For those of the more ‘adult’ readers, checking out this piece (thank you), what were you doing when you were a kid? My guess is not starring in one of the USA’s biggest soap operas, Days Of Our Lives, which then propelled you to a career that continues to skyrocket to this day. Am I right?
Well, for Terrell Ransom Jr., his first ever audition set him on a path to stardom and since then he’s gone on to become a Celebrity Youth Ambassador for the Jonathan Foundation and is currently starring as the voice of Darwin Watterson in Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball. New episodes of the show are airing now and with an increasingly busy schedule, Terrell kindly agreed to this interview to chat dream roles, favourite actors and first auditions.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Terrell Ransom Jr: My name is Terrell Ransom Jr., but most of my friends call me TJ. I am the voice of Darwin Watterson of The Amazing World of Gumball. I also played Theo Carver for seven years on Days of Our Lives.
PW: You're a gifted actor, but when did you first realise that you wanted to be part of the industry? Were there any particular films or TV shows you watched that inspired you?
TRJ: Thank you so much! I was watching Hannah Montana and I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be on TV, in movies and magazines. She told me I was only three years old and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I told her, I did! Just six months later my mom and I moved from Houston to Los Angeles so that I could try acting and see if I liked it. My mom found an agent for me and they sent me out on my first real audition, which was for a soap opera called Days of Our Lives.
PW: Can you recall the first audition you went to?
TRJ: Yes, my first audition was for the role of Theo Carver on Days of Our Lives. I was only four years old at the time, and there were other boys there for the same audition too. I had to memorize some lines. We went to the audition and I wore pyjamas because the character was wearing them in the script. When they called my name, I went into a room by myself with a bunch of people sitting behind a table that I later learned to be the writer, producer and casting director. I don’t remember ever being scared or feeling nervous. I acted out my lines for them. It went great! Apparently, they thought it was great also because I got a call back and booked the role.
PW: Is the acting scene really as competitive as people say it is?
TRJ: I don’t think it is but I’m just a kid. I mean, there are a lot of people in the business, trying to book some of the same roles, but my mom taught me really young that I don’t ever need to be worried about other actors. If I take the time to prepare myself for the role and do my absolute best when I go in to audition, I will walk away proud. And that’s all I can do. If the role is for me, I’ll book it, if not, then I won’t.
PW: For those who have never watched it, how would you sum up The Amazing World of Gumball and your character?
TRJ: The Amazing World of Gumball is one of the best animated cartoons. It’s hilarious and creative, and teaches a lot of good lessons about life. I watched a lot of season 1 and 2 episodes before voicing Darwin with my Granny, who actually introduced me to the show. Now my mom and dad watch it all of the time, and not just because I voice Darwin. It’s just a great show!
My character Darwin and I are a lot alike to be honest. Darwin is a really smart, lovable, and caring fish. He also seems to be mature for his age. I have had a lot of people say that about me too. His older brother Gumball always seems to come up with crazy ideas that Darwin questions, but ends up going along with. I’m definitely like that with some of my friends!
PW: What advice would you give to other young people looking to follow in your footsteps?
TRJ: To follow your dreams and never give up on them. If you want to act, you should know that it can be fun but it’s a lot of hard work. Like my mom always says, "anything worth having in life requires hard work."
PW: What would your dream role be and do you plan to branch out onto the big screen in future?
TRJ: Yes, I’m going to book a lead superhero role in a Marvel movie series like The Avengers or a Jedi role in a Star Wars movie one day.
PW: Which actors/actresses would you most like to work with and why?
TRJ: I have a list! I hope that I get a chance to work with Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Lawrence. They are all amazing actors and basically have all been in movies that I absolutely love or want to be in someday. I want to follow in their footsteps as an actor.
PW: You're also Celebrity Youth Ambassador for The Jonathan Foundation. How did that come about and how big a part does such work play in your life?
TRJ: My mom and I were invited to the first Jonathan Foundation charity event by my peer Jacob Hopkins and his mom. We learned so much about the organization and loved what they were doing for so many families. The next year Jacob and I became Youth Ambassadors. We have attended the annual charity event for the past two years and we try to bring more awareness to the foundation.
PW: Would you agree that more celebrities should do more fundraising and charity work, given that their celebrity status can often make a big difference?
TRJ: Yes, why not? It’s so easy now to bring awareness to a lot of different charities just by posting information on social media accounts.
PW: How has social media impacted your career in terms of connecting you to an audience and would you agree it's a necessary tool for anyone in the entertainment industry today?
TRJ: Social media is definitely a necessary tool. My account is monitored by adults, to keep me safe, but I do love how I get to connect with The Amazing World of Gumball fans. TAWOG is popular in 21 different countries and I’m able to read comments and reply to fans of the show from all over the world!
PW: Are there any other plans or projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?
TRJ: I definitely have a secret project in the works, so stay tuned!
PW: Finally then, what are your ultimate ambitions in life? What would you have to achieve in order to say 'I've done all I wanted to'?
TRJ: I want to continue doing what I love, which is acting, voice over work, singing, music, and You-tubing, as long as I can. I’m always hoping that I will be happy and successful while doing it!
You can watch the video for Terrell's latest single "Where You From" below and for more information on him and his career, like his page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or check out his YouTube channel.