Jake Austin Walker from “Stargirl” Shares His Insight Into the Superhero Genre

The American actor and—surprise, surprise!—singer chats about his latest TV project as well as his non-superhero roles and a bit about music.

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Jake Austin Walker is a multi-talented man, to say the least. First, as an actor, he currently plays as Henry King Jr. in CW’s hit series “Stargirl,” which has been well received. Walker is also an accomplished musician. His songs—including “F*ck Love,” “Rolling Stones” and “I’m Ready”—can be found on Spotify, YouTube and other platforms.

Here, the American actor and singer-songwriter shares with DA MAN about what makes his character in “Stargirl” so interesting, his journey from the very beginning and his musical inspiration.

DA MAN: Hi, Jake. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. How are you doing these days?
Jake Austin Walker:
Thank you for having me. I’m good. The lockdown definitely took some getting used to. I’m sure that’s the same with everyone. Just keeping myself busy as much as I can!

DA MAN: You’re now starring in CW’s hit series “Stargirl.” Now, for some of our readers who are just starting to get to know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
JAW:
Man, this is always the hardest question. To keep it short: I’m a comic book dork and video game enthusiast at heart, which is why “Stargirl” was a dream role for me. Music is also a passion of mine and given the current circumstances of the global pandemic I’ve really been able to explore musical styles and learn new things. I also started taking reading seriously about five years ago and that’s really impacted who I am for the better, helping me get to know myself and understand myself and our world on a deeper level. All in all, I try to be as approachable and malleable in my growth as a human being and I’m constantly trying to put myself in a position that would force me to learn, not only about what I love to do but also who I want to be for the better.

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DA MAN: How did you start acting?
JAW
: I started acting in local plays, but never got big parts. I think mostly because I was nervous as a child, but I loved it though! Being on stage and making people laugh, that had a real effect on me. After a few plays my mother and I took the cliché path of a talent search in Florida. If accepted, I would get free tickets to Disney World. So, it was a win-win for eight year old Jake. My talent search application was accepted, I went and the rest was history. Of course, I faced many, many, obstacles along the way. Yet, in the end, it was all worth it.

DA MAN: So, how did you get involved in “Stargirl”?
JAW:
“Stargirl” casting was like any other, or so I thought. I initially went in for my co-star Cameron Gellman’s role, which didn’t end up panning out. They told me they’d be in touch with a character they were writing that they thought I might be right for. So, a long month goes by and I’ve just about forgotten about the project—which is what you have to do to stay sane—and I get a call to come back and read for this mystery character. His alias was “Charlie Gates.” I had no idea what his character entailed or anything, and I was totally coming in blind. The audition was a success and I have to give thanks to the wonderful casting team of Rich Delia, Farrah West and Mark Droter, who have always been beyond amazing to me. I can’t state enough how important it is to have a casting office where you can feel comfortable as an actor. They really let me explore choices with the character which I think helped me seal the deal on the role. It’s still crazy to me talking about this. Very surreal.

Hoodie by Oren Kash, pants by Paraval, sneakers by Topman

DA MAN: And for any of our readers who might be unfamiliar with the source material, can you give us a brief rundown of “Stargirl”?
JAW:
I’d be glad to! “Stargirl” is an original character written by the comic legend Geoff Johns in honor of his sister Courtney. I suggest readers do their research on the origin of the comic and Geoff’s journey; it really is such an amazing story. Stargirl aka Courtney Whitmore is basically just your regular girl turned bad-ass superhero and her main power is this mythical staff called the Cosmic Staff. The catch is that it only works for those the staff deems worthy, which is what makes Whitmore so powerful. Our show revolves around Whitmore finding that staff and the baggage and responsibility that comes with it. Oh, and her step dad used to be Starman’s sidekick aka the original staff user who was the leader of the J.S.A. (Justice Society of America). Who also are basically the original Justice League. See? You’re curious now, huh?

DA MAN: Did you read the comic before this?
JAW:
I actually read a few issues from the original comic “Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.,” when I was much younger, so I had to do a full refresh after I got the job. That being said, my character didn’t originate in that comic. He’s actually from this series of comics that sprung from the golden age “J.S.A.” comics called “Infinity Inc.” I highly suggest anyone looking to watch the show to also read the comic because we have a lot of fun aster eggs!

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DA MAN: You play as Henry King Jr. Can you tell us more about this character of yours?
JAW: Henry King Jr. is an acquired taste of a human being. I think what drew me to the character was how multi-dimensional he was. Also, knowing a little of his comic roots, I was curious how far down that rabbit hole he’d go. I mean his father is a super villain. His two girlfriends are on opposing sides of the fight, one I.S.A. (Injustice Society of America) the other J.S.A (Justice Society of America). But, on top of all that, he’s also coming into his own powers and learning what they mean and how to control them. He’s truly a damaged person looking for some sort of lifeline through all of this and I’m so thankful I get to ride that journey with him. It let me act out certain scenes and moments I could have never dreamed of this early into my career.

DA MAN: Did you go through any special preparations before filming “Stargirl?”
JAW:
Luckily, Geoff was always a phone call away for any questions I had about Henry. I was also very lucky to work alongside Christopher James Baker because he would always be so intrigued and welcoming when it came to brainstorming our relationship—no pun intended. As the character grew and we started marching into uncharted territory, I would start writing in my journal to keep up with what Henry was feeling in the between moments. I was really given a lot of free reign.

