Thursday, December 2, 2021

Interview: Hunter Clowdus Talks ‘All American’ Season 4 and More [EXCLUSIVE]

Nerds & Beyond had the pleasure of talking with All American star Hunter Clowdus about the fourth season of the CW football drama. Clowdus portrays JJ Parker, linebacker and quarterback for the Beverly Hills Eagles. He was just upped to series regular for this current season after appearing as a recurring character for the first three seasons.

Besides All American, the actor has appeared in Teen Wolf, American Vandal, La La Land, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, to name a few. When he’s not acting, he puts out inspirational videos on TikTok and YouTube, giving advice about working out and living authentically. He has a growing audience on TikTok and Twitch and it’s only getting bigger.

Without further ado, let’s get to the interview with Hunter!

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*This interview has been edited for clarity*

Nerds & Beyond: You currently play JJ Parker on All American. He’s a party boy, a football player. He’s an all around cool guy who cares about his friends. Is there anything that drew you to the role or to the series itself?

Hunter Clowdus: Anytime you got a character that is that cool, that down to earth, that hilarious, you jump all over it. I think originally I didn’t know where the character was going to land. I don’t think anyone did. We didn’t even know if we were gonna have a show or not. When I say we, the cast, we talked about it all the time. Just how almost surreal the past couple years of our lives have been to go from literally unknown. All of us essentially, except for Cody [Christian], he had worked a bit; Samantha [Logan], Daniel [Ezra] was over in London, Michael [Evans Behling] from Indiana. I’d had a few smaller things but relatively, you know, no one knew who we were and I think to get to where we are now, none of us saw it coming.

I grew up playing football. I’m originally from Tennessee, and I started playing football at the age of eight. So when I saw this, when my agent sent this one over, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this one would be great, this is perfect.” Because I did have the football background. But again, you know, we really had no idea that it was going to take off the way it did. So initially, I’m just like, “Yeah, cool, football role.” Go audition and then you just kind of forget about it. But the fact that it’s turned into something so big, so special, so impactful to so many is something that I think we all cherish.

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Nerds & Beyond: It’s insane how well the show’s been doing not only on The CW, but also on Netflix.

Hunter: That honestly was such a lifesaver. You know, I think sometimes in life, it takes a lot of things to make one thing and we had a lot of things kind of work in our favor. With so many people being at home, you know, this really started kind of during this pandemic, when we went to Netflix, and then we had a platform called TikTok that people were just all over, all about. We’re posting and reposting, a lot of shares. And it really brought some attention to the show. But then we had the liberty, you know, we still had to tell truthful stories, and we still had to bring it between action and cut. I like to think that we did that and that’s what pertained to so many people.

Nerds & Beyond: It was recently announced that you were upped to series regular for All American‘s current fourth season. Congratulations, by the way.

Hunter: Thank you so much! I’ve been out here for nine years, and I mean if you’d have told me nine years ago that any of this would have happened, I don’t know if it could have kept my head on straight. But yeah, I’m so grateful but I like to think that it was earned and I worked hard for it. That’s something that I’m a big believer in, like hard work and dedication and making things happen in my own two hands. Kind of loving the process more than the prize. It does feel good every now and then to get a little bit of a trophy or get a little bit of a pat on the back or just get a little bit of acknowledgment for your work. It was a great moment, not just in my career, but honestly, in my life.

Like I said, I moved out here nine years ago, and to essentially work day and night with the hopes and dreams of being on a show, and obviously there’s different levels to that, but I don’t know any that surpasses series regular. When it comes to TV, I kind of reached the pinnacle of a peak if you will, and now it’s just continuing to earn it, continuing to work hard and you know, let them know that they didn’t make a mistake.

Kevin Estrada/The CW

Nerds & Beyond: Is there anything that you’re excited to explore more with JJ as the season goes on?

Hunter: The writers have always really let me have so much fun with this character. And like I said, I didn’t know who he was when it started. I think initially you go into a role, you go into a position, and you want to be the cool guy. You want to be the one that everyone kind of gravitates towards in a certain way. And that’s not necessarily JJ. I think people gravitate towards him but in a much more kindhearted, genuine, fun, loving way than like that hot guy walking down the hall. This like goofy, eccentric kind of personality that initially I didn’t play. Initially, I didn’t know that because that’s not really who I am. I’m much more introverted and reserved and quiet. And JJ is not. JJ is definitely “act now, think about it later.” The task of getting rid of the issues has really taught me a lot about myself. And it’s really cool when a role can do that for you.

Nerds & Beyond: We’re a few episodes into season 4 but JJ has been out of town. He’s finally coming back in these upcoming episodes. What can fans expect from his grand return since the season 3 finale?

