New Challenges and New Rewards
When Uriah Shelton auditioned for two of the lead roles in 13 Reasons Why, he just wasn’t the right fit – but the producers saw something in him that had them calling him back. “Acting – that’s what I think I’m really here for,” says the 22-year-old actor. Producers invited Shelton onto the set and had a new character ready for him to play, solidifying his place on a project that he found to be very important, bringing the subject of suicide awareness to the forefront.
Over the past decade-plus, Shelton’s focus on and enjoyment of acting haven’t wavered: “Every project I do presents new challenges and new rewards,” he says. With his role in the new Hulu series Looking for Alaska, released in October, and his lead role in the upcoming Blumhouse film, Shelton has a whole new set of rewards to look forward to.
Although, due to his age, Shelton has been acting for a relatively shorter amount of time than some, he has had experience with multiple different levels of acting and film. He cites his time on Disney Channel as his first encounter with comedic timing and stage direction. As for his other projects, he was trained to sing in Lifted, and learned about set structure, child acting laws, and production in The Glades. One of his most influential experiences, though, was working alongside Julia Stiles and Rodrigo García in drama series Blue. “[During] the time I spent on Blue, I learned more about performance, acting, and [how to] just really throw your emotions in there, than on any project I’d ever done,” he recalls.
Looking for Alaska, his most recent project, was nerve-wracking for him and his co-stars to go into. The series is based on John Green’s 2005 novel of the same name, and of course, has a huge pre-existing fan base watching their every move (“[They’re] so hardcore about the story they love”). While Shelton does note that there are differences between the book and series, he is very happy with the work that they did while filming in New Orleans. More importantly, he says, Green was very pleased – which is what matters most. As for his character specifically, Shelton plays Longwell, who is one of the main sources of conflict in the series. Constantly pulling pranks on the main characters, and having pranks pulled on him and his group, Shelton says that not only was this one of his favorite roles, but it’s also been one of his favorite projects to work on thus far.
Before being cast in the upcoming Blumhouse project, Shelton had been a big fan of and wanting to work with Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, for years. He couldn’t be more excited to work with Blum on the thriller, as well as the cast including Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton. “It’s a very big blessing to be able to go from one project to another,” shares Shelton, who is grateful for how the past year has gone for him and especially for the people in his life that helped him get there.
Shelton loves what he does and will be happy with whatever projects he may work on but it’s actually the prospect of growing a family and settling down that really drives him as he says, “I’d like a family and a ranch out somewhere – that’s what I’m working towards right now.”
Writer: Tara McDonough
Photographer & Stylist: Kit Tran
Men’s Grooming: Emily Sims
Videographer: Sandra Selva
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Dagwoods (@dagwoodspizza - www.dagwoods.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)