PACE’s best-known grad climbing the acting, writing ladders

Disney Channel star returns home to help with local production

The Disney Channel series Austin and Ally may have sailed off into the Miami Beach sunset, but co-star Calum Worthy is keeping himself busy.

The graduate of the Sooke School District’s PACE Musical Theatre program, back in town to help promote and emcee this year’s spring PACE musical, Cinemusic!, just committed to another movie, his third to either begin its run or start filming this year.

The Thinning, a Legendary Pictures digital feature being released soon online, sees Worthy play Kellan Woods in a post-apocalyptic tale of students who expose a sinister system of population control. And Replicate, a sci-fi film currently in post-production, sees its release this fall.

Both roles are quite different from the goofy but lovable teenage character Dez that Worthy played on the popular Disney show for an unprecedented (for Disney) four seasons. “They’re both really great movies that I think fans are really going to like,” he said.

The news about the starring movie role is so fresh that he wasn’t able to divulge much about it. Same thing goes for a pilot TV show that he and fellow Los Angeles-based writing partner and PACE grad Derek Baynham just sold.

Described by his mom, PACE director Sandra Webster-Worthy, as a “working actor” because he’s always busy with one or multiple projects, Worthy, 25, has been honing his writing chops almost since he began Austin and Ally back in 2011. His first success in that regard was a joint effort called The Coppertop Flop Show, which starred Worthy in a series of comedy shorts that aired on the Disney Channel between August 2013 and February 2014.

“I begged Disney to give me a budget to make a sketch comedy show,” he recalled. “I had produced a pilot with Derek with my own money. Then once we got in the room with them, they gave us the green light to make 22 shows for air for the Disney Channel. It was amazing watching it live on TV, watching our sketches go up there. I kind of got addicted to the process after that.”

Writing and producing material for himself has helped keep him busy. “I actually believe my anchor in the industry is being in control of my own work.”

Now that he’s showing he can do that, he is beginning to be considered by other filmmakers for roles outside the Disney realm.

When it comes to explaining how he’s managed to keep building his career, he looks back at his experience in high school theatre, guided by his mother.

“I attribute much of my success to PACE and how it’s taught me to be a confident performer,” he said. Even today, Sandra reads all of his scripts before he signs. “If it passes the ‘mom’ test then it’s something I’ll look at.”

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