Pop-Culturalist Chats with Steffan Argus
Passionate. Determined. Talented. These are a few ways to describe Steffan Argus. The singer-songwriter, model, and actor is crushing it, at well, just about everything. In May, he dropped his debut EP, Lost At Sea, and is currently starring as Hansen on AwesomenessTV’s award-winning series, The Commute. We were lucky enough to chat with him about the show, his EP, and his upcoming projects.
P-C: For readers that are familiar with The Commute, can you tell us about the show and your character?
Steffan: The Commute is a coming-of-age romance. There’s a relationship that forms between two teenagers who normally wouldn’t be in the same room together unless they were at school. They meet in this random situation and form this special bond and the series is basically about the drama that ensues. It’s a quirky summer teen romance. My character is Hansen and I play opposite Claudia Sulewski. Her character, Emma, is the lead. My character is kind of shy but very comfortable with himself. He’s not insecure about the fact that he doesn’t necessarily fit in, but that ends up attracting the attention of Emma, who is the most popular girl in school. She has a falling out with all of her friends because of unforeseen circumstances and then our characters get together and hit it off.
P-C: How did you get involved with the project?
Steffan: I got involved with The Commute last year. It came through as an audition, so I went in once and then they brought me back in for a chemistry read with Claudia. At the chemistry read, we found out that we are actually from the same hometown—we grew up five minutes away from each other. We bonded instantly over that and she had already booked the role for Emma, so the chemistry read was for how I worked with her and we got along so well and I ended up getting the call not too long after that.
P-C: The series won a Writers Guild of America award for short form new media. What about the script and story resonated with you the most?
Steffan: The writing is incredible. It’s such a genuine script that’s rooted in reality. There are several moments where you can see the raw emotion and that’s so valuable.
P-C: It’s your first series as a leading man. How did you prepare and what was the biggest lesson you learned from the experience?
Steffan: We didn’t have a lot of time before production began. I was so nervous going to the table read on the first day. That was a wild experience! I was nervous to meet the directors; I hadn’t met them or the writers. I was meeting everyone on the same day and I didn’t know Claudia at that time.
It was my first time on my own as well because I used to go to all my acting projects with my mom before I was 18, so this was one of the first few projects where I was kind of just doing everything on my own. It was quite the experience just figuring out how to manage all of that.
As soon as I got in the room, all those fears dissipated and I felt so comfortable and acting, for me, is one of my biggest passions. Once I was able to sit down and start working on it, all my fears went away and we were all working together. We were all lifting each other up and it wasn’t an oppressive environment at all. Everyone was super conducive to creativity and positive workflow.
P-C: How would you describe Hansen’s evolution from Season One to Season Two?
Steffan: He becomes more confident because of his relationship with Emma. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a relationship, but that’s what the whole show is about, what their human relationship is—are they just friends or are they a couple? From Season One to Season Two, Hansen grows a lot. He is a very responsible guy. He has to take care of his family—his family being his mom and that’s a whole other side story. She’s in a mental hospital and so he has to spend all of his time taking care of her.
He’s in a position where he needs to take care of his family but also wants to be a teenager. You see him grow and accept the responsibility that life has dealt him…but he has a positive outlook, which is important. He also becomes more comfortable with his relationship with Emma. He becomes more confident and flirtatious. It’s interesting to see that dynamic between them escalate.
P-C: Throughout the series, Hansen and Emma learn more and more about each other. What was the most surprising thing you learned about Claudia?
Steffan: We became best friends almost instantly. It felt like we knew each other our whole lives. It was insane to learn that we grew up five minutes away from each other, had some of the same friends, and went to the same winter camp. We looked up photos from that time and she was in pictures with some people I knew and I was in pictures with those same people but our paths never crossed. We talk about that a lot! Something else that I learned about her is that she’s an incredibly hard-working individual and she inspired me, and still does, all the time. She just really takes responsibility for herself and I think that’s really admirable.
P-C: There’s quite a few characters who are joining Season Two. Which new relationship was your favorite to explore and why?
Steffan: I really enjoyed the new characters that Jordan Doww and Jay Versace play. They’re my two best friends on the show and they’re so funny. Their dynamic is hilarious and it worked well with Hansen and Emma. It’s such a good group. We had a lot of fun in front of the camera.
P-C: The show is able to tell a lot of story in these bite-size episodes. I’m curious as an actor/viewer, which do you prefer?
Steffan: The way that it was shot was almost as if we were filming a movie. It didn’t feel like a TV show. The way that it was set up and structured felt like filming a feature film. I love the process of filming movies and honestly, I really appreciate these bite-size episodes because they feel more accessible to the younger generation, which is very important, and helps increase viewership, which is great because we spent so much time working on this. You can watch it on the go and then have conversations about it with your friends. It’s the perfect way to build awareness of the show and it’s the perfect platform for us to be on.
