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Phillip Lewitski talks Utopia Falls, mental health awareness

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Phillip Lewitski talks Utopia Falls, mental health awareness

In Hulu’s acclaimed “Utopia Falls”, actor Phillip Lewitski plays ‘Apollo,’ a quiet and calm natured dreamer, who works as a mechanic, and brings his musical talents through drumming to the show. The series is a genre bending take on a coming of age story, where a group of teens in a distant future colony uncover a forbidden archive of historical, cultural, and musical relics. With the help of rap icon Snoop Dogg as the voice of the futuristic Siri, they use the power of music to ignite change in their reality to expose the truth.

Congratulations on all the great reviews the show is getting. Are reviews as important to actors as they are the producers?

I personally tend to stay away from the reviews. I think it can sometimes take a negative toll on you mentally depending on the write-up. I believe that as long as you feel like you did your job to your full potential the rest is out of your hands. The fans of the show have been amazing and supportive. It’s really great to see people get so invested in the characters and the story.

Why do you think Utopia Falls has caught on so much with critics?

I think it’s because we touch on so many different topics and social talking points that it automatically stirs up conversation within the community.

Do you share Apollo’s talents as a mechanic and drummer?

I love cars. I used to buy used cars, fix them up and sell them. I’ve gone through seven cars to date and had an absolute blast working on every single one of them. Drumming is a huge part of my culture and upbringing. I remember the first Pow Wow I went to when I was younger. When I saw the energy, dance, and vocals the drums brought out in people it was life-changing and that’s when I fell in love with drumming and music.

You’ve been performing since a young age I believe? How did you get your start?

I was homeschooled most of my life and my mother was the one who actually put me on stage as an extracurricular activity but little did she know that this was going to be something I would instantly fall in love with. After those first few steps on stage as a kid and that first performance in front of a live audience, I knew that this was it for me.

And growing up, was the intention to be a musician first and foremost?

Music has always been an escape for me. Any time I was having a hard time or going through something I would sit in front of the piano and disappear for hours. Music and instruments became a part of my life at a young age and will always be my place of serenity. It was incredible to use my musical background in my career for Utopia Falls combining both my passion for music and acting.

So glad to hear you’re a real flag-flyer for mental health awareness. Is there enough importance being put on mental health yet, in your opinion? Or can more still be done?

I think that the battle for mental health awareness is an ongoing mission with no end goal. The conversation around this does not have a cap. Every single person is going through their own struggles and needs to feel like it’s safe to talk about it. Our society has to start viewing the people who take care of their mental health as strong, not weak. There’s this weird idea around people who see psychologists like there is something wrong with them when in fact they are the healthy ones taking action to stay on top of things. So many people avoid external help because they don’t want to seem like they don’t have their life together. The point is, we are social beings and have to be ok with relying on one another sometimes.

Finally, we’d be remiss to ask, how much fun is it getting to work with Snoop Dogg?

We didn’t find out Snoop was going to be a part of the show until quite a ways in. I remember how happy we were to get a rapper of his caliber on board. It was important for the story to have such an icon considering we speak a lot on the history, legends, and roots of hip hop. Snoop had such a profound impact when hip hop was becoming mainstream that he fit the role of The Archive perfectly.

“Utopia Falls” is currently available for streaming on Hulu.

Photo Credit : Benjo Arwas

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