Julian Haig for Cool America Magazine
Written by Vaughn Stewart
Photographer: Clint Peloso@clintpeloso, Creative/Fashion Director: Rhys Ripper
Julian Haig has to be one of the nicest Aussies on the planet, with a strong admiration for America. Besides being a nice guy, he has enormous goals for himself in the world of entertainment. We sat down with Julian after his photo shoot with photographer Clint Peloso to find out more about this young, talented actor.
Before we talk about Riverdale and what you’re currently working on, let’s talk about how you got involved in acting?
It’s a pretty long story but I’ll try and make it short haha. I’m from a very creative family so I’ve been around it and the arts since I was a kid. But I actually didn’t decide to act until after I had studied Sports Science at University. I think I was just too scared to jump into it. I guess it’s a fear of being exposed in some way. But once I got into an acting school (16th St Actors Studio) in Melbourne, I just loved it so much. After I graduated, I wanted to jump straight into the industry and thought Vancouver would be a great place to get a foot in the door.
“I have a big dream which could take longer than 5 years.”
Let’s talk about Riverdale. For those that don’t know or watch the show, what is it about?
Riverdale for those that don’t know is basically a sexy, darker version of the Archie Comics. And I think it’s been quite popular because the characters are really fun. And I think they did a great job of casting the lead roles.
Tell us a little about your character on the show.
Elio is a bit of a badass haha He came in originally as the son of a Mobster who had connections but he seems to have grown into full Mobhood all on his own haha and has a boxing gym and casino. Basically, he is way cooler than I am. He’s such a fun guy to play because he’s often the antagonist and I think it’d fun to watch characters like that who really enjoy being bad. And I think Archie is kinda the moral compass of the show sometimes and Elio opposes him quite well, I think.
Tell us about the day that you found out that you got cast for the part.
I tend to be in a cafe every time something cool happens in my career and I usually cry and punch the air with a smile. It was the biggest role I had gotten and I think there’s something about a levelling up of some kind that feels amazing and kinda scary. And I think it’s so cool when you have a belief in yourself that you go out and make come true. It was a spin out for sure.
“My worth doesn’t come from an exterior source, it comes from my relationship with myself.”
Have things changed for you at all? How is it being a known actor?
Honestly not really, and I really try not to think about it. I think I’m also kinda lucky because I’m Australian and generally I’m not clean-shaven wearing suits intimidating teenagers. I’m always super surprised when someone recognizes me from the show.
How about with your family and friends?
My family are generally very supportive but I think it’s nice for them to see that I wasn’t lying when I said I think I can be an Actor haha and my friends think it’s super cool. Although my best mate the other day said, You’re my Joey (as in from Friends) and I didn’t know if that was a compliment or a dis haha.
Anything coming out soon?
All I’m working on at the moment is trying to get a Visa to get back to either Vancouver or LA. I had to leave a year ago after my permit ran out. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes just to get to be in a place where there’s opportunity. I’m still auditioning a lot which is nice. But it helps to be where the action is.
How has the Corona Virus affected you personally?
Well, I moved back to my Mum’s place haha in my hometown and so did my older sister with her husband and kid so we’ve got quite a full house. I’m actually loving it. It’s actually made me reevaluate a lot and I’m feeling more grateful for my family than ever before. And my 3yr old niece keeps my imagination active. She’s actually looking at me right now pretending to be a pirate.
In terms of your acting?
Acting is kinda just a pause button with everything but I honestly think the industry will boom after. Just look at Netflix share price.
Do you think the Corona Virus is a message to humanity?
I wouldn’t say it was a message I just think there’s lots of new things to learn from any situation. Maybe the part that I find interesting is that governments are seriously considering what will be better for people, like in New Zealand they are considering a four day work week. I think we need to look at what is actually smart for people’s health and quality of life and maybe working crazy hours and having no time to be with family and friends, time to be with just yourself, no time to play, no time to meditate or workout… doesn’t work. Grinding and Hustling all day might get you somewhere but I think alignment and patience works better. Maybe we need more alignment all together that includes the planet.
“I’m from a very creative family so I’ve been around it and the arts since I was a kid.”
What director, actor and actress are you dying to work with?
Taika Waititi is my favourite director. I love comedy! But I would love to work with any good energy director who cares about full dimensional characters in well told stories. Dream actors to work with are Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Jake Gyllenhaul, Ricky Gervais, Will Ferrel and Kristen Wiig.
In the perfect scenario, where do you see your career in 5 years?
Out of my mums place. Probably on set somewhere being creative every day. It’s a funny question cos it’s not something I really think about. I like to be adaptable. I have a big dream which could take longer than 5 years.
What have you learned most about acting since working as an actor?
Really the biggest thing is worth. My worth doesn’t come from an exterior source, it comes from my relationship with myself. And something I’ve noticed in a lot of great actors I’ve gotten to work with so far is they know their worth (no one’s perfect and it slips) but in general. That’s real confidence and to work on my humanity. Being kind at work and in general not only feels good but also possibly creates more work for yourself. I love having fun on set.
What tips can you give an aspiring actor/actress to help them along their way of finding their own success.
Study it. Read acting books. Take classes with good teachers. Work on yourself cos that is the hardest part. Don’t avoid that for too long because it just gets in the way when you have a sub conscious belief that isn’t working for you such as ‘I’m not worthy of success’ or ‘I can’t outshine my friends’. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful. Be curious. Play. Have fun while on the journey. I feel sorry for actors that really take it and themselves very seriously. That just seems like a hard life. You can do it, maybe even do it better when you enjoy it.
What do you think is cool about America?
America is responsible for so much Cool Art, music, films and TV shows. This could be my longest answer if I’m not careful. I grew up thinking it would be so so cool to live in America. I even considered going to College to play tennis. Personality is Cool. I think Cool is a result of being true to yourself, not directly trying to be cool and I’ve met so many amazing genuine Americans. There is something about American people that in general is very expressive and warm and big. I think that’s so cool. It’s different in Australia.