Meet the rising star of the new Apple TV+ series
How did Wyatt Oleff get his start?
Wyatt Oleff doesn’t remember the exact moment when he decided to become an actor; he was so young at the time, he has to take his mother’s word for it. “She told me that when I was about 5, I was like, ‘I want to do that,’ pointing to the TV,” he recalls. “She said absolutely not, but I just kept asking and asking.” His family’s coincidental relocation from Chicago to Los Angeles when he was 7 made that seemingly far-off dream become a lot more plausible. “Through some lucky connections, I was able to get a manager,” he says, “and I just started going out on auditions.” His first gig? “A commercial for Coldwell Banker.”
Which projects has he worked on?
Those auditions eventually led to more interesting projects, including the role of the young Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. Oleff’s big break, though, was getting the part of Stanley Uris in 2017’s It, which had the additional benefit of giving him a Hollywood support system. “I met some of my best friends through It,” he says. “Having people who understand what it’s like to be a part of something so massive when you’re so young is really nice.” Today, Oleff often finds himself going up against those friends for roles, but he classifies it as healthy competition: “It’s just like, Oh, they got that part, and we can all be happy for each other.”
What is his role in City on Fire?
Starting this month, Oleff stars in the Apple TV+ crime drama City on Fire, based on the bestselling novel of the same name. He plays Charlie, a Long Island teenager who finds himself embroiled in the aftermath of the mysterious shooting of a friend in Central Park. “Throughout the show, we see him slowly go through this metamorphosis,” Oleff notes. “I find that so exciting.” The series features its fair share of pyrotechnics, which made the set a lively place. “It’s so exciting when they do practical effects, especially explosion work,” Oleff says. “Everyone’s getting ready to do the scene, but everyone’s really just looking forward to seeing the big explosion.”
Oleff has also worked with several indie filmmakers, including Jamie Sisley, whose latest movie, Stay Awake—which tells the story of two brothers attempting to navigate their mother’s opioid addiction—premieres this month. “People with that singular vision are really inspiring,” Oleff says, “and I want to be that person someday.” The 19-year-old has even taken a few small steps of his own toward directing. “I love talking to everyone on set and seeing what they do. There were a few moments on City on Fire where I got to pull focus for some of the shots. I don’t know if they’re gonna use those shots,” he adds with a laugh, “but it was fun.”