With every new role and new genre he dives into, American actor Tanner Buchanan is ever prepared and always hits the mark.
At 22, he may still be young, but don’t let that fool you. His love for performing got him his start with small roles on shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Goldbergs,” “Girl Meets World” and “Game Shakers.” Then came “Designated Survivor,” where he played Kiefer Sutherland’s character’s son, Leo Kirkman, until 2018. Next, many fans loved him in his lead role as Robby Keene on the Netflix series “Cobra Kai,” which has been renewed for a fifth season.
Tanner grew up in Ottawa, a small Midwest town in Glandorf, Ohio, where he was introduced to dancing and performing. It was thanks to the movie “Singing in The Rain” that he discovered his vocation. It was the first movie he watched where he realized that the actors were playing characters and telling the story through film. Today, Tanner is a successful actor himself, telling compelling stories that he makes his own.
DAMAN: Hi Tanner, awesome to have you with us. How are you doing these days?
Tanner Buchanan: I am doing very well! I am doing what I love and loving life, so no complaints here.
DAMAN: Your latest film, “He’s All That,” is a Netflix rom-com. in fact, its is a gender-flipped remake of 1999’s “She’s All That.” For our readers who might not be familiar with the original film, can you tell us a bit about the character you play, Cameron?
Tanner Buchanan: Cameron is a bit of an outcast for this day and age. He doesn’t get along with many people his age and doesn’t quite understand technology or people’s obsession with social media. He can be a bit judgmental at times, but the more you get to know him the more you realize he is just a very loveable, protective guy.
DAMAN: How did you originally end up joining the film’s cast and knowing that “She’s All That” is a classic coming-of-age film? How did you feel when you first heard that you had got this role?
Tanner Buchanan: I got cast after having a few meetings and auditions over Zoom, which was something to definitely get used to. But it was such a happy moment when I got the call that I had booked Cameron. I almost immediately started doing my prep work and memorizing my scenes. I was so excited to start!
DAMAN: The impact of social media has a big role in the movie. For yourself, how important is it to stay relevant on social media today? We ask because you don’t often post on your Instagram account…
Tanner Buchanan: For me, social media is a place that I can share a photo that I love whenever I want to. If that’s for a few days in a row it’s great, but if it’s a few weeks apart that’s okay too. I want to share naturally, with everybody, what’s going on in my life.
DAMAN: You play Robby Keene on “Cobra Kai” and if we’re not mistaken, season four will premiere in December on Netflix. Without giving away any spoilers, what can fans of the show expect from your character in the upcoming season?
Tanner Buchanan: This is such a huge season for everyone. But for Robby, this is definitely the deciding year for what path he will most likely continue on for the rest of his life, or at least most of it. So, it does get a bit intense.
DAMAN: In your opinion, what would be the number one reason to get into the show for anyone who missed the initial broadcast?
Tanner Buchanan: I think the main reason people should go watch it is because it’s just a fun yet truthful show. There is something in there everyone can relate to, because all of our characters feel like real human beings that could be a part of your own life.
DAMAN: Over the past three seasons, what do you think you’ve learned about yourself through playing Robby Keene?
Tanner Buchanan: I think the main thing I’ve learned is the need for balance in life. You always have to have balance because without it your life is going to get too crazy, and you need that time to step back and relax sometimes.
DAMAN: Did you face any difficulties filming the martial arts scenes on “Cobra Kai” or have you had trainings before?
Tanner Buchanan: I think every time we film fight scenes it’s difficult, but in a way of trying to make sure the action is getting better and better. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure that each fight is better than the last, and that always makes it at least a little bit difficult.
DAMAN: When you’re considering a potential show to join, what do you look for?
Tanner Buchanan: I usually look for a really well-developed story. The next thing is how the character can stretch me and/or allow me to continue to learn and grow as an actor.
DAMAN: What would your dream role and film look like?
Tanner Buchanan: It’s hard to say what a dream role would be as I want to do everything I possibly can as an actor, but playing a superhero is definitely up there on the list.
DAMAN: What would you say does it take for an actor like yourself to make it in today’s entertainment world?
Tanner Buchanan: The biggest thing to me is persistence. This industry can be very taxing and the pressures can even make you not want to continue in the profession. You have to be patient and you just have to keep going.
DAMAN: When you’re not busy working, how do you like to spend your time?
Tanner Buchanan: A lot of the time you’ll find me playing guitar and writing music. That’s how I’ve always spent a lot of my time, and it’s one of those things that really relaxes my mind, body and soul.
DAMAN: Now that you have quite a few film titles under your belt, what would you say are some of the best parts of your chosen profession?
Tanner Buchanan: Just that I am lucky enough to be doing something I love. When I act, it never feels like I’m working. It truly is something I get to have fun doing all day long.
DAMAN: Ultimately, what is it that drives you? And conversely, what makes you happiest when you just want to switch off for a while?
Tanner Buchanan: I think the main thing that drives me is the happiness and love that I have for this business. I continue to strive for what I want to be doing all the time, and that’s being on set and performing and learning as much as I can.
DAMAN: What new milestones do you want to tackle next?
Tanner Buchanan: Entering the producing world of the business. I am super passionate about finding stories that need to be told, that people can relate to and that the world will love. Getting those stories made is what I’m trying to do next.
DAMAN: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Tanner Buchanan: I’m continuing to try and get some projects off the ground on the producing side of the business. As for being in front of the camera, I’m going to be on a project for the next couple months that I’m sure will be announced very soon.
PHOTOGRAPHY MITCHELL NGUYEN McCORMACK
STYLING KIMBERLY GOODNIGHT
GROOMING SONIA LEE AT EXCLUSIVE ARTIST MANAGEMENT
HAIR USING KEVIN MURPHY, SKIN USING KARUNA
PRODUCTION & CASTING MEDIA PLAYGROUND PR
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