Do you ever find yourself in that situation when you're watching a character in a movie and you become so distracted by your inability to identify where you've seen the actor before that you completely forget what else is going on in the film? No? Just me? Well, I had a strong case of it recently when watching the trailer for a certain upcoming YA adaptation, when wondering who the actor is who plays Ben in Paper Towns . In the John Green adaptation, Ben helps his friend Q (Nat Wolff) on his cross-country quest to find the girl next door who's gone missing, Margo (Cara Delevingne), while he himself pines away for another member of the mission, Lacey (Halston Sage). There's obviously a lot going on, but I just kept thinking: Who is that kid?
It turns out that the fictional teenager is portrayed by an actor named Austin Abrams. At 18, Abrams is certainly young, but he's already managed to show up in a number of prominent films and TV shows throughout his short career. If you don't know him already, you will soon. Following his possibly star-making turn in Paper Towns, Abrams has three other films due out this year, as well as a multi-episode arc on the next season of The Walking Dead . But for now, I'm more concerned with where I've seen this guy before, so here's where Abrams has popped up on screen.
The Kings of Summer
Abrams had the role of Aaron in this 2013 coming-of-age comedy that was a hit with critics. His role is much smaller in this than in Paper Towns, but both films explore the similar themes of high schoolers running away from home and struggling to come to grips with adulthood and their place in the world.
In what was probably his most-memorable film role prior to Paper Towns, Abrams played shoeshiner Pete in this star-studded mobster movie. Despite a cast that included Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn, the film was largely a flop with critics, but hey, that wasn't Abrams' fault.
Abrams' lengthiest TV gig so far was playing Todd Cooper for several episodes on this high school comedy series from MTV. The show only lasted one season, but I have to admit, Abrams has this whole "playing a high schooler" thing down. Being a teenager himself probably doesn't hurt.
Abrams showed off his comedy chops on the acclaimed HBO comedy, playing a cocky hacker known as "The Carver" who firmly puts the rest of the cast in their place while maintaining a serious penchant for Adderall.
No stranger to premium cable TV shows, Abrams also showed up on Showtime's Shameless as, you guessed it, a high schooler. This time, Abrams is eleventh grade stud Henry McNally, who plots against the character of Debbie in a very cruel way involving the removal of her shirt. Not cool, Abrams. Not cool.
Clearly, Abrams is no newcomer, but with Paper Towns, he's on his way to bigger things than ever before.
Image: Getty Images; HBO