When you leave a job behind, you always partake in an exit interview and with just days before Austin & Ally signs off, JJJ conducted our own. We’ve been speaking with the cast and creators about their best memories, the series finale and what’s next.
Calum Worthy starred as Dez Hatfield Wade, our favorite freckled friend, on the series throughout the four seasons.
Dez is Austin’s best friend and an aspiring director who does everything in his power to help Austin achieve his dreams. He has a special relationship with Trish, keeps his word and never breaks a promise, and is the #1 Auslly shipper.
Calum spoke exclusively with JJJ about leaving the show behind, the doors that have been opened because of Austin & Ally and what made Dez so likeable.
Click inside for our exclusive interview with Calum Worthy…
Upon filming the last episodes of the season, did you start to reminisce a lot? What were the memories that came up?
The food. The food is free on set and there is also a LOT of it. For weeks I would just walk into grocery stores and just start eating stuff. Most of my memories had to do with food. I remember this one time Laura and I were eating hummus on pita chips and she spilled some hummus on her shirt. It came off easy. Just hot water and some baking powder. That was a good day.
I remember Raini and I shared a lot of good laughs over some wontons during live tapings. Ross and I would always fight about who got the last Poptart. We haven’t talked since…
If the series had to end earlier, would you have been okay with that? How thankful to the fans are you for bringing you back for a 4th season?
I’m not okay now! Austin & Ally was such an incredible experience for everybody and it really changed our lives. I am SO thankful every single fan that helped us get the fourth and final season. It meant the world to me. I remember hearing we got picked up for a fourth season on the way to the RMA’s [Radio Disney Music Awards] and freaking out!
There was always a real “family” feeling on the set. How much do you miss going there every day and seeing everyone?
I already miss them every day. Since finishing the show I’ve been fortunate enough to work on two movies and series called Motive. I loved doing these projects but the one thing I missed was my family back at Austin & Ally. Luckily I have seen a lot of the cast. I was just in Las Vegas with Ross for New Years.
Is there an upside at all to not having to be on set for early call times?
Yes. Not having to get up early. JK. I don’t sleep I have too many issues.
We have a feeling that working with Kevin and Heath was more fun than anything else. Can you tell us more about your first impressions of them?
It took me 4 years to figure out which one was Kevin and which one was Heath! I can now confidently say that Heath doesn’t have hair. We’re [also] currently writing a movie together and I’m really excited about it. If I had it my way, I’d work with them on every project for the rest of my career.
Dez Wade was quite the character. What quirks did you love or was there something that you personally added to him? What would you have loved to see him try or do during the entire series?
I loved everything about Dez. I love how he always surprised the audience with a funny bit. I can confidently say that there is nothing we didn’t have Dez do. From fighting a kangaroo to getting stuck to a rat trap. Our writers are insanely creative and always added something hilarious.
Was there an episode during the series that you thought had the best message for the fan base?
I think the Cheetah print episode [Austin & Alias] allowed fans to realize that you can match Cheetah print with just about anything. That one made me tear up a little.
The fan base for Austin & Ally is pretty insane and huge. When did you realize how huge the fanbase had gotten?
The whole cast went to Disneyland a week after the show premiered. When we got there we were mobbed so much they had to get extra security. I remember Raini and I looked at each other and though “Wowza”!
Were there any super crazy fan moments that really stuck out to you?
There was a girl who was attacked by a bear and remembered what Dez did to fight off a bear in one episode and it saved her life. It got on CNN. That was bizarre.
During the four season run, did you personally have clear goals you wanted to accomplish? What did you learn from that experience and how did it enhance your craft or experience on the show?
I wrote an episode in the third season which was one of the best experiences of my life. It really helped me a running start as a writer in this industry. In the fourth season I was really busy developing some other projects while we were filming so I just stuck to acting. Our biggest goal was to just have fun. There were no stakes and the network wasn’t worried about ratings. Luckily, we made that happen.
When you’re an actor, you’re always looking for feedback or tips about your performance. Was there one bit of advice that really sunk in and you use in everything you do?
Our house director Shelley Jensen told me during the pilot to find something in Dez that makes him memorable, similar to Kramer or Ace Ventura. I kept that in mind in every episode we did.
Do you remember one moment on the show that really hit you hard in your personal life?
My little cousin has cancer and works with the Make A Wish Foundation a lot. We usually had a at least one kid from Make A Wish come to our set every week. That was incredible.
If you could, would you do it all again? What would you change? Would you keep it all the same? Or was there a particular episode that you’d love to do all over again?
I would keep everything the same. My experience on Austin & Ally was incredible.
You were on a Disney show for four years time. Did you feel any pressure to exude that “Disney celebrity” image?
Not really. I always just try to be myself and Disney Channel was very supportive of my weird personality. What fans see is who I really am.
If there were a spin-off from Austin & Ally, which characters or what storyline would you like to see on the screen?
I’d like to see Dez and Jimmy Starr [played by Richard Whiten] be in a buddy cop comedy. Actually, I’m going to go write that right now. BRB.
Were there any guest stars or recurring stars that you would’ve loved to bring back one more time?
Chuck played by one of my favorite people in the world John Paul Green. He is a comedic genius. Hollywood! If you’re looking to cast the next great comedian, it’s JPG!
Is there a storyline from the show that you thought should’ve been longer?
Mindy had a really fun storyline. She [Ashley Fink] was just so busy doing other projects she didn’t have the time. I would have loved to see where we could go with that.
Where do you think your characters are in 10 years?
I think all of the characters will be following their dreams while dealing with sore backs and achy bones.
What will be your first project after the series finale? What are you hoping your fans will think about it?
I’ve mostly been growing a mustache!
I also just finished filming two movies back to back. One’s called Replicate and the other one is a Legendary movie called The Thinning. Both are targeted at teens.
Looking ahead, what are the things you want to accomplish in your career? New projects, working with certain people, etc.
I’m really excited about my new album On My Own, Again. I believe it will show fans that I’m not just that rugged, bad boy Dez character the world (subjective, sure) grew to love on Austin & Ally. I also have a record label that wants me to come across as a softy. Cheya.
I’m so grateful for the fans that I have because of Austin & Ally. A lot of them were in their early teens when they started watching the show and are now in high school. I want to make sure that the projects I work on now grow with them so I can continue to entertain them for the rest of my life.
I have produced a number of projects for Disney Channel and I want to continue to write and produce my own projects. Okay, fine, I’ll just say it. Writing and performing on Saturday Night Live is my ultimate dream.
If you could give your younger self (when you first started the show) any advice for what’s coming ahead, what would it be?
I would say just enjoy the ride. I would tell myself, get ready for the best four years of your life thus far!
Would you ever return to Disney for a new project? Maybe on another network, in movies, or even back on Disney Channel?
Disney Channel not only gave me my start as an actor and comedian but also as a writer and producer. I will work with them whenever they call. They changed my life. I owe them a lot!
What did you like most about your job?
I LOVE coming up with comedy bits that surprise the audience. I hate to bring it back to the food again, but by season two I mentioned how the guacamole on set is the best part of my job.
Was there anything you disliked at all?
By season four, there was too much guacamole on set and I feel like they were trying too hard.
The Austin & Ally series finale airs SUNDAY, January 10th @ 8PM ET/PT on Disney Channel.