Something about Case Walker’s spirit is striking. He tells Schön!, “I wake up not to be successful, but to live.” There’s a peaceful self-assuredness about him, one that sets him apart from the narrative of a 20-something marked by inner turmoil and identity crises. In Max’s The Other Two, he plays Chase Dubek, or ChaseDreams, a young star catapulted into the entertainment industry’s fangs after becoming an overnight sensation. While Case and his character certainly differ, they both share a similar relationship with their dreams. For them, it’s not exactly a chase, as that implies that the dream is running away, and is a single target at the end of a beeline.
Chase’s siblings, Cary [Drew Tarver] and Brooke [Heléne Yorke], or “The Other Two,” are truly chasing their dreams in all of its sweaty breathlessness, only to briefly grasp the dream and find that it quickly slips their grip, like an endless game of tag. The Other Two, now in its third season, masterfully (and hysterically) portrays this toxic relationship that is all too resonant.
Case has dreams and vivid passions, but he seems to choose to sit with them rather than run after them. He holds a lot of faith, and faith is not something to be chased. Case tells us, “What allows you to keep doing your work is in those low moments when things aren’t happening and you keep going because your fuel isn’t the check marks.” He savours colourful life in the often ignored in-between, rather than feverishly checking off milestone markers as he races past them.
In his conversation with Schön!, he talks about this mentality of his and how it relates to The Other Two and discusses guilty pleasures, and film school.
Hey Case! I actually just started watching The Other Two right before I was asked to do this interview with you so now I’ve binge-watched all of it and the show really does just get better and better each season. Have you tuned into the show’s reception?
Yeah, I feel like I hear about it generally if I get to LA and my team or other people are talking about it. Each season we have gained a new audience, and at this point a lot of people watch it in our industry. It’s gathered more people from the entertainment world, so any time I’m working, most people will have an idea of it.
I know in season one it had this sort of cult following, but now as season three has been releasing, I’ve been hearing so much about it!
We’ve always wanted more people to see it, but you don’t always get that, but when HBO took hold of it and pushed it more, we were like ‘Yes!’ because we work hard.
With each season, the bar is just set so much higher and especially now watching the third season, it’s one of the best comedies I’ve watched.
Chris [Kelly] and Sarah [Schneider] and the others in the writing room just become even more clever and extreme each season, and at the same time it gets more grounded too. It’s even more real this season too, like them capitalizing on Chase turning 18, and how that’s a financial thing. It’s so fun and extreme [in visual effects] with the vampire teeth, but it’s also so real.
Yes, that plot point really stuck out to me even in the armpit photoshoot episode, it’s clearly hysterical but disturbing how much truth there is to it! Before we get into the show more, I want to start by asking you some questions about yourself first. I’ve seen you describe your start on Musical.ly and social media in general as a creative outlet for you. As you’ve gotten older, how has that outlet changed for you?
Yeah, my creative outlet has completely changed. Social media was about being in front of an audience creatively 24/7 and performing through a digital platform. That was the first two years of my career, and now I’ve spent the past seven years in acting where you are kind of doing all of the creative stuff behind the screen. Even in the audition space, I find that when I’m auditioning for a role, I’m almost doing more work than when I actually book it. So there’s something really internal about acting in terms of the creative process where a lot of it happens sometimes when you’re not in front of an audience. But I really enjoy that, there’s something that’s really safe about that and you have a lot of freedom. There’s also something really redeeming in knowing that an audience will see it, but now you can be free. You’re not worried about performing, you’re worried about exploring the character’s shoes you’re in. That’s my favourite outlet whether I’m in acting class or just reading with a friend for their audition.
That’s a great answer, it’s nice to have a creative outlet that exists in a space behind the screen. You’re living in Colorado now and filmed The Other Two in New York. Do you tend to gravitate more towards a quiet and serene environment or a fast paced environment?
Oh man, I love both. I think we all need both. Everyone needs some quiet time and everyone needs to be a little busy. But yeah, I find that they complement each other – there are times when I’m just craving New York and the go-go-go and I love being on set. Sometimes I love working 14-15 hour days [laughs]. Sometimes though I want to be a little more chill, so I definitely need both. All my time spent in New York though are some of my favourite times ever.
I can definitely agree with that! What would your dream place to live look like? It can be fantasy driven – it doesn’t have to be a real place.
