Disney’s new TV series, Sydney to the Max, launched earlier this year starring Jackson Dollinger in his latest role as Young Max, where the show is set in present day and features flashbacks to the 1990s. Jackson has also had experience in theatre and voiceover work which saw him record an episode of Disney Junior’s animated show, Puppy Dog Pals. We caught up with Jackson, who told us about appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, his passion for skateboarding and playing his main role in Sydney to the Max.
How old were you when you originally wanted to become an actor?
My acting career started as a happy accident. I was nine years old and a close friend of mine got an agent and started auditioning for commercials. I thought it sounded fun and decided that I wanted to give it a try too. I got an agent and booked several commercials fairly quickly and decided that I wanted to expand my horizons and try theatrical. I booked a stage play, John Is A Father, right away. This role was followed by a few guest star roles and finally, Sydney to the Max.
What do you remember from your first day on set of Sydney to the Max?
Wow. What a day!! The first day of shooting the Sydney to the Max pilot was a big day for me. It was so exciting. Prior to the role of Max, I had only done small roles and so I didn’t really know exactly what to expect. That first day was magical. I remember it well. I instantly loved being Young Max in front of the camera. The feeling was undeniable, I loved my job!!
For those that haven’t seen the show, how would you describe it and your character, Young Max?
The show is a multi-generational family comedy that illustrates through flashbacks, that even though technology and the things around us change, the feelings and situations that accompany childhood and growing up, really remain the same.
What’s it like playing a role set in the 90s?
Playing a role set in the 90s is awesome. First, everybody loves the 90s. It was a great time and people really seem to have an affection for their memories of that decade. I am learning so much about technology and how parenting styles were somewhat different than what I am experiencing as a child today. The best part of the role is listening to my parents, their friends, and the cast and crew, reminisce about their experiences in the 90s. It is so fun to hear all the stories. I also always get a kick out of getting lessons on operating the technology from the era. I have never even seen some of it before now.
You enjoy skateboarding, how’s it been bringing that skill to your role?
Being able to incorporate my passion of skateboarding into my role has been a dream come true. It’s just another reason why I love my character and my job as much as I do. Skateboarding is such a big part of my life and so it feels so natural.
The older version of your character is played by Ian Reed Kesler; what was it like meeting him for the first time and what’s it like sharing a role with another actor?
Ian Reed Kesler is amazing. I am honoured to play the younger version of him. I learn a lot from both Ian and Caroline Rhea. They both have amazing comedic timing. In many ways, Ian and I are a lot alike and definitely look remarkably similar. In fact, I recently was looking at Getty Images from Disney FanFest and Ian and I were photographed side by side quite a bit at the event and it was unbelievable how much we favour each other and even have the same mannerisms.
How have you found your time working on a Disney Channel production?
Disney Channel is an amazing organisation. They truly treat their cast members like family and I am so grateful for my experience with them. As a child, it is great to work with other children every day and I think the network really does a great job of fostering a family type atmosphere. It is also great to get together with other Disney cast members from other shows. Everyone is really supportive of one another.
Which other Disney Channel shows do you enjoy watching?
I love them all! I grew up watching Disney. Some of my favourites from the past include Jessie and Good Luck Charlie. Currently, I am watching all the shows whenever I have time and I can’t wait for the premiere of Just Roll With It. It looks so fun and interesting.
What was it like attending Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards?
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards were a blast. There was so much energy and young talent there. It was fun to hang out and enjoy the show and of course, I was hoping that Raven’s Home and Bunk’d were going to take home a win!
Can you tell us about your episode of Loosely Exactly Nicole?
That was a fun role. Again, I got to play a skateboarder and so of course, it was a great time. The lead character Nicole, played by Nicole Byer, is preoccupied while driving and almost hits me. The scene was fun to shoot because Nicole and I got to ad lib our lines for some takes and it was hysterical. She is a very talented and funny actress.
How was it voicing the role of Charlie in Disney Junior’s Puppy Dog Pals?
Having the opportunity to voice Charlie for Disney Junior’s Puppy Dog Pals was a milestone for me. It was my first voiceover role and it was so much fun to create a voice for a character that was an animal. I hope to voice more animated characters in the future.
What do you remember from your time performing in John is a Father and do you have plans to return to theatre work in the foreseeable future?
My theatre experience was amazing. At first, I was a little nervous to perform in front of a live audience. I was worried I might drop a line, but that feeling quickly disappeared and it made for a very memorable summer. There is nothing like live performances. They are electric. I have no immediate plans to return to theatre. I am really enjoying doing television. You never know though.
How was it appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”?
My role for Jimmy Kimmel involved NBA basketball players and hoverboards!! Again, both things that I love. Zach LaVine was playing a prank on Jamaal Crawford, who had absolutely no idea that he was being pranked. Mr. LaVine asked Mr. Crawford to do a PSA for a charity that he was involved with. When Mr. Crawford arrived and was reading from the teleprompter, he was shocked to find out that the charity was to raise money for “Kids without Hoverboards”. It was a riot. He legitimately thought that the charity was real. He was such a great sport when it was revealed that the whole thing was a prank.
How long have you been skateboarding for and do you enjoy other sports?
I have been skateboarding since I was about three years old. I try to skate whenever I have free time. I also enjoy surfing, basketball and soccer. I love the outdoors and take advantage of every opportunity I have to get outside and play sports or just be active.
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