Podtalk: Actor Blake Jenner Nurtures ‘American Animals’

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CHICAGO – One of the coolest-cat young actors is Blake Jenner. The versatile performer began his career on TV’s “Glee,” portraying Ryder Lynn. Since that time, three short years ago, he has broken out in a big way, landing in the ensemble cast of “Everybody Wants Some!!” and “The Edge of Seventeen.” His latest is a combination documentary/narrative film, the unusual and absorbing “American Animals.”

“American Animals” tells the absolute true story of four college-age pals (portrayed by Jenner, Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan and Jared Abrahamson) who decide it would be awesome to rob a nearby university of their rare book collection, including a John James Audubon first edition that is virtually priceless. Director Bart Layton began his career in documentaries, so he uniquely has the real perpetuators – 10 years after the event – telling their story doc-style, while cutting to the actors playing out the events. The film effectively blurs the line between how we think a heist should work, like the movies, and how it actually goes down. Blake Jenner portrays Chas Allen, the getaway driver of the crew, and one of their most volatile personalities.

Man in the Mirror: Blake Jenner as Getaway Driver Chas Allen in ‘American Animals
Photo credit: The Orchard

As mentioned, Blake Jenner has had a whirlwind three years. Born in Miami, he began by doing improvisation comedy there. He made the inevitable move to Los Angeles in the late 2000s, right after high school graduation. After a couple roles in short films and TV, he scored big in 2012 by winning a reality show called “The Glee Project,” the prize being a seven episode run on “Glee” as Ryder Lynn. He became a regular on the show after that, and closed out the series.

In 2016, Jenner scored a role in director Richard Linklater’s nostalgia comedy “Everybody Wants Some!!,” and talked to HollywoodChicago.com on behalf of that movie. It was also during that time that Jenner was on the short list to portray the young Han Solo, the role that eventually went to Aiden Ehrenreich (in the earlier interview, Jenner expressed what he would do to a Wookie to land that part. Click here.). Despite all that, Blake Jenner continues to hone his craft and climb the show business ladder.

His Hair is Perfect: Blake Jenner on ‘The Glee Project’
Photo credit: Oxygen Media

In the following Podtalk, Blake Jenner describes the unique documentary/narrative set-up of “American Animals,” and whether being a heist man is more difficult than being an actor in Hollywood.

”American Animals” continues its nationwide release in Chicago on June 8th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Blake Jenner, Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Jared Abrahamson and Ann Dowd. Written and directed by Bart Layton. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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