Landing a villainous role on the hit television series “Glee” last year launched Rock Anthony, a Presque Isle native, into a Hollywood whirlwind of success. Most recently, the young actor wrapped up filming as the lead role in the independent feature film “ Walbob’s.”
“[My family] has been freaking out every step of the way,” Anthony, 26, said in a recent phone interview from his apartment in West Hollywood, where he lives with his friend and chief supporter Nicole Dickinson. “It’s been six-and-a-half years since I moved out here, and in the first five-and-a-half years, I didn’t do much of anything. I did tiny one-liners in movies and didn’t get anywhere. It’s been less than a year since all this has started, and I’ve done a national commercial for Best Buy, eight episodes on ‘Glee’ and starred in a movie in less than a year.”
Anthony’s character in “Glee” — the bullying captain of the hockey team, Rick “The Stick” Nelson — is getting more and more screen time. On Tuesday, May 15, Fox will air his biggest scene yet in the two-hour special of episodes “Props” and “Nationals.”
As one of the BDN’s top 12 picks for “ newsmakers to watch in 2012,” Anthony — whose full name is Rock Anthony Boynton II — is off to a good start.
In “Walbob’s,” Anthony plays star high school football player Alferny Fertado, who loses his long-time girlfriend and all hope for a college football career when he chokes on his SATs. Without any other options, he picks up a summer job working with his best friend, Keith, at Walbob’s, a drugstore in a rough neighborhood.
“From there, it turns into a crazy, funny comedy,” Anthony said.
Coming from a fairly wealthy family, Fertado has to adjust to working as a sales clerk, dealing with an array of off-the-wall customers and coworkers. Meanwhile, he joins an indoor football league and falls for fellow Walbob’s employee Jada.
“I’m in every single scene,” Anthony said. “I haven’t seen the final cut yet. We shot a month and a half straight, and I was there 14 hours a day.”
In the middle of shooting, Anthony had to battle an “insane flu.” Still, he insisted on doing all of his own stunts.
“We were all sick, shooting at 2 in the morning on a football field thinking, ‘This isn’t helping,’” said Anthony. “There were some days I had to do a lot of stunts in the movie, which will probably make some of my managers mad because I’m not supposed to do all the stunts … but I’m a County boy. I can take it.”
Filming was like acting boot camp, he said. His character ranges from being depressed to goofing around with Keith (played by Jason Weaver) to being tackled on a field. And for Anthony, playing the role of a football player was “100 percent acting.”
“I would have played football, but in Aroostook County, they didn’t have enough schools and teams so my school didn’t have a team,” said Anthony, a 2004 Presque Isle High School graduate. He did participate in baseball, wrestling and, of course, his school’s theater program.
“We’re going to have the first screening [of ‘Walbob’s’] in August for the cast and potential investors,” said Anthony. “The plan is to get it out there by the end of the year.”
For now, make sure to watch Anthony rocking his over-the-top mullet (a wig) as Rick “The Stick” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, on FOX.
“There’s tons of dialogue in this one,” said Anthony. “I can’t say too much about it. They establish in the preview that myself and the character Puck — played by Mark Salling — we have a big confrontation in the episode and it culminates in another huge scene where we have a big fight … It’s really the meanest my character gets all season. I apologize ahead of time.”
When they recently wrapped up shooting the episode, Anthony was pleased to learn that Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” was on set to film a “Glee” edition.
“I got to eat a bunch of cupcakes and they filmed me on the show,” said Anthony, who also recently made an appearance on “The Glee Project,” Oxygen’s spinoff reality TV series, to “slushie” a contestant on an episode that will air this summer.
Anthony will not be appearing in the “Glee” season finale, slated to air May 22, and he’s not sure if they’ll revive his character next year.
“It’s ‘Glee,’” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
If this does end up being Anthony’s last season on “Glee,” he said he’s learned a lot in a short amount of time, noting that the show has presented him with a multitude of challenges, all of which have improved his acting abilities and confidence.
“The experiences you’re thrown into are very hard. It’s hard to explain unless you’re actually in my shoes,” he said. “You’re shouting and standing in front of Cory Monteith and Jane Lynch, huge actors who have won Golden Globes, professional cameras inches from your face. You have no ‘act natural’ when nothing about it is natural.”
And what “Glee” fan can forget when Rick “The Stick” poured a slushie over the head of Finn (Monteith) in the first episode of season three? This scene, Anthony’s first appearance on “Glee,” had to be executed in one take.
“Everything about it is surreal,” he said. “Even to this day, when I get entry into Paramount Studios and get into hair and makeup — it’s just weird.”
Recently, the cast of “Glee” presented Anthony with his own studio chair, a gesture led by Monteith on the filming day of Anthony’s big fight scene.
“To be one of their colleagues and peers has been crazy,” he said.
Right now, Anthony is searching for his next big project. Ideally, he would like to land a leading role in another feature film for the summer, then secure a recurring role in a television show for the fall.
He hasn’t been back to Maine since he was cast on “Glee” last fall, but he plans to make a trip back this summer.
“Everyone back home, I just appreciate all the overwhelming love and support. I can’t wait to come home and see everyone face to face,” he said. “And when I come home, don’t worry everyone, we’ll do something fun.”
Anthony says he’s “obsessed” with Twitter, and he tries to answer every question people direct @TheRockAnthony. Also check him out at rockanthony.wordpress.com.