Casting Call: Alex Sharp and Keith Powers

Casting Call: Alex Sharp and Keith Powers

Meet the next generation of TV and film's brightest stars before they make it big.

Meet the next generation of TV and film's brightest stars before they make it big.

Photography: Steven Klein

Styling: Matthew Ellenberger

Text: Maxwell Williams

This article originally appeared in VMAN 38. Order your copy here.

Broadway Breakout Alex Sharp

ALEX WEARS CLOTHING HUGO BOSS SHOES AND RING HIS OWN

Actors rarely win Tony awards for their first roles, but 28-year-old Alex Sharp has achieved that and more. Critics (and theatergoers) lauded Sharp’s turn as Christopher, whose unnamed social disorder—often described as on the autism spectrum—drives The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But it was never about the accolades for Sharp: “I wasn’t doing it to win a Tony, but I wanted to win because I met all these kids with autism outside the stage doors and they talked to me how much it meant that there was this lead character on Broadway like that.”

Since leaving the play in 2015, Sharp has worked nonstop on films. Some delve into social issues, like To the Bone, in which he and Lily Collins play characters struggling with eating disorders. Others involve outer space, such as UFO, with Ella Purnell, and John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties. Or, see his upcoming road trip comedy Monumental in which the English actor plays a Southern-drawling FBI agent. The diversity of the films is not lost on Sharp: “I want to play as many different parts as I possibly can,” he says. “I want to create these different guys that are in juxtaposition to each other. That’s my goal.”

Aspiring Mogul Keith Powers

KEITH WEARS CLOTHING HUGO BOSS

Keith Powers has a penchant for biographical roles. In Straight Outta Compton, he sparkles as Tyree, Dr. Dre’s half brother. His next big part was as Ronnie DeVoe on BET’s The New Edition Story. “It’s such a big responsibility,” admits 25-year-old Powers. “Ronnie DeVoe is still walking on this Earth, so everything that’s not correct on screen, people are going to be like, ‘No, he’s not Ronnie.’” And what did the singer think of Powers’s performance? “At first, he was scared with the dancing, because I don’t dance,” Powers laughs, recalling the weeks spent learning the moves. “Once I started to get it down, he said, ‘Wow, you really brought it to life.’”

Powers has come a long way to earn such praise, but he grew up only a few hours away. “When you’re not from California, you think all California is L.A.,” says Powers. “It’s not. Northern California is so different.” That’s one of the reasons Powers wants to become a producer, so he can create opportunities for kids like himself. “I want to never stop acting,” declares Powers, who currently stars in Freeform’s Famous in Love alongside Bella Thorne. “But I also want to produce. I want to build an empire, but an empire that inspires and creates opportunity.”

Credits: HAIR ANDY LECOMPTE (THE WALL GROUP) PRODUCTION STEPHEN HOLTZHAUSER (GOOD COMPANY) DIGITAL TECHNICIAN TADAAKI SHIBUYA PHOTO ASSISTANT MARK LUCKASAVAGE STYLIST ASSISTANT AHMAD FRANCOIS HAIR ASSISTANT DAVID NAUMANN LOCATION CHATEAU MARMONT

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