|Prentice pursues acting career, lands co-starring role |
|Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:07 pm |
| By GLENDA CAUDLE |
Special Features Editor
Justin Prentice knew from the time he was a very little boy that acting was his goal. A role in “Malibu Country,” a new television sitcom starring country music star Reba McEntire as his mother and showbiz veteran Lily Tomlin as his grandmother, is his first “star”ring opportunity.
Prentice is the son of former Union City resident Janet (Wright) and David Prentice of Nashville and is the grandson of Union Citian Katherine Wright and the late Clifford Wright and of Carl and Pat Prentice of Nashville. He has already appeared in TV shows such as “Criminal Minds,” “The Middle” and “Melissa & Joey” and in a recurring role as Brad the intern on “iCarly.” He also had a role in the critically acclaimed “Terri,” starring John C. Reilly, in the Sundance feature.
Area residents can now see him in a much larger role on the ABC show on Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
At 18, Prentice says he first voiced his hopes and dreams to his parents about 10 years ago. “I remember rollerblading with my mother in an empty parking lot in Nashville, and that’s when I first mentioned that I wanted to act,” he says.
“We’ve always known we had a great kid, but we didn’t realize how truly talented he was until we watched him in his first theatre production,” says his mother. “We were blown away by his performance, as was the audience. That’s when we realized he might be right … acting could be his future.”
In order to help Justin follow his dream, the Prentice family made a major life-change decision and the young actor and his mother moved to California.
“The hardest thing was definitely moving across the country to a foreign place,” Mrs. Prentice says of the decision that split the family between Tennessee — where her husband and Justin’s father remained — and the West Coast. “However, we were happy to do it, if it meant Justin was able to do what he truly loved. Like every parent, we want him to be successful and happy.”
“My family has been very supportive of my ambitions, and I am forever grateful,” the young actor says.
While Justin has taken acting classes throughout his career to better his craft, he has also found time for indulging his passion for a variety of sports and for enjoying music — both as an instrumentalist and a singer. Acting, however, is his main passion and his ultimate ambition is to work consistently as an actor.
“Acting brings the most joy to my life. If I get to do it on a regular basis, then I’ll be a happy camper. I love doing television, and ultimately I want to break into feature films.”
“Malibu Country,” which premiered Nov. 2 and has been picked up for a full season, focuses on the life and times of a former aspiring country music singer from Nashville who dumps her cheating husband and moves her family to California to start over and focus on her own music career. That family includes her sharp-tongued, medicinal-marijuana using mother, Lily Tomlin; her teenage son (Prentice); and her daughter (Juliette Angelo), who face their own challenges in a new world where traditional Southern values are far from the norm.
Prentice came to the role through multiple auditions. Alerted to the possibilities by his agent and manager, he first displayed his talent to the series’ casting directors. After that, there was a producer session that included readings and then a “chemistry” read with Reba, to gauge their compatability.
A work session followed, in preparation for the studio test, and then, finally, he had his main opportunity to showcase his talent.
“Then, after all of that, I got the call that the part was mine. Definitely one of the most exciting moments in my life,” he says.
The series is guaranteed 13 episodes and most of those have been filmed already.
Prentice says he doesn’t want to be a carbon copy of any other actor and has no particular mentor or actor that he tries to base his own work on. “I strive to be my own person and, therefore, my own actor. However, if a role required me to play a specific type of character, then I would certainly dissect the work of other actors who have played comparable parts. I would study their performances, and real life people, and throw in my own influence, to bring something to the character that no one else had brought before.”
While he enjoys playing music and being an outdoorsman, acting is the passion he puts in first place, and it consumes most of his time. Especially these days.
“The entertainment industry is not for the faint of heart. There are a multitude of challenges and hardships that one has to overcome. However, if you are truly dedicated, the hard times will only make you stronger. I absolutely love what I do, but not everyone may feel the same way. My best advice is to make sure the entertainment industry is your passion before setting sail on the journey,” he says.
Mrs. Prentice says her son has always been mature for his age, but he has become a savvy and worldly young man as he has pursued his goal. “Hollywood and the entertainment business is such a complex industry that it is an ongoing learning experience.”
For Prentice, the challenges have been many, but they have been welcome. “Because I love what I do so much, I really don’t see them as challenges. All of the hardship just rolls off, like water off a duck’s back. The most exciting thing is definitely getting to do what I love on a daily basis. It also doesn’t hurt to be part of such a great and talented team of people. Everyone I work with is so humble and talented. It really makes for a fantastic work environment.” Published in The Messenger 12.13.12