Tell us a little about yourself and growing up.
My full name, is Wyatt Jess Oleff, I have an older brother and an amazing little dog we call RoRo. I attend regular school. I love to make my own skits, hang with my friends, write, play piano, and play video games. I am originally from Chicago, and I moved to LA when I was around 7 years old. We moved to LA for my parents’ business which worked out well for me as I started acting around the same time.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I’m not sure exactly what inspired me to start acting, but I began talking about it with my parents when I was 5. I believe it had to do with telling stories, and playing different parts. I guess that intrigued me as a toddler, and that still holds up today.
What was your first ever role? What did you learn from that role and how have you applied it to future project?
My first ever role was a Coldwell Banker commercial. While I didn’t learn anything from playing the role, I did learn something about the audition process. I was able to see it in a new scope, and the reward of trying your best by feeling the energy in the room, etc. It really helped my perspective on the whole process. I continue to apply this to today’s auditions as well.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about being an actor?
My favorite thing about being an actor has to be the people you meet. I have been extremely lucky to meet some of the best actors, producers, writers, directors, and crew. Some of my best friends come from my most recent project “IT”, and I couldn’t imagine life without them. My least favorite thing about being an actor would have to be knowing when you aren’t getting a role. You can tell most of the time when you’re in the casting office if you’re gonna make it to the next round or not. Usually, it doesn’t even mean your performance was bad, it just means you weren’t right for the role, which is a little upsetting. But no matter what obstacles there are, you always have to get through them to get to your end goal.
What was it like to work play a young Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy?
Well, I was astonished when I found out that I was going to play a young version of Chris Pratt, and on top of that, in a Marvel movie! It was a very emotional role that took a lot of energy and trust in myself and those involved in the production. It was an incredible learning experience for me, and it will be a project that I will never forget.
Any fun stories from that set?
Since I had to spend my time on set crying, “fun” was not something I had a lot of on set. Outside of that I had fun exploring London and meeting most of the cast and crew. One memorable moment was chatting with Chris Pratt and realizing he was a genuine, great guy. Working with the giant fan during the abduction scene was awesome and also pleasing director James Gunn made the experience even better.
Do you have any role models?
I would have to say people like Alex Hirsch and Seth Green are huge inspirations to me. They are so talented in so many different ways, and I aspire to work just as hard as they do.
I’m finding my voice.
If you could create a movie, what would the movie be about?
So many options! I don’t exactly what kind of movie I would make right now. I get very indecisive because I love so many genres. Sometimes, like on my YouTube channel (Wyatt Oleff), I just make random things, and see what works. That’s something I am trying more often, which is to just throwing out more ideas and seeing what sticks. I’m finding my voice.
For those who don’t know what your recent film IT is about, can you describe it in your own words?
IT is about seven kids (each an outcast), who band together to kill an evil clown. The clown is a shape shifter and takes the form of whatever each person is afraid of. Although it seems like just a horror movie on it’s surface, IT has so many other layers. It’s a coming of age story and even has some romance. Everyone will be able to relate to one of the Losers and that’s one of the many reasons why people should go see it.
What was your mindset when filming IT?
My mindset was complete joy. I don’t think it ever really changed from that. I’ve never felt such pure joy and happiness in my life, and that summer was the one to really solidify that feeling for me. Like I said, it really was the best summer of my life, and I couldn’t be happier that I had such an amazing experience.
What is your favorite scene in the movie?
I would say my favorite scene, has to be the first scene in the pharmacy. It was such fun to film, and seeing it in movie form just looks even better. It’s funny, relaxed, and amazing to watch!
What is your favorite city?
My favorite city has to be the one I was born in, which is Chicago. It is my favorite place ever. Everything about it is wonderful, from the locations, the community, and right at the center of it all, the people. I have very fond memories of Chicago and feel it will always have a special place in my heart.
IT is in theatres now.
PHOTOS NATALIE GUARDADO
STORY ANA SANDOVAL
Originally published in Volume II, Issue No. 004 – Fall 2017.