Hangin’ with Austin Reed Alleman
What did the fig tree moment with Austin Reed Alleman represent for all of us? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you, my friends, are sadly missing out on a transformational experience. In season 2, episode 2 of The Chosen, the future apostle Nathanael was sitting as a broken man, his entire dream for his life now in absolute ruins. Austin, who plays Nathanael, chatted with me over an hour about his life and the circumstances that landed him on The Chosen. We talked about the nature of the world and how that moment represented so much of the brokenness the world feels and how we can build ourselves back up again. I don’t know if either of us planned on discussing some of the heavy subjects we discussed, but, man, was it awesome. Austin himself is a happy guy and is extremely humbled and grateful that his part on The Chosen has had such a worldwide impact. We talked about how to have joy in a constantly evolving world. Such powerful stuff. Hope you enjoy!
Get to Know Austin Reed Alleman
Austin Reed Alleman is a popular New York-based actor and musician who has become known for his flexibility and professional approach to his work. Having starred in numerous television shows and a host of theater shows, along with producing a wide range of music, Austin has demonstrated a keen ability to play a variety of roles.
Currently based in New York, Austin was born and raised in New Orleans. He showed an interest in performing arts from a very young age, becoming a National Merit Award Winner for composition in the Reflections Art Program at the tender age of 12. After graduating from high school, Austin moved to NYC, studying the Professional Actor Training Program at SUNY Purchase in New York.
Austin’s career in performing arts began with music. He released his first EP at the age of 17 and has released a host of singles under his own name, along with the promise of a future album that is already in the works. Alongside producing music for himself, Austin has also worked on soundtracks and music for theater productions. In the past he was the composer for the NYC-based theater company Strangemen and Co, combining his love for music and acting.
Austin’s music is pleasing to listen to, with many of his tracks featuring his own skillful piano playing. His lyrics inspire emotion, with his acting experience enabling him to express deep feelings in his music and his voice being soft yet clear. His latest single, “Take Me Back,” is a great example of this, combining a slow and melodic piano score with drums that bring some excitement to the track.
His Acting Career
Alongside making music for theater, Austin has also starred in a range of popular shows. This includes Bridge of San Luis Rey, Lion in Winter, and Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat in regional theaters, along with The Skin of Our Teeth and Daniel’s Husband on Broadway. This only scratches the surface of Austin’s acting work, and it’s well worth exploring his television performances to build a true picture of his skill.
When it comes to television, Austin is a relative newcomer. Having guest-starred on both Law & Order: SVU and Mr. Robot, Austin has already shown his ability to command the screen, receiving excellent reviews and feedback for his roles in these shows. Currently, Austin is a series regular on the most successful crowdfunded TV show of all time, The Chosen.
As an actor, Austin has a diverse range of skills. He has trained in Shakespeare, on-screen performance, stage combat, movement, and a set of other areas that enable him to truly carry his weight amongst actors who are far more well-known. As with many actors, Austin has demonstrated that he is able to learn and improve as he works, with each of his performances being better than the last.
His Personal Interests
While Austin’s presence online does little to show his personal life, it’s easy to see that this New Yorker has a passion for music, theatre, and performing arts. It’s also very easy to see that Austin is well-loved by his fellow actors and actresses, with his social media platforms being showered with support from all corners of La La Land. Austin is also a great lover of travel, the sea, and living an active lifestyle, and you may even find him at the next musical performance you attend, if you’re lucky.
This young performer has a passion for his craft, though, and combined with his remarkable skill, this could be the foundation for a long and very successful career.
Austin Reed Alleman Podcast Transcription
Charan: What’s going on guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories Podcast, and I’m here with Austin Alleman, who is such a good guy. And I’ll tell you why he’s such a good guy. I remember my first day acting in The Chosen, and I was just like, “What am I even doing here?” because the night before I didn’t even know I was going to be on The Chosen. And then late, late into the night, I got this call, and they’re like, “Hey, you’ve got to go do it.”
Charan: So I’m very confused and I’m like, “Okay, but I’m here. I’m excited.” And Austin was the first person I met. The very first person. I remember he was standing outside just hanging out, running lines and stuff, right? And dude, you were just so welcoming. I remember we were chatting. He was like, “Yeah, so you flew in from California, right?” And I’m like, “I didn’t. I was here.” And he was like, “Wait. So weren’t you the one preparing for the role and stuff?” And I’m like, “Not until late last night, dude.” And we were like, “Wait, what? That’s crazy.” And so it was just a funny thing, but I was stoked to be able to do our scene together. And we had a really good time.
Charan: The thing is, your character is also a new character in this season of The Chosen and being introduced as well. And I got to see your episode where you were being introduced. Just with some friends, we have a group of friends that watch the show. And dude, your performance, oh my gosh. It was just unbelievable. It was so good. It was so real, and it was good to see a broken man from the get-go have that literal “come to Jesus” moment and everything like that. It was just great. It was just a beautiful scene.
Charan: But dude, thank you so much for being on the podcast, I really appreciate it.
Austin: Oh, of course. Of course. And thank you for your kind words, Charan. That means a lot.
Charan: No, of course.
Austin: Yeah. I mean, you had the craziest introduction to getting on set and everything. I felt for you, and that’s why I was like, “Look man, any time you need to run the lines, let’s run them.” And you’re like, “Can you do it now?” I’m like-
Charan: “Yes, go.” Dude, I remember because it was interesting. I got the sides that night, which is always like… and it’s cool, maybe it’s a one-liner or two-liner. Then I finally went home and I looked at it, and it’s three pages. I’m like, “Oh. Oh no, this is some good dialogue.” I’m like, “Okay. Cool. Let me focus and see if I can get this all done.” But we made it work, man, and you guys were so generous with your time and we were running lines and it ended up being a really fun scene.
