The new dude at Hester High is turning a few heads, especially our beloved Amy’s (Rita Volk). It’s unclear as to where the relationship between Felix and Amy is headed but one thing’s for sure– even the best of Karmy fans can’t deny the fact that this new character is totes adorbs and absolutely magnetic.
Parker Mack, who plays the mysterious new kid on MTV’s Faking It, came with some unknown baggage. Now, all we know right now about his character on the hit teen comedy is that his family (aka him and his dad) are renting out Karma’s (Katie Stevens) house while her family gets their sh*t in order. Turns out selling drugs from a juice truck isn’t the right way to build the family business. Nonetheless, Felix comes at a time where we’re desperate for some new blood on the show. Well, not too desperate but it’s definitely welcomed! The fans eagerly await the reveal of his secret, a tidbit EP Carter Covington hinted at in a recent interview with NoWhiteNoise.
Mack, who also stars on Chasing Life, was kind enough to not only talk to me about his new role on Faking It, but on playing cancer-ridden Finn on the ABC Family drama as well. The young actor was super chill to chat with about his rise to fame– and even let us in on some of his guilty pleasures. Spoiler alert, it involves a useless iPhone app that even he’s slightly shy to admit he enjoys so much. All in all, he’s a pretty cool dude, and talented to boot! Two hit series in the can– and a lead role in an upcoming feature film. Yep. Mack is on fire!
Time for “Faking Life”: The Parker Mack edition 😉
MCKENZIE MORRELL: As you know, I chatted with Carter Covington recently and he said that it was important for Felix to have a secret as well, that he was faking something, too. You know, whether it be the real reason why he’s in Karma’s house, or the fact that his father is this new hard-ass principal at Hester High. How did you approach the role in terms of holding something monumental back from the other characters?
PARKER MACK: Well, I guess the way I approached Felix is he’s very nonchalant about a lot of the things that happen and he tries to take everything with a grain of salt— at least how I played him. And I definitely think that because of his father and that relationship he has with him, it’s given him a definite different look on how things work for him because, you know, he’s had to move around a lot because his dad goes to different schools to whip them into shape, so he tends to have to meet new friends. And I think he doesn’t get too heavily attached to things because of that, because he knows he’s going to possibly have to move again.
MM: Yeah. Now, will we see that relationship between Felix and his dad unfold for the rest of the season? You know, I’d love to know more about that dynamic and it probably doesn’t help that the whole student body dislikes his father.
PM: Yeah, you will definitely see that history behind Felix and his dad. There’s definitely a lot of back story behind that that kind of gets unveiled through present events and I think it’s really cool how it’s done. A lot of the mystery behind Felix is because of his father. A lot of people don’t really… it doesn’t really show you it until later into the season and I think it’s really cool when everybody finds out what the whole scene is.
MM: We can’t wait! Now, I think it’s safe to assume that Felix is going to take a romantic interest in Amy and perhaps that’ll be reciprocated, but we’re not really sure quite yet. Do you think he sees her as just a person or some sort of lesbian he just wants to get with? Is he going the route of Liam, because we don’t want that. [laughs]
PM: He definitely is the kind of person who doesn’t really care about how he’s viewed, per say, but he definitely likes to read her character as a person rather than a thing he can accomplish. I think he definitely approaches each person in the form of a friendship first.
MM: Of course, I think that’s where you need to start with anything in life.
PM: Mm hmm. [laughs]
MM: [laughs] Don’t just go jumping on people. That’s not a good thing to do.
PM: No, it’s not.
MM: So now, had you seen Faking It prior to landing the role?
PM: When I first auditioned in the first stages of it, I hadn’t seen the show yet. But after finding out I got a director’s session and a writer’s session, I went ahead and watched most of the first season, and then after, looking at the rest of it. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
MM: That’s always a plus to work on something that you enjoy! Now, which character would you be friends with in real life if you had to pick from any of them?
PM: Huh, that’s actually one I haven’t really thought about now that I’m thinking about it. I like all of them in their own respective ways, so I want to be friends with all of them but I don’t know if that’d be possible. [laughs] But yeah, I like Liam for his stature, Karma for her spontaneity and I like Amy for her sarcasm.
MM: Right? She’s the best. You got a couple of zingers in there though. I think we’re going to see a lot of the sass behind Felix when the season unfolds, so I’m looking forward to that as well. So now, are you going to have any weekly rituals? Are you going to tune in tonight with your friends and family? What’s the protocol for this?
PM: Well, it’s just me and my sister right now; that’s the only family that I have close to me. We usually watch the things that I’m in together and usually she critiques me in a funny way [laughs] and that’s always good.
MM: [laughs] You’re like, “Hey, get up there and do that yourself then if you’re going to criticize me.”
PM: [laughs] Yeah. No, it’s definitely fun to have her around when I get to watch. I guess that’s my ritual for watching it.
