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JACOB HOPKINS | THE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL HEARTTHROB EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW

July 29, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

If you love cartoons, there’s a good chance you’ve heard Jacob Hopkins’ voice at one point or another. You may recognize him from his work as Gumball in Cartoon Network’s critically-acclaimed animated series The Amazing World of Gumball, but the Los Angeles native adds his own unique energy to all of the characters he embodies. He approaches every role with passion, dedication, and positivity.

Doing on-camera work since he was 5 years old, and voiceover since age 11, it’s amazing to think that the first voiceover role he booked was for The Amazing World of Gumball—a true full circle moment given his own personal love for cartoons. Fast forward to today,  the 19-year-old has landed another voiceover role in the anime series To Your Eternity on Crunchyroll, something that has been on his bucket list. He plays Fushi, an immortal being, and invites viewers all around the world to embark on Fushi’s journey of finding what it truly means to be human.

Jacob also has a long-running role on ABC’s hit comedy The Goldbergs, and he even serves as a Celebrity Ambassador for The Jonathan Foundation, a nonprofit focused on bettering education for children with learning disabilities. Let’s not forget he’s a three-time black belt in Taekwondo, and will be attending The University of Arizona on a full scholarship to major in Mechanical Engineering.

Flaunt caught up with Jacob via Zoom, and he was in high spirits after recording a couple episodes of To Your Eternity. Read below as we discuss his venture into voiceover, love for cartoons, playing characters in To Your Eternity and The Amazing World of Gumball, growing up in LA, his biggest influences, landing a role on The Goldbergs, going to college, goals, and more!

Photographer: Tim Schaeffer Photography Wardrobe: Ben Sherman

What does it mean to you to land the voiceover role on To Your Eternity?

It’s an anime airing on Crunchyroll and HBO Max, and it has always been on my bucket list to do an anime. I grew up on that. To Your Eternity is a very, very deep show: philosophically and emotionally. It’s about this orb that’s been cast onto the earth by this god-like being, this unknown entity. This orb transforms into a rock by coming in contact with it, then it transforms into moss. By coming in contact with this wolf, it transforms into a wolf. It starts to adapt to its surroundings and can turn into whatever it comes into contact with.

It comes across this nameless boy, we don’t know who he is. As the boy passes away in the first episode, the orb takes on the form of that boy named Fushi, which I voice. This being Fushi has to go through life as an immortal being, discovering what it truly means to be human. He fights an unknown, evil force that’s been introduced in the latest episodes. I’m really excited for more to come out.

Did you ever think you’d be doing voiceover work? 

I started doing live action when I was 5 and voiceover when I was 11, so you can see the time gap. As a young kid, I didn’t really have an understanding of what voiceover was. As I got older and grew up on more and more cartoons, it became clearer to me. I was definitely continuing live action but voiceover was something I wanted to pursue as well. As soon as I started voiceover, my first audition/job that I booked was Gumball Watterson in The Amazing World of Gumball.

How was that whole experience?

It was awesome, I did that for four years. Those were some of the best memories I have, especially because it was my first voiceover project. I really like cartoons. It’s liberating as an actor to step out of yourself and become this animated character that could never exist in the real world, but you have the opportunity to become that. It was super fun, especially for Gumball. Gumball can get a bit exaggerated, a bit too much at times. No pun intended, he’s a cat. He’s really chatty, very fast-talking, sarcastic, witty, and very energetic. At times, he can turn into other different characters like Beetlejuice or Goku from Dragon Ball Z. You never really know what to expect from him, he’s unpredictable. It’s really fun to play those types of characters.

How old were you when you landed your first role?

When I started my very first voiceover role, voicing Gumball on The Amazing World of Gumball, I was 11. My very first acting job I booked when I was five was a Kmart commercial with Jaclyn Smith. At the time, I had no idea who Jaclyn Smith was. I’m very fortunate to have parents who were in the acting business before me, they’re able to help me navigate the world. My mom would go with me to these jobs and auditions. She was freaking out like “Oh my god, Jaclyn Smith!” and I was like “who?”

How was it growing up in Los Angeles?

I was born and raised in LA. My mom is from Tecumseh, Michigan and my dad’s from Biloxi, Mississippi. North and South, two worlds coming together into the West, then there’s me. It all seems pretty normal to me, I’ve always had a loving family. Starting acting when I was five and growing up as a child actor was a little strange looking back on it. I would go to all these auditions, I’m driving to downtown Burbank, downtown Hollywood, and all that. It got to the point where that seemed normal for me, even though I was such a young kid. Looking back on that, going to these places now feels like a second home because I’d go to those areas so often. This is where I fit in: with the art and the creativity that goes along with acting.

