May 25, 2022

On the hunt for some must-know on-the-rise talent? Please let me introduce you to Austin Crute. Crute’s been working steadily since scoring his first screen credit via an appearance on Atlanta in 2016, but 2022 is looking to be an especially big year for him, beginning with the release of his newest feature, Tankhouse.

The film focuses on Tucker Charlemagne (Stephen Friedrich) and Sandrene St. Jean (Tara Holt), a thespian couple with big dreams and a deep passion for their craft who wind up getting kicked out of the New York avant-garde acting scene. They head back to Sandrene’s hometown of Fargo, North Dakota determined to start a theater company of their own. That’s where they meet Crute’s character, Jack, a rather reserved kid who starts tapping into his full potential through his work with Tucker, Sandrene, and the rest of their creative community.

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With Tankhouse now available to watch in theaters and on VOD, Crute joined us for a chat to recap his journey in the industry thus far. As you’ll hear in our video interview at the top of this article, I have a personal rule — anytime I talk to an actor who was in Booksmart, I absolutely must bring up Booksmart. In Crute’s case, Olivia Wilde’s feature directorial debut actually marked his very first role in a film.

It’s abundantly clear that Booksmart marked a very strong feature film starting point for Crute as an actor and he’s continued to excel ever since, but what about for Wilde behind the lens? Given that Don’t Worry Darling is one of the most anticipated films of 2022 and appears to be a significantly larger production than Booksmart, the pressure is on big time. With that in mind, I opted to ask Crute about his experience working with Wilde and why he thinks everyone should have great faith that she’ll absolutely nail her second go-around behind the lens of a feature film.

“I would say that they are referring to a legendary icon, visionary, and let’s not forget to address her as such! I think that there’s a reason why she is the white celebrity that was chosen for the ‘Nice for What’ video. I think that there is a reason why she who she is. She is Olivia Wilde. She has this vision. She has this eye. If you have ever appreciated her performance as an actor, those same choices and attention, intentionality that goes into her acting performances are expanded and made exponentially more noticeable, even though they’re more subtle because she’s behind the scenes. But it’s like you can really see her voice and her tone on a project. The more that people will start to see her material drop, there will be no more doubt in people’s minds. I think that she’s incredible.”

Tankhouse is Crute’s Don’t Worry Darling in a sense; it’s his second feature film after Booksmart. Why did that feel like the right project to tackle next? Here’s what he said:

“I had just finished filming Daybreak and that was my second major production. That was actually the first production at all after Booksmart. So it was like I went from my first ever movie to my first ever lead Netflix show, big [and] crazy, so to have a more intimate passionate project that reflected my time as a theater kid for the longest, it was a no-brainer. I was like, I absolutely want to do this. Absolutely.”

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Not only can you see Crute swing big in Tankhouse this year, but he’s also got Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. with Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown hitting theaters and Peacock on September 2nd, and he’s set to appear in John Logan’s feature directorial debut as well. Funny enough, that particular film got an official title and release date a mere hour before we recorded this interview! It’s They/Them and it arrives on Peacock on August 5th. Here’s what Crute had to say about working on that one with Logan:


“Being included in any story of this nature is once in a lifetime. Hopefully not once in a lifetime because we have this conversation about queerness and stuff happening now, but it was just a one of kind opportunity because never have I heard about horror movie about a gay conversion camp. That is just crazy! And so [John] being at the helm and how he would have us be in our characters and asking us, ‘What do you think about this? What do you think about that?’ Even before he made a choice as a director, he would always kind of bring us into it. Because we are kind of this new generation of queer people that are dealing with our own things and he was very tuned into the cultural voice of what was going on as he was making it, and I feel like that is just incredible. Because there are some directors that maybe they have a vision, but how it will translate to the outside world may be different than what the director has in their head, and he, I feel like, nailed it.”

Eager to hear more from Crute? You should be! Not only does he rock an infectious energy, but he also had loads of insight to share on the process of jump-starting a career, finding the right representation, and then some. Check out our full conversation in the video at the top of this article.


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