You will be hearing the name Max Ehrich for quite a while in Hollywood. The multi-talented young actor currently stars as “Fenmore Baldwin” in the CBS daytime Emmy award-winning soap opera series “The Young and the Restless”. “Fen” is the angst-driven teenage son of “Lauren and Michael Baldwin” (Tracey Bergman and Christian Leblanc) who adds fuel to the fire by becoming a partner in crime to cyber-bullying with his girlfriend. In For the first time in Y&R history, the plot revolves around the show’s teens and the obstacles that come with being on the brink of adulthood, including young love, rocky parent relations, and cyber bullying. I recently spoke with Ehrich on his intense storyline on the soap opera and he had a lot to say on the impacts of cyber-bullying and why he is glad he can use his platform as an actor to highlight the issue.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Ehrich, who in 2011, traveled to London in search of a spiritual journey and became a Buddhist, has had a variety of roles from dancing his heart out in his feature film debut HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR to receiving his first recurring guest role on ABC’s “Ugly Betty” as “Randy,” a homophobic bully who unhealthily tries to hide his own love of theater. You may have also seen him on popular TV shows such as, “iCarly”, “No Ordinary Family”, “Shake It Up!”, “Parenthood” and “Working Class”. He also starred as the male lead in the Lifetime movie THE PREGNANCY PACT as “Jesse Moretti,” a high school baseball player with a promising future whose life is shaken up when his girlfriend intentionally gets pregnant.
As if all this wasn’t impressive enough, Ehrich also has a band, ‘The Social Networkk’. Amidst everything. Ehrich seems to remain a humble talent committed to his craft and someone that is indeed a great representation of young Hollywood today!
How has the experience been like for you to be on “The Young and the Restless”?
Max- Everyone on this show is very family-oriented. Coming into that at first was a bit intimidating, but now that I’m a part of it, I feel like I’m in an environment where I feel totally safe to explore emotionally as my character develops. I just really trust to really just go there and dare to try new things. It feels like an actor’s playground over there. I enjoy the community. I enjoy my parents on the show, Christian LeBlanc and Tricia Bergman. They have been like family to me. My family is in New Jersey so I’ll go over to Tricia’s house in Malibu and hang out with her and her family. We’re really all very close. It’s really great. We all balance off of each other when we have a scene together. Everyone is so emotionally available. When you’re with people who are as a passionate about what you do as you, you feed off of the energy. It’s really exhilarating.
That’s good to hear. I’m sure that is always important, to be comfortable with your co-stars and working environment.
Max- Yes. Being on a soap opera, the stakes are always really, really high. For me, especially, my character is at a really vulnerable age; 15. He’s just going through physical, hormone changes. Just like all the drama goes on in my character’s life, it’s really imperative for me to feel like I can be emotionally naked and be okay.
There is a lot going on with your character Fen right now. He has been cyber-bullying with his girlfriend, Summer. That’s going to have major ramifications in the storyline of the show. What can you say about where the storyline is headed with the cyber-bullying?
Max- You know when I first joined the show, my character was extremely innocent. My dad just became the D.A., so my character really followed all the rules. He, morally is just really on-track and does not want to get into any trouble and is really a genuinely, good kid. But the problem is that love comes into his life. And his first love is with Summer. It’s always the bad-girl wants the good guy or vice versa. It’s always like ying and yang, so we kind of balance each other out in a sense but my love for her-basically she can manipulate me into doing anything. I’ll do anything to win over her love. With the cyber-bullying, at first I’m really all about morally getting into her head and getting her to really see the light and realize what she’s doing is not okay. I can understand that she’s hurting and I feel for her. What she’s doing to this kid I know is not okay and I try to get through her head, but she has her mind set on what she wants to do. It’s something that I can’t stop her from doing. And part of me is that I want her love so badly that I’m willing to sacrifice my morality. Especially at that age and with your first love, it’s a tricky situation.
Is there a storyline that has stood out to you with Fen?