Austin: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Austin: For everyone listening, Charan did such a good job.
Charan: Oh gosh, come on.
Austin: No one even believed that he had gotten the part last night. That’s how good it was, and I can’t wait to see it when it happens. That was one of my favorite days on set. I don’t know why. Just getting to sit down in a pub and just talk to each other was really nice.
Charan: It was really nice. I remember that, too, and it was a really good feeling. And the thing was, that the camaraderie that you guys already had and then you invited me to be a part of that camaraderie. Yeah, it was a really safe space and I remember the majority of the day was spent with that scene.
Charan: I think Dallas shot a little bit of stuff before, and then the majority of the day was that scene. And then you guys went off and did some other stuff. But yeah, it was great. And it was one of those moments, you have these moments when you’re acting where you just feel like, “Wow, this is a good moment.” Like, “If I could end this moment, it’d be great.”
Charan: I had a similar… well, the context was completely different. But I was doing a scene for a show called Silicon Valley. And it was a really good, meaty scene; it was a really fun scene. And I remember after the scene was over, and it was a comedic scene and everything. The very first take, after we did the first take, everyone in video village, producers, directors, and that’s what video village is, is where all the producers and directors and stuff hang out. They all stood up and started clapping. And it was just one of those moments, right? Where you’re like, “Dude, that was epic.”
Charan: It was so good.
Austin: Yeah, I actually watched that scene last night. You did great.
Charan: Oh, you did? Thank you.
Austin: Yeah. I was looking up your last name and stuff, and then I went on your website and I watched, it’s the scene where you’re talking to the crowd.
Charan: That’s the first season.
Austin: Oh okay. Oh, the second one.
Charan: I was in the second season.
Austin: The stadium?
Charan: That was part of it, that was in the stadium. But then later on, the main character, Richard, invites me to a bar.
Austin: Oh, okay.
Charan: And again, we’re sitting down and we’re chatting. And it’s a much longer scene, but it was really fun and funny.
Austin: Yeah, yeah. Wow.
Charan: Yeah, we had a really good time. It was a good moment.
Austin: That moment, that day on set, that was a learning lesson for me, too, because acting is a very selfish thing. But it’s also very selfless at the same time. We’ve all been in positions where you’re the new guy, or you just got this script the day before. And everyone else you’re with has had it for a while, and there’s a lot of pressure on you.
Austin: And I’ve gone through that before and I just made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t let other people feel that way if I had the opportunity to help in that situation. So in one way, I am genuinely helping you. And in another way, I’m helping you so that the scene can be great and that we’re all good and on top of it and there’s no weak link. And so that the scene succeeds and the story is told effectively.
Austin: So yeah, you’re only as good as the eyes you’re working with, the scene partner you’re working with. It’s a very cliché thing, but it is true. So yeah, that was interesting to me. But I think the final product is, no one will even be able to tell the backstory of that. But that’s why acting is so fun and so cool.
Charan: It is so fun, so challenging. Like what you’re saying, I won’t name the show, but years and years ago I was a part of a big, big show that everyone knows. And it was a very similar situation, where everything was rushed. And I got to see my scene, my sides the night before. And the part that I got wasn’t even what I auditioned for, and I had to be on set very early.
Charan: It was only one or two lines, very simple lines. But I remember there was a lot of pressure and I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel safe. And as a result of it, I was fumbling lines. I was feeling so nervous and stuff. And luckily for me, the lead actor, who’s actually a very famous actor now. He was very, very, very kind to me.
Austin: Oh good.
Charan: And he was, like you do, just encouraging me and saying, “No dude, you’re totally good. You’re great.” And I don’t even think he knew what was going on within me and how I got it just the night before, late the night before. But again, it goes to show you guys, I remember the main scene was with you, Jordan and Giavani, I believe. Right?
Charan: And just the three of you guys specifically were just so good and gracious to me. And just that safe environment. And I want to talk about this safe environment, because it goes way beyond just acting. It goes into life. When you feel safe and comfortable you can be your best version of yourself. And when you don’t feel safe and you don’t feel comfortable, then you feel threatened all the time and you’re like, “How do I move forward?”
Austin: Yeah, absolutely.
Charan: I think that’s very applicable to life.
Austin: Yeah, I feel like there’s some people… That’s all right, you go ahead.
Charan: No, no. You go. You go.
Austin: I feel like there’s some people, acting or anything, they thrive on pressure and that big, big pressure. And there’s some people that really thrive on feeling super comfortable. And I feel like when I have given my best performances or my best experiences are when I feel super, super comfortable.
Austin: The pressure can still be there, but some people do really poorly with encouragement from a director or something because they’ll think, “Oh, I’ve got it.” So they’ll lay back. For me, if it’s genuine, it’s super, super helpful because I’m no longer in my head questioning if what I’m doing is what they wanted, or what’s called for in the scene.
Austin: And when you get that encouragement and when you get that they’re liking what you’re doing and it’s working, then you feel like you have grounding, and you can take up time and space and be confident in yourself. And that’s when I feel like I give the best performance for myself.
Charan: Dude, I love that you said that. I remember, I was on a show called Criminal Minds.
Austin: Oh wow.
Charan: Yeah, it was super fun.
Austin: Awesome show.
Charan: Yeah, great show. And I remember booking at LA, and I’d auditioned for the show multiple times. And when I finally got it, I was really, really excited about it. And the episode opens up with me and my scene. It’s a couple of minutes scene. And it’s intense, it’s a very intense scene and all this stuff. But I remember that set was a magical set.
Austin: Oh, awesome.
Charan: People on that set were so kind. Just everyone was so kind. In film, the first AD is the one who runs the show, in a sense makes things move forward. She was this woman who was so just gentle to everybody. Normally your first AD is in there like, “Okay guys, we’ve got to do this. Now we’re here and we’re moving on to this.” And she wasn’t like that. She ran this ship with gentleness.
Charan: And the director, we were in LA, but the director is like, “Oh, I don’t even live in LA. I live in Connecticut. I have a family, my house is in Connecticut. I just fly out here. I have a little place here. I do the show and then I go back home because I just love it over there.” He was so kind to me, in between set-ups, in between takes. He was pulling me aside just to see more about who I was. He was so interested in me as a person.
Charan: And in the scene, I remember I had to scream a lot and to yell a lot because my best friend was killed in front of me, type of thing. And he would come up to me in between takes just to tell me how good of a job I was doing. I’m like, “Oh.” I’m like, “Do you need me to change anything?” He was like, “No. No, you’re doing so good. This is amazing.” And I’m like, “Dude.” It was one of those moments where I was like, “Wow.” Again, some people thrive with insane, insane pressure. In that environment where I felt really safe, I could be terrified and scared and all the stuff.
Charan: Again, some people thrive with insane, insane pressure. In that environment where I felt really safe, I could be terrified and scared and all the stuff. And it’s the same, what we were discussing. Have you ever had a moment in your life, eEven on set, on The Chosen, where you felt insane… I don’t know if it was pressure, but suddenly you felt this ability to be comfortable and relax?
Austin: Yeah. Yeah, I mean it happens all the time. It’s a mind trick. Acting is a mind trick. Before The Chosen and before Law & Order and Mr. Robot, I hadn’t done any TV or film besides extra work or featured extra work or stuff like that. So I’d been on film sets and stuff before, but everything else has always been theater my whole life growing up. So I’ve worked off Broadway-
Charan: Because you grew in Louisiana, right? You were telling me you grew up in Louisiana.
Austin: Yeah. Yeah, so basically I grew up a little bit outside of New Orleans and then I went to a performing arts high school in New Orleans for three years. And that was an incredible experience, because you were basically at a performing arts high school with all kind of other people doing all different art. And from all over the state. It was a half-day program at the time, now it’s a full-day program. But you would do your general education courses out of school somewhere else. Then you would come in around noon and take class. I was there for drama, until three or four. Then you would have rehearsals there and then…
Austin: So it was a full-day thing, and I moved to New Orleans when I was in high school, closer directly into the city. And I just didn’t go to a public school after I moved in. I just did online school for three years because I would go to the performing arts high school and then I’d have rehearsals. And then after the rehearsals got out at seven, I would go to a community theater and rehearse from seven until 11.
Charan: Dude, you were [crosstalk 00:16:16], yeah.
Austin: It was exhausting, but it was what I wanted to do. It was what I loved. I got to be rehearsing two shows at one time and be in acting class. So that was amazing. And then, I know you were saying there should be a lot of younger people listening to this podcast. I would say something great about going to a performing arts high school, or the one I went to in New Orleans, is your senior year you do something called “unifieds.” I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of unifieds?
Charan: No, I haven’t.
Austin: So when you’re trying to get into an acting school, you could go to that school and audition in person. But it’s very expensive to go all over the country auditioning for different places, and time consuming as well. But unifieds are… I believe they do it in LA, but I went to the one in Chicago. Basically, the performing arts high school I went to flew us all up to Chicago. And it’s basically a week of all the different performing arts colleges around the country, coming and being in each meeting room and conference rooms, and you audition for schools. I auditioned for 20 colleges, all in three days.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Austin: And yeah, if you’re trying to get into in acting school, that could be a really good option. If you want that kind of option. Because it’s way better than having one or two or three schools. Because when you have 10 or 20 schools you’re auditioning for, the percentage of you getting into one of them goes way up, instead of those three that you really want.
Charan: Absolutely, than those couple. Right.
Austin: Yeah, and with acting, it’s a roller coaster your entire life. So you will get one out of a hundred things you try and get.
Charan: Yeah, 100%.
Austin: So for me, I got into one or two schools. And luckily I got into one of the schools I really wanted to get into, and so I went to New York. And I went to Purchase, and I did four years of BFA college there and I got an acting degree. So that would be something I would look into, unifieds, to maybe break into the college admissions for acting.
Charan: Yeah, that’s awesome. So you were doing that and you got into the school that you wanted to get into, which was fantastic. But then how did that translate into getting into film and getting into all those things? Because I feel like sometimes when I go to college, and a lot of it is theater focused, right? And I, myself, didn’t do much theater. I did a little bit in high school, but in college I didn’t study acting. And when I finally took acting, it was all private classes and it was meant specifically for film. So I was always film-focused. So what made the shift between saying, “Okay, I was doing theater, but now I want to go into doing film.”
Austin: Well, really there was never a shift. I was just always someone that wanted to do whatever. Everything in acting, theater, film, TV. It was always something I wanted to do. And I really admire the actors that I love in the New York theater community that do both, and I love to see them on Broadway or off-Broadway and then I can see them on a guest star role on something. And that’s always something I wanted to do. I don’t want to be the big star; I just want to be working on projects that I really love.
Austin: And so yeah, with my program, the four years, a lot of it was devoted to theater mainly. We would do three shows a year and each year in acting class we would get a different acting method, I guess you would say. But those things correlate to theater and film and TV, and you can use them in everything. So we got, one year was Shakespeare, which was mainly theater. And one year was Chekhov and Strasberg and things like that. And so when you get out, you have a wealth of… you have this tool box of different things. We have movement, we have stage combat, we have all these different things that we can use to our advantage to book parts.
Austin: And I do musicals as well, so I have sang all my life and I play some instruments. And so when you graduate, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done before. It matters what you can do in the audition room. So for a long time I was doing just theater. I did a lot of regional theater and a few off-Broadway shows, which were so awesome. A dream come true. And then, slowly but surely the TV auditions started coming in and then it just blended together. It wasn’t something where I sat down and I was like, “Look, I want to change and go into this.” I still want to do theater-
Charan: Yeah, I love that.
Austin: … for the rest of my life. There will never be a stop to that. I always want that to be a part of my life.
Charan: There is, oh my gosh… this is so sad, because I forgot his last name, but I think his first name is Bryant. He is a famous actor. He was on that show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for some time. But he does a lot of theater, he does a lot of singing. He voiced, I think, Jethro in the Prince of Egypt. And he’s done a lot of different things, and I remember having these conversations with him. Because I actually met him. I used to work at Sundance, the ski resort, as a bellman. And when I did that, I would meet all kinds of different actors.
Austin: Oh, I’m sure.
Charan: A lot of them were from New York, right?
Charan: And so I was chatting with them and everything and hearing their stories and whatnot. And it was very cool to see those that just spanned it all. Did theater, film, TV. I think for me, I loved film because also I’m a producer. Because I spent my time producing movies and TV shows, as well as acting. And so, because of that I knew that I couldn’t split my attention too much. And I know theater requires a lot of rehearsal time and everything to dial it in and make it great. So I knew for me that probably wasn’t something that I had time for, just because of producing.
Charan: But it’s so interesting and great when I hear people like you talk about your whole experience of living in that whole space, theater, film, everything. Because I’ve met people who specifically are, “Well, we want to be famous. That’s why we want to get into acting.” And I’m like, “Well, that’s a terrible reason. That is just not a good reason.” But when I talk to someone like you that’s like, “No. I just love the craft. I love creating a character. I love to perform. I love to share.” It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful thing because everywhere you go you can impact people in positive ways or however ways you want to impact people.
Austin: Yeah. With The Chosen, in the last week I’ve gotten messages from all over the world, which is really-
Charan: That’s crazy.
Austin: Yeah. It’s humbling and a little overwhelming. Just nothing I’ve ever experienced before. And usually it’s theater, so you have a few hundred or a thousand people all… you can meet them after the show and stuff, but now it’s anyone and everyone can watch you on-screen and feel like they know you. And reach out to you. And it’s so interesting.
Charan: Actually, yeah. Let’s explore that a little bit. I would love to know. Because over 100 million people have seen your show. And the goal is to get to a billion. They want over a billion people to have seen your show. And it’s ranked number one on Peacock, I believe, is what I was told, as of today even.
Austin: Wow, are you serious? Wow.
Charan: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. It was. And it’s funny because I’ve known about The Chosen a long time because Angel Studios, who’s doing The Chosen, they’re good friends of mine. And so I knew about it back when Dallas had made his short film. Before everything had all… the funding and stuff came through. So it was fun to see it all come together, fun to see him get the cast together and to make it into what it is today, right?
Austin Reed Alleman Talks About The Chosen
Charan: But, for you, who’s just like, “Well, I’ve done regional theater. I’ve done this and I’ve done some extra work in film and then I got Law & Order and everything like that. And then I’m on probably one of the biggest shows of all time.” It’s a pretty huge gap, right? To go from where you were at to, “Oh my gosh, everyone is able to see it and being impacted by it.” So how did it come into your life and what has it done for you, as a result of it all?
Austin: It first came into my life with an audition email while I was on vacation in Montana with my whole family. And we had a few days in Montana and it was family time. And I hadn’t had an audition for a TV show in months. And the second we get to the cabin where we were at, I get the audition. And I was just, “Of course. Of course this is happening.” But I’ve learned enough through my life and through different projects that I just have to do it. Figure it out. So I would still do the whole family stuff, all the vacation things we were supposed to do and then at midnight when everyone’s sleeping, I would go through my script. I had a day or two to get it on tape, and so it was 2:00 AM and my girlfriend and I were literally filming it in the office of the Airbnb we had rented.
Charan: No way, yeah.
Austin: And I was trying to be quiet and I felt really bad about it. I felt rushed and just that I was doing it just to do it. And that’s not how you want to feel. And I submitted it and I never heard anything back. And it was for season 1 of The Chosen, and it was for the role of Thomas. And I never heard anything back, and I said, “Well, I guess they thought the same thing I thought about the tape. That it wasn’t good.” But at least I did it, because at least I got in front of the casting director, and in front of Dallas. And hopefully they’ll think of me again.
Austin: I never heard. And a year and a half goes by, and I’m in the middle of the pandemic. I had gone to Colorado after a few months of lockdown in New York, and I was in Colorado with my family. And they reached back out, and they say how much they loved my work in the first-season audition for Thomas. And they had said how much they loved my work a year ago, and I was like, “I never heard back. Am I the right person? Is this email to the wrong person?” Because it was a very personal email.
Austin: They really liked my work and they wanted me to be a part of the show, but they were just trying to figure out where to put me. Shocked, because as an actor you usually don’t hear back about an audition that you don’t book unless you ask. And I never asked.
Austin: But for this, The Chosen, everything’s done so differently, and it’s done really well at the same time, because they’re just very transparent through the audition process. Dallas was just incredibly transparent to where the nerves go away and it’s more about just doing a good job.
Austin: And so the whole audition for Nathanael was via a casting audition Zoom thing. And so I really didn’t get to spend much time talking with Beverly or Dallas. Beverly’s the casting director and Dallas is the director. Usually a lot of the other actors that have been in the show, they’ve gotten a little bit of time in the room with them and show that they’re an actor and they’re cool to be around.
Austin: But for me, it was just, you log on to one of these. You do a little bit of small talk and then you do the audition as best you can through a camera, which is very difficult as well, and that was a learning experience as well. But to do the audition and a couple of days, a callback, and then during the callback before I had even uttered a word of the text, Dallas was like, “Look, you’re going to be in the show. Just we don’t know where to put you.”
Austin: And I’ve never in my life experienced that. A director telling you that it’s going to happen before you even do your callback. Which was really cool and really special. And talking with the other actors and hearing their interviews with other people about their audition experience, they’ve all said similar things. So he’s not just blowing smoke, and as an actor you feel like the director is. He’s not, and it was really, really special. And from that moment I was like, “Wow, I really want to be a part of this.”
Austin: Yeah, and then about a month later I booked the role, and two weeks later I was flying to Utah. And that was that.
Charan: That was that. Dude, it’s funny because I also had very similar experiences. I was actually reading for Matthew, way back when. And then-
Austin: No way.
Charan: Yeah. Way back when, because they were just barely getting going and so I read for Matthew a bunch. Dallas wanted me to read for Peter. I read for some of the Pharisees. Then it was one of those same things where Dallas said, “Hey, dude you’re going to be in the show. I just don’t know where yet, but you’re going to be in the show.” And so, I was like, “All right.” But the thing was, I’ve heard this before with other films and other shows and things that it just never panned out. So I’m like, “Hey, whatever happens, happens.”
Charan: And even when we did the podcast. I did a podcast with Dallas, and he was saying, “Yeah. We’re going to get you in there, we’re just not sure what role yet.”
Charan: “Okay. Yeah, no worries,” you know? And it was interesting because when I did finally do it, I was like, “Oh that was amazing.” It’s just one of those things where they know that you’re great, and you have great presence, and now it’s just the right fit. Right? And I totally get that.
Austin: Yeah, it makes sense to me now thinking back. In the moment, it was really shocking and I didn’t believe it. I was just like, “This is going to get my hopes up and then I’m going to be brought down again.” But it makes sense thinking about it. Because if you’re seeing hundreds, maybe thousands at this point of actors around the country and then around the world, because we have people from all over, then you know what you want and when you see it.
Austin: And when you’re casting a show which has so many parts, and for hopefully seven seasons, then you have to make a list of people at the end that you want to call back. Or else, you’re just going to go… you have to do that. I mean, I don’t know if that’s what they do. But I just mean you have to have some folder where it’s like, “These are the people that I like and would like to work with, and we’ll find them a spot.” So I think that’s really commendable, and it was a very exciting thing for me and made me want to be a part of it.
Charan: No, that’s so awesome. And I’d love to talk to you a little bit about your process. Because I’m telling you, we as a group watched episode 2 last weekend, of season 2, which is kind of where your character is introduced, I believe.
Charan: And it was such a powerful episode, and it was such a powerful… your emotions and your feelings of grief of hoping to become… well, I don’t want to spoil it, but architect, you know. But your whole experience of being introduced on that show. Can you talk a little bit about your whole process of how that episode went for you? Because that was a big meaty episode for you.
Austin: Well first, thank you for your kind words. That means a lot. I’m glad it was impactful.
Charan: Yeah, no problem.
Austin: The process is basically the writers, Tyler and Ryan and Dallas, write something really, really beautiful. And does 75% of the work for you. So your job is just to fill the gaps with a performance that’s… but the backstory is all there. And the other thing about getting to a point where you’re at the lowest of the low when you’re at a very big high is very relatable for me as an actor. And so, while Nathanael’s an architect in the show, as an actor you can just put yourself in the position. And you can also remember those experiences where you were at the lowest of the low.
Austin: And so for Nathanael, this happens in the first minute. His whole construction site falls to pieces, and he’s basically fired and ruined, and the Roman basically says he’s ruined. And the rest of the episode is basically for his journey, how he handles that.
Austin: But as an actor, you can be up for a Broadway show, like I have been a few times. And you’ve been five callbacks in and you’re meeting the director, you’re meeting the producers. It really feels like it’s going to happen and that your life is going to change, and you’re going to get this huge dream come true. The biggest thing you’ve ever wanted. And then you get that email that it’s not happened. And as an actor, you can relate to it as well.
Austin: But it has happened so many times in my life so far, where you get that just crushing blow. And you’re just like, “What am I doing? Why did I do this to myself? Why am I doing this to myself?” And so you can really connect to that, the character’s very connectable, as an artist to an artist. But also in the peak of his despair under the fig tree, it was really not going well, because I was super cold and there were a lot of elements that were being added on, like a pyrotechnic fire thing that was being added.
Charan: Yeah, lighting the thing of fire.
Austin: Yeah. Lighting the thing of fire, and it wasn’t working. And it felt like there was more. My mind, my attention, focus of all the preparation I had done that day was going to getting these beats correct instead of just worrying about-
Charan: Yeah. Just being in the moment and being-
Austin: Yeah, being in the moment. And the cold was added, and then the sunlight was going down. And so it was very rushed. And so that was a really big moment, like we were speaking before, of not feeling comfortable at all. It was nothing to do with anyone making me feel that way.
Charan: Sure, it’s just the circumstances. Yeah.
Austin: It was the elements; it was the circumstances. And so we filmed it a few times and I was just filming it, and I just… and they knew it too. And Dallas pulled me aside and was… he told me a few things. And he told me one thing about… that hopefully millions of people will watch this moment that you’re about to do, and each one of them will be able to relate to this moment. To where you’re feeling.
Austin: And that hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was like, “All right. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.” Because I was ready. There was a moment where it just became bigger than me. So I was just like, “Let’s roll,” and that is the take that you see in the show.
Charan: Dude, it was so beautiful, man. It was so beautiful.
Austin: Thank you.
Charan: And it was so touching. The thing is, I think about people’s lives and I think about what the pandemic has done for a lot of people. And it decimated them, right?
Charan: And it made them start over. And for a lot of people that have had careers that have lasted a long time, or money in the stock market, all kinds of different things. And just to have built something so massive and to then get crushed. To get absolutely crushed. And to be in this despair, this moment of absolute despair.
Austin: That was another added element. In March 2020, right before the pandemic really, really hit New York, I was just about to do a film I was excited about. And the day before, it got shut down with the shutdown happened. And then that doesn’t really matter because then it became more about actual life and actual health and my worry for my family and for myself, and for my loved ones. And then seeing in New York 800 people dying a day was so devastating. And then to see it all over the world as well.
Austin: And then even on my block, I remember ambulances all day. I’m not exaggerating, five a day driving through. And then the freezer trucks driving past my street. I’m not even exaggerating. And acting completely was forgotten and it was more just how can we get through this? It was just a really dark time for everyone. and so everything was shut down. All of my friends, all of my theater friends, just nothing. It was just rough.
Austin: But then, when I was in October filming that scene, that was maybe a week into me being there. It was like, “Wow. I’m on location. Doing a show with amazing actors and crew people, and it’s happening.” And so, you just never know when it’s going to be a high point and when it’s going to be a low point. And it’s very difficult to know when those things are going to happen. You can’t really predict those things. So it’s great just to day-by-day… I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m trying to say, but I just mean-
Charan: Listen, I’m feeling though… whatever you’re saying, I’m feeling. Here’s the deal. I think it’s interesting, because we get stuck in these places where things just get so dark and depressing. How do you keep moving forward when you’re faced with such blows? Like COVID, how do you move forward when things are like that?
Charan: But I think what’s interesting and what made your scene so powerful was in a way your character represented what the world was feeling. And it was representing a complete and utter destruction of the old so something new can emerge. The death of the old-
Austin: Yeah, that’s great.
Charan: And so that’s why I think it was so powerful and it resonated so much, because I really feel like your character representing the world of his dream. He’s an architect. So that already symbolizes, “Hey, he’s creating a world. He’s creating a building.” He’s creating things, right? And to have that whole creation crumble, to have his ideas of who he thinks he is crumble. And his utter pain, his crying out to his God to say, “Hey, I did this for you.”
Charan: I think the beautiful thing about that is you, in that moment, like what Dallas was saying, you spoke for the world. You spoke for the world. And hundreds and millions of people have seen that.
Charan: And then to see your transformation. And I’m excited to see what happens to your character, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
Austin: Me too.
Charan: Yeah. But it’s interesting, because as you had that experience, and the world could mourn with you because they felt that same pain, seeing you rise from the ashes is giving power for the entire world to rise from the ashes. So it was so powerful, and I’m so glad that Dallas said those words to you.
Austin: Thank you. Yeah. He also told me that this character and this moment was autobiographical about him and his movie when it flopped, and where he was at the lowest of the low. So all of those things just really helped to get it going. And then just being able to be pulled aside and be like, “All right. It’s all right, we’ve already gotten all those shots with all the other stuff. Now we’re just focusing on the performance. Don’t worry about anything else. Take your time and be there.”
Austin: But yeah, that’s why entertainment and the arts are so important. It’s silly for us to talk like this is going to heal people from COVID, that’s not what I mean. It’s like that is why arts are important, and everyone says that during lockdown, what did you have to do when you were just sitting at home? You turned to your TV or your books or different things like that. So it is very important and it can do a lot of good.
Charan: You mentioned to me that after that episode aired and everything, tons of people reaching out to you.
Charan: What was that like, when you were like, “Oh my gosh, all of a sudden people all around the world are reaching out to me and sharing their experiences.” What was that like for you?
Austin: It was just really special and I don’t know… I’ve never experienced something like that. And then suddenly people know my birthday and stuff. My birthday was on Sunday and then I had a bunch of people telling me my birthday. So there’s a lot of people that really care about this show and the people in it, and that’s definitely felt in the cast. We feel it. And so the messages, I read them all. I can’t respond to each and every one, but it is really great.
Austin: I’m not saying that there’s millions of messages, but it is pretty insane to see dozens of messages a day from different countries. That’s crazy to me. And so almost every continent, except for Antarctica, I can say that someone has said, “Greetings from blah, blah, blah,” or something. And so that’s so cool.
Austin: And then, the art that these people do is amazing. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of it, but it’s beautiful.
Charan: I have seen some, the fan art is insane.
Austin: It’s beautiful.
Austin: It’s beautiful. And I’ve never had fan art. I’ve never… someone drew this amazing portrait of Nathanael and it was done so, so well. And then there’s watercolors of the fig tree and there’s all kinds of different things. And so it’s just really special and I pinch myself every day. That’s all I can say about it.
Charan: It’s so beautiful. I mean, it’s interesting. I was on a show called The Outpost, it was on The CW. And I was a regular for one season, but I was a season finale death.
Austin: Oh wow.
Charan: Now, for me it was great to be on set. It was great to act. It was great to have fun and all those things. And it was great to film my death scene. And then the day after my death scene, I was in another scene. That’s just, we film out of order all the time, right?
Austin: Right, right.
Charan: So we’re like, “Okay. We do this, now we’re doing something else,” and we just keep moving on. So we do it, and it was a great opportunity and I loved that show. But when it came out, there became a fan club for that show. And all of a sudden on Twitter there was this outpouring of shock and sadness over my character’s death. And I was like, “Wow.” Because for me, as Charan, I just moved on. I’m like, “All right. Cool. What’s my next thing?” and all this stuff.
Charan: But people had taken my photo and they’d done fan art of me, and they were expressing how much that character meant to them and how sad they were. And there were people that were literally bawling. It was very special to me and very tender that, like you said, art could inspire people in such a way that that particular character just meant so much to them.
Charan: So you as Austin are like, “Well, it was a beautiful experience that I’ve been having,” but pinching yourself every day thinking, “Oh my gosh. I can’t believe the power that this show is having on millions of people.”
Austin: Yeah. Yeah.
Charan: And it’s true, man. Look, I go to a church where the leader of my church, he actually came to Texas when we did Sermon on the Mount.
Austin: Oh, nice.
Charan: He’s the coolest guy. Very, very nice guy. And one of the things he says when a lot of people come up to him to share their feelings and their sorrows and stuff of their life, the first thing he says is, “You guys need to go watch The Chosen.” That’s his thing, because he just knows how powerful your show is, so the healing that it’s doing for millions and millions of people around the world is just unbelievable. So, great work.
Austin: Thanks, man.
Charan: So I want to change topics and wrap things up a little bit.
Austin: Yeah, okay.
Austin Reed Alleman Talks About What Brings Him Joy
Charan: We were talking about struggles and challenges, and we talked about COVID and how that’s been so tough. But I want to ask you now, currently what brings Austin joy?
Austin: Currently, yes. I would say, well I’m sure everyone says their family and their loved ones, my friends. Things like that. Right now it’s an interesting time; there’s not a ton to do. But connecting with my loved ones is the biggest thing.
Austin: I would say traveling, definitely is the biggest joy besides getting to act. Obviously we can’t do that now. I love to cook, I love to read and different things like that. But yeah, my family 100%.
Charan: That’s so awesome, and you mentioned a couple of times where you traveled with them to Montana. You traveled with them to Colorado.
Austin: Yeah. Well, they have a place in Colorado really close to the Rocky Mountain National Park. So I spent a good amount of time in 2020 there. I did three months in New York and then left for the summer. And I just left and I was like, “I don’t know when I’m coming back because there’s nothing going on.” And so I was in Colorado for a few months with my family and my girlfriend. And so we did a bunch of hikes, bunch of canoeing, bunch of different things. And it’s just really, really beautiful over there. Unfortunately, there was a fire in October when I was actually-
Charan: Oh, shoot.
Austin: Yeah. That was another moment that fig tree really worked, is the night before the whole area near my parents’ cabin. It burned down.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Austin: And it was just gone. It was just completely gone, and the fire was stopped thankfully about 100 yards away from my parents’ cabin. But a bunch of people lost their cabins. Thankfully, a lot of the moose and elk were able to get out, and I think they only found a few elk that didn’t make it. But I had just been there for such a long time, and then it was gone. And I had stayed up the whole night before listening to the police scanner, the firefighter scanner as they fought the fire. Yeah, so it was just a really low moment.
Austin: And I feel like it’s going to be really difficult going back even though that is a place that gives me so much joy, like you’re asking. Because I think a lot of it is burned down, but hopefully that will come back sooner rather than later.
Charan: I used to live in Colorado myself.
Austin: Oh yeah, where at?
Charan: Well, my dad really lived there. My parents are divorced and my dad used to live in Fort Collins. So I would go spend time with him and I would live with him. I love snowboarding, and so we would go to Breckenridge and all of those places like that and go ride. But Colorado holds a very special place in my heart because the interactions that I had with people, they were just so nice and so positive. And the mountains were so great.
Charan: And it’s interesting, because even though I was much younger when I was living over there, I still remember a lot of those memories that I had there. And it’s like what you’re saying, you talk about things burning down and it’s like memories are kind of gone. I have a buddy that’s from Paradise, California. His entire town is gone, right?
Austin: Oh yeah.
Charan: His entire town, it’s been burned down.
Charan: And we were chatting about that. And thankfully he wasn’t there when it burned down, but it was very interesting, because when that happened, it’s like your memories kind of go with it. And the memories of that place, all those things. I think what’s beautiful though is the fact that we can still create new memories. And we can create new things, and now we’re like, “Okay, so that part of our lives doesn’t exist anymore.”
Charan: I used to have a home in India that we would go to, and that home has been demolished and turned into an apartment complex. So I can never go back to that place and remember what it was like as a kid right there. But I think that’s the beautiful thing about life is change, and it goes back to the fig tree. That moment represents being able to evolve and being able to change. And being able to say, “Okay. We can grieve our past. We can grieve what once was, and we can now look forward to what can be.” And that’s just a beautiful thing.
Austin: Change is not something I do well with. Some people like it, and 2020 has brought a lot of change.
Austin: Almost every one of my close friends in New York has moved out, moved.
Charan: That’s tough. Yeah.
Austin: It’s very, very tough. And just getting older, but it starts from when you’re a kid. Moving out of your childhood house, moving from your house to college. Saying bye to your parents at that moment. And then graduating college, being done with college. And then just being out on your own, that is a massive change as well. And then now I feel like I’m in to another massive change, a few years out of college.
Austin: There’s this big change happening as well. For a lot of good and a lot of bad as well. It’s tough, COVID has really changed a lot of things. But hopefully soon things will get a little better. I’m no victim. I’ve had a wonderful couple of months getting to work with The Chosen. And that’s the other thing. While a lot of people around me have moved away out of New York, I’ve met so many new friends from this show that we still talk daily. And I just can’t wait to get back out for season 3, because these guys are amazing, including you.
Charan: Oh, thanks, man.
Austin: They’re just amazing people to be around. So that brings me joy as well.
Charan: Man, I love that, man. It’s so great. And as I’ve been chatting with some of the other cast members on this podcast, I’ve felt like that from them. They’re just all very, very special people with very wonderful gifts and challenges that they’ve been given.
Austin: Yeah, well, they make you want to be better.
Austin Reed Alleman’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: Yeah. I love that, man. It’s so good. Okay, so I guess, last question. Last question, I love this. Going through all the stuff that you’ve gone through, sometimes feeling the fear of change and all these things, what would you tell your younger self? The one that was having the dreams to come out and come to New York and get into theater, and not really sure what to expect. Now going backwards, what would you tell that person?
Austin: I would tell them to just be patient about it. Stop thinking it all needs to happen right now, because we’ve got a long life ahead of us. And the best learning lessons are not when it’s going really well for you. It’s when it’s going really bad for you. Because you need those moments to be able to really, really be grateful for the good moments. Because if you only have good moments your whole life, you’ll never actually know. And if you have that roller coaster of a life, like everyone has, when you’re in the really good times you’ll know it and you’ll want to take advantage of it.
Charan: Appreciate it more, right?
Austin: Absolutely, right. Yeah.
Charan: Awesome. Seriously. I appreciate you so much sharing your thoughts and everything, because I feel like a lot of people are trying to pick up the pieces. I was just having a phone call this morning with a buddy of mine that is going through a divorce, and he’s just trying to explain to me. He’s like, “Dude, I’m facing so much uncertainty right now. I don’t even know, my foundation has completely rocked. The things that I’ve thought and the narratives I’ve been told and all these different things.”
Charan: He was describing it as cognitive dissonance, where he was told a certain thing, but his experience of life was not matching up. So he’s like, “I don’t know where to move,” and so we were having a conversation about that. And again, I’ve got to say the power of that fig tree, the power of that moment, it’s very, very powerful because it’s okay to mourn the death of the old. And it’s okay-
Austin: Yeah. It’s okay not to be your best right now.
Austin: There’s a lot going on that is making it challenging for a lot of people. But thankfully around me, my family’s okay from COVID. I know a few people that have died, unfortunately. We’re going over a year of this, and every day weighing on us. That and there’s a social justice atrocity every week now, and so if you turn on the news you have this weight on you. And I feel like hopefully things will get better, and I think they will. I definitely think they will.
Charan: Yeah, and if nothing else, we can always remember this, too, shall pass. I think it’s one of the things Jordan was saying, “This, too, shall pass,” and everything’s going to… but more than anything, I hope that this podcast and everything just helps us to all realize we just need to have more compassion for each other. And reach out to your loved ones and connect with them, and strengthen those bonds. Because it’s those relationships that are really the most important.
Austin: Yeah, I agree, man.
Charan: Yeah, it’s so great. Well, dude, I always tell people, I feel like I’m doing therapy for myself when I have these podcasts. Because every single person shares something different and beautiful, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh. I should be paying for this because this is unbelievable.”
Austin: No, man. This is great, man. I was listening to a few of the ones that you’ve done before, and they’re just really, really great. And it got me really excited to talk to you, because I had no idea you did this.
Charan: Dude, this is a product of COVID, honestly.
Charan: Because last year, I didn’t know what I was going to do. My career, like everybody else, just shut down. I didn’t have auditions, so I just started doing Zoom podcasts for fun because it was just what was in my heart. And that led to a digital marketing agency reaching out and saying, “Hey, Charan, we love what you’re doing. We think it’s awesome. Why don’t you host it, legit host it, and we will will push it out and everything?” I wasn’t planning that. It just kind of happened.
Austin: That’s great. That’s great. Congratulations.
Charan: Thank you, man. Thank you. No, it’s a new thing. It’s very new and it’s been very exciting, so I love it.
Austin: You’re great at this. You’re really great at this, man.
Charan: I appreciate that. Well, Austin, thank you so much for joining me on this podcast, and yeah, have a great day, man.
Austin: Thank you, Charan. It’s good to see you, man, and I look forward to seeing our episode.
Charan: Yes. Yeah, and I look forward to hanging out with you guys again if you guys come back to Utah.
Austin: Oh absolutely, man. Thank you.
Austin: Take care, man.
Charan: Take care.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand Podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and reviews. And if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.