Interview With Star Of Hulu’s “Pen15” Taj Cross!
We recently had a chance to chat with Taj Cross about getting started in the entertainment industry, working on Hulu’s “Pen 15,” upcoming projects, and more!
- How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
After auditioning for about a year, I screen tested for Jim Kerry’s son in the show “Kidding”. I lost the role to another great actor, but that made me realize how far I could really go. A couple of months after that I got the role of Sam in “PEN15”. I believe everything happens for a reason and PEN15 was a perfect role for me.
- What was your first big project that you worked on?
I had no idea it was going to take off like this. I knew it was an amazing show with an amazing script, and had a great role. I’m still so blown away by the support from the public. To work with this level of actors on my first role was incredible, and I’m so grateful to have learned so much.
- What can you tell us about your most recent project “PEN15”?
“PEN15” is about Maya and Anna who are two best friends in 7th grade, trying to fit in and doing whatever they can to become popular. While at the same time they are finding themselves. The fact that they’re doing this as adult actresses playing 13-year-olds surrounded by real middle schoolers, is one of the many reasons why it’s so funny.
- How would you describe your character?
I play “Sam”: the lovable teasing friend of Maya and Anna who has a dork posse of guys. Throughout the show, Sam is discovering who he is and what his relationship with his friends truly are. As all 13-year-olds do, at one point in the show Sam makes a mistake that could change the way his friends see him.
- Do you relate to him at all?
The way I relate to Sam is in a few different ways. I joke a lot with my group of friends at school. I’m super sensitive and like Sam, I hold things close to the heart. I’m not as “douchey” as Sam so I had to increase that, but that was the fun part.
- What has been your favorite episode you’ve filmed so far?
My favorite episode to film was “Wild Things.” In one scene at “Brendan’s” house, Sam’s girlfriend Jenna (played by Carmina Garay) and I were sitting on the couch talking to each other as our characters. The camera was rolling but they were still setting up for the scene. When they heard us improvising they stopped everybody from making noise and put the camera on us. It was really fun stepping into our characters without the written lines.
- What has the fan reaction been like to the series?
It’s really surreal and cool. I’ve never experienced so much support from fans. I’ve had a lot of really nice comments and messages on my Instagram which I got to admit feels good.
- Since the show is about middle-school awkwardness, do you have an awkward middle-school experience you can share with us?
There is plenty to choose from, but I’ll have to tell you about the time when some friends dared me and this girl to kiss. I was very short at the time, so what I THOUGHT would be a good plan was to stand on a tall ledge so I could be the one to “lean down.” Looking back now, I’m cringing so hard at what I did, I must of looked like an idiot.
- Where can fans watch the show?
It’s only available on Hulu.
- Are you working on any other projects?
It’s pilot season and I’ve been super busy with auditions so stay tuned.
- What are your social media handles?
Instagram: @taj_cross Facebook: @thetajcross
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