We met with actor Keiynan Lonsdale. He has been so busy lately starring as Wally West on the TV show, “The Flash,” and as Uriah in the hit movie “Allegiant.”
How did you get the role of Wally West?
I originally auditioned for a different character on a show called “Legends of Tomorrow,” and they felt like I would be a good fit for Wally West. So they asked me to come in. So I went in a bunch of times and fortunately they thought I would be right for the role.
What would surprise people about the show and why?
I think every episode is full of surprises. It’s hard to know what to expect because they kind of twist things up constantly and that’s what happens when you deal with space and time and it’s really great the way they do it. It’s always full of interesting moments. I love it.
What do you love about this character?
He’s just awesome in every way. What I love the most is the fact that he has so much history behind him and he’s a superhero and at the moment he’s kind of a superhero in the making. So before he’s been struck by lightning, before anything like that even occurs. It’s kind of this interesting thing for me to play this character that means so much to other people. Hopefully I can run really fast one day.
How did you get your start in acting?
I was a dancer first and that’s how I kind of made my money. Also I did a musical as a dancer and eventually the lead, who I was understudying, was injured so they asked me to do the role.
What is the biggest challenge of taking on the role of Wally West?
The biggest challenge is myself. I guess I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself because he’s such a big character and there are all these comic books about him and many people love him. And I believe the first person to bring him to life in live action, I think that’s kind of scary but I just have to trust him in the script and in myself and what I’ll deliver will be Wally West.
How did you get your role in “Allegiant”?
I was in Australia and I was sending video auditions, self-flicks and luckily the producers and the director Robert [Schwentke] and the casting director, they saw my tape and they asked me to Skype because I couldn’t fly away from Australia just for 10 minutes. And I Skyped them and they thought that I would be right guy for Uriah and the next week I was on a plane to Atlanta and started filming. So I was like super nervous and confused and was like, “Why did they pick me?” and really excited. It’s been super awesome.
Did you do your own stunts in “The Flash” and “Divergent”?
I definitely did for “Divergent” with that fight scene on the rooftop. I did that over and over and I also had a stunt double who also did the shot. He was much better at it than I was. That was more than a fight scene and also I get hit with bullets and the glass all shattered around me. And then for “The Flash” I think the main stunt that we’ve done has been all the car racing and whatnot. I didn’t get to do that. I just had to be in the car and pretend like I was racing. I had this big green screen behind me and it was kind of awkward but it was fun. It looked cool watching it on TV. It looked real.
Did you play any sports growing up?
I didn’t play sports at all. My brothers did and my sister and I just wanted to be dancers, performers. I liked running. I wanted to get into athletics but I had to decide whether I wanted to do dancing full time or if I wanted to be a runner.
What was the very first thing you bought after you started working?
This is going to sound silly but it may have actually been chocolate. I remember I was 18 and I was doing a musical and I thought, “Wow, I can buy all the groceries I want and buy the chocolate I want.” So I just went to the grocery store and bought as much ice cream and chocolate as I could.
Which celebrities have influenced you in your characters?
Growing up I really loved Michael Jackson. Still do and he’s always been my No. 1 inspiration and that’s just because he’s such an incredible artist; he had an aura about him, like, kindness and also he’s extremely talented. He’s definitely influenced my career.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I play video games, eat chocolate. I try not to eat too much. I watch a lot of Netflix. I would say I go to the beach but I’ve been living in Vancouver for “The Flash” and it rains a lot. Mostly video games.
What’s your family like? Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Yes, I have 11 brothers and sisters. It’s very confusing and it’s a big family. It was always kind of interesting growing up, but it’s more family to love.
Who is your hero?
My mom. Because she’s the best.
If you could spend one day with a celebrity who would you choose and why?
It would be President [Barack] Obama because he seems like a good person to hang around and get to know and just learn from. He seems like an incredibly intelligent human. It would just be an interesting day. I think.