Biggest influences coming up?

Definitely my parents: my mom, my dad. My dad was an actor before me. He played AJ Quartermaine on General Hospital in the 90’s. He taught me everything I know about acting. My mom too, but I remember he’d always coach me with my auditions. I wouldn’t have a career without my mom. She’d take me everywhere, to these auditions, to callbacks, to the jobs. I really admire the unconditional love that they gave me. They wanted this for me because I wanted it. I grew up loving acting. I loved the freedom that went with it: the artistry and  the creativity. They totally encouraged that, and I’m very grateful. I’m getting a little choked up just talking about it.

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Do you remember your first big break? 

When I was nine, I booked the role of Alexander Drew on True Blood. I was a kid, and I had never really heard of True Blood. I thought “Playing a vampire! This is gonna be awesome.” Everyone on set was so nice: Christopher Meloni, Carolyn Hennesy, Alexander Skarsgard. They’re all family people. They really treated me like I was one of their own. They didn’t talk down to me, I was very respected and treated as a part of the True Blood family. I was a little nervous going into it because I expected it to be a scary vampire place, but it was really a movie set with normal people.

I had a really great time. I remember taking all these tours to the special effects studio, they were showing me all the behind-the-scenes of the fangs and the fake vampire blood. I’m looking at all the stuff super excited and my mom is behind me like “uhh are you going to be okay?” But it was a blast and really cool. My character, Alexander Drew, was really fun to play. To this day, he’s the only character I’ve played that’s really evil and bad to the core. He’s supposed to be the oldest vampire on the Vampire Council in True Blood. He was turned into a vampire as a child so he’s stuck in that body, but he’s really supposed to be thousands of years old. He’s very powerful. That was super fun to me because, as a kid, you want to rule the world.

Talk about your long-running role on ABC’s The Goldbergs. Talk about your fondest memories from there as well. 

I started doing that around the same time I started voicing Gumball, I was 11 years old. I’ve been doing it for eight years now. It’s still crazy to say we’ve been going that long. It’s an awesome show! I play Chad Kremp, Adam Goldberg’s best friend on the show. Everyone is super nice, funny, and really great to be around.

I remember my very first episode I shot, which was The Kremps, where we got to meet the Kremp family. They had just moved in next to the Goldbergs. Sean Giambrone who plays Adam, at that time there wasn’t another kid or anyone else near his age on the show. When I started, we immediately hit it off. Still to this day, we treat each other like brothers. We always hang out and have a blast on set and off. We went everywhere together on set when we first started. We still do, but now the gang has grown. We have Stephanie Grant, we have Kenny Ridwan. It’s awesome.

Being only 19, what do you like to do for fun when you’re not working? 

First of all, I’m going to college this year at The University of Arizona, which I’m really excited about. I’ll be studying Mechanical Engineering. I’ve also been doing martial arts since I was nine, and I’m a third degree black belt in Taekwondo.

That’s amazing! How does that feel?

It’s a really good feeling. When you spend so much time on a craft, especially something very physical like martial arts, you’re basically putting your heart, your soul, and your body into it. I’ve been doing it for ten years now and achieving all these new ranks, third degree black belt, feels really awesome. I’m accomplishing something not only physically, but mentally. It hasn’t really changed my personality or my view on life, but it’s in addition to it. I view things in a martial arts sense, and I try to keep myself very humble.

What do you want to do with Mechanical Engineering?

I want to study robotics. I want to build robotic prosthetics for people who need them, like people who were born without limbs or lost them in accidents. I’ve always been fascinated with helping people and robotics in general. I really like building, technology, and machines. I have a really deep interest in that, so I think it’s something cool to pursue.

Goals for yourself at this point of your career?

Acting-wise, I got the anime! In voiceover, I’ve already accomplished everything I’ve wanted: lead in a cartoon, lead in an anime. I will definitely be continuing that though. In terms of on-camera, I’d love to be the next Marvel superhero. I’m just throwing that out there. I want to incorporate martial arts into an acting job, that’d be really, really cool. Also,  getting my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and who knows, maybe going to grad school after that. I’ve accomplished a lot of things so far, and I’ll keep working hard at the other stuff.

What are you most excited for this year as the world’s opening back up?

Definitely college, it is going to be a really cool experience for me. I live in California and I’m going to Arizona. It’ll definitely be a big change, living away from home in another state. It’s not only going to be a great educational experience, but help me grow as a person: be independent, be on my own. I’m really excited to see the changes that’ll come with that: new friendships, new opportunities, and new experiences.

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