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A Rising Star

At just 17 years old, Central Florida’s own Logan Allen already has quite an impressive acting résumé. From television to the big screen, Allen has worked alongside some of the industry’s best. Yet, with the support of his loving family, he remains humble and level-headed. The up-and-coming actor currently stars on the hit Netflix show Sweet Magnolias and will soon appear on the upcoming season of Stranger Things.

Orlando Family Magazine recently caught up with the talented teen to find out about his Florida upbringing, booming career and post-high school graduation plans. 

How old were you when you first got into acting and what initially drew you into it?

I started when I was about 8 years old. A family friend, Erin Soltys, told my parents, ‘You should get your son into acting, I think he would do well.’ Nobody in my family had done any acting before and at first it seemed scary, but me being a kid I said, ‘Yeah, I want to be on TV!’ So, we talked more in depth with Erin about it and eventually I got really into it. Pretty early on I met my agent, Traci Danielle, who helped get me started with a lot of smaller things to kind of get my feet wet like photo shoots and commercials. My first big thing was a TV show in 2015 called Talia in the Kitchen on Nickelodeon. One of the actresses on the show, Gail, is Erin’s daughter so it’s kind of funny how it all came full circle. From there on, I did the Bernie The Dolphin movies and Creepshow. It’s been pretty steady from then on. 

Would you say you were pretty outgoing as a kid?

I was actually pretty shy and kept to myself a lot. I’m still kind of that way but obviously, in this industry you can’t really be that way so I’ve tried to come out of my shell a little bit. Early on, though, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into so I was a little more nervous but once you get your foot in the door, you start riding that wave and everything kind of falls into place and that’s what happened to me.

I understand you grew up on a farm. Can you tell us a little about that?

Yes ma’am. My dad’s side of the family is very country and my mom’s side is very city so I had the best of both worlds growing up. I used to do 4-H, which is where you show the animals you’ve raised at the local fair that comes around. My little brother and sister actually do it now. We used to have a mini farm where we had hogs, goats, chickens and rabbits but we have since dialed it back a little bit. Now, we just have cows and horses on a separate piece of property.

How would you describe your character on Sweet Magnolias

Kyle is just the nicest, sweetest, most wholesome kid ever. He’s almost too nice to where people take advantage of him in some situations, and that was very evident in season one. 

He’s not a very outgoing person, he kind of keeps everything inside and likes to make other people happy; the bad thing about that is that he doesn’t take time for himself and so there are situations in the show where he goes crazy because he’s just been holding in these emotions and eventually has to let them out. He doesn’t have many people to turn to; his mom and dad just got divorced and there’s a lot to deal with there; his older brother has his own issues and is doing his own thing and his little sister is only 5. In season two, after the car crash, Kyle is dealing with everything that happened from that and the relationships that have gone downhill because of it. That is actually one of the great things about the show— how everybody is affected in some way by everything, whether directly or indirectly. It’s really fun to dive into that and see what can happen from just one little conflict, how one little accident can make a whole town go crazy.

There are a lot of big-name stars on the show. What has it been like to work with such an impressive cast?

I’m a huge fan of all of them. They are all incredible. I remember watching JoAnna (Garcia Swisher) on Reba years ago and she and Chris (Klein) and Justin (Bruening) are obviously hugely talented actors, as is the rest of the cast. Being able to work with them is incredible and they are all so nice in person. Every actor on the show knows their stuff and they come super prepared to the set every day. Having a good scene partner makes everything so much easier especially with emotional scenes, and in season two there are some heavy scenes between JoAnna and I. 

Is there a sense of family within the cast, off camera?

I think the family element is everywhere even with people who aren’t my on-camera family like Anneliese (Judge) and Brooke (Elliott). Even the director, producers and showrunner— there’s a real family dynamic on set and behind the scenes and I think that’s what makes the show so great. That chemistry that you see is real and it stems from Netflix all the way down. We just get along so well, which makes it so much easier because you don’t have to fake that, it’s a true dynamic that the audience is seeing and it’s super special. You don’t get that with every show so being able to be a part of something where you really do feel like you’re a part of the family is great. 

Is it true the show is filmed in Georgia? 

