Tristan Wilds has come of age on television under the bright lights and before the cameras. Wilds, 21, currently stars on the CW’s 90210 the popular spin-off of the early 90s series Beverly Hills, 90210. This isn’t his first television show he played a young Michael Lee on the critically acclaimed show “http://www.hbo.com/the-wire”>The Wire.
Many saw his portrayal of a young boy forced to be a father figure to his younger brother while faced with his mother’s drug addiction, as a strong depiction by a young actor with lots of untapped potential. Wilds has shown some of what he’s capable of having played Dakota Fanning’s love interest in the blockbuster adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees.
While some regard The Wire as the best show in television history, Wilds hopes his best work is yet to come. He spent time talking to theGrio about his current show, getting from here to there, and about what he aspires to do next.
TheGrio: A lot of people probably remember you from your work on the HBO series The Wire, is that still where a lot of fans recognize you from?
Wilds: Right now, it’s mixed. It’s between The Wire and 90210 and The Secret Life of Bees. Still a large majority of them recognize me from that show which is amazing. It’s like it’s still on or something.
How was the experience of working on that show?
It was amazing to me. It was mind blowing. To be around so many great people, amazing actors and have them in your corner. They were teaching you about the right and wrong of being an actor, and being a man.
Now transitioning from a character that hailed from the gritty streets of Baltimore, to someone somewhat more accustomed to the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills, what was that like?
I don’t know that Dixon was accustomed to the glitz and glam. It was a challenge going from one character to the next. With movies you’re on the set for three months. With T.V. you’re on the set for nine months, almost a whole year, a whole season. Part of you actually becomes the character. It wasn’t a struggle but it was definitely a challenge.
As an actor how has the uniquely different roles helped make you better?
You get to see two different ways of acting. You get to see the more serious, the deeper, and the shrill, hard, grittiness of acting. And you get the lighter side of acting where you can play with it a little more, where you get to joke a little more.
How similar or how different are you than your character, were you yourself a gifted athlete, a serious student, were you a popular kid when you were in school?
When I was in school my grades were pretty high. I always wanted to try athletics but I really couldn’t because I was already into acting. My auditions and things would interfere with a practice or a game. I guess I’m like Dixon in ways, I guess we’re both girl crazy.Recently your character dealt with an HIV scare, which is a somewhat, mature issue, but also one which young adults have to do with. What did you think of the issue of HIV being included in the script? How did you prepare to deal with the subject on screen?
I think honestly it was well needed. I think many young adults go through this all the time. It’s a pressing issue that’s around all time but we only think about it when we see a red bandanna. People only talk about it with it’s HIV Awareness Month. This is something, [the transmission of HIV/AIDS] which is happening to kids, adults, to people everyday.
Preparing for it, I did as much research as I could. Basically I dug deep, how would I feel if someone from my past came back, and told me they had HIV or AIDS, it would scare me to death, I would think my whole life is going down the drain.
Do you feel like addressing more mature issues is symbolic of your transitioning from teen actor to adult actor?
I definitely like attacking more pressing issues whatever they may be. Definitely to show a transition from teenager to young adult the right way, so it can grow into something bigger.
What are some of the things in the works or things we can expect to see from you in the future?
A little bit of everything, definitely more T.V., hopefully another season of 90210, a new George Lucas film, which should be out in February. Also music, R & B type music.
What are some of your future goals as an actor, is there someone you’d like to work with, do you foresee staring in a movie?
I want to work with everybody. The sky is the limit. I want to work with anybody down to build something amazing, something extraordinary.
A year from now what do you think people will be saying about you, or what would you like them to be saying about your work?
A year from now I want them to actually see me as an artist, as someone who this not just as a job. This is not just a hobby of mine. This is actually my passion. This is my art.
‘90210’ airs every Monday nights on the CW.