Jr. was born with acting in his blood. With both parents in the
business, he knew from an early age that it was what he wanted to do
with his life.
After paying his
dues for over a decade on TV, the big screen and the stage, who would
have thought it would be a little Disney Channel movie called High
School Musical that would blow his (and several of his co-stars,
including Zac Efron, Corbin Bleu, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale)
career wide open.
The premier of
High School Musical exploded onto the scene in 2006, breaking
records and quickly becoming the most watched, and successful Disney
original TV movie ever produced. Its modern day Romeo and Juliet
storyline really struck a chord with kids worldwide. The equally
successful sequel, High School Musical 2 left their
adolescent and teenage fans begging and screaming for more. Now
millions of excited fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the third
installment in this blockbuster saga – due to hit theaters later
In the months
leading up to the film release, this talented young actor is stepping
out of his teenage role of Zeke Baylor – the varsity basketball player
who loves to bake – and showing audiences that he too is graduating into
a more mature actor. He’s achieving this with a starring role in the
action-packed, made-for-TV movie Depth Charge, premiering
September 1 on Spike TV. Taking on this role of a young submarine
electrician's mate, Warren fights alongside co-star Jason Gedrick to take back
control of their submarine from a disgruntled fellow crewman, played by
making the film and sees it as a springboard, hoping it will
be opening new
doors to a long, successful career – well after the music goes silent on
High School Musical.
Both of your parents are actors. When did you know that you wanted to
follow in the family business?
I think I was
probably about five or six and my Dad was actually working on some lines
for a play or something. He was doing a Scottish accent and I was
around the corner repeating all his lines in a Scottish accent. I think
it was ever since then. Then I would go to auditions with him – do
commercials and book jobs. It just happened and I really just grew a
love for it.
You had already done a lot of television and soap work. Do you think
your work on these shows helped you prepare for making films?
Well, I did more
films before I did television – like I did Men of Honor and
Love and Basketball before a lot of television – so I think
it was just a compilation of work around the same time that just helped
me have more confidence and know what to do on the set of certain movies
you landed the role of Zeke Baylor in
High School Musical,
did you realize that it would have been such a huge phenomenon? Why do
you think it has become so big?
I guess I didn’t
know it was going to be that big when I auditioned for it. When I
auditioned for it, it was one of the Disney’s original movies that was
going to be on the Disney Channel and I was like, “Okay, well this is
cool.” You know, work is work so I am going to go out there and do
it. Then I
started hearing people talk about it and it was really weird because I
had never heard people talk so much about an original movie before.
Then it blew up everywhere! I think the reason it is so popular is it’s
kind of like a dream come true for a lot of kids who might be outcasts in
school or just wish that this was how there school was – where it starts
off with cliques and people don’t talk to one another but it turns into
a big family community. That’s what a lot of people want at a school
but they don’t get in real life.
What are Ashley,
Zac, Vanessa, Corbin and the rest of the cast like working with?
great. They’re awesome! Ever since the first movie we’ve all kind of
become a family because we were all out there doing this movie for so
long and then it turns into this big thing and then in the second one,
we were like “Wow, let’s try to re-create it.” Then in the third one,
it was just huge and crazy, but they were all awesome to do it with,
like a big family and all the stuff on the outside goes away when we’re
on set together.
Did you enjoy
singing and dancing before
Yeah. I actually
did Lion King the national tour as young Simba. So, I kind of
had some experience doing it, but it had been a couple of years. I had
gotten a little older and my body had grown a little bit so it became a
bit un-orthodox (laughs) – because I was fifteen in the first one
and I was going through a very odd stage in my life – but I picked up on
it very fast and a lot of people really helped me out.
Can you let me in on anything that will happen to your character in
High School Musical 3?
Not so much.
Are you still
Well, of course.
That’s a given and I’m still in love with Sharpay.
We definitely saw
more of you in the sequel. Will your role be even bigger in the third
Yeah. I think I’m
more incorporated in the third movie. You know, just in the way things
play out. I think I’m more incorporated.
How different is the new movie going to be, since it’s being filmed for
the big screen rather than TV?
There are a lot of
things that are different. I mean the quality of the picture, the
budget obviously is higher – which changes a lot of things, you know.
It gives you more time to really make sure you get the shot
you want and
not just have to rush right through. The musical numbers are huge
because we have the money for the props and the music is so much
better. All around it’s just a better movie.
are graduating. Do you think this is it for the saga, or do you see
College Musicals coming down the line?
