Parker Bates is only 10, yet he's made it on one of the most popular shows on TV right now.
Bates, a Dallas native, plays Kevin, son of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) on the NBC hit television series This Is Us. The actor began his career in modeling at 2 but soon discovered his passion for acting. At 6 years old, while accompanying his older brother Prestyn to a commercial audition, Parker was the one who booked the commercial.
He later went on to secure commercials, PSAs and short film productions in both Dallas and Austin before turning his attention toward Hollywood.
The Dallas Observer spoke with the This Is Us star about his favorite memories of Dallas and his upcoming projects, like Pink Jacket.
You have had the opportunity to work with Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia during the past two seasons. What are some things that you have learned from both of them as an actor that you would like to incorporate into your craft?
Milo has taught me that you need to listen to your scene partners and always be aware of what is going on around you on set. It is also your job as an actor to connect and make every scene look like it is real. Mandy taught me not to worry about getting my lines perfect on the first try. If you mess up, you can continue to try until you get what you want on camera.
The audience just recently found out that Jack passed away on the show. Can talk about how difficult it is to play this type a role in this situation?
I was not involved with the death scene because I was the youngest version of Kevin and I was not aware that this was going to happen until it was featured on the recording the next day. I had to prepare myself for what was going to happen next.
What have you learned from Justin Hartley and Logan Shroyer while on set?
We do not have many opportunities to hang out on set because we are in different time periods in the show, but we usually see each other at events where we take selfies and discuss our characters. I typically get advice from the other actors that play Kevin.
Are there any rememberable moments on set with the other “Big Three” members Lonnie Chavis and Mackenzie Hancsicsak?
There was a time with Milo Ventimiglia where he took care of me until my mom was able to arrive on set because I sustained an injury while filming. There was another moment with Lonnie and Mackenzie that involved a cupcake challenge where we removed the filling of the Twinkies and put them on cupcakes.
You are the executive producer for your coming short called Pink Jacket. Can share a little insight on this project with us?
At this time I am not aware of all the details, but I just recently went to a meeting to discuss the character. My brother is playing my best friend on this project, and this is an excellent opportunity for both of us to work together.
What are some of your memories of living in Dallas?
A lot of my family lives in Dallas and all the friends I grew up with as a kid. I have been playing soccer since I was 3 years old, and when I turned 5, I started playing club soccer. Some of my friends that I grew up with were also on the team, and other memories include us a family attending Dallas FC, Cowboys, Stars and Rangers games.
When did you decide that you wanted to become an actor?
My brother had an audition at the time, and I am usually at home with my dad, but this particular day, I had to go with him because there was no one to watch me. So the casting director asked me if I was an actor, and I said no, but he asked me if I wanted to come in, which I said yes. I ended up enjoying the opportunity that he gave me and the rest was history. I was able to book a commercial, and I am glad that I was able to accompany my brother on his audition because it opened the door for something I like doing.
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What do you enjoy about acting?
I like the experience of being on set and the opportunity to see what the crew does on a daily basis because they are the ones that put the show together. It is an opportunity to watch what they have to do, and I get to learn from a different perspective within the industry.
Is there a role you like to pay in the future?
I would like to be able to play a superhero role in the future, preferably Spider-man and have my brother as my sidekick.
As a child star, what type of training are you participating in?
I get a lot of practice from the set, and sometimes we do chemistry reads, but this is a rarity. I typically practice my script reads with my brother because he is also an actor. We can give each other advice on how to play different roles for the many characters we are looking to play.
What is your advice for young actors like yourself looking to get in the entertainment business?
It is going to take time, and it does not happen overnight. There have been times that I have gone into an audition and thought I did a great job but did not land the role. You also have to be concerned that it is not always going to be the perfect role for you, but it is an opportunity to get your foot in the door. You should never give up because the ideal character may come along soon.