grapevine that you are more of a motorcycle guy. What do you ride now? I ride a Sportster, but my cross-town ride is a 1973 CB550 Honda, which I originally bought for $900. Needless to say, it has been completely rebuilt. They used to give those bikes away. I am fortunate to be able to get one redone!
If we switch to cars, do you have something you love? Yes, probably an early ’70s 911 Porsche [looking around Chequered Flag, as he notices a few pristine examples]. I like the idea of actually driving the car, something analog where you can feel the road, lean in the turns, and listen to the sound and power of the engine.
If you go across country, and you get only one passenger alive or dead (and your wife doesn’t count), who would it be? It would have to be my dad. He taught me how to drive, and we’ve had so many conversations while in the car. I got my first car with him, a new Toyota Corolla. Then my first “real” car, which was a 3-series BMW, which I would say was my first love in terms of cars.
Let’s switch gears so you can tell me about I Don’t Mind. Great. It really came about because of the way I lost my father and what it put my family through. He had some depression issues, which had gone undiagnosed for a long time. I’ve had a bit of the same issue, and when I started to speak about it to people, they would invariably ask me, “Can I ask you about this?” to which I would respond, “I don’t mind.”I’ve had a lot of experience with friends dealing with mental health issues, and we’ve just started to deal with those issues head on.
Do you think that men have a more difficult time speaking about this? Yes. The statistics don’t lie. Men definitely have more challenges dealing with this, which is part of the whole pseudo-macho thing that we do. Listen, this “tough guy” stigma that we face in today’s society is a bit silly. It’s ok to feel like crap and want to talk about it. I ride motorcycles, and I have zero problems speaking about mental illness. Ultimately, it’s about reaching out for help. There are avenues now available for everyone, and that is why organizations like I Don’t Mind are so important. I am very fortunate to have a public platform that is very visible, and I am going to take every opportunity to shine a light on this problem for as long as I can. I don’t want to be the focus—this is not about me, but about this cause. We are in this together.
Photos by John Russo
Words by Yves Le Sieur