It would probably look like Vancouver with less people! [laughs] I spent some time filming in Vancouver – we filmed in Squamish – and it’s very much a mountain town. There’s a climbing community up there. It’s a little bit more free, and feels like you’re in a separate world. So in Vancouver you can go from a fun city with all your friends and then go straight to the mountains or straight to the ocean. If it were warmer and less rainy, it’d be my ideal place to live.
You mention climbing, which I wanted to talk a bit about too since it seems to be a major part of your life. A lot of people say bouldering is a sport that really gives them a peaceful state of mind. Do you have a story from bouldering where you just felt particularly happy and at peace?
Bouldering calls for a level of focus on such a simple thing – it’s a hard move on a rock surface that requires all of your focus. So that’s where that peace comes from. I felt most peaceful, almost like I was in a dream, during a solo trip I took to Utah. I don’t often go bouldering solo, but I knew it was going to be safe and that other people would be out there. I just drove my car eight hours to Utah and bouldered by myself. I didn’t do the hardest climbs I’ve ever done, and I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to do, but I was just out there for hours. It was so weirdly peaceful. I made a Youtube video of it and it kind of captures the vibe, and it holds a special place in my bouldering career.
That really does sound beautiful, especially being alone must have made the experience feel even more peaceful. I want to touch on something you said in a previous interview. You had said that to stay grounded you make sure you have a steady foundation and you don’t put your identity in your work. Without your work, how would you describe that foundation?
My family has been a big part of that as well as friendship and people around me. I wake up not to be successful, but to live. I follow Jesus, I’m a Christian, so a big part of that is the grace of God and living in the fact that we are blessed. In the gospel, to be quick, is to know that we are going to fall short and to accept that. Letting Jesus be the perfect one is what I follow. At the end of the day, I’m grounded in my identity being not in who I am, but in who Jesus is. I’m never going to be perfect. I’m going to fall, but if I recognize that, life is more peaceful.
Thank you for sharing that. On the topic of identity, a lot of The Other Two is about the never-ending battle that so many people face in comparing themselves and their success to that of others. Since you’re a twin, do you find that comparison to be very prevalent?
[My twin brother] is actually a Youth Pastor so we are in two very different worlds. People always ask if we are identical and then once we say we aren’t, then people forget about it [laughs]. People are always surprised I have a twin, but there’s never been much comparison. Cole does his thing and I do mine.
Without fame, how would you describe Chase’s foundation?
I think he really knows who he is and what he wants to do. He’s not necessarily trying to prove to the world that he’s a singer, he just loves it. Behind that is someone who has grown up with Brooke and Cary who are struggling with knowing who they are. Chase has it a bit figured out and is willing to operate in this crazy world because they’re his family. Behind it all, he’s really okay with himself, whereas some of the other characters aren’t. He’s willing to have tattoos and cuss out his mom if that means he can sing.
I think that’s such a great part of the show because you really would expect Chase to lose himself completely in this industry. You wouldn’t expect him to retain any sense of self.
It’s even more interesting in those scenes where Chase isn’t playing who he really is and the audience knows who he is. In all the craziness, everyone knows it’s not Chase. You immediately know that Streeter [Ken Marino] is having him play a character. It allows for the contrast to be there because Chase is more normal despite the industry he is in.
Was there any plot line that really made you stop and think? There were a few that made me think pretty deeply about the industry.
Cary’s plot line resonated with me more than anyone else’s. In one of the episodes, he’s going to sleep and scrolling on his phone after his movie comes out. He finally gets to watch everyone watch it, and it’s what he wanted, but he’s still sitting there scrolling on his phone. That goes back to what we were talking about: if your identity is in your work then you’re always going to want more. I really identified with that because I don’t want to only feel ‘worth it’ because I’m filming a movie. I don’t want to only feel ‘worth it’ because I booked an audition. Then all of a sudden work becomes my lifeline and you have those moments like Cary where you are letting the world tell you your worth. Cary’s storyline really hits hard.
Yeah that scene really struck me as well. And again, the writers took Cary in this direction where he is sort of becoming the ‘bad guy’ and he’s hurting so many other people. He’s had such an interesting arc that is really coming to a head.
