Michael Solomon Shares His Experience as Rusty in Freeridge—and Where the Show Might Go Next
If you're not obsessed with Rusty from Freeridge, were you even paying attention to the show?
The new series (and spin-off of fan-favorite series On My Block) dropped today on Netflix, taking us back to the town where it all started for a whole new adventure. The show follows a fresh cast of relatable characters as they accidentally unleash a curse, working to uncover its origins and stop it before things get worse—and if you're anything like us, it'll be just a couple of episodes before you're just as invested in the characters and their relationships as you are in the quest.
Actor Michael Solomon stars as Rusty, who enters the scene as an assistant to Gloria and Ines's uncle, Tonio, before growing closer with the core cast over the course of the show, and quickly becoming one of our all-time faves. We had the chance to chat with Michael to learn all about his love of On My Block and how much he's like Rusty IRL, and you can read it all in the interview below.
Sweety High: When did you discover your passion for acting? Was there any specific a-ha moment that made you realize it was the path for you?
Michael Solomon: I always said I was going to be in entertainment, but I finally put my money where my mouth is one day when I snuck away from track practice to audition for a theater comedy called The Canterville Ghost. Once I booked it and spent multiple nights on a stage making people laugh, there was no turning back. I did everything I could to find out how to make this a lasting career. Fast-forward a few years and a Freeridge release later, I still wonder if my coach forgives me for missing that practice. Fingers crossed he does.
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SH: Were you a fan of On My Block before you auditioned for Freeridge?
MS: Yes, actually! My sister put me onto it when the first season dropped because she was always blasting the main song, "Changes," as the hype soundtrack for her life and cackling at Brett Gray, who played Jamal. From there, I picked the show up myself, and now I do a mad Spooky impression. Ask anyone.
SH: Can you tell us a little bit about Freeridge and how it ties into On My Block?
MS: Freeridge is set in the same city as On My Block—I know, it's the title, duh. But aside from that, you're getting a whole new flavor of personalities in the show. On My Block had the RollerWorld money to find. We have a curse to reverse.
SH: How would you describe your character, Rusty?
MS: Rusty is the new assistant to Gloria's uncle, Tío Tonio, who is thrown into the new core four's world. He's a grade older, so he tries to look out for the squad as best as he can, but he still definitely has his moments where you see he's still just a kid.
(Freeridge via Netflix)
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SH: How similar are you to Rusty in real life? What would you say are your biggest similarities and differences?
Michael Solomon: Rusty is too mature for us to be the same person, especially if you compare me in high school to him in high school. He has lived more life than me, and you see that in the way he composes himself. (How has he lived more life? Watch the show and find out.)
We're very similar in how we try to be there for the people we care about. If I'm ever out with friends, I'm always the one checking in to make sure everyone is good, and like Rusty, I'm always giving people rides home. Our main difference? Let's just say I have more moral boundaries than Rusty…
SH: What was your most memorable moment from the set?
Michael Solomon: The car scene. There is a scene where I'm driving everyone home, and they're all asleep. Being the marvelous devotee to the craft that she is, Bryana Salaz leaned on my shoulder and actually fell asleep for the entire time we shot the scene. During close-up shots of me, her head fell back and she started snoring directly into my ear, and the director asked her to tilt her head back down, thinking it was a choice. It was not. We had to softly wake her up and move her around, and she just peacefully fell back asleep for the rest of the shot. She was always asleep on set.
(Freeridge via Netflix)
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SH: Is there any part of this series you're most excited for audiences to dive into when it comes out?
Michael Solomon: The final episode. We laid out a lot of really great breadcrumbs that will leave you wanting more and speculating where the show could go. It makes me really excited to see what more of the story we can possibly tell.
SH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Michael Solomon: Freeridge is out Feb. 2! Go watch and be ready to be sucked into a new story from the same city you've already grown fond of!
For even more from the stars of Freeridge, click HERE to read our interview with Demi actress, Ciara Riley Wilson.