Local kid becomes Hollywood star

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website, The Kennett Paper‘s website and the Avon Grove Sun‘s website.
CJ Diehl, 15, stars as Chris Wollerman in the new movie, ‘The Stream,’ which opened in select Regal Theaters Oct. 18.  (Kim Diehl)

CJ Diehl, 15, stars as Chris Wollerman in the new movie, ‘The Stream,’ which opened in select Regal Theaters Oct. 18. (Kim Diehl)

It’s not every day you see a Hollywood actor hail from Chester County, but it just so happens CJ Diehl is that person.

The 15-year-old from West Chester is starring in the new movie, ‘The Stream,’ which opened in select Regal Entertainment Group Theaters.

The film, which also features Hollywood stars such as Mario Lopez, Kelly Rutherford, Christopher Gorham and Rainn Wilson, follows five kids who embark on adventure following a stream in 1981.

“It’s really interesting to meet (the stars) because they come in so professionally and so really friendly, but they have their game faces on,” Diehl said. “That’s the kind of setting that you want to be in with people who aren’t goofing off around the set.”

Working with actors like that, Diehl said, he has the opportunity to learn a lot about being a pro.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

“I learned that when you go in to do a movie, you always want to be as professional as you can and as courteous as you can,” he said. “You don’t only talk to the director and leave the other people, like the camera people, out and pretend you don’t know them.

“You just always want to be as friendly as you can and be a nice human being.”

Diehl plays Chris Wollerman in the movie, the leader of the group of friends.

This may be his first major movie, but it isn’t his first big gig.

“I booked my first large role for ‘Teen Toon,’ which is a new Cartoon Network TV show,” Diehl said. “That is premiering at the end of (October).”

He’s even now been offered a role for a new Fox television show, but it’s too early to release any details on it.

Diehl has only been acting for four years now, getting his start locally in Philadelphia before moving his way up to New York City and now Los Angeles.

He began his career doing Hersheypark and Bendaroos commercials.

“I’ve always been the one to entertain my friends,” Diehl said. “My parents told me I should try acting, so I took some classes (and) got some coaching.”

He received his first instruction from Pamela Sheehan Decker, the owner and director at the Studio for Professional Actors in Phoenixville.

Now, with his career seemingly taking off, he divides his time between living at home in West Chester and in Los Angeles, which has caused his parents to move apart as well.

His father, Ted, has stayed back in Pennsylvania to continue working as an engineer while his mother, Kim, lives in Los Angeles in the new apartment.

“It’s pretty difficult (not seeing them),” Ted said. “Kim and I have a real strong marriage, so the fact that she’s out there with him is OK.”

It’s been a bit of an adjustment for the young star going from cities on the east coast to the hub of the acting world in California.

“It’s really interesting because in L.A., you actually do see celebrities,” Diehl said. “I’ve seen Miley Cyrus there just shopping at the grocery store. It’s definitely much bigger.”

Though he’s just starting to break into the Hollywood scene, Diehl does admit to already having a fan.

“This is a fan that’s not one of my friends or family members, it’s just a random person,” he said. “She’s a 7-year-old kid who has a poster of me in her room. It’s not something you get all the time.”

With auditions and long hours of dedicated work put into acting, Diehl had to trade in a physical classroom for a virtual one.

Originally a student in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, he pulled out late in his sixth grade year at Charles F. Patton Middle School and switched to online schooling.

“I don’t have to do school at the regular times that other people would do school,” Diehl said. “I still get the education and get the work done.”

Despite being removed from the traditional brick and mortar school and being 3,000 miles away from home, Diehl keeps in touch with his close friends from home.

“I ooVoo my friends from L.A. all the time,” he said. “I keep up with them, I chat with them, and I try to find out what’s new in their lives. They’re very supportive.”

Now that he’s starting to reach this level in show business, Diehl jokes about having to perfect his autograph for any new fans he may start getting.

“I used to have such a sloppy signature when I was younger, so I try to do the fancy cursive,” Diehl said. “I don’t know how (Hollywood stars) do it. They must sign a million things because (their signatures) look like the fanciest things in the world.”

With his new movie and upcoming roles on television, this could be a big break for Diehl to reach his goal.

“I just want to make a name for myself and I just want to have a successful career,” he said. “I just want to say I’m doing what I love to do. Not a lot of people get to say that.”

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Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Community

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