Matthew Fahey's best known for his role as Ricky Schwartz on MTV's drama, Awkward, and he's been in similar shows like Miss Guided and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but if teen dramas weren't enough, his resume extends beyond.
He has made appearances in Without a Trace, Dexter, Cold Case and TNT crime drama Rizzoli & Isles. His first major gig was playing Rory Culkin's friend in the film It Runs in the Family, and he played a younger version of Liam Neeson's character in Kinsey. Fahey also voiced a bully in Monster House.
So, why haven't you heard of him sooner? Trust us, you will be hearing a lot more about him in the coming year.
The 21-year-old owner of Auteur Legacy Productions is just getting started. Right now, he's gearing up to premiere his short film Picture Paris alongside actress Julia Louis-Dreyfuss at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
And Fahey appears in two 2012 Sundance Film Festival movies (which are actually two of the year's best):
Excision, a movie about a mentally unstable high school girl with some disturbing surgical ambitions; and The First Time, which tells the story of two teenagers falling in love after meeting at a party. (Check back for reviews on both).
We caught up with Fahey for an interview. He gave us some of his hopes for the next season of Awkward, his thoughts on Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Traci Lords and what we can expect from him next.
SLM: Is it weird being 21 and playing a high school kid in Awkward and these Sundance movies?
"Not really. I never 'really' went to high school. I was home schooled from middle school and then went to my freshman year of high school but got pneumonia and stopped going. So, it's cool to go back and experience it in that way (on Awkward). I am older, and everyone else on the show is older, but you get the feeling that you're back in high school."
SLM: I watched Awkward before this interview, and you seemed to tower over everyone. How tall are you?
"Ha ha, I'm 5' 10". The girls are on the shorter end, but Brett Davern (Jake Rosati) and I are probably the same height. Beau Mirchoff (Matty McKibben) is a little taller than both of us, but I think we're all pretty similar in height... minus the females."
SLM: What can we expect from the second season of Awkward?
"The writers are in the writing room right now, so I have no idea. So, stay tuned for the second season and be surprised like you were in the first season. To me, it's a surprise as well."
SLM: What do you hope will happen to your character, Ricky Schwartz, in the second season?
"Maybe it would be nice if they show a softer side of me. They kind of did that on the last episode of the first season. And possibly being the nerd I am with no athletic ability, it could be really fun to have me try out for the soccer team or football team or basketball team."
SLM: Are you at the point where you're getting stopped on the street by teen girls?
"I don't get recognized as much as Jillian Rose Reed (Tamara). We actually hang out; we're good friends, and people come up to her and say 'Awkward is my favorite show.' Then they just smile at me and walk away. It's because my hair is different than it is on the show. It's shorter and spikier, and on the show... it's really bad. Once in a while, people are like, 'you look familiar; are you an actor?' Then I say 'Awkward,' and they say 'Oh, that's how I knew you.' It's really funny when that happens."
SLM: Tell me about your characters on Excision and The First Time.
"In Excision, AnnaLynne McCord (Pauline) is this nerdy outcast in school, and everyone blows her off, and she comes up and talks to Jeremy Sumpter (Adam), and pretty much the whole time Jeremy and I are best friends in the movie—as in real life. And we kind of just give her crap and make it hard on her at school.
"My character in The First Time is Brendan Meltzer. He's the jock kid who's with the girl Dylan O'Brien (Dave) wants to be with. So, Victoria Justice (Jane) and I are dating, and he doesn't get the chance to be with her. Luckily for him, it all works out fine just the same."
SLM: So, if Ricky Schwartz from Awkward and your two characters from the Sundance films all got into a school yard brawl, who do you think would win and why?
"Probably my character in The First Time, because he's the jock kid, and I think even if he loses, his dad may bail him out. But I think he'd definitely win. And Ricky's very nerdy, so I don't think he could put up a fight at all. It would be a close call between my Excision and The First Time characters, but The First Time will win one way or another."
SLM: Will it be weird at all for fans to see you in Excision and The First Time back to back?
"The characters are kind of similar, so I don't think so. But they are definitely going to be shocked between the two films. I mean, Excision is a dark comedy, horror thriller, which is totally out of the box. And The First Time is a cute teen dramady. They'll definitely be shocked between these two polar opposites."
SLM: Doing any skiing while you're in Park City?
"No, but I was going to see if I could do some snowboarding. I'm from Connecticut, so I used to going out to my front yard every day to set up jumps and stuff. I hope I'll be able to get out there if time permits."
SLM: Matt, your resume is pretty extensive, and you've played so many different characters. What have been your favorite roles?
"I got to play Liam Neeson in Kinsey, a younger version of him, and work with Academy Award Winning director Bill Condon for that as well as on Gods and Monsters. I also worked with Emilio Estevez in the TV show Close to Home. It was an incredible experience working with two great and accepted directors. And I love working on Awkward with people that I can consider my family. I've enjoyed everything I've gotten the opportunity to play, but Awkward is the most like my family."
SLM: But it's not just acting now. We heard you're doing some music.
"I do some underground hip hop music for a group called W.E. It's mostly just writing poems and doing it so it's much more than just songs about getting drunk in the club with girls all over me—not the mainstream rap kind of thing. I find things that have a meaning to it and express it in my music. Nowadays, there's tons of music that doesn't really make any sense with no positive message to it. So, I'm trying to fill in a bit where all of that is lacking."
SLM: It seems like most of your roles has been as a co-star. When are we going to see you as the lead?
"I have my own production company, so we're working on a couple of web series and stuff like that. And I have a supporting role in the Picture Paris, with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, whose husband Brad Hall directed and wrote it. And there's some talk about some other stuff coming up, and hopefully those will get funding and I'll be the star of those films."
SLM: And what can we expect from Auteur Legacy in the near future?
"We shoot a lot of music videos. We have one kid signed over in Japan called Kidd Robin, and his video is on the MTV top ten in Japan. And there's this singer named Ellie Smith, who worked with us on an anti-bullying campaign and music video. Right now, it's being played in almost every school in Nevada and it's about to go nationwide."
SLM: What was it like working with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss?
"It was incredible working with her! She's such a professional and a sweet lady. She's very motherly—she has a kid who's my age so on set, she was very loving and kind of reminded me of my mom. It was really easy working with her and Bob. Everybody on that set was incredible, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the film turned out. They filmed in Paris, and the script is really great—it's out there, and you think it's a Desperate Housewives kind of show at first, but then it starts to get interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing it."
SLM: And what was it like working with Traci Lords in Excision?
"She's so cool. She's awesome. This was filmed back when Jeremy (Sumpter) and I were fishing a lot, and she was telling us all these crazy fishing stories. She told us about her and her husband fishing off jet skis, and she said they actually jet skied all the way to Catalina and were catching sharks and stuff like that. She's one of the coolest ladies I ever met. Really down to earth."
SLM: Before we part ways, any message you want to get out to your fans?
"Season two of Awkward is coming up, and I'm really looking forward to everyone seeing it. Thanks for all the support, and if I didn't have the fans and all the people who enjoyed the show, I wouldn't have a job. So, thank you very much."