Who: Tyson Gerig-Whelchel is a 13-year-old actor of Sunriver. Tyson plays Rudy in the new holiday comedy “I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas,” part of an ensemble cast that also stars Beth Littleford (“The Daily Show”) and Jonathan Mangum “(Whose Line is It Anyway?”). The family film centers around Rudy’s sister, Nicky (Juliette Angelo, “Mad Men”), a teenager fed up with her family’s over-the-top Christmas celebrations. The film dropped Tuesday on various media platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Video on Demand. Tyson also appears in the six-episode “Play Anything” on the Dreamworks Channel on Amazon.
Q: When did you become interested in acting?
A: About a year and a half ago.
Q: Did you audition for a talent agency?
A: I auditioned for Seattle Talent in Sunriver. They were auditioning kids, and I thought, “OK, let’s try this. I have no experience at all, don’t know anything about it.” … I ended up liking it. They liked the audition. … I took classes for this thing called International Modeling and Talent Association. It’s this thing you do for a week in L.A. It’s competitions.
Q: It sounds like you did well in that.
A: Yeah, and so I won all those competitions, and I loved it too. We thought, wow, this might be a really good opportunity for me, so we decided to move to L.A.
Q: You were there a year, right? Did you like it?
A: Yeah, I loved it, but I also really missed home and family. … Even thought I loved it, it was harder for my family, so we decided to make the move back to Central Oregon. It’s great being back here and all, but I miss the acting for sure. (Note: Tyson’s talent manager now sends him auditions for roles that allow him to self-tape as opposed to audition in person.)
Q: Do you plan to pursue acting when you grow up?
A: Yeah, when I’m 18 my goal is to move back to L.A. and pursue my acting career.
Q: Tell me about “I’ll be Next Door for Christmas.”
A: It was an amazing experience. I got to work with a lot of incredible actors from Disney shows and all that, and it was so great to meet them.
Q: And your character is the son in a family that’s crazy about Christmas?
A: Yeah, I’m the son in this crazy family. I play the role of Rudy. I’m basically the tattle-tale on my sister. I’m always trying to find out everything about my sister, what is she doing, what is her evil plan, and so I’m always the one tattling. It’s great. I love the parts where I get to be in an angel suit. It’s so fun.
— David Jasper, The Bulletin