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Joey Pollari – Bringing Hollywood Values

March 20, 2018

Film + Entertainment | by Jeff Conway


Charismatic child actor turned intriguing young adult, Joey Pollari is striving to make his presence known in Hollywood.

From his clean-cut, handsome exterior to his mature mindset, Joey Pollari is a hardworking actor in search of his next great role.

You can see Joey Pollari next in Love, Simon (new in cinemas), where he plays a high school teenager whose sexuality is questioned. We had a rather candid conversation with this skilful artist, who is definitely finding his way onto Hollywood’s radar.

You play ‘Lyle’ in Love, Simon. Can you tell me about your character and his significance in the film?

‘Lyle’ is a fellow student of Simon’s. He works at the waffle house and Simon believes that through letters from a guy named ‘Blue’ that ‘Lyle’ may be ‘Blue’.

Why do you think that films like Love, Simon are such important stories to be told in today’s world?

Well, I think it’s important because of visibility. To have a gay character at the centre of a major motion picture and him coming to terms with himself and his sexuality is something to celebrate. I think it’s important if kids who are closeted or LGBTQIA can identify to any part of the story, that’s pretty incredible.

What thoughts and feelings do you hope that moviegoers will take away from watching Love, Simon?

I hope that people take away the message of the movie, which to me, largely is about self-acceptance. It’s about Simon’s coming out, but I think it’s also about coming to terms with oneself.

You grew up in Minnesota and travel back-and-forth between living there and in LA. What is it about the culture and lifestyle there in the U.S. Midwest that has made you the young man you are today?

It has informed me, definitely. I mean, compared to Los Angeles, it’s different from the time you get to the airport. I have met so many great people on both sides. Being from Minnesota definitely has helped me keep my feet on the ground. It’s grounding, humbling.

You have worked on MTV television series and Disney television movies. How have your acting experiences so far affected how you approach projects today?

All these experiences have taught me to enjoy [it] while it’s happening. How [do] I approach new work? I think I learned more about approaching new work from the time between, when I’m not working. The time is to re-assess and how I tackle the next project with more integrity, how to work harder, and how to listen more and be a better reader.

Who is one actor or actress you are really hoping to work with soon? And why?

I think Joaquin Phoenix is pretty fantastic. I would love to see how he works.

How would you describe your fashion choices and style?

I go between sort of relaxed jeans, T-shirts, and Vans, but I have a lot of high-waisted 50s cut trousers and I like a greasy Italian T-shirts. Like Italian boys in the 50s, where they’re not wearing socks but they’re wearing dress shoes. That, I can get behind.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge in Hollywood?

That’s a good question. I don’t know if there is any challenge beside the regular grind of it. Preparing and going to the audition and bombing it. It’s about just sticking with it and playing the long game.

Joey Pollari Candid Magazine
Joey Pollari, photograph by Luke Fontana

You’re twenty-three years old, almost twenty-four. What are your priorities at this point in your acting career and life in general?

I’m a musician. I’m working on an album that will be released sometime this year. That’s a priority. Creating my own work, that’s a priority. Just do better work, be better than the last thing I was in. Work on my art, make my art better, be a better person. Also, be kinder and kinder to myself.

What would you say to the traditional, rather religious person that may think about seeing Love, Simon in theaters as a challenge to their own beliefs? Why should even they be open to seeing this film?

First of all, it’s a fun movie. You’ll have a blast. There might be someone who watches the film and changes their mind, that would be incredible. The movie is geared towards making the story as relatable as possible. Yeah, it’s about his sexuality, but it’s about being honest with oneself, which is more universal. As more movies like this get made and the queer experience, people of colour, transgendered stories are featured more in cinema, I think that’s a big win.

Read Jeff Conway’s interview with Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown here.

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