Keiynan Lonsdale on ‘Allegiant,’ ‘The Flash,’ and Shailene Woodley

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Photo Source: Ricky Middlesworth

An Aussie breakout thanks to two major franchises, Keiynan Lonsdale took a break from filming the CW’s “The Flash” to chat about his return to postapocalyptic Chicago as Uriah in “Allegiant.”

On the ‘Divergent’ series’ final chapter.
“[‘Allegiant’] is only a short time after everyone’s found out that it’s not wrong to be divergent—it’s actually the way forward—and that there is life outside of Chicago. So everyone’s in a state of confusion and trying to figure out which side they’re going to take. Are they going to go beyond the wall? Are they going to stick with Evelyn? Or are they going to stick with those who believe that the faction system is still important? Uriah is on the side of Johanna because he wants to protect the people he loves.”

On going ‘big.’
“I’ve always enjoyed ‘big’ movies. I like going to the cinema and having an experience. The new ‘Star Wars’ film was unbelievable because I felt like I was going through something huge along with the characters. I think that that’s what people relate to with movies like the ‘Divergent’ series, or even watching ‘The Flash.’ ”

On geeking out with fans.
“I like it when [a franchise’s fans] try and keep it super casual—especially adults. Adults usually don’t want to seem like they nerd out on something; I do the same thing. Before I started ‘Flash,’ I was a massive fan and kind of geeked out on all the cast. We tell stories, and we can only hope that people enjoy them.”

On learning from his co-stars.
“I don’t think there was ever advice that they specifically gave to me, it was just getting to know them and watching them work and getting their opinions on different things. One thing I learned was that you can be extremely successful and be extremely grounded. Your head doesn’t have to get filled with any kind of bullshit to be serious about your career. I’ve gotten to work with some amazingly talented people who are incredibly kind, and that’s the most inspiring thing to me. Obviously, working with Shailene [Woodley] is wonderful. She’s a great human being.”

On getting his start.
“I started out as a dancer, and then when I was 18, I graduated high school and did a musical called ‘Fame!’ for about a year. I was in the ensemble for that. Then when we did our Sydney season, the lead, who I was understudying, had a back injury, so I ended up taking over the role for the rest of the three-month season. I got out on stage, I was 18, and I had never felt more comfortable. From there, I auditioned for a TV series in Australia called ‘Dance Academy,’ and that was one of my favorite experiences. Everyone in the cast said they were going over to L.A. for pilot season, and I had no idea what that meant. I was just like, ‘That sounds good—I’m gonna come, too!’ I kept going back and forth, trying to audition for a bunch of stuff. There was two years of going back and forth without even coming close to something. It just happened that the right project was the ‘Divergent’ series. They happened to believe in me.”

Like this story? Read more of our Spotlight On interviews!

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Benjamin Lindsay
Benjamin Lindsay is managing editor at Backstage, where if you’re reading it in our magazine, he’s written or edited it first. He’s also producer and host of a number of our digital interview series, including our inaugural on-camera segment, Backstage Live.
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