Edmond's Greyson Chance to appear on 'Raising Hope'
BY RITA SHERROW World Television Editor
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
9/20/11 at 3:40 AM
Edmond's Greyson Chance is headed to network TV on Tuesday, and, hopefully he's taking some of his millions of fans with him.
Chance guest-stars on the season premiere of "Raising Hope" on Fox, playing a young, extremely talented version of lead character Jimmy (portrayed by Lucas Neff).
The 14-year-old singer-songwriter launched his music career in April 2010 by way of a YouTube video his dad posted of Chance covering Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" at Edmond's Sixth Grade Festival - a video that has drawn more than 43 million hits on the Internet. That video that got him an appearance on the hit talk show "Ellen" two weeks later and "so inspired" its host, Ellen DeGeneres, that she formed her own eleveneleven record label in May 2010 and signed him as her first artist. His first digital album, "Hold On 'Til the Night," dropped in early August.
It was the same YouTube video that intrigued "Raising Hope" executive producer and writer Greg Garcia.
"My son is 13, and he went to a bar mitzvah, and he came back and was raving that it was in an airplane hangar, and Greyson Chance was playing," said Garcia in a recent teleconference. "He was talking about how amazing he was, and I said, 'Oh, well who's that?' And I looked him up on YouTube and I realized, 'Oh, yeah. I've seen this clip of 'Paparazzi.' " I watched him for a second, and I thought, 'Man, he looks kind of like a young Lucas Neff.' "
His next thought, said Garcia, who also created TV's "My Name Is Earl," was what a good guest spot this would be for Chance and for the show.
In Tuesday's season premiere, Jimmy finds out from watching old home movies that he used to have a musical talent but has no recollection of it.
Garcia contacted Greyson's management through the "Ellen" show and attended a concert and signed him to appear in three episodes of the series.
It was the 14-year-old's first acting role. He has had no acting lessons, but it was a success, Garcia said.
"He took to it right away," Garcia said. "And there was a lot of singing and stuff, so a lot of it was in his wheelhouse and so you get him in front of piano and you know he's going to thrill everybody watching and then you do some scenes and he was very comfortable."
Acting is something Chance plans to explore more in the future, he said during a recent phone interview.
"It was my first acting gig, and Greg told me he didn't want me to have an acting coach. He just wanted me to come to the set and be myself. I had never done this before, but I had done theater, so I don't think I'm a bad actor. I really just enjoy being able to do things like this and express myself in ways other than through music."
Chance makes his home in Edmond, but he's on the road crisscrossing the country promoting his album and staying in hotels every night, he said. He's also keeping up his straight-A average by doing his schoolwork online.
"I never sleep," he said, laughing. "I'm always working. ... I'm as energized as I am going to be because I am having so much fun now with the whole process. I love being on the road and I love traveling."
For the episode, he said everyone collectively chose the song he plays on the show. It's "Hard to Handle" by Otis Redding and covered by the Black Crowes.
"It's supposed to be the 2000s in the script, and that was in their reign for the Black Crowes," he said. "It was just so much fun. Definitely out of my comfort zone with its rock, jazzy thing."
The episode also includes one scene that sort of parodies the girls in the YouTube video watching Chance play.
The middle school student said he is a huge fan of "Raising Hope," but he also loves "Glee."
"I'm a huge Gleek," said Chance, who is constantly writing new songs.
And, with all his success and the opportunities to meet his idols like Lady Gaga, he said he still misses home.
"I just took a week off in Oklahoma and miss it every day. It's so good to talk to an Okie.
"I will be back very soon."
Original Print Headline: Edmond star breaks into TV
Rita Sherrow 918-581-8360
Virginia (Martha Plimpton, center) watches as Burt (Garret Dillahunt, left) plays music with young Jimmy (guest star Edmond's Greyson Chance) in the season premiere episode of "Raising Hope," airing Tuesday on Fox. RAY MICKSHAW / Fox