Interview: Jordan Arthur
Photography: Max Wanger
In the reasonably short time Disney+ has been online, the Mouse House’s streaming service has turned out some absolute hits. From WandaVision to Loki, the Mandalorian to High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, the breadth of content is ever-expanding. One such show, which has found a home on Disney+, is Diary of a Future President a truly charming and incredibly funny series following 12-year-old Elena and her family as she endeavors to one day become president of the United States.
Our guest today is Charlie Bushnell, the talented young actor who stars in Diary as Elena’s older brother Bobby in a role which is both wonderfully funny (and will leave former teenage boys like myself cringing) and, as the show goes on, deeply moving.
Hi Charlie, it’s very chill having you here on ReVamp! You’re currently starring as Bobby in Disney+’s Diary of a Future President. In the show, your character is destined to one day become the First Brother of the United States (FBOTUS??). But, if you, Charlie, were president for a day, what is one Executive Order you’d make?
Hi! Thanks for having me. It’s very chill to be here! And if I were president for a day, I would definitely abolish homework lol… But in all seriousness, I think I would focus on education. In my opinion, education can save the world, and I would make it my top priority to ensure that every student is given equal access to a quality education and provided with the proper tools needed to succeed in life.
Bobby develops a deeper understanding with a few aspects of his identity in season one of Diary, from his Cuban heritage to emerging feelings for a boy on his tennis team. As a viewer, it’s incredibly encouraging to see him supported by such a great group of family and friends. Can you tell us anything about what’s in store for Bobby in season two?
Yes, you’re right. Bobby definitely has a super tight family and an amazing group of friends who love and support him unconditionally. In season 2, Bobby starts to open up and express his feelings a lot more, which is really nice to see. He’s also in high school this season, and with that comes a lot of big changes. Things don’t exactly work out the way Bobby had hoped they would, and you get to see how he deals with that. However, he is also introduced to some great new experiences and meets a lot of really cool people.
One of the things I love about the show is how empowering it is to anyone wanting to stand up to bullying. In Diary, gone are the jocks in their letterman jackets throwing kids in lockers – instead, they’re portrayed as obviously weak, ignorant, and exceptionally uncool. Did that feel like an intentional shift from older school dramas when reading the scripts or when on set?
Yes! I think it’s very intentional. What this question brings to mind is that Diary is working to break down stereotypes… Whether it’s the way Latinx stories are represented or the specific focus on LGBTQ+ stories, or even the way bullies are portrayed. In season two, this is even more laid out and pronounced.
You and Bobby share a love of tennis. Imagine you’re in the finals of Wimbledon here in sunny London, and it’s Charlie vs. Bobby - who’s winning? I mean, he is the team captain…
I love this question! And you bring up a good point. He is the team captain… Hmmm… Statistically, Bobby should win. He’s been playing tennis since he was a little kid, while I, Charlie, have only been playing for a mere two and a half years.
However, if Bobby’s crush Liam is in the crowd, he might get distracted, which gives me a chance. Also, Bobby and I look so much alike, and he might not be expecting that, throwing him off his game and, yet again, giving me the upper hand. He’d still probably win, though ):
I understand that Stranger Things sparked an interest in acting, and from there you memorised and performed some of your favourite film speeches. Can you recall any of those speeches you learned? And what made them stand out for you?
When I first got into acting, long before joining a class or anything, I would look up monologues online or steal speeches from some of my favorite movies or shows and just perform them on my own. That was a long time ago, so I don’t remember all of them, haha, but I do remember a couple - that milk money scene from Stand By Me and the fake sales call scene between Jim and Dwight in The Office. Those scenes could not be more different, but the performances by all the actors were incredible.
Following on, if you could have a starring role in any sci-fi show or movie, be it Marvel, DC, Star Wars, or even Stranger Things itself – what would be your dream nerd role? (I’m afraid I’ve got dibs on Batman).
Oooooh, Batman’s a good one. Maybe I could be Robin, haha. That’s a great question, though. I’m such a big fan of all those that you mentioned above, so it’s hard to choose, but I think my dream sci-fi role would have to be Baby Yoda. I mean… Come on. It’s Baby Yoda! I don’t think I need to go into any further detail than that.
Finally, a birdie tells me you play the guitar… All you have is your guitar and one song. What do you play and why?
Well, to be completely honest, I’m no guitar master, lol. I’m still learning, but one song that I really enjoy playing is Iron Man by Black Sabbath. There’s just something so powerful about that song. It makes me want to go run a marathon or something. It’s also just really fun to play!
A big thanks to Charlie for taking the time to talk to us. The entire second season of Diary of a Future President is streaming now on Disney+. I’ve just binged it, and can highly recommend.
Interview edited for length and clarity.