Currently starring in the Hulu original series “Utopia Falls.” Phillip Lewitski portrays ‘Apollo,’ a quiet and calm natured dreamer who works as a mechanic, and brings his musical talents through drumming to the show. The series is a genre-bending take on a coming of age story, where a group of teens in a distant future colony uncover a forbidden archive of historical, cultural, and musical relics. With the help of rap icon Snoop Dogg as the voice of the futuristic Siri, they use the power of music to ignite change in their reality to expose the truth.
Do you find yourself relating to Apollo? It feels obvious to me that you are alike at the very least in heart and strength of spirit, but I’m curious, where do you think you and the parallel, and how do you differ?
When I first read the breakdown for Apollo’s character I was blown away at how many similarities we share. After talking things over with the producers and what they envisioned for Apollo’s character it became very clear to me that we were one and the same. We carry the same morals and values a lot of it based on how we were both brought up culturally. Me and Apollo have a lot of the same personality traits as well. We are both introverted but extroverted when we know something needs to be done. We are both very strong-minded and will stop at nothing to fight for what we believe in. We both also value our loved ones. Apollo never really knew his own family but he treats his friends as family members. I am the same and would do anything for my family and the friends I hold dear. Apollo also gets very obsessed with certain things to the point where it starts to consume his life and he will sacrifice everything for it. When I get latched onto something I also become obsessed with it almost to a fault. Throughout the whole season, I just felt energetically connected to the spirit of Apollo and that made my job as an actor a lot easier because I just fell into his arms and trusted the process. The only difference that I have noticed so far is that I do have a crazy side that anyone that knows me personally has seen but Apollo seems to be pretty composed most of the time. I guess we haven’t seen his whole character arc yet so maybe we’ll just have to wait and see.
So many of your multitude of talents are on display in Utopia Falls! How is it that you came to learn so many facets of the musical and performance world so well?
I was home-schooled most of my life and as an extracurricular activity, my momma and papa put me and all seven of my siblings into music lessons. I was enrolled in piano and violin lessons and also learned how to play the drums but in more of a cultural setting. I fell in love with the world of music and it has been a huge part of my life ever since. I never thought that I would ever merge my love for music and acting but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I have seen a lot of UT ships out there, but who does Phillip Lewitski ship in the show, and who would you ship with Apollo?
(the hard-hitting questions here)
I have seen a lot out there of who people want Apollo shipped with but I don’t have a solid opinion on that yet. I think Apollo is a very open free spirit and doesn’t hold himself back to anything.
The UT Twitter page is posting all sorts of excellent BTS video showing how much fun you all seem to have on set and off. It feels like this entire cast is so much fun. Is there anything you all did while filming that was especially fun/funny that you could share with us? Have you any BTS photos to compliment the story?
There was this one day when we were shooting on location and this cute little bug which I believe was the Four-lined plant bug kept flying and landing on me even in between takes. I knew that he wanted to be our friend so I built him a little leaf home on a stick and he hung out with us the entire day. I named him Fred and the whole cast and crew got to know him. Everyone fell in love and the director even held onto him while we shot scenes. He never flew away he just stayed in our company. We even shot a scene where he is featured in the background. I have always loved all life no matter how big or small. I remember crying my heart out when I was a kid if my brothers would ever kill an insect. It was really hard to say goodbye to little Freddy when we wrapped but we knew he probably had his friends and family waiting for him in the forest so we put him right back where we found him. The cast did a farewell ritual before we left. We talked about him for days after and I thought to myself he is probably doing the same thing talking to his friends about us.
Speaking of BTS content, this clip helps us feel the in-depth connections between yourself and Apollo:
Utopia Falls is this beautifully unique take on a futuristic society that, while very much not perfect, still honors things like diversity, ancestry, and disability. What does it mean to you to be a part of a show that celebrates and explores these parts of life and heritage that you already hold dear?
It was so attractive to me how much the creators of the show wanted to show diversity within the cast. They took it one step further with Apollo and really dove deep into his ancestral background which I appreciated more than they will know. I think it’s so important to explore the histories and ancestors of Apollo and to show how curious and how much he cared about knowing where he came from. Every kid at some point goes to their parents with a pocket full of questions about where they come from. Unfortunately for Apollo he didn’t have parents to answer his questions about his blurry past so he goes on a little bit of a self-exploration. You can see that even after getting some of his questions answered he is still not satisfied and this is merely the beginning of his journey into his past.
