Meet Luke Schroder. Sure, he’s not a complete stranger to the Hollywood scene, having been spotted a few times at movie premieres and other events throughout the years alongside his famous acting dad, Rick(y) Schroder. Now Luke is 18 and he’s decided it’s time to get into the family business.
“Growing up and having seen my Dad act, I’ve always been interested and always wanted to get my feet wet and see if I liked it,” said Luke Schroder when I asked him why he chose acting for his career. “Considering it was such a big part of his life I wanted to see what it’s like to act and be in front in the camera. I have that creative blood in me, why not use it?”
Why not indeed, especially since Schroder has just scored his first starring role. His debut will be in the TV film A Mile In His Shoes, starring opposite veteran actor Dean Cain. Needless to say, he‘s pretty excited about the upcoming premiere this Sunday, September 25th on the GMC network, even though he has yet to see the film. “I’m definitely a little nervous to see what it exactly looks like. I know I did a good job and I trust the director a lot so I’m not too worried. I think it’s going be great.”
So what exactly is A Mile In His Shoes about? It’s based on the book, The Legend of Mickey Tussler by Frank Nappi. Schroder plays Mickey Tussler, a 17 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.
“He’s a little bit different than most kids his age but he’s also really smart at the same time and a talented baseball player,” explained Schroder.
Mickey’s discovered by Arthur Murphy (played by Cain), who gives him a chance to play semi-pro baseball.
A Mile in His Shoes doesn’t exactly follow the book to the letter. The book takes place in 1948 with the then minor league team Milwaukee Brewers, the farm team of the Boston Braves.
The film takes place in a more modern 2002 in Ohio with a fictional team, the River Rats. The similarities lie in the core theme; the story of a handicapped underdog overcoming intolerance from many people over his condition with determination and resiliency. It’s all depicted through a relatable national pastime, baseball.
Schroder had to learn the finer points of baseball to prepare for this role, getting a lot of help from his co-star. “Dean Cain such a good guy. I can’t find one bad thing to say about him. He’s really good at baseball too so he really helped me progress with my game so I could look as good as possible for the camera.”
Schroder said he had played baseball before, but nothing outside of little league, so the extra help he got was most appreciated.
The movie was also shot in Vancouver, which ended up working out for this young actor nicely. “I’m actually a dual Canadian citizen because my mom is from Canada, so I was able to be hired as a Canadian.” He also had the opportunity to work with director William Dear (Angels in The Outfield), who he credited with helping him get adjusted to his first time in front of the camera.
The First Break
Even with his famous father fully behind him, breaking into acting is a task that Luke Schroder hasn’t taken lightly. He’s fully aware of the challenges in this highly competitive business, but being exposed to that life his entire upbringing has helped him keep perspective.
For one, he’s not limiting his interests to one genre. “I’d like to branch out to anything if I could. My first two roles have been family projects which I think are good to start out. They’ve been pretty positive and simple, no huge leaps. I’d really like to branch out to anything. Action, comedy, romance, I’m ready to try it all.”
Schroder’s also drawing inspiration from his Dad, choosing to follow his career accomplishments as an example. He was surprised when recently watching his dad’s earlier work on Silver Spoons (something he admitted to not watching while he was growing up).
“I thought it was the funniest show ever. I thought it was entertaining and my Dad was a pretty talented, young kid. Here’s this kid that’s a lot younger than me with this huge stage presence and a huge talent that I want to find and see if I have in myself. The most inspiring thing about my Dad is how much success he had at a young age and how he’s been able to continue that through his life.”
In going through Schroder’s bio, there are a few interesting tidbits about this young man that stand out. First, he’s been making a living recently as a camera operator. He just finished filming a reality series in Washington for six weeks as the assistant camera operator.
Another interesting skill, he’s a Shakespearian trained actor. How did that come about? “I took a year and a half of weekly Shakespeare classes with my brother. We worked with this guy who’s been studying Shakespeare his whole life and knows every little detail about everything Shakespeare has ever written. I was able to learn a lot about acting and voice and presentation and stage presence.”
(Photos by Larissa Underwood)
In his younger years, Schroder took advantage of his good looks by doing some modeling. He’s done work for outlets like JCPenney and Sears, and but has also gotten to do a fashion shows in Barcelona and Paris when he spent a year with his family in Spain. When he’s not working, Schroder is one avid surfer, snowboarder, skier, and ice skater.
Schroder recently though got to experience first hand what being a headlining actor is all about. He had his “coming out” party so to speak at the TCAs in Hollywood. While attending the TCAs is nothing new to him, this recent experience was a bit surreal. “That was weird. I’m used to going with my dad to those things. I’m not used being the one that they need there. It’s was really cool. I love promoting the movie, I love promoting what I work so hard doing. It’s a no brainer to just go and be my best.”
Despite the excitement over his debut film making it to air, it’s back to the grind for Luke Schroder. He’s recently come back to Hollywood and is looking for new projects. While he enjoys being a camera operator, his new direction is clear. “I love all areas of production. They’re all different and they’re all hard in their own ways. ”Being in the front of the camera is my favorite area of production so far.”
I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Luke Schroder in front of the camera in years to come.
Watch the premiere of A Mile in His Shoes, September 25th on the GMC channel. Check your local listings for times.