Actor Anthony Turpel discusses his role as ‘Felix’ on Hulu’s Love, Victor as well as his wider career to date.
At only 20 years of age, young actor Anthony Turpel has already become known for a variety of roles. He has a major starring role as ‘Felix Westen’ in the Hulu series Love, Victor, a continuation of the 2018 film Love, Simon which is penned by This Is Us co-showrunners, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger.
Additionally, Anthony Turpel is also known for his role as ‘RJ Forrester’ in the long-running soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, starring as the character from 2016 to 2018. Furthermore, Anthony appeared as ‘Will’ in the first and only season of No Good Nick on Netflix.
Without further ado, here is Courageous Nerd’s interview with Anthony Turpel.
First of all, welcome and thank you for taking the time to do this.
Anthony Turpel (AT): Of course!
How has your experience in the pandemic been so far?
AT: You know, I am surviving and doing good. I have been playing a lot of video games and that’s mostly where my social life is. I’ve been doing a lot of that, playing this new game called Among Us with friends. It’s basically where two people are imposters and they’re trying to murder everyone who’s trying to figure out who the imposters are. It’s a lot of fun. I’ve been playing a lot of Fallout, Skyrim, Elder Scrolls, stuff like that.
And, you know, I’ve been hanging out with the cast. Safely, with masks. We’ve been hanging out a lot and that’s been a lot of fun as well.
Obviously, you’re an actor. What else do you enjoy, outside of your profession?
AT: Like I said, video games. I’m a huge gamer! I love that stuff. I love writing. I’m kind of a boring person, to be honest. I love history. History’s really interesting to me. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. History has definitely proven that.
What else? I love sleep, I guess. I’m sure there’s more things I’m forgetting about. I don’t know, I can’t describe my personality right now. All that stuff.
Some of your well-known projects include Love, Victor, The Bold and the Beautiful and No Good Nick. How did your journey in acting first start?
AT: I did my first play when I was 5. I was in The Wizard of Oz, in the Lollipop Guild, for the Munchkins. I found my love there. It was just, throughout my life, the only thing I wanted to do. It’s the best job in the world. And so, what I basically did was, over time, like how kids play sport, I did that for a bit and then dropped it. I just got more and more into acting. Then, I wanted to take classes and classes are expensive. Like, insanely. My Ma, she found in a newspaper that there was a contest and the winner of the contest would basically get 6 months of free acting classes.
At the time, I notice this now, but at the time I didn’t, it was kind of sketchy, to be honest. You didn’t have to act, you didn’t have to do anything, all you did was walk up and talk to an Agent. That’s exactly what I did, at 11 years old, or 10. I walked up and just talked to them for a little bit. They really liked my personality and they were like: “Hey, you didn’t win but we want to see if you’d like to audition for us and maybe we’ll sign you.” At the time, this was a Commercial Agency for ABA. I was like: “Oh, s**t, okay, that’s cool.” I went in and did a Field of Dreams monologue. Yeah, they signed me and that’s how I got started. Then I went from Commercial to Theatrical and just from there, I’ve been doing acting ever since.
As I mentioned, you’ve been on a few projects. Do you feel there’s any similarity overall between the characters you’ve played or is it more of a broad spectrum?
AT: Well, before Love, Victor, I played a serial killer. So I feel it’s a [laughs] pretty broad area. With Bold, I was this rich kid. With No Good Nick, I was this spy. So it’s actually been kind of broad. And you know, that’s what you want as an actor, too. You don’t want to play the same person, over and over. That’s cool with some people, they find a niche and that’s amazing.
For me, I got into acting because I wanted to be different people. I really want to fool people into an experience where I can make them believe I’m someone else. I like to get those opportunities where the character’s completely different from me or I can add my own spin on it, make it different from my other characters. I always hope for that.
Congratulations on Love Victor being renewed for a second season. Your character, Felix, shares many scenes with Victor. Were you and Michael Cimino paired together in the audition process at all?
AT: I met Michael for the first time in my chemistry read. So, basically, I went to producers and there was like 90 people in that goddamn room. I was terrified as hell. I was talking to Michael, we did the scenes together. We didn’t really communicate, it more just us going: “Hi, how’s it going?” We awkwardly said hi, did the scenes and then I left.
Then I found out I got it and over time, I started hanging out with Michael and everyone else. Michael and I really bonded before the show. It really helped us, along the way. Our friendship on the show, I hope it seems real to people. It is, we are really good friends and I love him to death, so I’m very grateful for that.
Speaking of their friendship, it’s a slight spoiler for anyone who hasn’t watched the whole thing. Felix finds out about Victor’s sexuality a bit later in the season. How do you think Felix would have reacted had Victor told him when they first met?
AT: Oh, exactly the same! Exactly the same. Felix is the most kind, supportive, loving person you could possibly meet. For a 16-year-old to have an outlook like that is so incredible. He would have reacted exactly the same. Felix, the main thing he cares about is character, who you are as a person and if you’re a good person. If you are, he’s going to love you, no matter what.
Love, Victor is also a continuation of the 2018 film Love, Simon and its source material, the novel Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda. How more or less nervous were you for this project compared to something where you’re starting fresh?
AT: With everything, I’m just terrified. I am the most nervous actor probably imaginable. And I get nervous for everything. For example, I was nervous before we got on this call. No matter what I do, I always have this nervous energy inside. Then, once I do it, I’m fine.