Last UT question! If you haven’t seen Utopia Falls yet, please pause your reading, go binge it on CBS or Hulu, then continue to the following question. Your character goes through the experience of losing his hearing, something that’s hard for most of us to imagine. What kind of pressure do you think comes from portraying a deaf character? How did you approach such a feat?
Mental health has also been a huge interest of mine ever since I was a kid. To be able to take on a character that struggles with a disability and the kind of mental struggle something like that can cause was truly a privilege. I did some pretty extensive research and talked to a lot of people when studying what this would look like and how this would feel. Some of the stories I heard brought me to tears but it was so important for me to sit in the reality of it because for some this is their reality and unlike myself, they have to live with it on a day to day basis. I was touched at how many people reached out to me with their own stories and how similar some of them were to Apollo’s journey. To be able to be that person that they felt connected to was very moving.
I love Apollo and UtopiaFalls so much, but after watching and reading into your background, I found out that you’ve also been in cult classics CW’s ‘Supernatural’ AND History Channel’s ‘Vikings’ (airing soon, and btw can’t wait to see you in it)! Can you tell us a little bit about the different experiences you had between working on a brand new set, versus the well-established crews on SPN and Vikings?
I was so grateful to be able to work on shows that had such an incredibly welcoming cast. I have heard the horror stories of newcomers joining a show and feeling like such an outsider. From the moment I arrived on the set of Supernatural Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki both walked up to me in the makeup trailer shook my hand and welcomed me onto the set. This goes a long way for an actor and from what I’ve heard is far and few in between. I have traveled to film before but to spend the amount of time that I did overseas in Ireland to film Vikings, I felt a little intimidated. Again, from the first moment I landed (right down to the driver who picked me up) I have nothing but good things to say about that set and the whole cast and crew. A lot of the actors working on that show are from different countries so we just became this sort of family from all over. I have learned a lot from being on these sets and have carried with me the lessons that these actors have taught me. It’s hard to be a newcomer on a show and promised myself that I would always go above and beyond to make sure everyone around me new and old on any set feels welcome.
If you could get a part in any other show you haven’t been on yet, what would it be and why?
I’ve never really thought about this before because I have always just had this trust in God and the universe that every role I take on was perfect for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have however always been obsessed with the character Joker. When I was a kid I used to do my makeup and sit in front of a camera alone and make video diaries in character. I have always been so fascinated by his mind and how it works and what he thinks in every moment in life. If an opportunity was to present itself in the future to be a part of something in the world of Joker I wouldn’t hesitate.
Your kindness and energy show on social media and your interactions with fellow cast members! Do you have a favorite fan interaction that you would share with us?
I love how much the fans have taken a liking to my bird Pipette. She is very special to me and has been by my side most of my life. I have just recently shown her to everyone and it took a lot because she means way more to me than people might think. To see others fall in love with her was very special. The fan art people have made of Pipette is adorable and I save them all!
the taxidermy bird who cried wolf pic.twitter.com/Q0YoIqb60H— Utopia Falls (@UtopiaFallsTV) April 17, 2020
Last but not least, I’d really love to highlight your writing chops as well. I’m guessing not everyone knows that you’ve already written and published a book! Can you please tell us a little bit about what drove you to accomplish such a thing at such a young age?
I had some pretty dark times when I was younger as we all do and what helped me through that was talking with my great Grandmother. She helped give me perspective on life and to my surprise could relate to a lot of the things I talked to her about. This made all the difference for me. The fact that I could hear her stories and feel similar helped me feel less alone. I figured that if this was so effective for me maybe others could find ease in this method as well. I started puking all of my teenage experiences down on paper. It was a huge mess at first but somehow I found organization in it. This planet we are living on can at times feel scary and lonely and sometimes a few words are all it takes to keep someone from giving up completely. I know for myself without some of those conversations with my great Grandmother I don’t know where I might be today. I felt like I needed to give back in some way to honor what my Grandmother had given to me so I published a book. My great Grandmother helped me and so I told myself if I can make a difference in just one person’s life out there I have brought my Grandmother honor in her role in my life.
Connect with Phillip Lewitski:
Phillip’s insta: @philliplewitski
Phillip’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/hereisphillip
Phillip’s TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@philliplewitski
Phillip’s Website: https://www.philliplewitski.com/
I cannot thank Phillip Phillip Lewitski enough for the interview opportunity! He has a forever fan in me. Don’t miss catching him on the new season of Vikings on the history channel!