BSCkids was lucky enough to sit down with Forrest Wheeler, one of the stars of the hit comedy series “Fresh Off the Boat!”
Wheeler first began acting when he joined a class at the age of seven and he quickly discovered his passion and talent. In just a few years, Forrest has developed a thriving career working on numerous commercials, live performances, talk shows, voice-overs and several TV Shows including “Community”, “New Girl” and “Chasing Life”.
He soon landed his first big screen role in the comedy film starring Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” as a Cambodian boy who is presented a rabbit as a pet and takes it home to his family for dinner. His roles as the young Kuai-Liang in “Mortal Kombat: Legacy II” and recently the popular movie “Such Good People” were also great opportunities to showcase his acting talents.
Wheeler is known for playing Emery Huang on the hit ABC series “Fresh Off The Boat.” The series follows a family in the 90’s who just moved to suburban Orlando from Washington DC’s Chinatown. It’s a culture shock for his immigrant family in the comedy about pursuing the American Dream. Forrest co-stars with Constance Wu and Randall Park. Season 2 of “Fresh Off The Boat” premieres September 22nd at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.
Tell us about your character on “Fresh Off the Boat.” Do you share any similarities with Emery?
I play Emery, the middle brother of the Huang family. He is funny, active, easygoing, and is a really good student. In that way, he is like me; but I am the only child in my family while Emery has two brothers.
The show is about the family element, do you and your co-stars have a family element off screen?
Yes, we do hang out off screen, and attend birthday parties, and have dinner together, etc. It’s fun to have brothers on and off screen, but fun for my mom that they don’t come home with us at the end of the day.
What is your favorite episode of “Fresh Off the Boat”.
My favorite episode is Season I’s finale “So Chineez”. It was so fun filming the Chinese Language Class (CLC) scene. I also love the fact that you see my face above the “So Chineez” license plate in the very last shot.
You have appeared on several shows already including “Community”, “New Girl” and “Chasing Life.” Which has been the most fun so far? (other than your current show.)
I had the most fun on “Community” as my co-stars and I got to play with action figures in the “G.I. Jeff” episode.
Along with television shows, you have also appeared on a few movies. Do you prefer the television experience or working on movies?
I enjoy working in TV a little bit more because I feel I have more opportunity to develop my character. For example, I really enjoy my role on Fresh off the Boat because I can keep growing with my character, Emery. That’s what is so satisfying about playing a character long term.
What do you do for hobbies outside of acting?
I do martial arts (both traditional and extreme form), play tennis and have just started playing in a band. I used to play drums, but now I’m learning how to play base guitar and keyboard.
Do you find it difficult to be an actor and go to school and do regular kid things?
No, I love being busy. I love my teacher on set, and I try to fit in as many other activities as I can during my down time. I think I have a good balance. Plus, my mom is great at keeping me on track.
How supportive was your family when you decided you wanted to be an actor?
My parents are very supportive! I occasionally remember to thank my mom for driving me around to auditions for all these years.
Do your friends treat you differently since becoming a more prominent actor?
No, to them I’m just Forrest. That’s why they are my friends.
It takes hard work, persistence and motivation, on top of continuous training, to be successful at anything you do, acting or otherwise. You can never give up following your dream.