In the popular Netflix series Sweet Tooth, Christian Convery plays lead character Gus across all episodes and is set to reprise his role when the show returns for a second series, with a date not yet announced. Earlier this year, Christian starred in the feature film The Tiger Rising as Rob Horton, working with a cast including Katharine McPhee, Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah, and in 2021, he voiced the role of Fregley in the Disney+ animated reboot of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. For his first lead character, Christian played Morgan in Pup Academy, and his previous projects have included the role of Will in Playing with Fire, which was directed by Andy Fickman, Descendants 3 as Squeaky and Beautiful Boy, in which he played Jasper Sheff alongside his on-screen family Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carrell and Maura Tierney. Over the years of his acting career so far, Christian has been nominated for and won numerous awards and he is set to appear in the future release of Cocaine Bear. Answering our questions, Christian chats about playing Gus in Sweet Tooth, filming as Rob Horton in The Tiger Rising and his first lead role of Morgan in Pup Academy.
Do you remember how you felt booking the role of Gus in Sweet Tooth and what was Series 1 like to film?
It was the most exciting news ever as it was also the hardest audition I have ever had to do. The audition process was over three months with many director/producer sessions, being flown to Los Angeles and being in the room in front of Warner Brothers, casting director Carmen Cuba, Susan Downey, along with all of Team Downey including show creator writer/director and executive producer Jim Mickle and Linda Moran. I had to work through the scenes and go very deep with Gus’s character and explore his journey and arc within Sweet Tooth. So, finally, when the word came through that I had booked the role, I remember this being a turning point in my acting career and a day that I will never forget!!!
Coming to New Zealand to film the pilot and then again for Season 1 was extraordinary as it was special. The friends I made with the cast will be cherished for a lifetime, the adventures I got to go on exploring all of New Zealand was exhilarating, the mentors and inspiration I received from filming with such talented actors: Will Forte, Nonso Anozie, Stefania La Vie Owen and getting to work with amazing directors such as Jim Mickle, Toa Fraser and Robin Grace was exceptional as it was a season of growth for me as an actor.
What was it like getting into character for the first time and what is Gus like to play?
I did a lot of research about deers. I wanted to know what their movement was like, how did they run, jump, walk, eat, smell, hear, and sense things. I also did a lot of parkour training as in the pilot episode it required me to parkour in the forest. I had to be very quick and agile like a deer running and jumping in the forest. I also did a lot of physical training in Season 1 with the stunt team as there were many stunts that I was involved in throughout the season. Although I have a stunt double, producers and directors know how much I love being able to do my own stunts and being able to do them in the scenes! So, working with the stunt team is an important part of my training with Sweet Tooth.
How was it seeing the show’s success and fan response to the series and reuniting with the cast for filming Series 2?
It was amazing!! I did not expect Sweet Tooth to be such a success and have such an incredible fan base around the world! It has been wonderful to interact with my fans on Instagram and to see their love for our show and of Gus!
Reuniting with the cast for filming Season 2 was AMAZING! The anticipation of seeing each other again was so exciting as we all made great effort to keep in contact with phone calls, FaceTime, text messages and seeing each other when we could! I think being able to hang out with each other when not filming was also a great indication of just how special our Sweet Tooth family is.
You’ve most recently been seen on screen as Rob Horton in feature film The Tiger Rising, what was it like on set and can you tell us about your character?
Working on The Tiger Rising was a very special project for me as Rob Horton was a character I enjoyed exploring and bringing to life. Rob was dealing with the loss of his mother and the heartache and pain that he felt, as well as dealing with being bullied at school and the daily torment of that. Also, his father would not allow him to cry nor talk about his feelings, therefore all of Rob’s emotions had to be kept inside, resulting in leg sores. He discovers a caged tiger in the woods and his imagination runs wild and his life begins to change. He also meets a wise and mysterious maid and a stubborn new girl in school who enable him to have wondrous adventures while navigating his childhood through these challenging times.
I also had an exceptional time filming in Thomasville, Georgia. The cast and crew was a very tight family with many outings together on weekends, having fun and making cherished memories together.
What did you enjoy most about playing Rob and working with the rest of the cast, which includes Katharine McPhee, Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah?