MM: That’s great. And now, you also play Finn on a little show called Chasing Life— it’s one of my favorites, by the way. What’s the biggest difference between playing that role and the role of Felix on Faking It?
PM: They both have a very different weight on their shoulders. And I’m not going to reveal Felix’s weight because that’s part of the secret. But they both obviously face issues in their life that are very apparent and they both come from different places: one, in Chasing Life, is one he can’t totally control because you don’t choose who has cancer or who gets sick and then pushing through it. There’s a big difference between Finn and Felix in the fact that Finn is extremely positive and looking forward and very hopeful. Felix is more cynical and serious and focused on realism.
MM: And now, do you think those characters share any personality traits, other than they look an awfully lot like you? [laughs]
PM: [laughs] I guess with each role I definitely bring a little bit, I guess a medium amount, of myself into both of them because you can’t really do any role without bringing some of yourself into it. My philosophy on it, it’s not me becoming the characters, it’s the characters becoming me, if that makes any sense.
MM: No, it does.
PM: And I guess they share the fact that they both— I feel like the way I approach humor— they both have a similar kind of humor. They’re both very driven in what they want and their emotions, I guess that would be a relation they have.
MM: And now Felix or Finn, who would you say is closer to your personality in real life?
PM: I’d have to say Felix is. I really like Finn, but I’m not… I am an athlete, but not as much as he was. Felix is more of a homebody and someone who would rather stay in than go out for a large party and that would be me [laughs]. I like to hang out at home. He’s also into video games, which I am. He also likes comics, so there’s that too. I’ve read a few comics in my day and my favorite superhero is Deadpool.
MM: That’s a good one!
PM: [laughs] I’m really looking forward to that movie coming out next year. That’ll be great.
MM: I know, hopefully it’s really good.
PM: Yeah! But yeah, I’d say I’m closer to Felix.
MM: That’s great. Did you find it, playing Finn obviously, emotionally taxing at all to portray a character who’s dying from cancer? How do you prepare for something like that?
PM: Well, I’m very thankful that Finn’s character is extremely focused on being positive and looking forward rather than dwelling on his circumstances. That made it a lot easier, so it was more of an undertone sort of weight and a little bit of pressure on him. I mean, it was. It definitely was. I had to channel a lot of emotions from my life that have been taxing on me to try and relate to what it would be like to have your life always hanging on a thread and that’s something that I hope I never have to experience and hope no one close to me has to. But, it was definitely something that affected me. It was emotionally, not taxing, but informative.
MM: Yeah. I’ve chatted with Haley Ramm before and she’s really down-to-Earth and she’s very aware of her character and of the things she’s been through. With this topic, and it’s pretty heavy stuff, do you guys have anything fun to do between takes? Are there any jokesters on set? How did you get through the scenes that were a little more downers?
PM: Well, I guess the fact that Haley was a very interesting person to talk to, so we definitely didn’t run out of subjects to discuss. When we were in scenes that were a little bit more emotionally downer, I guess the way we stayed out of that was by focusing on talking in between and continuing our conversations because conversations tended to go all over the place and it was good because we ended up focusing on and thinking about what we were going to bring up next in the conversation rather than focusing on the emotional part, the taxing parts of that scene.
MM: That’s great. Now, your character gives her character some good advice regarding her situation. In your position, what would your best advice be to someone who might be going through a hard time, whether it be emotional, physical, whatever?
PM: Well, I guess Finn would say always try to reach for what you were going to obtain before that was there anyway because everything’s just a bump in the road. If you can emotionally push through it, not necessarily suppress it, but acknowledge it and rise above it, then it’s definitely something you can achieve, to push through it. Definitely a lot of staying strong because if you’re able to stay strong, your friends and family can help you as well. Also, never close yourself off. I know that the biggest thing for some people that makes it even worse is they try too hard to get through these rough parts of their life by themselves when they have people they can rely on. So never close yourself off. I guess that’s my advice: Never close yourself off from your friends and family.
MM: That’s great advice. You seem like a very busy guy. You know, when you’re not starring on two hit shows, what do you like to do in your spare time? I heard that you have a knack for music.
PM: I guess I do. I’ve been playing piano since I was 6— I guess I’d say 14 years of piano and I really enjoy that. Drums, too, I’ve played that for about 8 years, but in an apartment, drums isn’t very easy. [laughs]
MM: No. [laughs]
PM: Yeah. [laughs] I don’t have a drum set here but I do back at home in Chicago and I play that whenever I get the chance. But piano I have right here, we’ve got a keyboard. My sister plays as well, so everyday you’ll hear some form of piano at some point.
MM: Well that’s awesome!
PM: Yeah, it’s really good and what I really like to do is look up scores for different games or films and learn how to play the piano version of them.
MM: Whoa, that’s really cool.
