Popular Guy: JanLuis Castellanos
Apr 23, 2020
Popular Guy JanLuis Castellanos is quickly climbing the ranks of young Hollywood. From his time as Topher in Marvel’s Runaways to joining one of the most notable shows (and casts) of this generation, 13 Reasons Why.
From model to actor to takeover king (check it out), check out these 13 questions from the new 13 Reasons star!
1. What can you tell us about the 4th season of “13 Reasons Why” and your character Diego Torres?
I can say that we start to see some closure on a lot of the questions these characters ask themselves. Diego is a very charismatic, aggressive, and fiercely loyal leader to his fellow football teammates who struggle with emotional disconnect from the loss of one of their own. As Diego struggles himself with his own grief and confusion, he finds himself falling for a special yet complicated girl at Liberty High. I love this character because of his many layers.
2. Were you a fan of the show before booking Diego? How did you prepare for this role?
I considered myself a fan from the beginning, but when I saw how much this show impacted others and how they felt about it; I felt I wasn’t even close to that level of fandom.
It didn’t take much time for me to dive deep into the role. When I first met Brian Yorkey, we spoke about the character and he also asked some very interesting questions about my childhood, which is one thing I’m very grateful for. I later saw how the experiences I shared with Brian reflected in the writing. ‘Diego’ is one of the characters (that I have played) that I’ve felt most connected to. Beside focusing on the craft of acting, I didn’t have much time to prepare for the role, it all happened so fast. I put on an extra seven pounds for the role, if that counts (Haha).
3. You’re also starring in the sci-fi drama series “Don’t Look Deeper”. Both centers around high school problems, but what were the differences in shooting each show?
It was so good to work with Catherine Hardwick and I’m super excited to see what an incredible job she’s done. With whatever project comes my way, I’m always going to aim to do a better job than the last. “Don’t Look Deeper’ is centered around high school problems, however, I felt like I connected with ‘Diego’ on “13 Reasons Why” on a whole other level. “Don’t Look Deeper” was filmed in 30 days while “13 Reason Why,” was filmed in 5 months. Although I approach my craft to the best of my ability with whatever project that may come my way, I was able to explore ‘Diego’ a lot more and convey his side of the story, within the story itself and I found that to be pretty cool. They were both great experiences that I took a lot from.
4. Speaking of high school, when you were in high school you were a state champion wrestler who also did choir and musical theatre. Did you have any Troy Bolton moments?
I often found myself running from one to the other (wrestling and musical theatre). There was this one moment, I was auditioning for “West Side Story” and auditioning for a solid 2 weeks, going to callbacks and not hearing anything afterwards. I started feeling discourage and even thought I was done with auditioning. A while later, when I was at a wrestling tournament, I found out I got ANOTHER callback. The downside was that it was a same day callback, so I had to rush out of the tournament as soon as I was done, and I made it just in time. The next thing I knew, I was already working on the choreography.
5. Topher on Marvel’s Runaways was a cunning character to say the least. What was your favorite part about playing him?
Topher was so fun to bring to life. I was like a little kid at a candy store. I was so new to the scene that it was my first time on a real set and portraying a Marvel character. Even though I felt pressure to do the best job, it was all a kid could ask for. How often does one get to pretend they have superpowers?
6. Which of these characters do you think was the most challenging for you to play?
7. Of the characters, who do you see more of yourself in?
Diego, for sure!
8. During the takeover you mentioned two of your favorite books were “Outwitting The Devil” and “Panic”. How do you find your reads?
I try to force myself to read because I usually end up enjoying what I’m reading. If something good pops up, I’ll go ahead and read it. I usually stumble upon my reads. Recommendations often work best.
9. Not only are you from the Dominican Republic, you are also into musical theatre. What does a show like “In the Heights” mean to you?
It means the world! I love hearing people speak about my country. As the ole’ saying goes, ‘It puts you on the map.’ I’m a big fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda and think he created something magical with a show like “In The Heights.”
10. Post college you worked in modeling. How did that transpire into you becoming an actor?
It paid the bills I guess you could say. I really came out to Los Angeles with one goal in mind and it has a lot to do with growth. I didn’t force myself to be an actor but I’m glad it found a way into my life.
11. Describe your experience when you first moved to Los Angeles in one sentence.
Holy crap, I’m actually doing it!
12. What is something you wish more people would ask you?
It doesn’t matter to me, just say hello if you see me.
13. What are you currently working on… other than not going crazy at home?
My long-term goal is to produce films and shows that everyone and anyone could enjoy watching. I have a few ideas that are generally just flowing but I’m looking to have them come to fruition.
Keep up with JanLuis on his Instagram! Go on… it’s clickable!
- Photographer Bobby Quillard @bobbyquillard
- Groomer Arlene Willis @missarlenethequeen