James Wolk sheds anonymity

'Lone Star' star quietly built strong resume

New Faces for Fall:
Sharon Horgan | Jon Michael Hill | Billy Gardell | Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe | Andrew Lincoln | Holt McCallany | Michael Pitt | Maggie Q | Ruth Wilson | James Wolk
Fall TV Preview 2010

Fall TV premiere week will be huge for James Wolk. Not only is his buzzy Fox sudser “Lone Star” debuting, but the romantic comedy “You Again” — in which the 25-year-old appears alongside Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver and Betty White — hits theaters.

Not bad for an actor who landed in Los Angeles two years ago, but Wolk — who began acting in high school, studied theater in college at Michigan and spent a couple of years treading the boards in New York — has clearly paid his dues.

“In some respects, this has happened quickly — to me, it’s been a long time coming,” Wolk says.

In “Lone Star,” he stars as Bob, a young man led by his father (David Keith) into leading the double life of a grifter. Complicating matters is the fact that Bob aches to go straight — and that he’s in love with two women (Eloise Mumford and Adrianne Palicki).

Initially, the character was written to be a decade older than Wolk.

“The script was beautiful, but it felt silly to play a character 10 years older,” he says. “I told my manager that maybe this was not the right decision, which is ballsy for an actor in my place, who’s not a known quantity.”

Eventually, the producers realized that the premise worked better if Bob were younger. “The 20s are an interesting time — a lot of big changes occur,” Wolk notes. “You could see how a guy would say, ‘Wait a minute, there’s something else I could be doing.’ ”

Prior to “Lone Star,” Wolk’s biggest credit was playing a teacher with Tourette’s Syndrome in the Hallmark film “Front of the Class.” Wolk figured his work in that film was what interested the “Lone Star” producers, and was shocked to discover during the show’s Television Critics Assn. press tour session that none of them had seen it.

“I thought, ‘Wow’ — I wasn’t upset, but just thought it was so crazy,” he admits, adding drolly, “Once we’re off the phone, I’m calling (executive producer) Amy Lippman to ask if she’s seen it yet. That is not cool.”

More Scene

  • Angler Los Angeles

    Angler Is L.A.'s Major New Seafood Destination

    San Francisco transplant Angler is set to make a major splash in Los Angeles, as Joshua Skenes’ innovative seafood-focused restaurant opens in the somewhat unlikely location of the Beverly Center. Angler is the latest and the most ambitious restaurant to join a fresh crop of spots, including Cal Mare and Yardbird, on the recently refurbished [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler Set for Special Performance at New York Pride (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler is set to appear at New York’s Pride Main Event this Saturday (June 29) at the Javits Center. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, she’ll perform a song accompanied by composer Marc Shaiman, of “Hairspray” and “Mary Poppins Returns” fame. Her stage time is set for 11 p.m. Also scheduled to [...]

  • Magic Johnson, Larry Bird

    Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Robin Roberts Honored at 2019 NBA Awards

    The NBA went Hollywood on Monday night, mixing basketball legends with a star-studded list of presenters including Samuel L. Jackson, Tiffany Haddish and “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley at the 2019 NBA Awards. Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal hosted the third annual award show, which aired live on TNT, kicking things off with a surprise [...]

  • Naomi Watts and Gretchen Carlson'The Loudest

    ‘The Loudest Voice’ Stars Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe Talk Roger Ailes

    Roger Ailes may have been the force behind the creation of Fox News, but the late newsman’s legacy will forever be his atrocious sexual harassment of several of the network’s female anchors and producers. Showtime premiered its new limited series “The Loudest Voice,” which chronicles Ailes’ rise and fall, on Monday night at the Paris [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Mumford and Sons, Sting, Ciara, Bebe Rexha Light Up Cannes Lions

    There was no shortage of excellent music at the 2019 edition of Cannes Lion. The international gathering of creatives drew top music brands – among them: Spotify, Live Nation, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM/Pandora, VEVO and Universal Music Group – and a slew of well-known acts to stages across the Croissette, to villas above the city and onto [...]

  • Patrick Wilson

    Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace on Scary Stories From 'Annabelle Comes Home' Set

    Tales of spooky occurrences on the sets of horror movies like “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist” have circulated for years, and it looks like “The Conjuring” franchise is following in their footsteps in that regard. The cast of “Annabelle Comes Home” shared their unnerving stories from set at the film’s premiere on Thursday night at the Regency [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content