For Preston Oliver’s first lead role, he stars as Griffin Campbell in the Disney series Secrets of Sulphur Springs, with Series 1 premiering January 2021 and Series 2 earlier this year. Preston has recently finished filming the upcoming Series 3, which will have a 2023 airdate, and Secrets of Sulphur Springs has been nominated for Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series at the first-ever Children’s & Family Emmys, which will be held December 11th. Other roles for Preston have seen him play Young Michael in Roswell, New Mexico, Kevin’s Son in This Is Us and Riley Boyd in Chicago Fire. We found out from Preston about starring as Griffin Campbell in Disney’s Secrets of Sulphur Springs, what it’s like on set with the rest of the cast and having the series nominated at the first-ever Children’s & Family Emmys.
Do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role of Griffin Campbell in the Disney series Secrets of Sulphur Springs and was there anything that drew you to the project?
I was a little 12-year-old kid in my kitchen when my agents called us. I had a really good feeling leaving the last audition, but when I got in the kitchen and my family was all looking at me with my agents on the phone, I figured it out pretty quickly. But I was still super excited and we went to a Japanese steakhouse to celebrate.
Can you tell us about the show and your character, and what is it like seeing the fan response to the series?
Secrets of Sulphur Springs is about a kid named Griffin Campbell (who I play), and his family move into an old hotel in Sulphur Springs. He comes to find out that the hotel is supposedly haunted by a ghost named Savannah and the kids at school are all talking about it. There he meets a girl named Harper who is obsessed with the mystery. Griffin and Harper become friends and find out the mysteries in the hotel which leads them to a time-travelling bunker under the hotel. And from there, the story takes off. Griffin is a rock-loving, adventure-seeking kid and is very fun to play. I love seeing the fan response through my Instagram and TikTok pages. Everyone is awesome and I look forward to getting out and meeting people.
How are you finding the experience working on your first lead character and what is Griffin like to play?
I am loving it. Sometimes it can be challenging but overall it is a great experience. Griffin is really fun to play, he likes adventure and is invested in solving the mystery of the Tremont, he cares about his friends and is a good older brother to his siblings.
What is it like on the set of the series and how was it returning to film the upcoming Series 3?
On set, we all have a blast. The weather in Louisiana is always unpredictable so sometimes it will go from sunny to rainy out of nowhere. But everyone gets along, crafty is great, and the crew is fun to chat with. We’re like a family there now. Returning for Season 3, everyone was excited to see each other. I was excited to show everyone how tall I’d gotten.
Do you have a favourite aspect of being part of a Disney series and what is it like working with the rest of the cast?
Working with the cast is always fun. We don’t want to make it feel like a stiff and extremely professional environment. We love to joke around and have fun on set. Being a part of this Disney series is amazing though. They take good care of us and I look forward to being able to do more now that events are happening again. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
What are some of your favourite memories from filming Secrets of Sulphur Springs so far?
Man, I’m not sure I have a favourite memory. Every day on set was such a blast. We loved scaring each other every chance we got, and I’m a big sports guy so I tried playing basketball with everyone. I did learn how to play the guitar over filming this season, so maybe that is one of my favourites. I went home and bought my own guitar and maybe I’ll start a band when I get good, haha.
It’s been announced that Secrets of Sulphur Springs is nominated for Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series at the first-ever Children’s & Family Emmys, how was it hearing the news?
I heard the news from my mom. I was shocked! I really didn’t know what to say or do. I went and told all my friends and posted about it on Instagram. But the news is still settling in. I can’t wait to see the outcome of it.
Why would you recommend watching Secrets of Sulphur Springs and who do you think it will appeal to?
I recommend people watch Secrets of Sulphur Springs because it’s a family-friendly, adventure, mystery, comedy, romantic, and spooky show. It has plot twists, cliffhangers, amazing characters, and storylines to keep everyone watching. I would say anyone can watch the show. I’ve had young fans love it up to my grandpa who enjoys watching the show.
In 2020, you played Young Michael in an episode of the TV series Roswell, New Mexico, can you tell us about this?
We flew down to film for the day in New Mexico and it was such a fun experience. They curled my hair for the show so I got to see what I looked like with curly hair. The cast was awesome, the scene we shot was quick but also a lot of fun, and I even got to meet Michael Guerin. For some reason, I saw him and just went up and hugged him even though we never said a word to each other, but he went with it and we chatted for a while. He is such a cool guy.
How was your time filming for the popular drama series This Is Us as Kevin’s Son?
This was a great experience. I just wish it didn’t go by so fast and I could’ve met Justin Hartley. We filmed for an hour or so, and were done! Sterling Brown actually came up to me and started a conversation. I was so nervous but he was so sweet and made me comfortable.
What do you remember most from playing Riley Boyd in Chicago Fire?
Flying to Chicago was one of the coolest experiences ever. The weather was different, the city was amazing, the food was great, and filming the episodes was a blast. The crew members taking care of me were so chill and filming with Taylor Kinney was awesome. He gave me some great acting tips in between takes.
How did you get into acting and is it something you have always wanted to do?
Not really actually. I never thought about acting until fifth grade when I went and auditioned for my first play. I played a little pirate role in Peter Pan but the cast was so great and made it an amazing experience that I had to continue doing it. From there, I went to drama in middle school, and took acting classes here in Las Vegas from Hollywood Access Inc. From there, I met my agents Coast to Coast and we took off. When I was younger though, I would always play with LEGOs and make up a whole scene. I did the same things playing on the trampoline with fake weapons and fighting imaginary people. Maybe that’s what trained me, haha.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
My favourite show of all-time is Breaking Bad. I can go on for days about how it’s the greatest show of all-time no debate but I won’t. I highly recommend watching it. If you are younger I would say to ask your parents first. But when I’m not filming I love going out with my friends, playing basketball, and listening to music. I love playing video games and currently, all my time is going towards the new Call of Duty.
Have you been given any advice over your time as an actor so far that has stuck with you and what advice would you give a young actor hoping to book their first role?
The biggest piece of advice that I have is to go outside the box. Don’t stay in your comfort zone. A lot of auditions are looking for those who aren’t afraid to go for the character. Plus, going for it will make you better at your craft. Even if you don’t get the role you auditioned for, your unique tape will be remembered by the casting agents.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for you?
For me, I wish to keep Secrets of Sulphur Springs going, maybe book a major movie, or just meet some of my favourite actors. Meeting Adam Sandler has always been number one on my bucket list so I hope for that to happen soon!
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