Ummm, no College Musicals. I do believe they are going to do
fourth and fifth ones but they have new characters coming in.
I know you also
have a TV movie coming out called
I did get to watch it last night and enjoyed it. How fun was it to make
a movie about a very serious topic but still enjoy some humor with your
co-star Jason Gedrick?
Yeah, it was
definitely fun. I did it because I wanted to break the mold of the
High School Musical thing.
When I did that, I had just turned eighteen and I guess I really wanted
to try being in a somewhat leading role in a movie – as practice for
other things that I want to do in the future. I mean, it’s a TV movie
and I am proud of it – but it was like a stepping-stone for me. It was
great working with Jason and Eric – who have been in the business for 20
or 30 years. They helped me out a lot, so it was definitely a learning
Yeah there were a lot of great actors in it. Eric Roberts… like you
said… and Barry Bostwick and Corbin Bernsen. It must have been a great
It really was.
Are you trying to
make movies with everyone in Hollywood named Corbin?
Yeah, I must be. (laughs harder)
Your character jokes about Denzel Washington playing him in a movie.
Are you a big fan of Denzel or was it all scripted?
It was scripted,
but I am a big fan of Denzel. He’s really great.
I noticed in your
bio that you had done an episode of the
Bernie Mac Show
a few years ago. Can you share your feelings with me from when you
learned of the recent passing of Bernie Mac?
Oh man. It was
really weird. It was like the first person in the industry that had
passed away that was kind of a part of my generation that I knew.
I had heard of other people passing, but I didn’t know them.
Even if I hadn’t worked with him, it would have been a big deal, but
after doing two or three scenes with him on his show and really getting
to know him, I don’t know… it was very surreal. He was such a great
guy. He wasn’t just nice to be nice. He was very real and really,
really cool. It was just a surreal moment.
How hard was it to
balance acting, your real high school years and sports?
Umm, it wasn’t too
hard. I mean it was difficult at times but I think things worked out a
lot. My coaches knew I was in the industry and helped me out a lot with
certain stuff… so they made it a lot easier. But, it was actually
really fun kind of juggling two lives.
I know you had
played football in high school, so obviously sports are something you
are passionate about off screen too. Are you going on to college and
will you continue playing sports, or will you be taking some time off to
concentrate on your acting career?
I’m going to take
some time off to concentrate on my career. I had a couple of colleges
that wanted me to go there for football, but I figured that acting is
more of a guarantee. It was a really tough decision because I love
football and there were some really great schools that I could have gone
to, but I think that I made the right choice.
what else do you enjoy in your down time?
I love swimming,
working out… I’m always working out… playing video games and just
hanging out with my friends and my parents.
Do you still live
with your parents?
Yeah, I do.
had cooking; do you have any secret skills or passions you’d like to be
able to do?
Umm, I kind of
wish I could cook. Not bake necessarily but actually cooking stuff.
Yeah, exactly. I
think that’s kind of romantic.
What does the “LC”
nickname on your webpage stand for?
Oh, it actually
stands for Little Chris. Because, I’m Chris Jr., so my Dad is Big
What is something
you would like your fans to know about you?
Umm… I can’t
think of anything...
Is there anyone
special in your like right now?
Yeah. Actually, I
have a girlfriend.
Yeah, I think so.
You never know, but I think so.
This year is a very exciting election year for America. Now that you
are 18, will you be making your voice heard in November by voting?
Yes, of course.
Good for you. Do
you want to share any thoughts on the upcoming election with us?
I’m still trying to figure it out. I mean I like both candidates but I
think I am kind of leaning towards Obama. But, both candidates make
some good points. But as far as taxes, either way taxes are going to go
Do you think the
success of the
Musical movies has opened other doors for you in the business?
Absolutely. I think that just being part of such a huge thing gives you
a second look by a director if you’re up for something. They’re always
hoping you can bring that audience to whatever movie they are doing.
So, it’s definitely been a blessing to be a part of these movies.
You have done some
theater. Any desires to try that again?
I don’t think so.
I mean I say that but it always comes back around. I did the Young
Playwrights Festival a couple of years ago and just fun stuff like
that. But if something comes up, and I can’t say no, I’m sure I will do
it but right now I’m just not planning for it.
What’s next for
Chris Warren Jr. the actor?
I have a movie
that I’m probably going to start next year so that’s one thing. Right
now, I’m just taking meetings for other movies and deciding what the
next step is going to be. Just trying to make good choices and decide
where exactly I’m going to go from here.