Hunter: When you said that I just started smiling. There’s a lot of really fun stuff coming up and I will say this just holistically about the season. I think this is our best season yet. I think this season, more than any, it’s fresh, it’s new, and it’s moving fast. It’s going to continue to move fast. So while the first three seasons, there was a lot of ups and downs, but we needed to build those layers and kind of expand horizontally to build that foundation to let people know who we are. But season 4, we’re really ready for takeoff. And we’re going vertical with everything. I think you’ll see that as the season goes, like every episode we’re moving forward, life is moving, and we’re really showing that in the show right now.

There’s so many things coming up. I’m so excited for the world to see it because it’s just great. Every script I get, I just… I’m laughing out loud. And I’m touched. And it makes me think and it makes me be grateful. I mean, they’re just… the writers, the writers, the writers are just magnificent and I can’t wait for these episodes to keep coming on out.

Nerds & Beyond: All American: Homecoming is premiering midseason [February 21] on The CW. Is there any possibility or interest of appearing on the spinoff at all?

Hunter: It’ll actually tie-in perfectly with our midseason. We’re leading and then they bookend us. And then I think once they premiere, we’ll kind of keep that partnership through the end of our seasons. I would love to, you know. We’ll have to see. I know their storylines are very different and it’s meant to be a very separate show. Obviously, there’s a bit of a crossover, at least initially. But I don’t know. I’m really happy for them. I know that they’re pushing the envelope over there as well. It’s cool. Our basecamp at Warner Bros. is side-by-side so usually I’ll see them, they’ll see us. It’s a big family.

Nerds & Beyond: You’re also very active on social media. You’re always posting workout videos and advice for your followers. What inspired you to start doing that?

Hunter: I think realizing that our voice matters and if you are privileged enough to have a platform not to take it for granted. As mushy as it sounds, I guess just my love for other human beings. I think it’s so cool that we’re on this earth together at this moment in time, and if I can ever extend a helping hand or lend a word of encouragement or insightfulness, that potential leads to some form of empowerment to another human being. That’s kind of the greatest honor, you know, in my opinion, so I’d like to keep everything pretty grounded and just kind of rooted in my beliefs, which again, the hard work and dedication of loving others to loving yourself. It’s so good. I feel like that last one is really overlooked. A lot of times it’s always, “Oh, what’s new? Oh, what’s new?” There’s a lot of new within ourselves and something we were always reaching out, reaching out, and really the next level of our lives, our journeys to reach within. So anything I can do to just kind of share my experiences, I’m all about it.

Nerds & Beyond: Besides All American, do you have any upcoming projects that you’re able to talk about?

Hunter: Absolutely! However, they’re all personal. Professionally, with this new title of series regular, you’re pretty blocked. There’s very few things you can do outside of the show, understandably so. But I have made this promise to myself that I am going to post twice a week on YouTube, which is @HunterClowdus. I post there every Sunday and Wednesday, and I don’t care if me and you are the only people that view or you know, we got two million views. It’s just the fact that I’m showing up and I’m disciplined in that sense. I think if you want a lot, you better be able to handle a little, and it’s really just pushing myself to continually to be in front of the camera, to share my thoughts to document over create. I think any time you do something with that level of consistency you don’t always have breaking news. Sometimes it’s just, “Hey, I’m here today and I’m working hard” and boom, hit record, upload. It’s almost like a diary of sorts.

I also stream on a platform called Twitch at KingClowdus and that’s where we really have these open discussions. I built a solid, solid community on there with some incredible people who have the coolest stories and the craziest background. It’s just a really, really good time. And I stream on there as much as I can. That’s a bit harder because, you know, with the show going on, I can share a YouTube video at four in the morning. If I hop on Twitch at 3am, nobody’s gonna be there, and so it’s a bit harder to stick to a schedule now that I am so deep in the show, but I do stream on Twitch at least once a week. And again, that’s just all about the people. We talk about everything on there from life lessons to school advice to dating advice, acting, the show, music, you name it. We cover it and it’s cool

This show has provided me a slightly younger demographic. We kind of skew younger and I just feel so honored to be in a position to almost mentor and naturally, I think when you’re on TV, specifically a hit show, there are going to be people who look up to you and they might not know you but they stumble upon you for five seconds or 10 seconds and we can capture their attention with something that is potentially life changing or at least helps them get through today a little easier. That’s something that I just don’t take lightly. And I think that’s why you see me on all these socials, really tried to put out a positive message and I hope that I can kind of garner a bit of community around those principles that I believe in so much.

We’d like to thank Hunter Clowdus for taking the time to talk to us! Make sure to follow him on his Twitch and YouTube channels and watch All American on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on The CW! Check out our All American coverage here.

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Megan
Megan has been passionate about writing since she was little and has been passionate about all things pop culture and nerdy since almost as long. Joining Nerds and Beyond in 2019, she also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Megan is constantly binge-watching shows and finding new things to obsess over. 9-1-1 and Marvel currently reign as the top obsessions. You can find her on Twitter @marvelstaylena if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.

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