Jared Kusnitz stars in Underemployed (Exclusive Interview)
By Michael Aaron Gallagher of StayFamous.Net
The journey to becoming a successful Hollywood actor hasn’t always been an easy one for Jared Kusnitz. But the star of the MTV series Underemployed, has found that with a lot of talent, hard work and determination, following your dreams can lead to great opportunities.
Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it didn’t take long for Kusnitz to choose what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“When I was in middle school… that’s when I discovered my passion for acting,” Kusnitz said. “I owe it to my hometown for crafting me into an actor.”
With the support of his family and friends, he eventually moved to Los Angeles, California, where he landed numerous roles, including the teen horror film Dance of the Dead (starring Carissa Capobianco), the ABC sitcom Surviving Suburbia, the Disney movie Prom (starring Aimee Teegarden and Danielle Campbell) and the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
In a recent interview with StayFamous.Net, Jared talked about his MTV show and his journey in Hollywood so far.
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “For people who don’t know, what is your new show about, and who do you play?”
Jared Kusnitz: “Underemployed is about five college graduates, who on the eve of their college graduation are toasting to taking over the world with what they want to do with the rest of their lives and they have nothing but wide-eyed hopes and aspirations for what’s to come. And then a year later, you find them still struggling to get by. They’re all taking jobs that they didn’t necessarily want but they’re compromising some of their morals. The economy is also sort of battling them down. They’re encountering the real-world and it’s a wake-up call of… ‘Life isn’t going to be this easy.’”
“But the important message that we show is that with your friends around you, you aren’t going through it alone. I play Lou, who is based on our writer and creator Craig Wright’s actual son, Louis, who is an environmental design major. And he wants to make the world a better place…. He’s struggling to make a name for himself in that field. And then his ex-girlfriend shows up at his door, nine months pregnant. And she’s like ‘Hey, it’s yours. I’m keeping it.’ And then Lou’s struggle becomes, well how do I support a family but not lose sight of what I want to do still? So that’s his struggle throughout the season.”
Watch the Underemployed Trailer:
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “When Underemployed premiered were you nervous at all about whether viewers and critics would like it? What has the response been like so far?”
Jared Kusnitz: “Oh man, I was terrified. MTV had a screening party for the East Coast feed. So we gathered here in LA at seven to watch the episode and at ten I went and watched it with a group of my closest friends. I wasn’t really sweating the MTV one, because they’ve been a part of the whole process. But it’s always terrifying when you put a show out there, especially today. I feel a lot of people DVR everything and so ratings aren’t quite what they used to be, because no one’s watching it as it’s actually airing.”
“I know that we put out a good product and I hope that we find the right audience. MTV’s demographic is pretty specific. We’re all really happy with what we put out on the airwaves and if things continue then absolutely we’re very thankful, but we’re also very thankful that we had the opportunity to meet each other and create this awesome passion project.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Who are some of the people you look up to right now?”
Jared Kusnitz: “The creator of our show, Craig Wright, because I am playing his son in the show, there’s sort of that familiarity. He can talk to me – sometimes I feel like he’s talking to his son or like I’m vicariously playing his son, when his son is not around. So we’ve become really good friends. And he’s so, so, so smart and he keeps recommending a bunch of different books that I should read. But more so, not from an acting standpoint but just from a good person standpoint, he’s really mentored me in that respect – like being a really good person and having a good energy, just sort of enjoying what you have when you have it. I really respect him for that and I definitely consider him a mentor. But as far as acting role models, right now Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio are of course great, but I just saw Seven Psychopaths and Sam Rockwell is a genius. If I could spend an hour talking to that man, I would be completely content.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “I was surprised by how many actresses you’ve been in movies with that I’ve had on my list of people I would like to interview, like Carissa Capobianco, Danielle Campbell and Aimee Teegarden. You’ve had the chance to work with a lot of really great people. Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with again in the future?”
Jared Kusnitz: “The movie that I did called Prom, the one who plays my girlfriend in that movie, her name is Yin Chang (Gossip Girl)… she’s still like one of my best friends. We have this really cool, brother-sister relationship. I would jump at a chance to work with her again. Because we had such a fun time and the fact that we still communicate is just like a testament to the amount of fun that we had and it wasn’t fake. Because I feel a lot of times you work with people and you’re close when you’re working but then as soon as you’re done working it’s just – ‘You live your life, I’ll live mine.’ But she’s phenomenal. We call each other once a week and just check in.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “With all the competition in Hollywood, how did you end up breaking in and becoming an actor in a bigger capacity?”
Jared Kusnitz: “I still don’t look at myself and think that I’ve made it. I mean, I might be on a TV show but there’s still so much more that I want to do in my career that will happen further on down the road. But breaking in, you’re met with rejection time and time again… I came to LA for pilot season one year and my agent sent me out on an audition or two a week. I would get really good feedback and then from the feedback they would bring me back for different parts. They would keep looking, actively searching for something for me to be a part of, but you still have to go in and audition and keep plugging away. You can go on a hundred auditions and you might get one or two of them. I don’t really know how I was able to crack it. I wish I knew. I wish I could give some aspiring actors the one secret that it takes to get your foot in the door but you really just have to be passionate about it and I think it will work out in your favor.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Looking down the road, would you like to do more television shows or are you interested in being in movies as well?”
Jared Kusnitz: “I’m interested in a lot of it. I would love to do some movies… If I could do anything, it would be a sitcom. I worked on a sitcom back in 2008 called Surviving Suburbia and it felt like a live play every single week. I love that fear of the unknown. One of your co-stars could forget a line in front of the studio audience and you’ve got to react. I don’t know, there’s just this amazing energy backstage or in the crowd when you’re making people laugh and you’re getting that instant gratification. I feel as artists, that’s what we want. We want that instant gratification. So hands down, I would love to do another sitcom.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Do you have anything you want to say to your fans and for fans of the show?”
Jared Kusnitz: “For me to look at my Twitter following and see that there are twenty-nine-something thousand people (now more than 30,000) that are interested in what I have to say or projects that I’ve done, it’s just incredibly humbling and I can’t really put into words what it means. It feels like you have twenty-nine thousand really close friends that just have your back and it’s such a cool feeling and I enjoy entertaining you guys. And I hope that I can continue to do so in the future.”
Underemployed airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. You can also follow Jared Kusnitz on Twitter @Jared_Andrew.
Jared Kusnitz stars in Underemployed (Exclusive Interview)
Copyright 2012 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
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