With his first major role on FOX’s The Orville, ten-year-old Kai Wener is realizing his dream of becoming an actor. For Wener, working on the Seth MacFarlane created show, which is wrapping up its second season, has been both a lot of fun as well as a great place to learn the craft. When he’s not busy acting or working, you can find him playing video games online with his family and friends. We chatted with Kai about his character, Ty Finn, the feeling that he got being nominated for a Young Artist Award and his upcoming projects.
Cliché: How did you discover your passion for acting?
Kai Wener: I realized that I wanted to pursue acting as my career path when I was young. I would watch great cartoons on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel and then I would copy the characters from the shows. Besides doing that, I would also mimic the commercials that came on during the shows. Eventually, I realized that acting allowed me to have cool experiences on different sets while meeting some awesome people. I am having so much fun being an actor, it’s a dream come true for any kid.
What’s the experience been like working on The Orville?
The experience working on The Orville has been so much fun and it’s also been a learning experience. I get to work every day with the best cast like Penny Johnson Jerald who plays my mother and Mark Jackson who plays an artificial life form named Isaac. Another great actor who I get to work with is BJ Tanner who plays my brother. Some of the other great actors around me who are apart of the cast are Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, J. Lee, Peter Macon, and Jessica Szohr. Not to mention that I get to learn about things that happen behind the camera from the show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane as well as from director Jon Cassar.
Can you describe your character, Ty Finn? Do you relate to him at all?
Ty Finn is the youngest son of Dr. Claire Finn on The Orville spaceship. He has one older brother and looks up to an artificial life form who is kind of like a robot, but better, named Isaac. Ty has already been through some pretty neat adventures for his age but is still very much a regular kid. He loves his mom and at the same time, will have fun watching his older sibling get in trouble, so yes, I definitely can relate to him.
Why should people watch The Orville?
The main reason people should watch the show is that each episode is like a mini-movie and there isn’t much of that on television at the moment. Each episode has super cool special effects and alien costumes that are realistic and out of this world. The show’s creator Seth MacFarlane makes sure to have a huge orchestra playing the music throughout the scenes. It’s like getting to watch something like Stars Wars or any other great sci-fi movie for free each week.
How did it feel to be nominated for a Young Artist Award?
After season one of The Orville aired, I started to see how many kids and teens loved watching the show and were fans which made me proud. I was able to represent the younger audience the show has by being nominated for an award that is for kids.
What was the best advice about acting that you’ve received and who was it from?
I’ll give you the same advice that my dad tells me. He told me, “As a young man growing up, to never compromise my values for an opportunity. Be patient, success will come.”
What are some types of roles or genres that you’d like to try in the future?
I’ve been working hard on reaching my goal to work on a feature film but I would also love to do some voice over work for a cartoon. I also hope that I will be able to play a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe…fingers crossed for Miles Morales!
What are some things you enjoy doing when you’re not acting or working?
When I’m not acting or working, I love to play video games. The video game that is my favorite to play right now is Fortnite because it’s a source for me to hang out online with my friends and cousins when I’m not home. I also love to hang out with my parents and older sister at “The “Happiest Place On Earth,” which is Disneyland.
Are there any future projects that you are working on?
I just finished doing a national commercial for McDonald’s that should be airing soon. I’ve also had some great opportunities to read for some awesome television pilots and films. Hopefully, you’ll see me on one of those really soon. Of course, my fingers are crossed for a season 3 of The Orville so everyone can see Ty Finn grow up and go on more space adventures.
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Kai Wener Breaks Down His Character on “The Orville” and More. Image Credits: Birdie Thompson