Fans of comedy are in for a real treat as they experience the talent of actor Matt Shively. He is currently starring in the first season of “The Real O’Neals,” which recently premiered to an outstanding 6.3 million viewers. Matt stars as ‘Jimmy O’Neal’ alongside Martha Plimpton and Jay R. Ferguson, who play his parents on the new ABC comedy. The series will chronicle the lives of a close-knit Chicago family with Catholic roots, whose secrets will reveal their real lives. The family is in for a reality check after they come clean to each other—with Shively’s character revealing his own secret. Matt also finished filming “Summer of 8,” premiered on March 8th. Shively plays ‘Oscar’ in the coming of age story where eight close friends soak up their last day of summer together on the beach before parting ways for college. This year Matt has also guest starred on “Resident Advisors” and NBC’s “Aquarius” starring David Duchovny. Now the pilot for this show “The Real O’Neals” was pretty intense. For those who have not had the chance to tune in to the show, Matt eagerly talks more about it and the character he stars as Jimmy.
“It’s really just kind of a show about a family that’s constantly striving to be perfect. Thinking that is what is normal. And I think that being perfect isn’t normal. It’s so much better to kind of have the dysfunctional dynamic. It’s really about them finally letting out all of their pain, their problems, their own self-struggles and finally being able to live in their own skin. While also learning how to communicate with everybody.” ABC and Nickelodeon are two completely different demographics, and especially from a marketing standpoint. I can ensure that exactly has molded Matt well for network television. While introducing the new show, Shively also expresses how The Real O’Neal’s is different from the shows he’s previously starred in. “Nickelodeon, you know that really taught me how to be on set and kind of help me grow up and mature on set. And realize that we’re here to work. I learned a lot of things from that show and that’s very different because you know, you’re trying to reach out to a different audience. I always use to laugh because I would tell people. “Wow, I wonder what I’m going to be this week, its either going to be a monster truck or something [he laughs] and the cool thing about The Real O’Neal’s, and the difference, is that I get really different problems every week, and it doesn’t become repetitive. Every week I get very excited to see what it is I’m going to be doing this time.” In addition, to the feedback the cast has gotten back so far, Shively elaborates more about what he would like for people to get from the show. “I think that we’re doing it, and I really enjoy it! I would like for people to learn how to be comfortable in their own skin and to also know that communication is kind of the seed to living. You know? And not everybody is going to be accepting of who you are, or what you are. You’ll feel a lot better once you’ve gotten it out. And I love the fact that we really have been reaching out to a younger community, specifically gay people. It’s literally such a good feeling to have multiple times where we live tweet and we’ll have people that would tweet us and say, “I just watched the show and it really helped me to finally come out to my parents or, my grandparents, or my friends. And I think that’s what we’re trying to get across; is that it is okay to be you!” Matt goes on about which character is his most favorite on the show, and why. “My favorite character is definitely Shannon. That’s the little sister on the show. I just love how smart she is and also how open she is with everything. When she has an opinion, she lets it out and she doesn’t care what the consequences might be, and I love that.” He continues on about how it working alongside with Jay Ferguson and Martha Plimpton, and how was he influenced by these notable figures. “I never think while watching them, “I’m going to work with them.” You want to be an actress or an actor and you want to work with them, but you never think that it will actually ever happen until it actually happens, and it’s so surreal. It’s so fun to just watch them and see how they go about their days and doing their roles and kind of just learning from them. It’s truly one of the greatest things that I love about acting is that you really never know who you’re going to work with next. And I’ve had a few times where I grew up watching them” I asked the star when The Real O’Neals debuted last month and premiered at an outstanding 6.3 million viewers, how did that make him feel. And could we be looking forward to season 2. “I really hope so; I think that we reach out to a crowd of people that really needed it. I don’t think it truly has hit me. We spent a year, all together I think we finished shooting the pilot three weeks ago last year. So, for it to finally come together is a great moment, you know? And I truly don’t think it has actually ever really set in to me.” Matt has vast experience across both the small and big screen. At age 18 he booked his first main role as ‘Ryan Laser beam on Nickelodeon’s “True Jackson VP.” The show’s seasoned writers attracted big guest stars including Keke Palmer, Andy Richter and Greg Proops. Starring on the Nick series molded Shively as an actor and made him discover that “working is the best acting class.” He found his first agent in 8th grade while attending John Robert Powers, sick!
“I wasn’t sure what to kind of expect and I got really lucky, and getting an entry audition. That turned into me going to the agency and getting that agent. It was a crazy time.” Matt also has guest starred in a variety of television shows such as “Last Man Standing,” “CSI” and “Teen Wolf,” as well as starring as ‘Kirby Cadworth-Bankcroft III’ in the Nickelodeon sci-fi series “The Troop.” Other notable roles include playing ‘Bart Hartey’ in Disney’s TV movie “How to Build a Better Boy” and ‘Zach’ in his first R-rated comedy “Feel So Good.” Shively experienced his first strictly improvisation filming experience when he played ‘Ben’ in “Paranormal Activity 4” directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schuman. It was during this role that Matt discovered what genre of comedy he would focus on. Upon his successful upbringing–nothing about Matt Shively is one-dimensional. I can ensure he will venture out successfully beyond acting. “I didn’t have a very difficult upbringing. My mother was very open to me trying new things and doing whatever I wanted to do as far as my goals in life and my dreams. I was very fortunate at the fact that she didn’t want me to be an actor because she was afraid of all of the rejection. And I pushed and pushed, and finally she allowed me to do it. My mom has been the greatest thing ever because the fact that she allowed me to be what I wanted to be.” His favorite film is “Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” Shia LaBeouf was the reason he began acting. “I loved the fact that whenever I watched him and I watched his films, and when he’s on screen, I fall out all of the problems and struggles in the world and kind of get lost in that world. I love having people being able to let go of all of their stress and struggles; and being able to fall into a different reality. I love that.” There was a point in time where Matt released a cover called “Face Down” with Darby Wilson on Sound Cloud. Matt goes on to elaborate more about his passion for music, and could we possibly be looking forward to more songs upon his talents as an actor.
“I love music; I love making music. And I will at some point put out more stuff. With one of my best friends, we use to sit every night, and make music. I really love rapping, it’s really fun. There’s actually a lot of songs that I’ve never released before, so someday maybe it’ll happen for real [ he laughs]. To conclude an amazing interview, Shively talks more about upcoming ventures and life into his career. “A couple of months ago I did a small role on the new Power Rangers Movie and that will be out in March of next year. So, hopefully that ends up being a really cool thing! I always have a five-year plan [he laughs] I hope to still be working and I hope to be happy, and living my dream. Hopefully, everything with love and that is exactly what will happen.”
Written by Camry Brown