(Third of a series)
LOS ANGELES—Only 15 years old, Kamran Lucas stars as science genius Harris in Disney’s action-adventure-comedy TV series, “Mech-X4.” Kamran used to be known as the kid of Cindy Sison who tagged along with his mom when she sold the films of Unitel Pictures International in Cannes.
Now, the Los Angeles-based Cindy is proud to be known as the mom of Kamran, whose credits include recurring characters in the hit series, Disney Channel’s “Girl Meets World,” Nickelodeon’s “Bella and the Bulldogs” and “Sam & Cat,” and Showtime’s “Shameless.”
Kamran, precocious even as a preschool boy, coined the term “Persepino” to describe himself, being half-Persian and half-Filipino.
“I wanted to give him two strong names, and being a cinephile, I named him after two successful and prolific film directors—James Cameron and George Lucas,” Cindy said of his US-born son’s name. “We used the Persian spelling of Kamran, which is pronounced the same as Cameron.”
Kamran wore his own credentials as badges when he went along to festivals and film markets with Cindy in her former job as head of international film sales and distribution for Unitel. Cindy also helped create Unico Entertainment for Unitel’s US theatrical and video distribution ventures, along with Vincent Nebrida and Tito Velasco.
When he’s not busy shooting “Mech-X4,” a world of robots and monsters, which has been renewed for Season 2, Kamran trains in martial arts (he’s a junior black belt), makes his own movies, builds virtual gaming landscapes, and creates miniature worlds with Lego.
According to Cindy, who was the associate producer of “Crying Ladies” and “American Adobo,” Kamran “has been dying to go to the Philippines for his first visit. Perhaps next year.”
Excerpts from our chat with Kamran:
How would you describe your journey as an actor so far? I’m just a short, funny Filipino kid who dared to dream. I was hooked to acting when I got laughter or the reaction I wanted after a performance. I thought, wow, this is fun! And I can get paid for doing this?!
I’m very blessed to have the emotional and financial support of my parents and grandparents, especially my mom. I want them to have a better life, and if I can help along the way, why not?
How do you prepare for an audition? Any good luck rituals? I basically read and reread my lines, then I get coached. I do talk to the Man Upstairs. Clear my head. Breathe deeply, then go in.
What is the most frustrating part of trying to land roles in Hollywood? I’m lucky to have a great team (agent, manager, stylist, PR) behind me. I actually get a lot of callbacks and producer sessions. But sometimes, it’s a casting call where they mix and match talent. At that point, I just do my best and leave it in the casting room. I’d love to do a feature film one day, and my team knows it.
How do you handle rejection? You have to develop thick skin when it comes to rejection. Sometimes, it’s because you’re going against type. If the role is asking for a funny, freckle-faced redhead, and you show up with just one of the criteria, it’s going be a tough sell. But then, casting would have seen you—and, hopefully, remember you!
Have there been times when you almost gave up?What motivated you to keep trying? Youth is in my favor. I don’t give up, I redirect. I have a certain vision of what I’d like to accomplish and keep that image in my head for motivation.
As an actor of color, do you feel that opportunities for minorities are improving or getting worse? TV role opportunities have vastly improved. We now have a prime-time show with a predominantly Asian cast. But I hear feature films still need to get there.
Can you talk about your Harris part in “Mech-X4”? I love playing Harris, a good-looking, book-smart kid, with an eye for the ladies. Harris has a swag [feel] about him largely because of me—the increased confidence in himself, a mitigated fear of the unknown, and inner strength to serve as the team’s conscience. Nothing dampens the logical, scientific mind of Harris.
What can we expect from your character next season? In Season 2, Harris has the largest character arc. That’s all I can say. You’ll have to watch the show in the fall.
How do you juggle the demands of school and acting jobs? It’s difficult when production needs to get a full-day of shooting, and we have basically three hours of school per day to do. The kids are the leads, and only one of us is over 18.
I try to stay ahead in school so that the busy days are smoothed over. I go to a public school with a virtual academy, so all of my lessons are online. We do have on-set tutors and teachers who keep us in line.
What has been your coolest experience so far as a young actor? When I attended my first big film premiere, “Doctor Strange.” I met on the red carpet my idol, Stan Lee, the creator of [many] things Marvel. Then, there was the “Guardians of the Galaxy” premiere. It’s a privilege and an absolutely delicious pleasure to walk the red carpet with these huge stars!
To people who are planning to pursue acting, what should they prepare for? Always come prepared. Take classes and perfect your craft. Take the criticism and work it in. Be nice. Be kind. Be yourself. Being recognized on the street is cool, but it’s hard for a kid who just wants to hang out with friends and be a kid.
(To be continued on Thursday)
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