By CLARISSA SAY
And it’s just as well, seeing now that it’s his voice that will be starring in Disney Junior’s new 3D animation: Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, and not that pretty face.
Behind the pretty face
For those who missed the wave and did not grow up watching HSM, Lucas Grabeel is probably one of the more underrated Disney stars, who manages quite effortlessly to slip past the media’s spotlight – which, to be fair, can sometimes be more ruthless in revealing flaws than merits.
“Well, I’m definitely a pretty laid-back person. I like to do things that make me and the others around me happy. So I like to keep a low profile,” he says. Not exactly gossip rag material.
But it isn’t like this Missouri-born guy spends his time reading them anyway.
“I love to grow things,” he gushes, when asked to list out things about himself that most fans don’t know. “I have a garden, fruit trees, a couple of bonsai trees that I’m always trimming and taking care of. And because I like to grow vegetables, I love to cook and I’m always in the kitchen, coming up with new recipes and making new things.”
In case it wasn’t apparent yet, talking to Lucas is like standing in a ray of (very down-to-earth) sunshine, given the amount of passion and optimism he carries, even into his work.
“I hadn’t done a lot of voice overs when I booked this job (Sheriff Callie’s) and it was a great opportunity to be zany and fun and over-the-top and silly,” he says. “That’s important when you’re dealing with young children – it’s always more fun to be crazy and I think that translates into the show.”
Past and present
Our blond boy with the big heart has come a long way since his High School Musical days and seemed at times like even he himself is surprised by how far he’s made it.
“As far as that career goes, I don’t know if I really have an answer [to how much has changed]. As a person, I feel like in the time between now and when HSM was going on, I’ve gained so much perspective about life.
“I cherish those days and I really think back very fondly of the whole experience. I was so lucky to be a part of that, and as the days go on and on I think about how lucky we all were to be a part of that because it really does not just happen every day, or to every person.”
Unlike some Disney stars, Lucas seems happy to stay in the family scene.
Besides High School Musical, he’s also starred in Disney originals Halloweentown, The Adventures of Food Boy as well as the ABC family drama Switched at Birth. However, Sheriff Callie’s will be his first 3D animation to air in
It’s like Rango meets Mickey Mouse and Friends. The show is an Wild West-themed cartoon revolving around Sheriff Callie and her sidekicks, Toby and Peck. That’s where Lucas comes in.
“I play Peck, who is a comically dim-witted but energetic deputy who’s kind of always trying to take care of the problem and be the hero.
“He always gets himself into trouble, but that’s why Sheriff Callie’s there to bail him out,” he says.
Sheriff Callie’s Wild West brings Lucas back to his mid-western roots. “I’m from Missouri which is right in the middle of the United States so most of my family have a country western accent.
“Every time I perform Peck I think of my dad, I think of growing up in Missouri and all the simple parts of life that Missouri kind of encapsulates.”
The sheriff is played by Mandy Moore, aka Rapunzel from Tangled, and Lucas is a huge fan.
“I’ve been a fan of hers for a very long time and she has an amazing voice,” he says. “And we did have a lot of fun when we recorded together.”
Big voice, bigger heart
When he isn’t busy making the rest of us look selfish and self-centred, Lucas Grabeel works quietly on a cause close to his heart – children with cancer.
In a campaign called Music Is Medicine still in the works, Lucas plans to pair up with a child who has been diagnosed with cancer, learn his/her story, write a song dedicated to said child, and then record and release it, with all earnings going to charity.
He might be a recording artiste and actor, but clichéd as it sounds, Lucas really is still a child at heart and continues to perform for children, be it in animated cartoons, Disney movies or in person at local hospitals.
“I’ve always been the kind of kid who makes funny voices and is always being silly and stuff,” he says. And chances are, that’s not going to change any time soon.
This story was written by a member of The Star’s BRATs young journalist programme. To apply for BRATs 2014, log on to facebook.com/starbrats or email email@example.com