With this type of thing and there being a story before it… well, first of all, it showed me what I was going into, which I loved. And the story is amazing, the movie’s fantastic. If anything, it kind of calmed me down in a way because I was a fan of the movie and the source material in general. In a sort of way, it kind of actually helped me. I hope I explained that well.
The series has familiar high school student tropes – closeted student, popular jock and Felix being the quirky outsider. However, each of the characters differ from the usual mould. In what ways would you compare Love, Victor to other high school-based shows?
AT: Oh definitely, definitely. You’ve got to give credit to the writers for that, and the actors. Mason [Gooding] and Michael, they put their own spin on the characters and I think it was beautiful. It’s definitely a story that I haven’t seen much, personally. I mean, I haven’t watched everything that’s out there but I really haven’t seen something like this.
For example, something that I love that I feel was different from other shows and things like that was Felix’s mom hoarding. I thought that was a great layer to put into that character. It shows you why you never saw his life. Why Felix was always in other people’s business but no one was ever in his. We found out why and I love that. Or, Lake’s mom and her basically beating [Lake] down for not being pretty enough. Not fitting in this little box, which you obviously shouldn’t even be thinking about.
From the Latinx point of view and a religious family, all were incredible things that I think made the story different.
Each of the characters on Love Victor are also very different from one another. Do you think Felix is the closest to your real-life personality or are you more similar to a different character on the show?
AT: My castmates think I’m like Felix. The only reason why I always refrain from saying I’m like Felix is because I feel like I’m complimenting myself. Felix is an amazing person and I hope to be like Felix. I want to be like Felix. In some ways, I think I am. Yeah, I think out of everyone, I’m definitely closest to him. I strive to be as kind, generous and loving as he is.
Felix develops an unconventional relationship with another character – Lake, played by Bebe Wood. In terms of Felix’s overall story arc for Season 1, were you told everything ahead of time or did anything take you by surprise?
AT: Yeah, so I was finding things out along the way, which is really fun. It was really interesting to see Felix and Lake’s relationship. Especially when you know you’re going to be living it, it’s super fun to read, seeing how everything is connecting. So yeah, a lot of things took me by surprise. The biggest thing was actually… there was a couple.
The hoarding scene was one of them. Felix standing up to Andrew was definitely one of them. I was very shocked by that but also very happy. I thought that was a huge moment for Felix. The coming out scene, I was… surprised is the wrong word, I was honoured just to be a part of that scene. Just to be able to be the first person that Victor shared that with, was f*****g incredible. There were a lot of things that took me by surprise and it was really fun to just go down the line and read all of it. And discuss it after with my castmates, that was always a blast too.
As well as Love Victor for Hulu, you played “Will” on Netflix’s No Good Nick. How different is working for a streaming platform compared to a TV network?
AT: Definitely different. I’ve been blessed to film a lot of different types of TV, you know? So when I was on Bold, which was a network, it was airing one piece at a time. So, I got to go back and watch the episode I did two months ago but then I would have to wait.
With a streaming service, I could just binge everything. So there’s that but filming-wise, but you don’t really notice if it’s a network or a streaming platform. At the end of the day, we’re all still doing the same thing we always do which is creating art. There isn’t much of a difference there, it’s more of a type of TV show where you see more of a diversity in how you’re filming.
You’ve worked on a soap opera, a teen drama and on a series with comedic elements on No Good Nick. How comfortable are you in jumping between different formats of telling a story?
AT: Super! Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love doing it. I mean, I’ve had a lot of a variety which is a huge blessing and I’m a fan of it all. I love drama, I think those are some of the most fun scenes to play. I’m a huge fan of comedy and I love playing into that. If you can make someone laugh on set, it just makes your day. I love doing that and… yeah. I love it all, I love it all, no matter what.
I’ve been doing this for 9 years now and everything’s basically a learning experience. Everything is a bootcamp, you would say. Bold was definitely a bootcamp for me. That was probably one of the hardest shows you could possibly do. We’re doing 2 episodes a day, it was insane. Every experience really gets you used to it. Luckily, I’ve been surrounded by amazing people in my career to support me. If I had a bad day, they would help me with it or they would help me with scenes and acting.
Younger in my career, I really got a lot of support so when I got to the place I am now, I feel really comfortable going back-and-forth and all over.
We’re obviously all living in troubling times. If you could send a message to fans of your work or you personally, what would that be?
AT: Sure! Well, you know, I’m only 20. What I will say is that I find, no matter what the situation is, if you can always find the positive, it’s going to make your situation way easier. I realised, some people don’t want to do that. I think it’s because people are comfortable in negative. I understand that too, I’ve been in that place.
If you really try to look on the bright side of things, change your perspective and just really try to be a positive person, you’re going to seep into negativity. You’re human, you know? But if you can try to make yourself look at the bright side, try to be a positive person, positive outcomes are going to come.
I think with everything going on, we as a human race are very resilient, I believe. Just try to be positive because the world is going to change a lot. The world’s going to change constantly. In 5 years, the world’s going to be different than what we see today. I don’t want to say live in the moment… yeah, I guess I will. Live in the moment, try to hang out with friends.
Be super happy that we aren’t dealing with this in 1812, you know? We’re dealing with this today. I can still turn on Netflix, I can talk to you through a phone which 100 years ago, people wouldn’t even think that was possible. So, we can still do all these things and looking on the bright side will definitely help you through it. That’s just what I think.
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