Since his first appearance on Hawaii Five-0 in 2011, Hawaii born Kalama Epstein has been making quite a name for himself. The now 14 year old has since landed a leading role in an award winning short film The Kid, written and directed by Sean Brosnan. His latest project to hit the silver screen is the widely acclaimed film Under The Blood Red Sun. Now spending much of his time in Hollywood, this career minded teen plans to keep working hard to get the next big role. Kalama may have incredible maturity and determination for a fourteen year old, but his ability to burp on command reminds us all not to take life too seriously.I had a chance to talk to this leading man about his career, his aspirations, and non-stop schedule in Hollywood.
Kalama, what projects are you currently working on?
I’m playing a young Ben Affleck on Comedy Central’s Kroll Show, I had to work on my Boston Accent for this role. I’m also guest starring in Disney Channel’s Dog with a Blog. And I have a role in the upcoming Nickelodeon series, Bella and the Bulldogs.
What is your best memory from working in Hollywood?
During filming of the Kroll Show, I was getting something to eat between scenes. Nick Kroll is my comedic idol, and he came up to me to say hi. I was really nervous and just blurted out ‘nice to meet you!’ and then I just ran away really quickly. Seth Rogan saw the whole scenario from a distance and was cracking up.
I don’t care whether Seth was laughing with me or laughing at me, it was just cool that I made him laugh. I’m thinking, I can quit the business now because that’s epic!
What advice can you give other aspiring young actors?
The best thing I can say to kids who want to act is this; don’t give up or put it off until you’re older. Get a head start, take classes, and work hard.
Who do you have no respect for?
Hmm. That’s a tough question. Im not sure how to answer that….No matter who it is, you have to respect the hard work no matter what. It’s a lot of rejection, I mean years and years of rejection, and I commend all actors no matter who they are. You can’t let heartbreak get you down and any actor who can handle it has my respect.
Tell me about the film Under the Blood Red Sun.
The film was adapted from the novel by Graham Salisbury, it’s about a friendship between two boys following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and a fight for survival. This was a completely local production and it’s truly awesome that pulled off such an amazing film. Everyone is connected to World War II in one way or another…I hope everyone checks it out.
How did you prepare for your role in the film?
Just reading and re-reading the book, and focusing in on my character. And I would Skype with director Tim Savage. I also had to research what it was like in the 1940’s and the issues of prejudice going on at the time.
Kalama says his plan for the next year is to be as busy as possible. This career minded young actor is always thinking a step ahead and can’t wait for the next audition. He tells me that his dream is to one day become a director. Despite his busy Hollywood life, this true Hawaii boy loves nothing more than taking it easy and catching a few waves back at Sandy beach.
By Annalisa Unbedacht