Max- The stuff that’s happening right now. This cyber-bullying is a dominant thing. The cyber-bullying is just a catalyst to a lot of stuff that’s about to go down. It causes so much friction in so many different areas of my life and Summer’s life. It’s about what this bullying does. My character has a huge, huge internal change, which is very exciting for me as an artist to do, but it’s also challenging. Just from where I began to where I’m going it’s just exciting. So different. I really get to explore different parts of myself as a character.
Do you find yourself doing research on cyber-bullying and what it does to people? It’s unfortunately so prevalent today.
Max- Oh yeah it’s so prevalent. But I experienced it first-hand. When I was growing up in New Jersey, I was the kid who after school would go to Theater. I was singing, dancing and acting and I experienced bullying from a really, really young age. So I understand it to such an extent where I actually left my high school in New Jersey to go to a professional performing arts high school in New York City to pursue my dream, but to also get away from it. So I understand how much it hurts and I get it and that’s why I’m so happy that they were bringing this subject to the show. If I could be involved in it in the show to get the message across to show the effect it has on kids then so be it. It’s so present. And the suicide rate is tragic. It’s just horrible. I’ve heard many, many, many stories. It’s a really big issue.
I feel like as a young actor it’s my mission to really stand up for kids to really make this known and to really give it a voice.
Do you have a dream role you would love to fulfill one day? What do you look for in a character?
Max- I want to play roles that will affect people. I just want to make people feel. I have such a volcano of emotions inside and I just love the story-telling. My imagination is just so vivid that I get a joy out of it.
With the Spider-man reboot, if they didn’t already do it that’s something I would want to do. I just want to work with David Fincher so badly so anything that he does, I want to do. And to work with an ensemble of fellow artists that are just as passionate as I am and check their egos at the door and come in to live in truthfully under the circumstances of the playwright and the director and the vision that they all have. Just play. Kind of my dream!
I read you studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts. That sounds like an amazing experience. Can you tell me how that came to be?
Max- After some time of working, I just wanted to first go on a spiritual journey. I wanted to just go overseas. I had a friend who was studying overseas and I just decided to pick up and go. I told my representation I need to have me time. I just needed it. So I picked up and went to London for a few weeks. I studied Shakespeare and did Hamlet and King Henry IV.
I bet you feel it has benefitted you now back here as an actor.
Max- I do, I do feel it. And it made me realize that even though I do television and film, I really have to do Theater as well. So now I’m in a Theater company out here in LA. Basically they pick directors and they put a mash of their films together and it’s just kind of an experience. Right now they’re doing Scorsese-the experience. I’m playing Leonardo DiCaprio and I’m doing scenes from The Aviator, The Departed, Gangs of New York and Shutter Island. It’s really awesome to be playing an adult, because I’m playing a 15-year-old during the day. So to go into it has been really challenging. It’s kind of scary because those films are so well-known and respected and Leo is amazing. He’s an idol of mine. So to be in his shoes has been amazing. I’ve been learning a lot and I’ve been growing a lot from that.
If you could go back in time and spend a day in the life of anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Max- There’s many! The first person that came into my mind was Frank Sinatra. I’m just a big fan of his music. He soothes me a lot and I don’t know what it is about his era that is just, I think people are trying to bring back that era. There was something that was just really magical about him and his music and that whole scene. Aside from the partying and drugs because that’s not me!(Laughs) Michael Jackson, I’d want a day on stage as a him. He was the greatest performer of all time. I’m a huge fan. He actually passed away on my high school graduation day so it was like a big thing. He had a vision and tried to change the world. I think he did a good job. I think a lot of things got in the way but ultimately I think his motive behind everything was coming from an honest and truthful place and I’d definitely want to step into those shoes for a day.
Is there any final thing you would like to share?
Max- I’m in a band right now. We’re called The Social Networkk. We have some really, really exciting stuff coming up with it. It’s five artists together and it’s not a typical band. It’s really five individual musicians, vocalists together creating something that hasn’t been done before. We kind of want to bring back The Beatles with a twist. That’s a huge comparison and I’m going to regret saying that! (Laughs) But I love it!
Max’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/maxehrich (@maxehrich)
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