Everyone has an origin story, and Kyle Matthew’s is more interesting than most. He first dreamed of becoming a professional athlete before falling in love with acting, and now he’s got multiple projects headed your way and a bright future in the business. I talked to him recently to get to know him better and discuss how his personal journey has been so far.
Brittany Frederick: Did you have a particular moment when you realized acting was not just an interest, but a passion and your future career?
Kyle Matthew: Interestingly enough, growing up I was pretty set on being a professional basketball player. I wore NBA sweatbands every day to school. I was obsessed with the [Los Angeles] Lakers, which is obviously an interesting story in itself, the fact that I’m from Dallas and obsessed with the Lakers. And I even had my bar mitzvah theme centered around basketball. I would say it wasn’t until around the eighth grade where I decided to officially make the jump from the court to the screen and stage.
That was about the time when I won “Best Actor” on Shakespeare Day at the school I was attending—Greenhill School, where I attended from kindergarten through 12th grade. It was also around the same time when I realized my chances of being over six foot were pretty slim to none. (laughs) So I would say that would be the main moment when I caught the bug, for sure.
BF: You have a few different projects in the works, so what should we know about what’s coming up for you?
KM: I have a couple of exciting projects that I can talk about in limited regard. The first is a feature film that I shot recently that’s currently in post-production; I can’t disclose much of the specifics, but I will say it was my first project shooting during COVID, so it was a unique experience with all the COVID protocols. We basically all quarantined together during shooting, which resulted in an incredibly intimate experience in the best way possible, and the people that I got to work with are so talented—both in front of and behind the camera. I feel very fortunate about that experience.
The other project that I also can’t really talk about is a guest star [role] I just filmed for the Disney Channel show Bunk’d, which is a spinoff of the show Jesse and they are currently in their fifth season. That was another super, super incredible experience that I am so grateful to have been a part of. Everyone was so kind and welcoming to me. I’m very excited for everyone to see it.
BF: You’ve done a lot of comedy so far, so is there something about comedy that particularly appeals to you as a performer or is that just how things have worked out so far?
KM: I truly love all stories. My goal is to tell stories across different mediums and different genres. Telling great stories with great people is one of the main ways I’ll mark a successful career. Comedy will always be something that I love, just because I think that there isn’t a better feeling than making someone laugh and being able to instantly see the joy that you’re able to bring to another person. Being on the receiving end of something funny is such a magical experience too. Whenever I’m able to be involved with a project that hopefully gives that to others and also gives that to me, I’m always very excited about that opportunity.
BF: You’ve also written and produced some of your own content; how did you start developing that part of your career? Because that seems to have become almost a requirement for actors these days.
KM: Really buying into that idea started in high school, when I was at Greenhill. There’s a specific program there called Advanced Video Production; AVP for short. The teacher of that program is Mr. Corbin Doyle, and he is the one—for me and for many others—who first championed the idea that it doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, director, actor; you have the power to tell whatever stories you want to tell. That’s kind of where the birthplace of the idea was, that if there were certain stories I wanted to tell and/or certain characters I wanted to play, I didn’t have to rely on those opportunities to solely be from projects that I was auditioning for; I could take the reins myself.
And as a result, it gave me the vehicle to offer people opportunities in a way that sometimes solely being an actor might not, because you’re often waiting for projects to be brought to you. Whenever I am writing or producing a project, it gives me the ability to think about other writers, directors, producers, DPs, editors, makeup artists, etc. that I’ve either worked with in the past that I really enjoyed working with, or that I’ve always wanted to work with. It gives me the chance to go to them and say, “Here’s something that we can work on together.” Not always coming from the mindset of “What can you do for me?” but “Here’s what I can do for you. Here’s what we can do together.”
BF: Do you have favorite projects you’ve done for people who want to discover Kyle Matthew in more detail?
KM: I like to think that I’d be a terrible waiter because I would always say everything’s good on the menu and actually mean it. (laughs) I don’t think there’s a single project I’ve done that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.
I would say that the role I most cherish, which wasn’t filmed unfortunately, would be the role I had my freshman year of high school in a play called The Good Doctor. It was my first role after really making the transition from basketball to acting and I had an incredibly important part in the production. It was, “Shhhhh.” That was my line. My first line. My only line. And the reason why I love remembering that role is because it was my first real taste of, once I had decided that this is what I really wanted to do, really kind of stepping into that dream and owning it and saying, “I’m an actor. This is who I am.” I believe it’s an important step in the actor’s journey to be able to really own that.
Then of course I love the sketches that I’ve had the pleasure of writing, producing, and acting in that are on YouTube: Lip-Sync Break-Up and Leaked iPhone 9 Commercial, along with the other short films that I’ve done. I’m also very excited for this Bunk’d episode to come out.
BF: What are some of the goals or aspirations you have for the future? Anything that would be on your bucket list?
KM: Wow, so many things. Well, first off I know I said that I no longer wanted to be a professional basketball player. That’s technically true, but I made an addendum when I decided to switch to acting, which are my very real and serious aspirations of participating in the NBA-Celebrity All-Star Game. That’s the one thing where, if I have to choose between that and winning an Oscar, I might choose the former.
In terms of projects I’d like to work on, if they ever did a remake of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, that is my dream role. I love that character. I love how he’s so intimate with the audience, breaking the fourth wall and all. So, a character like that, I would love. Pretty much anything that Judd Apatow does, I’m game for. Same with Dan Fogelman. Who else? So many people. Anything that Allison Jones casts, any Blumhouse or Monkeypaw Productions projects, and anything that Michael Schur and/or Greg Daniels puts their hands on. For the sake of time, those are just a few of the things that I would love to be involved in.
BF: What else do you want people to know about you?
KM: As a person who identifies as a straight white male, I always want to use my platform to continue to advocate for equality for all underrepresented communities. The progress has begun, but we still have significant ways to go.
Also, encouraging people to be kinder to themselves. I’m a firm believer that in order to show up for others, you have to show up for yourself first.
Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.