He’s becoming everything he thought he wanted to become and same with Brooke. That drives the whole show – all of these people trying to get somewhere and then getting there and finding that it’s not all they wanted. It all comes crashing down. Then they’re back with their family and that’s what matters most. Seeing that carried out through each character’s storyline – even in Chase and Streeter’s relationship – it’s so absurd when Streeter kisses him on the lips, but behind that is a real relationship between the two of them. It’s such a genius thing for our writers to play with all of these dynamics between really grounded reality and absurdity.
I’m sure you learn a lot about the industry on set, but what is it like being in film school and already having experienced the industry in some capacity?
I go to online school so I can work full time, but in school I don’t have to reveal that I’ve been in the industry for eight years. I can act like I’m a fresh student ready to learn. It’s fun to operate in that way because people are willing to say things to you that maybe they wouldn’t if they knew you had been doing it for a while. So I don’t even let my teacher know that, and I just say, “Hey, I really want to jump into the industry and learn screenwriting.” It’s a humbling experience and you learn a lot more because people are willing to critique you more. Film school is really cool because it takes you back to that starting point where they tell you that the industry is brutal and you have to really love the work. It’s really fun coming back to that place after all the success that I’ve been able to have in my career which I’m so thankful for. It’s a fresh start.
That’s so interesting because I think most people would want to say the experience they’ve had, especially in connecting it with the lessons, but I completely see what you’re saying in terms of people’s change in perspective if you were to talk about your experience.
Yeah, I think there’s this thing of wanting to prove that you know what you’re doing. I’m about to do an ‘Intro to Acting’ class [laughs] – I’m in my second year and I just am going to act like I don’t know much. I have a friend at the grocery store who I see every week and he loves to tell me about screenwriting. He tells me, “Okay, so you want to be in the industry, here’s some tips let me tell you…” and it’s my favourite thing because I never revealed to him that I’m an actor. It’s really fun to get to see people’s excitement about the world of it, and it inspires my excitement!
[laughs] What if someone Googles you though?
Yeah, it’s interesting because back here I can just mostly tell people that I’m a student and I’m into climbing. I met a buddy who I play basketball with at the rec center and didn’t tell him for a while. He ended up finding out and it’s always interesting seeing people’s reactions because he was like, “Why didn’t you tell me bro?” And I’m like, “That’s not me bro, that’s my work! We’re just playing ball and hanging out.”
That’s such a great mentality because so many people, especially as you get older, right out of the gate say their profession first. That’s such a great mentality to have.
Of course booking a project is amazing, those are great things. But at some point those things aren’t going to be there and the world may forget about you. You can be the biggest actor in your thirties and then by fifty, the world forgets about you. What allows you to keep doing your work is in those low moments when things aren’t happening and you keep going because your fuel isn’t the check marks.
I totally agree with you. To close up the interview, I just want to ask a fun question about my personal favorite episode from season three that I have seen. Without giving much away, in one episode, the family is literally staging the perfect normal day for Pat [Molly Shannon]. What is the most normal, mundane thing that you just love?
Oh gosh, I do have these moments. It’s gotta be a guilty pleasure. Anytime I watch a cop show, I feel a little bit like that. I’ve been watching Reacher on Amazon and for some reason when I watch that show I just love it. Any time I watch a Law & Order type show I feel that [laughs]. Sometimes throwing on one of those is the best, just watching someone solve a mystery that’s been solved a thousand times!
A good mystery is always a good time! Last question – what are you feeling most happy about whether it’s something happening now or set to happen in the future?
I’m kind of at a point where The Other Two has hit a point where we wanted it to hit. I would love a fourth season. I would love to work on a project that challenges me such as a really dramatic film. I love drama. Behind the scenes, the world doesn’t see that I’m doing a lot of acting work and I have a class I work in every week. Those auditions that I get in that are just drama indies, I just love. I would love to work on a project like that. I would say my most enjoyable acting moments are when I’m standing in another person’s shoes and learning how to have empathy for people by becoming a character whose experience I haven’t experienced. That’s what I’m most looking forward to in my career.
Season Three of The Other Two is airing now.
photography. Bennet Perez
fashion. Anastasia Walker @ The Wall Group
talent. Case Walker
grooming. Patrick Santa Ana using Pacifica Beauty, Honor Yourself, Saje Wellness, Kett Cosmetics + OMNIA Brushes
production. Clara La Rosa
photography assistant. Lonnie Dean
interview. Tessa Swantek