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March 12, 2023 7 min read



“For Avatar, I definitely felt that pressure of it being a mega-franchise,” Jack Champion tells Man About Town. “But for Scream, being such a big Scream fan, I just really felt like I was making fan fiction!” Such is the nature of the 18-year-old’s career hitherto, as he steps into the role of Ethan Landry in the latest instalment of the slasher series, he can now draw comparisons between the demands of earning his acting stripes in the most vast of cinema’s arenas.

Another thing that separates the two roles is the presence of human co-stars in Scream VI, in contrast to his appearance as Spider in December’s Avatar sequel, in which he appeared as a sole human remaining among the Na'vis of Pandora. And, said humans are cut from an illustrious cloth, with Friendsalum Courtney Cox and Jenna Ortega, titular star of last year’s Netflix behemoth Wednesday, among the cast mates he’s gained. A dizzying reality for an actor still living out his teenage years, however, countered by the steadfast support of his mum and penchants for the more humble of live’s pastimes, such as woodcarving, Champion’s weathering the sharp ascent on which he travels with aplomb.

Talking the monumental roles he’s bagged to date, his love of Western movies, upcoming project with Pedro Pascal, and his ultimate goal for the next few years, Jack Champion chats to Man About Town below…

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Hi Jack, thank you for sitting down with us, it’s lovely to meet you! I would love to learn a little bit more about where you grew up. Did you always know that a creative direction was where you were headed?

So, I grew up in a small town in Virginia. I was never competitive in ball sports as a kid so I just very much leaned towards the theatre and the arts. Then, at around 10 years old, my mum really helped with the transition into film acting with short films, helping to build my résumé and get a small agent. I think for my whole life I have always been into the whole acting thing. 

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You mentioned that your hometown is small. Is it nice nowadays to escape to there and get some respite from the industry?

Yes, I would like to honestly retire here [laughs]. I am not a big city person. My perfect life is if I can live in the mountains or on the beach somewhere - somewhere not around a lot of people - that would be very nice. It is nice to reflect and have that time and space away when I can.

It is well-known that acting can be laborious work and requires copious amounts of time and energy. How do you remain motivated?

My mum has helped me in so many ways. Not only in my career but also in developing me as a person. If I am doing a night shoot she will go and get me a cup of coffee. You know, she has always been there for me and remains my number one. She is my caretaker, my mum, my friend - she is everything for me. I was raised by her as a single parent and she is just amazing.

Someone who has also been such a source of strength and inspiration for me is my trainer, Josh Murillo, during Avatar. I have now been training with him for five years. I am an only child but he is probably the closest thing that I will ever have to a sibling. He is like a big brother to me. He gives me advice and not only is he there for me physically to help me look good for a role and be prepared, but emotionally he is a really good person. He’s helped me through a lot. He trained me through puberty and everyone is a little chaotic through puberty!

Let’s talk Avatar: Way of Water! What was it like training for four years for a movie?

It was unlike anything I think I will ever do again. It was such a unique experience. It was basically like filming a movie Monday to Friday. I would film but, early before my call time, I would show up to set and work out. It was just basically working out every day. When you first start working out it’s like, ‘This sucks!’ because you are sore - but you kind of learn to love it. And now fitness and general health has become a big part of me.


Talking of perseverance, I heard also that you had to film each of the scenes twice. Is that true?

Gosh, yes! I did two years in LA in performance capture suits with head rigs and bodysuits with the dots. Then, I flew to New Zealand and it was just me. For the first two years I was with my fellow cast, everyone from Zoe to Britain who plays Lo’ak. But I was pretty much by myself in NZ because I was one of the only human characters in the movie. 90% of the filming was just me from Monday to Friday for months. And I was in my underwear [laughs]. It was just awesome because it taught me to not care and it forced me to be very comfortable in my own skin.


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Your character, Spider, has quite a dramatic ending. Can you tell me about how Spider grows in the coming Avatarmovies?

Like all of the other characters, he has been through a lot. You will see his character change for the worse and for the better. I think this next movie will definitely shock you regarding all of the characters’ choices and how they grow - it is definitely way crazier than I would have ever imagined.


You have gone from one major franchise, Avatar, to now another, Scream. How does it feel to be working in films that are so iconic by nature?

For Scream, I didn’t really feel the pressure. It was like, ‘Oh shit, I’m going to have a blast.’ But there were major contrasts [between] filming the two. Firstly, Scream [didn’t take] four years. There was very little CGI and all of my castmates weren’t in polka-dot suits! It was only two months and it kind of felt like a really fun summer vacation. It was a super relaxed atmosphere and probably the nicest set. Everyone from actors to camera and boom operators were great. Maybe because we were in Canada and everyone is nice there [laughs].


What can you tell us about Scream VI, without giving anything away?

I would say, people have to watch this one, if you want to see the angriest Ghost Face yet, you have to see it. He is crazy, he is angry and he doesn’t care where you are. He will find you and slice you.


You have fulfilled huge roles so far already, but what are some roles that you have always wanted to play? 

That’s a good question. I have always really wanted to play a cowboy. It goes back to the fact that one day I would really like to own a ranch somewhere, maybe in Wyoming or Montana somewhere and have some horses. I just love western movies. They are just so badass. I grew up watching a lot of old westerns with my grandad - everyone from John Wayne to Clint Eastwood. I really love cowboys, they are just the coolest characters.


Outside of filming and acting, do you have other hobbies and interests that keep you driven?

Fitness is a big thing of mine. I go to a CrossFit gym. It kind of has a reputation to it but it is a really good environment and great group of people - at least at my gym. I love to skateboard too and also I am getting into wood carving.


Oh, amazing! How did you fall into that?

Well, it’s something that my Grandad did that I am starting to pick up from him. I started with soap actually because it is easier to carve. If you want to use stone you can use limestone as that is a little softer to carve. It's a really nice pastime and you can just get lost in it if you want. But you know, something that I would love to be able to do is create maps. I love Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's genius is inspiring. Being able to draw maps is such a cool idea to me. If I could draw an old-school map of my town or neighbourhood, I would love that. There is something adventurous about it and I really love the outdoors. I don’t go camping enough but every once in a while I like to and just submerge myself in nature. It’s secluded but not quite because you are surrounded by nature, untouched by man.


As we move into 2023, with Scream VI  now out in the world, what else can we expect from you?

I did a movie last year, Freaky Tales with Pedro Pascal and a bunch of others. It is such a cool movie. It is basically an ‘80s anthology movie with four different stories that all find a way of intertwining somehow.


On a more personal note, what do you hope for yourself?

My main goal in the next eight years would be to be a steady working actor and have a family. Even though I was raised by a single parent, and it was unique and incredible, I want to grow old with someone, have a kid and teach them the lessons of life. With a kid, everything becomes more magical.


Scream VI is out in cinemas now.

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Photography by Brendan Wixted
Fashion by Wojciech Christopher Nowak
Words by Benji Johnson
Grooming by Melissa Dezarateat A-Frame Agency
Editorial Director Huw Gwyther
Editor-in-Chief Damian Foxe
Editor Andrew Wright
Art Directors Harry Fitzgerald, Aparna Aji, LiviaVourlakidou
Production Director Ben Crank
Producer Isabella Coleman
Producer Mar Indiveri
Production Intern Frankie Baumer

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