Pop-Culturalist Chats with Lukas Gage
The mark of a great actor is the ability to create an emotional connection between their character and the audience, and one fast-rising star that’s perfected this talent is scene-stealer Lukas Gage. He’s one of the leading men on AwesomenessTV’s hit series, T@gged. The psychological thriller, which is now in its second season, centers around a group of high school students who are targeted on social media by an anonymous group called ‘The Zoo’. Lukas plays Brandon, a multifaceted athlete and bully with a troubled home life. There are moments you’ll hate his character and moments where you’ll find yourself rooting for him. Pop-Culturalist was lucky enough to chat with him about the complexity of the role, the budding relationship between his character and Rowan, and what’s to come.
P-C: Brandon has a bigger arc in season two, what was the collaboration like between you and Hannah Macpherson (director) in terms of developing your character?
Lukas: Hannah and I totally bonded after working together on season one. I think she created a few parallels in my own life that are similar to Brandon’s. It was so easy collaborating with her because I feel like she has this innate ability to understand character arcs and how to create empathy for a character that most people wouldn’t think is a good person.
P-C: How did you describe Brandon’s progression from season one to season two?
Lukas: From the viewer’s perspective, Brandon is villainous and flawed in season one, but in season two, you get to watch him grow as a person and see some of his amazing qualities, like how protective he is over the people he cares about.
P-C: What was the most surprising thing you learned about him?
Lukas: On paper, you see this typical athlete who is popular and a bit of a bully, but it’s the small details of his human condition that make him compelling and entertaining. For instance, he lies about how great his life is, but then he goes home and feels incredibly lonely and takes comfort with a stuffed animal. I think what surprised me the most was how much loneliness and emptiness he feels inside.
P-C: Brandon struggles with doing the right thing and the pressures of fitting in. Will we see more of this internal conflict throughout the season? And will Brandon have a redeeming moment?
Lukas: Definitely, I think that Brandon is dealing with the pressures that so many teens can relate to. His set of tools in season one are a little ill-equipped, so we’ll see more of that conflict and the different ways he deals with his issues this season. You’ll have to wait and see how that pans out!
P-C: We’ve seen that Brandon doesn’t have the greatest relationship with his father, what’s the backstory there?
Lukas: We learn that Brandon has a physically abusive relationship with his dad and we learn more about his own aggression and the why he treats people the way he does.
P-C: There’s an interesting relationship forming between Brandon and Rowan, what can you tease about it?
Lukas: I love that relationship so much and how the fans are responding to it. Opposites really do attract and like the rest of the fans, I’m ready for that first kiss to happen already!
P-C: The show reminds viewers to be mindful of what they share online. Do you ever find yourself censoring what you share?
Lukas: No, and I need to get better at it. My mom texts me once a week to delete some dumb tweet I thought was funny. I need better censors.
P-C: What was your favorite scene to film this season and why?
Lukas: The rooftop scene with Rowan is my favorite of the season. We did that scene with no cuts, one take, and I think it’s shot beautifully by our amazing cinematographer. It feels very organic and it’s full of discoveries.
P-C: If you could play another character on the show, who would it be and why?
Lukas: I would want to play Rowan this season. She has so many different layers and secrets to her, and she is similar to Brandon in regards to the not judging a book by its cover. I think if you paint in large strokes, you don’t get the intricate details, and I think Rowan’s most redeeming qualities are the smaller, more subtle things.
P-C: Who is someone you’d love to work with in the future?
Lukas: The performances by Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies and Elizabeth Moss in Handmaid’s Tale are some of the most exquisite acting I’ve seen on screen all year. I want to be in a scene with them and have some of their magic rub off onto me.
P-C: What’s your dream role?
Lukas: I want to be in any project that has Kenneth Lonergan or Paul Thomas Anderson attached.
P-C: Do you have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?
Lukas: I recently shot Assassination Nation, a film that I’m really excited about, with an amazing director and a great cast. I also have a project I did for Netflix coming out in the next couple months, but I can’t really talk about it.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Lukas: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or Vanderpump Rules
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Lukas: We Bought a Zoo. I was asked to leave the theater for crying too hard.
P-C: Favorite book?
Lukas: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
P-C: Favorite play or musical?
Lukas: The Monogamist by Christopher Kyle and Fun Home for a musical.
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Lukas: I love pop music so much. I’m not afraid to admit that I love Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus.
P-C: Hidden talent?
Lukas: I am a good artist, I think, and I have my artwork tattooed on a few of my friends’ bodies.
P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
Lukas: Easy, “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette.
Photo Credit: AwesomenessTV