Meet the Undertow Cast – Kian O’Reilly
I honestly didn’t think I was going to find someone to represent Kian O’Reilly. In fact, I had started searching through RF photos (random model shots) in an attempt to find the character. I always used young Friday Night Lights actor, Taylor Kitsch, as my baseline when writing for Kian. And I was sure there wasn’t a real-life Cape Codder wandering around that could fill the dark character’s description.
Thankfully, John Sullivan (of Quahog Corner) DID know “someone who might work” by the name of Justin Blaze. When Justin walked through the door of the studio, I literally saw my character strolling in. I couldn’t believe he was such a perfect match. Taylor Kitsch got the boot pretty darn quick after meeting Justin . . . Sorry Taylor.
Here is the 4-1-1 on Justin Blaze, aka KIAN O’REILLY
Hometown: Osterville, MA
High school: Barnstable
Favorite Bands: James Taylor and Dave Matthews Band
Hobbies: Tennis and Basketball
Favorite Quote: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.” – Calvin Coolidge
How did you first find out about the fact that some random author (me – lol) wanted to use you as a cover model? Was it through me or someone else? I found out about the book and potentially representing a character when I opened a Facebook message from my high school Drama director Mr. Sullivan. I was teaching tennis when I opened the message and I was kind of confused at how random this opportunity was but I was excited at the same time.
What made you say “yes” and did you think I was insane when we talked on the phone before the shoot? I said yes to the offer because it sounded like such a great idea. No, I did not think you were crazy after we spoke on the phone. I knew you were passionate about your idea and excited at the thought of your words and characters actually coming to life. Your excitement made me want to represent “Kian” even more.
What was it like to be the physical embodiment of a fictional character? It was different. Whenever I read a book or watch a movie I would always try to put myself in one of the characters shoes. But when I read this book I knew I was supposed to actually be one of the characters. The entire time I was reading, I was constantly comparing myself to this fictional person to see just how alike we really were.
What did you think of the shoot when you were there? Did you have any worries? The shoot was a lot of fun. I have done a few shoots before so I was comfortable.
What has your family and friends thought about the whole thing? This is a very different experience and my friends and family are excited to read the book and see it succeed. My mom has printed out the posters of me and hung them up. A few of my friends have saved the digital pictures to their phones and can’t wait to read it. But as for my four brothers, they try to make fun of me as much as they can. I love it.
You are the face of Kian O’Reilly – a dark character whose tormented relationship with Ana Lane gets crazy amounts of screaming fan mail. Some women even confess to DREAMING of him. Is it strange to be the face of a character that sends hearts racing? It is very strange because after reading the book I know that Kian and I are two very different people. Kian is a very dark character and I wish that I could pull that off, but in reality I am a much more optimistic and up beat person than my fictional counterpart. Although I know we are two different people, it is funny to think that readers will associate my face when thinking/dreaming of Kian.
You also didn’t know Christa Mullaly (Ana) very well before the shoot, yet you two instantly fell into the characters beautifully – how were you able to do that so well? It really helped that I read the book before the shoot, so that I knew who I was representing and the kind of relationship that Kian was involved in. The photographer really gave us no direction as to what to do other than have my right arm wrapped in front of her, so I just kind of thought of what Kian and Ana went through in the book, and attributed similar life experiences that I have had when there is really nothing to say, and all you can do is just hold on.
Would you be willing to be shot again for the UNDERTOW series in the future if need be? Maybe sign books as the character, Kian O’Reilly? We may need crowd control . . . I would definitely be willing to be shot again for UNDERTOW, but I did just get a haircut so id have to wait until the summer to grow my hair back out to look the part again! Sign books? Why not!