If up-and-coming actor Matthew Ziff looks familiar it might be because he’s been in front of the camera for most of his life – he got his start as a print model before he could even walk. He’s been working ever since, and now the 22-year-old has landed a big role in a new TV series, The Trouble With Billy.
Matthew talked exclusively with Celebrity Teen Scoop about his new show, and about his over two decade-long career that’s seen a huge surge recently – he has no fewer than seven movies in production. And who can have any trouble with that?
Celebrity Teen Scoop: You just joined the cast of The Trouble with Billy. What is the show all about?
Matthew: The Trouble with Billy is a really cool show that tells the story of a character named Billy Mack. Billy was really big in Hollywood and then he left Hollywood for a while to work in animal intervention. He came back to Hollywood and is getting back into it and trying to use whatever connections he still has to really try and make it big again. He goes from being on top of Hollywood to being at the bottom and trying to work his way back up.
CTS: You will play the character of “Warren.” Can you tell us about your character?
Matthew: Yes, I can tell you a little about the character. Warren is a college kid and Quiddich player who Billy meets. Billy comes up with the crazy idea to try and use Quiddich as a way to get publicity for himself.
CTS: Do you have any similarities with your character?
Matthew: I guess I would say yes. We are still developing the character, so I can’t really give out too much info on him.
CTS: How long have you been acting and how did you get your start?
Matthew: I started as a model in New York when I was very young. I was like two weeks or two months old when I did my first job, which was a print ad featuring a christening outfit. I did a lot of print modeling while I was growing up, and from there I started doing a ton of commercials.
Then I did indie films and was on Late Night with Conan O’ Brien, which got me into SAG. Matthew: From there I did more indie stuff and TV commercials, and in the last two or three years everything started to pick up very well. I have had 7 or 8 movies come through and most of them are in post-production and one is still filming. A lot of stuff is going to show up all at once. I am also producing a couple of things now and writing a bunch of stuff on my own.
CTS: Do you remember your very first audition? Share some details about that time.
Matthew: I was too young to remember my very first audition, but I know a great, funny story about an audition from a very long time ago. My dad tells me this story a lot. I was like five or six-years-old and I went to this audition. I go in with my dad and there are a bunch of little screaming kids. Everybody is out of control and I am just sitting there calmly and quietly.
My dad told me the casting people were getting stressed out from all the screaming little children. They call my name and I go up there and they asked if my dad wanted to come in. He says, “No, you’ve got it” and they say, “Okay.” I go in as like five-years-old and walk up to them, stick my hand out, and say, “Hi, I am Matthew Ziff, nice to meet you.” I was an adorable little five-year-old in a room full of screaming kids and I ended up getting the job. I can’t remember what the job was for.
CTS: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Matthew: I really love music and I play five instruments – Alto and baritone sax, guitar, bass, and a little bit of piano. I have also always been fascinated with engineering, building, fun robotics and stuff like that, so I’ve spent a lot of time doing that. A lot of times I am so busy with classes, work, and auditions that it is hard to keep track of everything.
CTS: Who are your role models?
Matthew: I really look up to both of my parents and I try to emulate them. They both worked very hard; they both came from nothing and they both worked very hard to succeed. They have a great story that I really admire.
CTS: What advice do you have for young people trying to break into the business?
Matthew: Know what you’re doing and hone your craft. You really have to know what you’re doing and it’s got to work. You have to find what works for you, because you can go to thirty different classes but not everything works for everyone. You have to find what clicks and what really works for you as an actor to bring out the part the best. When you figure that out, you really have to practice it a lot.
CTS: What other projects do you have coming up that we can look out for?
Matthew: I have a film called Treachery that I co-starred in with Michael Biehn, who is from Aliens and Terminator. It is in post-production and should be out sometime late summer. Treachery is going to be a really big one, The Trouble with Billy is also going to be huge when that goes through and I am really looking forward to that.
You can see the other films I have done that are in post-production on IMDB. I am also co-starring in and producing a Western called Six Gun Savior. We are working hard on that and it should be done by the end of the summer. I think we will release it next year. There is also a movie I did last year called Hardflip that came out on Netflix and we are trying to promote that.