Lou Wegner‘s life is pretty exciting right now – he has a job most young actors only dream about, starring alongside screen legend Clint Eastwood in the hit film Trouble With The Curve. But what the 16-year-old is equally passionate about has nothing to do with movie sets or red carpets.
A longtime animal activist, Lou is founder of the nonprofit group Kids Against Animal Cruelty (KAAC), and devotes a great deal of his time on animal related issues such as advocating the adoption, spaying and neutering of pets. Lou talked exclusively to Celebrity Teen Scoop about his work on behalf of animals, and also about his work on the big screen (he calls Clint “the bomb.”)
Celebrity Teen Scoop: Congratulations on your current role in Trouble With The Curve. Tell us a little bit about the movie.
Lou: Trouble with the Curve is about an aging baseball scout, Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) who is sent by the Atlanta Braves to check out a hot shot hitter in North Carolina. However, his eyesight is deteriorating and he is having difficulties with daily life like driving a car and spotting first draft picks for the Braves. His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) takes a break from her job at a law firm and accompanies her dad back to the baseball fields she grew up on. They meet pitcher-turned-scout Johnny (Justin Timberlake) and the sparks start to fly… It’s a great movie!
CTS: What was it like working with a legend like Clint Eastwood?
Lou: It was amazing to watch him work. He treats cast and crew with amazing respect and talks to everyone. On my last day of filming he walked into the high school cafeteria (where supporting cast, background, and the crew ate) plopped down in the middle of everyone with his plastic tray and starting eating. It went dead quiet for a few seconds and then went back to normal. It was a moment I will never forget. He is the bomb!!!
CTS: You’re the founder of Kids Against Animal Cruelty. What are the group’s goals?
Lou: Kids Against Animal Cruelty (KAAC) is a global non-profit educational organization founded to help rescue and foster shelter animals, raise awareness to adopt shelter animals, support animal rights, and to encourage responsible pet ownership. We have teen presidents running KAAC chapters in eight states. Our goal is to have a teen president in all 50 states. To learn more visit our Facebook page or www.kidsagainstanimalcruelty.org.
CTS: How did you get started in animal activism?
Lou: I got started in animal activism at the age of three. I attended the Columbus Zoo’s summer youth program for eight years and then worked at The Ohio Wildlife Center for another two. You get an immediate understanding about how we as people need to step up and protect our animals and the environment. When I came to Los Angeles, the director of my first film introduced me to volunteering at animal shelters. I sadly discovered that shelters are terribly overcrowded and animals are euthanized. I decided to start my own animal rescue and educational foundation.
CTS: What is the biggest problem relating to animals right now that you’d like to bring attention to?
Lou: Unfortunately, about four million animals in U.S. shelters are put to sleep each year, about one every eight seconds. Shelters are overcrowded due to the high rate of owner surrenders. The need to adopt a pet from your local shelter is greater than ever before. I want to reach out to my generation to be better pet owners, to take a stand and make a difference. Adoption, and spay or neuter are key to saving lives.
CTS: What are some things that teens can do to contribute to helping animals?
Lou: There is so much we teens can do and it’s easy. Most of us are on some form of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Spread the word on these sites to adopt from your local shelter, make sure that your pets are spayed or neutered… saving a life is huge. Don’t buy a pet from pet stores that purchase their animals from puppy mills. These animals live in horrible conditions. Call your local shelter and collect items needed on their wish list, and most of all, please be pet responsible if you own a pet.
CTS: How long have you been acting, and how did you get your start?
Lou: I have been an actor for nearly four years. I got my start by taking acting classes in my hometown, Columbus, Ohio. I was in an acting class there when discovered by a Los Angeles agent who was scouting for talent.
CTS: Before you take a role, do you ever check out the production’s policy on animals?
Lou: Always! There is an organization called the American Humane Association, which has a “No Animals Were Harmed® disclaimer that you see at the end of every film. You always want to make sure that certified safety reps are there and that the animals are well taken care of.
CTS: How many animals – and what kind – do you have of your own?
Lou: I have seven dogs that I adopted/rescued from animal shelters. A Shepherd mix I call Happy Potter (he has a crazy scar on his face), a Chihuahua named Rose (she was abandoned at the Rose Bowl), a pug/beagle mix named Guardian (he is a funny little man that always stands watch over me), I rescued Guardian on the day that he was to be put down. A purebred dachshund named Isolde (she is very princess-like except when she tries to steal everyone’s food), a Chihuahua named Draco (he has a funny growl and is very temperamental), a Chihuahua named Prince William (I watched the royal wedding the day I rescued him) and Kippy who is my most recent rescue, a mix of I don’t know what!
CTS: You also have a weekly radio show, Love That Dog Hollywood Kids. Give us a hint of what we’d hear on your show.
Lou: I co-host the show Love That Dog Hollywood Kids with my good friend LuLu Cerone of LemonAID Warriors, who is working to bring water to families in drought ridden areas in Africa (she rocks)! We talk about saving people, animals, the environment and we have a rescue dog of the week. We also talk about the fun things we teens are doing from Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights (I’ve gone three times already), to music, movies, dating, acne (not so cool, but we commiserate together) and answer call-ins and tweets.
CTS: What are some projects you have coming up in the future?
Lou: I am currently appearing in Nickeoldeon’s The Thundermans, a story about a family of superheroes. Very cool!