Diving into the entertainment industry at a young age isn’t easy, but Asher plunged in headfirst. With his heart engaged and the fuel of his family behind him, Asher has travelled full speed ahead from his home in Paradise Valley to our screens all around the world. Journeying from his days as Jonah Beck in Disney Channel’s Andi Mack, up to his starring role as Billy Batson in DC’s Shazam!, Asher is coating his career in colour, one screen at a time. His passion in red, his talent in white, his ambition in blue, stylist Blake Hardy pays homage to Asher’s roots for no matter where Asher is, there’s no place like home.
The speakers are on, the volume is at full blast and waves in the air beat with the sound of fresh endeavours. Asher reveals that his identity as a musician has transcended his past musical identity, a declaration of his inner evolution. Since his debut single "One Thought Away" featuring Wiz Khalifa was released, a lot has changed. Shedding the trials and tribulations of adolescence, Asher explains how his growth is embedded in his new music, serving as both an insight, and an outlet.
Beyond the success, beneath the colour and true to his heart, Asher admits that what’s here today may not be tomorrow. Though this may be true in part, the unknown of the future won’t ever take away his heartfelt devotion to his art. Asher Angel is in it for the long game, and the goal ahead is certainly within his reach.
See Asher in Shazam! Fury of the Gods in cinemas starting on 17 March 2023.
Imagine we’re travelling up in an elevator together and you have thirty seconds to describe yourself, what would you say?
I'd say I'm a pretty nice, genuine guy. I love everyone. I love spending time with my family. I'm an actor and musician. I have two siblings. I'm just a pretty energetic guy and I love living.
Talk us through a normal day as Asher Angel.
I probably wake up around nine o'clock, get some coffee, attend some meetings and usually read a script of some sort or go over something. Yeah, a lot of meetings, then I'll probably go to the gym and after I come back from the gym I'll work on some guitar or some vocal warm-ups. Yeah, I mean, just really perfecting the craft every day. That's all I can do.
Is there anything specific you’re enjoying at the moment?
The biggest thing for me is just being in the moment and being present. I've learned to just enjoy the moment no matter what's going on, and to just be happy where I am. It’s my goal to live life, be happy - truly happy - because life goes by so fast. Especially in this industry, it's easy to take things for granted. I've kind of learned not to do that. I know to wake up every day happy and to just spread love and positivity and hopefully the universe throws it right back at me.
I find people struggle with living in the past or worrying about the future. How did you learn to remain in the present moment?
It took time, it didn't just happen overnight. I feel like I've been doing this for so long now, and I've learned so many things along the way. When you're young, you get caught up in a lot of stuff, especially being a child actor. I think what really helped me is my family. I have such a supportive family and we’re all a part of this family business together. I think the circle that you have matters most because that can either break you or lift you up.
Let’s take it back to 2019, you star in the DC film adaptation Shazam! as the young superhero Billy Batson, how did you feel when you landed the role?
Yeah, it's pretty mind-blowing and surreal because I always dreamt about being a part of some sort of superhero universe. The fact that they picked me to be able to portray such an iconic character like Billy Batson, I wasn't able to really fathom that, especially being fifteen. I was so young. This was such a big deal for me. So I was just excited to get to work and excited to do what I love.
How does someone become a superhero? How did you become Billy Batson?
At the time, since I was so young, I really relied on my intuition more than deep diving into a character because I didn't really know how to do that kind of stuff yet. It was hard for me, I tried to delve into his past as best as I could. Billy has gone through a lot in his life with losing his mum, and not really having any true family. I think [it was] just trying to bring my take to that and develop that the best I could and work with Zach [Levi] to guide me. I think that was the best thing I knew how to do at that point in my life.
You’re set to reprise the role of Billy in the sequel film Shazam! Fury of the Gods, how did it feel to step back into Billy’s shoes?
Oh, it's an amazing experience. I feel like I've grown so much as a person since the last film came out. I'm older, I've evolved and matured. I've gone through all the hormonal stuff and the stuff that you do when you’re a teenager. The last time everybody saw him, he was young, he was around fifteen and now he's about to be eighteen. I'd say Billy's biggest struggle in this movie is that he's afraid. He's afraid of ageing, he doesn't want to be an adult. He doesn't know what's going to happen when he's eighteen. He doesn't know if he's going to lose his foster family, or if he has to move somewhere else. I think for him, it's the unknown of the future and what that looks like. I'd say he's just trying to be in the moment and be present, keep his family close, and just enjoy being a superhero.
You're twenty years of age, Billy is now eighteen, would you say there are any similarities between yourself and Billy or how you've evolved through your teens into adulthood?
Yeah definitely. Right now, Billy is trying to hold on to his family, is afraid of ageing, and is scared of the future. For me, I might be doing this right now, but I still don't know what my future looks like, I'm still trying to figure that out, so I can relate to him on that. We're both young and trying to figure ourselves out and just kind of learning as we go, so I think I could take that and run with it.
Are there any differences?
For sure. Billy is scared. He’s been alone for so long in his life, and now that he has everything he's been looking for, it's hard for him to just be alone. With his superhero family, it’s all or nothing. They do everything together, and the kids have started to grow up. They’re constantly evolving as people and everyone's becoming independent. I think Billy is still trying to keep everyone together, no matter what the case may be, he doesn't want to be by himself.
