The Verge: Asher Book
If you're a struggling actor, you might not be pleased with the luck Asher Book has had, and he knows it. At age six, he auditioned almost as a lark for Broadway's Beauty and the Beast and landed the role, and when he debated whether to bring a life of performing to a close in college, he was plucked from his studies to lead the boy band VFactory. It's at that point that Book decided to cut back on his acting auditions to focus on music; naturally, he got his first feature film lead in Fame within the year.
It may all sound a little too easy, and as Book told Movieline, it was -- until now.
Tell me a little bit about Fame. Wasn't Thomas Dekker from The Sarah Connor Chronicles originally cast in your role?
You're the first person who's asked me that!
See, I know things, Asher.
No, it's true. [Laughs] It's a battle, man. I battled for this role for about six months. Right from the beginning, I'd go up there with Kevin [Tancharoen, the director] and everybody, and they seemed to really like me. It was six months, so I was like, "C'mon, why don't you just give it to me?" I guess it was one of the heads of the studio that didn't necessarily approve and actually came from [a VFactory concert] and felt maybe like I didn't stand out enough in the band. Like, we're not really supposed to stand out -- it's a group effort, you know? So there were a lot of issues going into that. What's funny is when I came back to test the second time [after Dekker had left the role], the head of the studio was in another room, all M.I.A. She had a little key monitor to watch me in my scenes. And sure enough, she said it was OK, and they cast me on the spot. It was like the most exhilarating feeling ever.
Were you trying to get VFactory off the ground at the same time?
The whole process was a long process. I was actually living in New York in the time, focusing on the band, and I'd given up acting. Well, not "given up" acting, but I wasn't going on any auditions that whole year. I basically told my manager, "Listen, if you find a job that you really think is special that I'm right for, let me know." And this came up, and it was the only thing I felt good about and that I could relate to. Also, I could sing in the movie, and I think the band and the label liked that.
I would think that the whole audition process for this role might sort of recall joining a band like VFactory, where you're looking for chemistry but putting together all these performers who've not necessarily met before.
You know, the whole band thing came together the same way too: I wasn't doing anything at the time. I was actually going down to Cabo during my first semester of college -- I was studying to be a businessman, I thought that's what I wanted to do - and the band came to me. I was still studying with a vocal coach in LA, and Warner Brothers was looking all around the country to replace the lead singer in this band. And that's how they found me, through the vocal couch, and they contacted me and sent me this music.
Did the idea of being in this band appeal to you right away?
At first, I was a little apprehensive. I was like, "A boy band? Do I necessarily want to be in that?" But the more I met the people involved and some of the guys, I felt so much better about it. So I went into the studio and did a couple of demos and it was pretty easy from there. I think it was kind of a meant-to-be thing.
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