P-C: You also recently dropped your first EP—Lost At Sea. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Steffan: I’ve been trying to make music for the past couple of years. I released my first single last year, “Make Me Cry”, and ever since I released that, I got a taste of how it felt to put out my own music and I was obsessed. I love the process—I write all my own music and I’m always writing; most of the songs that I have on this EP I’ve written at least a year and a half ago. The oldest one was probably two years ago and that one was “Leaving London”. All these songs came together and I saw this body of music forming, so I had to get in the studio to record it, and once I finally did that, I started tailoring exactly what my sound was, figuring out exactly what kind of music I wanted to be making. It’s been a long time coming. I’m happy that it’s finally here. It’s been a pretty long process of figuring out the logistics of when and how I’d be releasing this music, but now it’s finally out, I feel like everything went perfectly and I’m so happy with it. I’m so happy to have all these songs out.
P-C: You did a showcase at the Mint not too long ago. Are there any plans to tour nationwide?
Steffan: The show at the Mint was so much fun! I performed with a band for the first time. I usually perform solo, but I assembled a little crew and a friend of mine played the keys and then I met this girl…I saw her at a show in Hollywood and we just had mutual friends and ended up talking after, so I asked her like, ‘Hey, do you want to play the drums?’ and she was like, ‘Sure’. She hooked me up with the guitarist and the bassist…we all got together and started practicing and we just got along so well! I wasn’t expecting to create a band that I would want to continue performing with. We ended up getting along so well and they’re so excited about music that we’re going to continue to perform together. We’ve already started planning more rehearsals and working on new music, so we’ll see where it takes us. I know that we’re going to be doing more performances, for sure. I don’t have a schedule, but there are definitely performances that are coming up in the future and I definitely want to get around the country. That’s something that will definitely be happening. We’ll go all over, we’ll go to as many places as we can—that’s what we all say.
P-C: Do you have a city or country that’s on your Bucket List to perform at?
Steffan: I want to perform in London. I would love to perform in New York, as well. I feel like London and New York are very similar to me. London’s kind of like the British version of New York, but I really love London. I would love to get out there and perform my music. That’s kind of like the heart of where music is. The music is very Peter Pan-esque and the first song, “Leaving London”, is about Peter Pan coming to London and taking Wendy away with him to Neverland. It would feel like it came full circle.
P-C: Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can chat about?
Steffan: Yeah! There’s the X-Men show, The Gifted, coming out this fall that I’m going to be part of—very excited about that! It’s an X-Men series. It’s going to be on Fox. It’s directed by Bryan Singer and I’m going to be playing one of the lead mutant girl’s boyfriend in the show. His name is Jack and there’s a lot of crazy stuff about the Strucker family. The dad works for the government and his job is to put mutants in jail—mutants like the X-Men. Then, he finds out that both of his children are mutants and they’ve been keeping it a secret, so that creates a lot of drama and action, and that’s what the show is about. I’m the daughter’s boyfriend.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Steffan: The Bachelorette or The Bachelor
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Steffan: I can’t think of anything that just doesn’t feel right, but I’ve watched Perks Of Being A Wallflower over 20 times, so I feel kind of guilty about that!
P-C: Favorite book?
Steffan: My favorite book right now is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.
P-C: A favorite play or musical?
Steffan: Favorite play I’ve ever seen is probably Hidden. I saw that in Hollywood a few years ago.
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Steffan: Probably Instagram. I like seeing people’s pictures.
P-C: Hidden talent?
Steffan: I don’t know if this is considered a talent, but it’s like a weird thing I can do. I have really weird shoulder blades and I can stick them out. One time, I was at the Nickelodeon hotel and they had the same question. We were applying to be on one of the fun game shows that they were doing and you had to write this fun fact about yourself. I wrote that I can stick out my shoulder blades and pick things up with them and so, when they tested the theory, I could actually do it and I picked up a flip flop with my shoulder blade. This was many years ago. I don’t know if I can still do it, but I always thought of that like a pretty special talent.
P-C: Go-to karaoke song?
Steffan: There aren’t any words in it, so I don’t know if this counts but my go-to song to sing to, and I only like to sing along with the instrumental part, is “Flying” by James Newton Howard. I know every single detail of that song and it’s all orchestral. It was actually in the Peter Pan movie—the 2003 version with Jeremy Sumpter. I know every single part of that song. I sing along to it all the time. It’s my favorite.
Make sure to follow Steffan on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and pick up Lost At Sea on iTunes or Amazon. New episodes of The Commute air every Tuesday and Thursday on AwesomenessTV’s YouTube channel.
Photo Credit: AwesomenessTV