PM: Yeah. I tend to have something I’m always working on learning to add to my repertoire. And I don’t perform or do anything like that. I don’t go out and get paid for playing piano, I just do it to satisfy myself, really.
MM: And sometimes that’s the best thing to do. I mean, you want to do it for yourself and not be worried about putting it out there and having people criticize something that makes you feel good.
PM: Exactly. And I guess it’s for me and my family mostly.
MM: Well that’s a nice little fun fact.
PM: I just enjoy the sound of piano. My two favorite instruments to listen to are piano and violin.
MM: What kind of music do you gravitate towards?
PM: I’m a fan of all kinds of music. I really like classical driven music that is modernized, if that makes sense.
MM: That makes complete sense.
PM: I guess that and some pop songs that have a great vocal aspect to it where the voice is just amazing. That’s something that I really like. I’m all over the place. I like electro-swing, which is a very unique category. I like jazz, I like blues. Don’t count me out of country, I like that too. It’s fun to listen to that on a long drive. Really, I like all kinds of music and I appreciate them for their different aspects.
MM: Yeah, I think you need to have an ear for a little bit of everything because there’s different infusions and stuff you might miss if you were closing yourself off to one type of music, so I can definitely relate to that. So now, what are three of your favorite TV shows right now?
PM: I tend to be a Netflix guy. I tend to watch shows usually through a binge and most recently the one I binged on was House of Cards. That show is amazing, oh my gosh! I really love Kevin Spacey in that. That’s an amazing show if you haven’t watched it and you have the chance, do. I watched Daredevil very recently, I really liked that. Breaking Bad, obviously, is a very good choice. Let’s see, what else? I did watch The Walking Dead. I haven’t seen the newest one, Fear the Walking Dead, I heard it broke records on its first air date though, which is amazing.
MM: Yes, it did.
PM: What else? I love a lot of HBO shows. I watch Game of Thrones, of course. I’ve watched True Detective the first season, haven’t watched the second season because I heard a lot of mixed reviews and I know now I’m going to wait for all of them to come out and watch them all in a row. Yeah, I guess my top shows are Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and House of Cards.
MM: Those are all amazing choices! I’m actually finishing Breaking Bad right now. I’m on, I think, the end of the third season, maybe top of the fourth, so I’m getting there.
PM: Ok, you’re getting there!
MM: Yeah, I’m getting there. [laughs]
PM: The best is yet to happen.
MM: I know. I’m a little hopeful that I don’t see anything on Tumblr, Twitter or anything because I know I’m pretty behind in life.
PM: It’s probably really hard not to be spoiled by something like that because at this point, everyone just assumes you’ve watched all of them.
MM: Yeah, so I tend to not follow any type of people who are really hot to trot on that because I don’t want to step on anything and be really mad that I put all this time into this show. So I’m excited to see what’s happening there. To kind of get back on track, what’s one thing you’re addicted to that you’re slightly embarrassed to admit? Whether it’s an app, a type of food, a really bad TV show.
PM: Ok. So I said before that I play video games. And no, I’m not ashamed by the fact I enjoy that a lot, but there is, [laughs] maybe some people will know what this is, there’s this game called Adventure Capitalist, it’s an app and it’s the dumbest thing ever. It is so stupid. It’s basically a game where you start out with like $4 and what you do is you buy a lemonade stand and then that lemonade stand starts making you money. Then you buy another lemonade stand and then you make more money, and then you buy another lemonade stand and then you’re making more money. Soon enough, you’re making so much money you can buy a newspaper company and then that place starts making money. Then you buy a car wash, and pizza, then a doughnut place, then a strip place, then a hockey place, then film companies, and then a bank and oil rigs. Then, all of a sudden, you’re making trillions of dollars and that’s all you do, you just make more money. So yeah, I’m embarrassed to admit I play that a lot because it’s so addicting.
MM: [laughs] But you’re not making real money, right? I mean, it’s just fake money.
PM: No, no, you’re not making real money, you’re just seeing the numbers go up. That’s it. It’s about as productive as Flappy Bird was.
MM: Oh my gosh, yes, that was one of those games where you’re like, “I hate that I’m sitting here for eight hours trying to get this bird to not hit the thing.” [laughs]
PM: “I didn’t hit the pipe that time. Yay!” [laughs]
MM: Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. To kind of wrap it up, what’s up next for you? Can you tell us anything else you’re working on that we can look out for?
PM: I just recently booked a lead in a film that is a sequel to a film that has happened.
MM: That’s exciting!
PM: Yeah, it’s Ouija 2, I start work on the 8th.
MM: Well, we’re looking forward to seeing that. I wanted to thank you for taking the time. I know you’re running around and this has been awesome; two of my favorite shows wrapped in one!
PM: Alright! Thank you for calling me!
You can follow him on Twitter @ParkerKMack