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DA MAN: Is there anything you can share with us about what the future holds for your character?
JAW:
I think fans will be excited to see where Henry goes. The Henry you are first introduced to is not the same Henry you see when the season is over. They really let me have a field day with this character and I think the fan service will be talked about for months to come.

DA MAN: What would you say is the number-one reason to watch “Stargirl”?
JAW:
This is tough. too. Cause there are truly so many reasons. Number one reason to watch “Stargirl”: The effects and stunts…

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DA MAN: Now, TV series based on comic book franchises have been a bit hit-and-miss. “Stargirl,” the CW’s latest entry into the superhero genre, manages to be well received. What do you think are the key factors behind this success?
JAW:
I think we’ve had luck in our execution of the show, because we all care about the characters we are playing, there weren’t any egos. It didn’t matter where you came from or who you were, we all equally supported each other’s time and character choices, which I think really shows in the end result. Plus, they really went all out when it comes to the stunts and CGI on this show. The sets were some of the craziest I’ve ever stepped foot on and the quality shines through every episode. This was such a special project to Geoff and he was going to make sure every inch of it was as perfect as he could get it. We all were actively trying to give it the best we could for him and the fans.

DA MAN: You mentioned earlier that you liked comic books. Who is your favorite comic book character?
JAW:
I’m a huge comic book fan. Like, ridiculous. I grew up kind of a loner due to being in the middle of nowhere on a farm and also being more of a heavy-set kid with social issues which didn’t blend well with public school crowds. So, my escape was video games and comic books. My uncle had a big stash that I’d browse through at my grandma’s every day after school. To me, you’d spend all day trying to fit in, trying to be something you’re not. But when I got home, I could get lost in this world where people were like me, yet they were these powerful beings who were still dealing with real world problems like high school and bullying. It was just the absolute coolest thing to me. As far as favorite heroes go, it’s probably in this order: Spiderman, Red Hood, Batman, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Deadpool.

Outfit by A. Tiziano

DA MAN: Moving from superheroes to other genres, you’re also starring in an upcoming movie titled “12 Mighty Orphans.” Can you tell us more about this title and your role in it?
JAW:
“12 Mighty Orphans” started shooting exactly two weeks after I wrapped “Stargirl,” so I didn’t really have too much time to come off of that original high! It really was a dream being blessed to go back to back from one amazing project to another. Two completely different worlds. One show is about earth-shattering superheroes fighting for the “justice” of the world during 2020. And the other tells the story of 12 orphans who formed a football team in the year of 1929 which was one of the darkest times in America. “12 Mighty Orphans” also served as a continuation for Luke Wilson and I to work together again right after “Stargirl.” He plays Legendary NFL coach Rusty Russel. I can’t wait to talk more about the film as we get closer to launch! I think it’s a story everyone can relate to. We all love a good underdog!

DA MAN: Moving on to another side of Jake Austin Walker, besides acting, you’re also an accomplished musician. Your songs like “F*ck Love,” “Rolling Stones,” and “I’m Ready” can be heard on Spotify, YouTube and other platforms. Can you tell us a bit more about your love for music?
JAW:
Music is also a major passion. In a perfect world I could follow in the footsteps of other actor-musicians like Justin Timberlake and Jamie Foxx. It’d be a dream to be able to continue both acting and music simultaneously. I’ve been singing for as long as I could remember, and my parents used to joke that once I started, I never really stopped. About five years ago, I met my long-time producer and friend Jim Roach. We clicked from the start and have been going down this journey together. Not sure where I would be without his guidance. We have really started to crack down on finding my “voice” and the type of music I want to make.

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DA MAN: Where does your musical inspiration come from?
JAW:
I’ve always been heavily influenced by the classic crooners, actually. Frank Sinatra, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke. Love those guys! As I got older, I really started migrating towards Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R, The Black Keys, James Bay. The list goes on and on.

DA MAN: On the other hand, can you tell us more about your latest song?
JAW:
Yeah! My new single “Not Okay” is basically a summer song we’ve been sitting on for a while that originated out of the idea of how we love to lie to ourselves after a tragic situation. Reverse psychology can be a little problematic, though. That’s basically what the song finds its feet in. It’s a little different than my last single but that’s what also makes me so excited for people to hear it!

Shirt by Khujo, jeans by Guess

DA MAN: Do you have any wise words or a favorite quote to live by every day?
JAW:
One of my favorites: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

DA MAN: One last question. On the long run, what are some of your big career goals? What are some of the major career milestones that you want to tackle next?
JAW:
My top three next milestones would be: One, lead my own series. Two, be part of a movie franchise I really love. Last but not least, to go on tour. I’m honestly so thankful for where this journey has taken me even if it all where to end today. That’s the funny thing with dreams and milestones, you never really never know what the next one is until you’re there.

Shirt by Raga Man, Jeans by Khujo, jacket by Dulce Bestia, shoes by Topman

PHOTOGRAPHY Ian Phillips

STYLING Kimberly Goodnight

GROOMER Robert Bryan at Exclusive Artists Management

U.S.-BASED CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mitchell Nguyen McCormack

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