The Hollywood Portfolio Film

This Year, Austin Abrams Will Appear Opposite Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Here’s What The Two Legends Taught Him

All clothing and accessories by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello.

Austin Abrams was 9 years old when he landed his first major role. He played Chip, the bedraggled young teacup, in a community theater production of Beauty and the Beast in his native Sarasota, Florida. (On Abrams’s off nights, the role was played by Owen Teague, who later appeared in It and the Paramount+ series The Stand).

“I wanted to be an actor really badly, for reasons I can’t even remember,” Abrams says. His other fantasy was to play professional basketball, an aspiration that was quashed when he “didn’t grow.”

Abrams stayed in theater for years, appearing in local but lofty productions: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo. The transition to film, he admits, was difficult. “I didn’t really know what I was doing, and it was fucking hard,” he tells me with the weary candor of a stranger recounting war stories at a bar.

When Abrams was 13, he landed a key role in the Cuba Gooding Jr.–fronted thriller Ticking Clock. Then he didn’t get another part for two years. Rejection is tough on anyone, but it was hell for a teenager. “I was like, Am I not good enough? Why isn’t this happening for me?” he recalls asking himself.


Despite securing what many might view as the role of a lifetime in the forthcoming thriller Wolfs—in which he stars opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt—Abrams still cannot shake the feeling that his place in the industry is precarious. Nevertheless, the 27-year-old is not too humble to acknowledge that his life may take a turn once the film (the plot and release date of which have been kept tightly under wraps) is out in the world.

In preparation for that moment, Abrams solicited plenty of career advice from his veteran costars. “[Brad] told me a career can be as simple as doing things that I dig, and hoping that other people do, too,” Abrams recalls. These words of wisdom dovetailed nicely with the actor’s own “easy come, easy go” philosophy.

“A couple of years ago, I decided that I was just gonna be the best actor, collaborator, and creative that I could,” he says with a shrug. “If that means just doing Shakespeare in a Sarasota basement, then that’s what it’s going to be.”

Jazmine Hughes is a National Magazine Award-winning writer based in Brooklyn, New York, and Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. 

GROOMING BY Heather Wepplerfor Exclusive Artists Management
NAILS BY Tracy Clemens
CASTING BY Tom Macklin
STYLING ASSISTANCE BY Andrew McFarland, Laura Cheron Haquette, and Arianna Thode
PRODUCTION BY Giulia di Stravola
DIGITECH BY Victor Prieto
SET DESIGN BY Romain Goudinoux

Want more of young Hollywood? Check out CULTURED's profiles of Charles Melton and Yara Shahidi. Pre-order the Art+ Film print issue here.