I felt blessed and grateful to be in the presence of such talented actors. Queen Latifah was so giving and amazing to me and to the rest of the cast and crew. She came to set every day with wisdom, hugs and smiles. I always tried to learn as much as I could from her when doing our scenes. The most beautiful thing about Queen Latifah is that she is exactly who you think she is with her warm energy that is on screen and off! Dennis Quaid was wild to work with! I always loved how he brought his scenes alive. I would analyse how the script read and then what he did with those words on paper when the camera rolled. He definitely inspired me to look deeper at the scene and to see what more I could do with my character! Katharine McPhee was another incredibly friendly and warm person to meet and work with. We shared many laughs together.
Do you have any highlights from your time on set of The Tiger Rising?
Filming in Thomasville, Georgia was definitely one of my highlights as I love to travel and explore and it was the first time I had been to Georgia. It was also the first time I had to do a Southern accent for my character! So that was a lot of fun too!
How did you find the experience voicing the role of Fregley in the Disney+ animated reboot of Diary of a Wimpy Kid?
Haha! How do you not love Fregley! I remember laughing so hard in the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies each time Fregley came on screen. Being able to make my own version of Fregley and to come up with his voice was such a fun process and it was also an honour that Disney entrusted me to be Fregley and bring him alive!
What are some of your favourite memories from playing Morgan in Pup Academy?
Laughing every day on set, getting to hang with a bunch of amazing and talented actors whom I’m still in contact with today and being with all those cute puppies in Victoria! It was also my first lead role in a TV series so it was extra special!
In 2019, you played Will in Playing with Fire, how was this and what was the film like to work on?
Working on Playing with Fire was so much fun! The laughter, tears of laughter and comedic moments and improv was felt by me and everyone on set! Working with John Cena and being hoisted 30 feet in the air out of a burning cabin was scary and exhilarating. My favourite scene was with John when I was on a harness in a room filled with soap bubbles on a fire hose and I was wrangled from side to side, up and down to eventually falling into his arms and saying “what a rush!”. There were so many big stunts in this movie I got to do! Keegan Michael Key was always going off script with his improv and making everyone laugh. The camera would just keep rolling and he would just keep improvising and we would all be in tears from laughing so hard. Keegan really inspired me to work on my improv and our director Andy Fickman would allow me to try things and go off script too which was incredible as an actor to explore and take risks with your character in the moment. John Leguizamo was also great to work with as he really got into our scenes and we would talk about upcoming scenes together and figure out how we can make the scenes better by trying things and working out different scenarios. Everyone was amazing on that movie.
How much did you know about the Descendants franchise before booking your role of Squeaky in Descendants 3 and how was it joining the cast?
I honestly didn’t know anything about it. But once I booked the role, I watched the first two movies and was blown away at how good it was. All the singing and dancing was intoxicating and I started taking hip hop lessons and singing class after filming.
What was the experience like playing Jasper Sheff in Beautiful Boy and can you tell us about filming the role?
Playing Jasper Sheff, who is a real life person, was a first experience for me and I was fortunate to have this opportunity to not only play him but to also meet him and his family during the filming of the movie. My mother had already spoken to me about drugs and drug addiction prior to filming so I was prepared for this role and aware of the nature of this film. Working with Timothée Chalamet as my brother, Steve Carrell as my dad and Maura Tierney as my mom was very special. I always remember asking Steve Carrell to speak as Gru as he was the voice of Gru in the Minions movie. He always said yes and entertained me with his Gru voice! Timmy was always so kind to me and would always make it a point to come see me first thing on set so we could spend time together laughing and having fun. The beach scene where we are about to go surfing was my favourite scene with Timothée Chalamet.
Some of your other projects have included Aliens Stole My Body, A Twist of Christmas and Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Road Less Traveled, can you say about some of your stand-out highlights over the years?
I feel all my projects have been an important part of my process of growth as an actor having learned to play different characters. I’ve also grown by listening, reading, working with different actors, directors and producers, working tremendously hard, balancing school/acting and life in general along with the opportunities of having worked in different countries has also expanded my development.
How does it feel being nominated for and winning awards for your performances in projects?
It is a wonderful feeling knowing that my work has been seen and enjoyed by others and to be recognised for it!
Is there anything you can say about your upcoming work, which includes Cocaine Bear?
All I can say is that it’s going to be one wild adventure, based off a true story, with moments of laughter, moments of fright and that it might be rated R!
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start?
I used to watch people on film and TV and thought how cool it would be to do that! The ability to play different characters seemed like so much fun so I took acting classes and then got an agent. And the rest is history!
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
I am currently really into anime and having been watching Attack on Titan and One Piece.
Follow Christian on: