ASU student, National Treasure actor balances school and career

(Photo courtesy of Kathy Cooley)

Many ASU students juggle working one or more jobs, attending classes, participating in extra-curricular activities or slaving away at unpaid internships. It’s a balancing act familiar to most, including political science junior Hunter Gomez, whose job involves flying to and from Los Angeles for auditions, voice-work and filming movies during summer break.

Gomez’s first big break was landing the role of the young Nicholas Cage in Disney’s National Treasure in 2004. He’s been acting professionally ever since and said he still talks to actor Jon Voight from time to time.

A native of Arizona, Gomez claims he always knew this is what he wanted to do.

“Instead of sports, I wanted to go into acting,” he said.

So far, it’s worked out pretty well for him. Most recently, Gomez stared in “Last Ounce of Courage,” a film that addresses the secularization of Christmas and religious freedom.

Gomez plays Christian Revere whose father died in military battle. Upset by what he sees around him, and questioning what his father died fighting for, Revere joins his grandfather in standing up for the right to religious expression.

Gomez said he chose to accept the role because of the message the film conveys.

“I wasn’t afraid to do a film like that because I was worried about backlash,” he said. “It isn’t extreme. … It’s American.”

Gomez has also been a cast member on the TV show “Family Guy,” since 2005. His audition involved calling the show’s creator and star, Seth MacFarlane, and speaking with different accents on his voicemail, but he can’t remember what he talked about.

Gomez said he frequently flies to Los Angeles and back in one day to record his part for the show, so it almost never interferes with attending classes at ASU. He’s been lucky with filming and with shoots taking place during the summer. The close proximity to Los Angeles is just another perk of attending ASU.

“I love it. It’s been the perfect fit for me,” he said.

Not going to college was never an option for Gomez, and he stresses the importance of an education, even in a field where a degree doesn’t guarantee fame or fortune.

“There are so many actors that take education for granted, and it’s obvious,” he said.

Attending ASU seemed to be inevitable as well.

“My family is a Sun Devil family,” he said.

ASU was the only school he chose to apply to.

As for tips for aspiring actors, Gomez said it’s important to not take anything too personally.

“Acting is so unpredictable,” he said.

He said current college students need to finish their degree, before packing up and moving to Los Angeles, but to start honing acting skills now.

“Take an acting class. … You can start studying now,” Gomez said.

Gomez plans to graduate from ASU in spring 2013. He said he will always be involved in acting but knew it was important to have an education behind him. He has not ruled out pursuing a higher degree.

 

Reach the reporter at jrpallas@asu.edu