From androids to Oprah, Zachary S. Williams’ acting career is already impressively varied. We caught up with the young actor to learn more about his role on season 2 of Nickelodeon’s I Am Frankie and more!
First off, for people who aren’t familiar with Nickelodeon’s I Am Frankie, tell us a bit about the show and your character.
Zachary S. Williams: I Am Frankie is about a teenage girl, Frankie Gaines, who is secretly an android. With a government agency out to capture her in order to form an evil android army, Frankie is put in high school to essentially “hide in plain sight.” My character, Zane Markosian, is a new addition to the main cast for season 2! While I can’t give away any season 2 specifics, it’s really exciting to play a character who loves theater because it’s also my passion and foundation. Zane’s confidence level is through the roof and he isn’t afraid of anything.
You’ve been involved in the arts since middle school, so it sounds like you have a lot in common with Zane! What would you say are some of the biggest differences between the two of you? Do you think you’d get along with Zane if you met him in real life?
The biggest difference between us is that he is willing to put up the toughest fight and go the longest distance for whatever he believes in. His determination exceeds mine and [he] has actually given me inspiration and courage to be more vocal. If I met Zane in real life, we would definitely be friends. He’s someone I’d look up to and learn a lot from.
This season, Zane writes a play that takes on a life of its own… in a good way! What can viewers expect from your story line?
They can expect to see someone who is overall a genuine individual. Zane is passionate, artistic, determined and kind. The play is actually a vital plot point this season, so you’re going to have to watch the show to see what it’s all about! But I will say that it sends a great message to young audiences about being accepting and respectful.
Is there a particular episode or scene from season 2 that you’re especially excited for viewers to see?
Ah, that’s a tough one because there’s so much that happens this season. If I had to choose, I would say the next-to-last episode, which airs on Oct. 4. However, I’m excited for viewers to see every episode!
Speaking of premieres, season 3 of OWN’s Greenleaf kicked off at the end of August. You worked on several episodes of the show’s first season – what was it like to act opposite Oprah Winfrey herself, and what did you learn from the experience?
At the time, I was 15 going on 16, and not many people can say they’ve worked with Oprah Winfrey at that age! The experience was so surreal and humbling. I was able to witness great work right before my eyes, and to learn and absorb as much information as I could.
On a similar topic, are there any actors who have particularly inspired you in terms of bettering your craft? Who’s on your list of people you’d most like to work with?
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are my two favorites. Their work is authentic and touching. As an actor, I watch these two and dream about having the ability to bring a story to life as truthfully as they do. I would also love to work with [director] Ava DuVernay one day.
In addition to Greenleaf and I Am Frankie, young baseball enthusiasts in the Tampa area may recognize you from the local TV show Rays Rookies. What’s coming up next for you?
Thanks to Zachary S. Williams for chatting with us! Be sure to catch I Am Frankie on Nickelodeon or binge-watch the show on nick.com.