I think for me, I'm the opposite. I am okay being alone. I'm okay being with my family. I think it's important to be alone and to be able to work on yourself, because how are you going to work on yourself when you have a bunch of distractions and you're always around everybody? It’s important for growth and I think he struggles with that.
Was it tough at times portraying someone who is lonely and fighting their own battle?
Yeah. I think what really helped me was deep diving into loneliness. For most of my scenes, particularly in the first film, I was alone. I wasn't really with any of the kids and I'd be shooting with someone random every day. Only occasionally, I’d have a couple of scenes with some of the foster kids, but I felt what it was like to just be alone and be lonely.
You’ve already had a colourful and diverse career starring in films and TV shows, are there any moments that stand out to you?
It's really cool looking back on my journey and how far I've come. That, for me, is the biggest highlight. I'm just a kid from Arizona, I started off doing musical theatre, you know? Now I'm doing movies and superhero movies and TV and music and all this amazing stuff that I've always wanted to do. So I think it's always cool to look at the trajectory of my career and then to go all the way back to where I started - it's really cool to do that.
Is there any specific film or TV genre you would like to star in in the future?
I would love to do something gritty. You know, some sort of dark character. I've been reading a lot of scripts, and I've been trying to find something like that. I’d love a biopic to delve into another person's life. I also love the sci-fi thriller space, but honestly, I want to dabble in everything. That's my goal, I don't want to just do one genre. I want to do everything.
Would you describe yourself as an emotional person?
I feel like back in the day, yes, I'd just be thinking a lot about everything that was happening like when things just started to ramp up real quickly with Shazam! We had the press tour and the movie coming out and being 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. There was a certain time when it did start to get overwhelming, especially being young, it’s hard to harness it and know how to deal with it.
How do you deal with the tough times now?
It's got to be music. Music helps me decompress. Whether it's playing my guitar or listening to stuff, it helps with my emotions. It's my therapy.
So let’s talk music. You’re a singer, when did you decide you wanted to get into music?
I started pursuing it back in my Disney Channel days. I was doing music, then I was signed to L.A Reid and then all this crazy stuff started to happen. I found my love for the arts, from musical theatre, acting, dancing and singing, but acting just kind of happened first. With the music, it was hard releasing stuff being a young teenager because it was hard for people to really take me seriously. Now that I've matured, now that I'm older now, it makes a lot more sense for me to really, really push both my acting and my music. I plan to release a lot of music this year, and it's going to be quite the journey.
Has your identity changed as an artist since you began making music?
Back then, it was so hard for me to express my inner-self and write about my personal experiences and the things that have 'happened' in my life when they hadn’t really happened. It was just hard to write about that stuff, because I hadn’t experienced it, but now I've experienced it. It makes the writing process a lot easier, it helps me get in tune with myself more now that I have gone through it. Now I feel like I found my identity as an artist, I'm not lost, I'm excited to show the world that identity and hopefully it resonates with them.
You’ve got several music videos on YouTube with millions of views, do you plan to combine your music and your acting in the future?
What's cool about doing both is they both can elevate one another. So I feel like the better my acting career does, the better my music career does - they both bolster one another. If I can do a project where I can incorporate the two, that's golden for me.
Sometimes fame can come at a cost to someone’s private life. How do you find a balance between sharing your life online and keeping your private life private?
Well, I live in Arizona, so that definitely helps a lot. It feels secluded where I live. It's super quiet, and it feels like my getaway. Whenever there's a lot going on, or I'm travelling, I just can't wait to go home. Home is my safe place. It is where I feel like I can hide almost - hide from the world. I feel like that's been the best way for me to deal with life, just going home and being with my family.
I guess this next question kind of contradicts my previous question. But I'm curious, is there anything about you that people don't necessarily know about you that you're happy to share?
That's funny. It’s a tough one, it's not very exciting, but I like sports a lot. I'm super athletic and I love playing basketball. If I wasn't acting and/or making music, I'd probably be pursuing a career in the avenue of sports, whether it's basketball, football, or something like that. So, yeah, I love playing sports. I guess there's a little inside fact.
Is there anything you’re working on right now that you’re particularly excited about?
I have a project that I am supposed to start shooting right after our press tour after the movie comes out, but I can't share what that is yet. Watch this space!
I saw on TikTok you visited Egypt last year, anywhere else you hope to travel to in the future?
I would love to travel to Japan, I think that would be amazing. We're going to Europe on our press tour and I've never been to Europe so that will be pretty exciting for me to explore. I would love to go to China too, but honestly I don't have a certain destination. I just want to go everywhere.
The year is still young, what do you hope to achieve by the end of 2023?
I'm honestly just hoping to be nonstop working, with new stuff back-to-back to back-to-back, going from project to project. That's what I want to be doing, that's my goal. The goal is not being nominated for an Oscar, it's not being nominated for a Grammy even though, you know, I would love for that to happen. It's so easy for this just to be taken away in a matter of seconds, so I just want to keep working because you never know in this industry. My goal is to just keep doing what I love.