Yes, we film all the exterior shots in a town not too far from Atlanta called Covington. They call that area the ‘Hollywood of the South’ because there’s a lot of stuff that films there. It’s a very small town, much like Serenity, but it’s a big tourist area and there’s always tour buses circling around. There’s a house from The Vampire Diaries right across from Maddie’s house so there’s often tour groups of like 100 people right across the street watching while we’re shooting our stuff. When we were filming season one, we were a new show and didn’t have to worry too much about what the tour groups might see. But with season two, we had an established fan base so there was a whole new dynamic we had to worry about when filming, which was a fun challenge. For season two, the crew had to block the streets and not let anyone in because I would be there with my cast and crutches but the viewers didn’t know at that point if Kyle survived the car crash or not. So, I had to hide and sneak out which was really funny. They would have buses pull right up so that I could hop right in after my scenes so no one outside of the cast and crew would see me.

Season one was quite a cliffhanger. 

Yeah, after we finished season one, there was obviously a big question of who was in the car with me. We knew I was in the car but the big question was who was my passenger. What’s funny about that is that nobody in the cast knew either. Since we had no idea, there was like a year and a half where we were coming up with theories just like the rest of the fan base which was so much fun. We didn’t know what happened until we received that first script of season two. I remember getting the script and some people were going to wait and find out at the table read, which is where we read the episode with the whole cast, but I didn’t wait at all (laughing), I looked at it right away!

It must be nice to film the show in Georgia, since it’s so close to home. 

I think almost everything I have worked on has been filmed in Atlanta, it has really become a huge market up there. It’s great. I lived in the Atlanta area for about six or seven months before so I was already kind of familiar with the area but I missed Florida so I came right back home. But it’s beautiful. I love Atlanta so much; if I ever moved out of state it would be there. Atlanta is a big city but there’s so many nice little places around so you still get that small-town feel when you’re only a few minutes away from downtown. Plus, it’s way easier to film in Atlanta than going across country to L.A. I actually shot Stranger Things in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was tough because I was far from my family but it was a new and really fun experience.

Speaking of which, what can you tell us about your upcoming role on Stranger Things?

It’s a big season and from everything I’ve seen and heard, it’s gonna be great. As has been seen in the trailer, I play a bully, which is totally different from what Kyle is and it was a really fun experience. I’m a huge fan of the show and working with that cast was incredible. I had a blast in Albuquerque. It was really hot there, though; it’s a different kind of heat than what we have in Florida. It’s not humid, it’s just really dry and the sun pounds on you but it was still a really fun experience.

What was it like coming onto an already established show?

What’s funny is I went from filming season two of Sweet Magnolias and then three weeks later I went out to Albuquerque to film Stranger Things. Stranger Things has a huge cast and crew and they were all really nice. I don’t usually get star-struck but I definitely did when doing scenes with them, it was so surreal. The cast were all so nice and being at that level they could have easily been jerks but they were so kind and welcoming. That whole experience was a lot of fun. Some big things happen and it was exciting to dive into that.

How has your family reacted to your success in the industry?

I wouldn’t be where I am now without the support of my parents. Initially, they didn’t know anything about the business at all and thankfully we had people like Traci and Erin to help guide us, but my mom and dad have sacrificed a lot for me. They have taken me everywhere because I’m under 18 so I always need to have someone on set. Everything they have done for me and my brother and sister has made me really realize what a truly great parent is and opened my eyes to a lot of things other kids might not understand or appreciate. They are both incredible and I love them so much. I’m also grateful to my little brother and sister. They have been my biggest supporters; they are like my little promoters—they go around school telling everyone to watch Sweet Magnolias.

This is a really big year for you: You are going to turn 18 and graduate high school. What are your future plans?

Everything is coming up kind of quick and I’m excited for it. I have two more classes left and I’ll probably be done in two months, then I might take a step back because I’ll have a lot of free time and just look at everything and analyze it all. It’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. I’m not going to go to college right away; I want to dive into the industry a little bit more. Hopefully, we will get to film a season three and hopefully some other jobs and new opportunities come my way as well. I’m not only wanting to do acting, eventually I would like to do directing as well. I also want to launch a YouTube channel soon.

What kind of content do you plan on having on your YouTube channel?

I think I’m going to be doing a little bit of everything. One of the main things I’m going to be doing is a lot of acting stuff like tips and behind-the-scenes information about what we do. I get questions all the time on my DMs from people wanting to know how to get into acting. I also want to break down scenes that I was in and give my commentary because not many people do that and I think that would be fun. Also, maybe eventually breaking down how to do well on an audition and how to prepare for that. These days, auditions involve you recording yourself doing a scene and sending that off and that could be either really good or bad depending on how much instruction you’ve had. I may also do reaction videos and play video games. I just want to branch out and do lots of things and reach as many people as I can.