Disney has a way of creating stardom for its proteges. Justin Timberlake was in the Mickey Mouse Club, Miley Cyrus stars in “Hannah Montana” and Zac Efron got his big break in “High School Musical.” Perhaps Anthony Ingruber starring in Disney’s upcoming “Avalon High” will become Disney’s newest star.
Filmed in New Zealand, “Avalon High” tells the story of Allie, a new student at Avalon High whose parents are traveling professors that specialize in the King Arthur legend. For the first time, Allie begins to settle down at a school — making friends, getting a boyfriend. However, when Allie starts researching the King Arthur legend she begins to see the story paralleling in her own life.
Anthony Ingruber stars as Sean, a football player “whose identity plays in to the modern Camelot tale.” While this is Ingruber’s first starring role, he has become well known from his YouTube videos, reacting famous scenes from movies. In this interview, Ingruber talks about living in New Zealand, what filming was like, and his knack for impressions.
It’s Just Movies: How would you describe your latest project, “Avalon High”?
Anthony Ingruber: “Avalon High” is an ambitious, upcoming Disney Channel TV movie adapting Meg Cabot’s novel of the same name, which I’ve had the great pleasure to be involved in. The film deals with Allie, a new student at Avalon High who begins to suspect that the supposed normalcy of the school is merely an illusion to something mythical, and her classmates are more than they appear to be.
IJM: How is “Avalon High” putting it’s own spin on the King Arthur legend?
Ingruber: Fans of the book will know that “Avalon High” deals primarily with the legend and history of King Arthur and transports them to a contemporary setting, a modern high school. The interesting thing about this film adaption is that it has taken core elements from the book while offering its own unique take on the story and characters, so I think that fans and newcomers will both find it appealing and refreshing.
IJM: You’ve just gotten back from filming in New Zealand, which is famous for it’s beautiful landscape. How did you like working there?
Ingruber: I’ve been living in New Zealand now for the last four years and have grown to fall in love with the country’s diversity and fantastic scenery. The landscapes are truly amazing and I think the film industry is finally starting to take advantage of this.
IJM: I hear you’ve got some entertaining stories to tell us from filming.
Ingruber: Easily the funniest moment on set was the first day. My character Sean is a footballer and because of this I had to take a few lessons to get back in the habit of playing the game. Unfortunately, and to my great despair, I had forgotten how bad I actually am at sports and this fact quickly leaked onto set. Between one of the takes, one of the cheerleaders made a snarky comment regarding this and, making myself as snide as possible, I called the assistant director and announced, “Excuse me, one of the extras is talking to me.” There followed a deathly silence before laughter broke out and they assured me that they knew I was kidding. From that day on, the chearleader and I were firm friends.
IJM: How did you get the role of Sean?
Ingruber: I auditioned several times for various roles including Will, the lead, and Lance, another footballer. I flew to Auckland numerous times for the auditions and received great feedback from the casting directors. Eventually, it was decided that I looked a tad too old for the roles and my lack of football experience was the nail in the coffin. I was then approached with the role of Sean and was very excited to be able to take part in the project.
IJM: Who was the first person you told when you got the role?
Ingruber: The instant I heard I got the part I told my esctatic family and that evening I arranged my friends to come over for both a celebration and a farewell party.
IJM: Sean is your first major role. Was it a difficult transition from your prior experiences and were there things going on that you did not expect?
Ingruber: My first time being on set as a character rather than an extra was an exhilirating change. And although at times I felt intimidated by the other actors’ experience, I was able to adapt to the daily schedule and soon it became routine.
IJM: Since the plot has elements of fantasy, did you find it hard to portray those parts or did the contemporary setting help to make it relatable?
Ingruber: “Avalon High” is an interesting film due to its mix of fantasy and reality, which blend together into one storyline. Luckily for me, I have a vivid imagination and a great love of the bizarre, so it wasn’t too difficult to get into the mindset of the film.
IJM: On a different note, I checked out your YouTube profile and I have to say your impressions are great (I especially love the scene from “Edward Scissorhands”). When did you realize you had that talent?
Ingruber: Thanks very much! For me, impressions are a way to entertain people as well as relax myself when I’m in a new environment with new people. I started doing impressions when I was in my early teens, starting when I first moved to Australia and began high school there. I found it was a great ice-breaker and quickly earned me a reputation around the class for voices and facial contortions. This was a more desirable reputation than simply being the “new kid.”
IJM: How have your impressions helped you in your acting career?
Ingruber: When acting in an original role, I like to experiment with my own style and not use the impressions at all to avoid cashing in on the success of another actor. This aside, I did have a great time on set entertaining the makeup crew in the wee small hours of the morning walking into the trailer as Jack Nicholson demanding they beautify me in less than half an hour or I’d be knocking on their bathroom door with an axe.
IJM: When can we expect to see “Avalon High”?
Ingruber: I believe the crew of “Avalon High” are working feverishly to premiere sometime in November on the Disney Channel.
IJM: What are you doing next?
Ingruber: Right now, I’m auditioning for various upcoming projects here in New Zealand and will also be lending my voice to an upcoming video game coming soon to major platforms.
“Avalon High,” which also stars Britt Robertson, Gregg Sulkin and Molly Quinn, will premiere on the Disney Channel.
Included with this interview are a pair of exclusive promo photos of Anthony for “Avalon High.”
Art Direction: Alicia Ingruber
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