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Interview: Kalama Epstein on his ‘incredible’ time on ‘The Fosters’

Photo: Courtesy of MLC PR

Kalama Epstein joined the cast of Freeform’s The Fosters this season as Noah, the new love interest for Jude (Hayden Byerly) – and he’s loving his job. Kalama spoke with Pure Fandom last week to discuss why Noah appealed to him and what he’s gained from joining the Fosters family.

He explained that one of the major reasons he wanted to play Noah was the opportunity to portray an openly gay character on national television and help properly represent the LGBTQ community. “It’s very fun to dive into a role, especially like this,” Kalama explained.

“This character is openly gay, his mother is a pastor, he goes to a church that allows him to be openly gay and they applaud him, they understand him and they help him,” he continued. “That’s what was really interesting to dive into with this character. Definitely the biggest reason for me wanting to portray Noah.”

Another positive was that he has had the opportunity to develop Noah over more than one or two episodes. The Fosters is only the second guest starring role that Kalama has had that’s run for more than one installment. How has his acting process changed with the bigger workload?

“The longer you’re in a show and getting to play with the character, every single episode you do you learn more and you can add more layers on,” he explained. “It’s definitely changed the process, it’s been very, very fun finding the little quirks and thigns Noah does. Each episode is just more stuff to really play with and you learn more about the emotional depth of the character and where he’s at in his mind. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a few curveballs.

“I was expecting the fans to like me and the third episode I’m in I introduce a character to pot. I get them high,” he laughed, talking about the reaction to Noah’s arrival. “I was very much expecting the fans to hate that and to hate my character and come at me but really I’ve gotten a lot of love. I haven’t gotten much hate and I’m very, very happy and it’s been very interesting to see the reactions.”

“It’s been incredible. I had no idea about the whole pot thing,” Kalama continued, citing that as his biggest surprise so far. “We finished my second episode ‘Forty’ and Hayden comes up to me, and he goes I got a one-liner [description] for next week and we’re going to be getting high. And I was like wait, what? I was so mind-boggled.

“That’s what makes it so much fun,” he enthused. “There’s constant surprises at every single turn.”

Check out a preview for tonight’s new episode of The Fosters below:

While Kalama couldn’t tell us any spoilers for what’s ahead in the remaining three episodes of the season, he did offer this prognostication: “Hayden and Jude’s relationship gets a bit more interesting and a little more complicated in the upcoming episodes leading up to the finale. I think fans are going to have a lot of fun seeing where this character goes.”

If you’ve enjoyed meeting Noah on The Fosters, Kalama encourages fans of the show to watch his work as Frankie O’Reilly in a short film called The Kid, which is available on YouTube.

“It was produced by Sean Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan’s son,” he recalled, “and it was one of my favorite things to work on because of the amount of experience I got on it. I filmed that when I was twelve, when I first came out here and it was just a very intense shoot. I got to do some amazing work on that film. I got to dive really deep and do some really emotional stuff. I’d definitely check out that.”

What does his own taste run toward? Kalama told us that in TV, he’s a fan of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, while in films he likes all sorts of comic-book movies and recently enjoyed Suicide Squad.

But he’s making his own headlines with Noah. While the show has been a huge opportunity for him as an actor and as a person, Kalama revealed that his biggest takeaway from his experience on The Fosters is getting to interact with the show’s fans.

“Twitter’s really allowed me to really interact with the fanbase. Talk about my music taste and my film taste and everything. It’s been amazing,” he reflected. “I used to be a hardcore Instagram person, then all of a sudden I started using Twitter more and it’s so easy and great to connect with the fans. It’s amazing how social media can change how the industry works.”

You can follow him on Twitter at @kalamaeps. Find out what happens next with Noah when The Fosters airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Freeform.

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Brittany Frederick

Brittany Frederick is an award-winning entertainment and sports journalist, screenwriter, and novelist. She was named an honorary analyst for Section 20 (#StrikeBack), and when she's not working with TV heroes, you can find her trying to be one in real life on the Verizon IndyCar Series. You can reach her at her official website (brittany-frederick.com) and on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.

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