In 2019, just as his multi-faceted career was taking off, Thorn Castillo heard Robert Downey Jr. offer a sage bit of advice during an interview on photographer/director Sam Jones’ acclaimed multi-platform series “Off Camera.” The two-time Oscar nominee said something to the effect of “any type of work you can put on your resume is good.”
This perfectly aligns with Thorn’s growing list of credits over the past year and a half plus, as the Northern Virginia based actor became a featured background performer as a mischievous ice throwing teen in Patty Jenkins’ upcoming film Wonder Woman 1984 (pretty cool stuff for a guy in his mid-20s!) and became SAG-eligible with his first regional commercial for Toyota.
These appearances coincide with Thorn’s major breakthrough as the face of a new international brand campaign for Schick Stylist, an all-in-one grooming tool by the famous razor company that allows users to shave, trim and edge facial hair to customize their look. Thorn’s youthful, hipster look was perfect for a campaign featuring numerous photo advertisements and videos showing how to use the product. In addition to continuing to pursue his television and film ambitions, his success in this role primes him for more high level, GQ level modeling work in the future.
He launched his career with a busy slate of projects in 2018 – including featured extra parts on the TV series “Bride Killa” and “Copycat Killers,” advertisement projects for Georgetown University Hospital and the local watch brand Eone Watches and a live casino photo shoot in Maryland.
Thorn attributes his comfort and confidence in front of a camera and his developing skills as an actor to his ongoing studies under the guidance of master on-camera acting coach John Palotta in NYC and Philadelphia. Connecting with Palotta on the professional networking community DragonukConnects, Thorn audited two classes in Philly in December 2018 and signed up to be a full-time student shortly thereafter, taking classes in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Palotta helped Thorn create a professional reel and a website for his acting and modeling endeavors. Thorn considers his ongoing mentor-student relationship with Palotta essential.
Prior to his work with Palotta, Thorn took several acting classes at Northern Virginia Community College and studied improvisation, intermediate acting and acting for the camera with veteran actor, author and teacher Brenna McDonough Wolfe at Theatre Lab in Washington DC and the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Born in Upstate New York (Mt. Kisco), Thorn grew up the only child of parents who owned horses and traveled for horse shows throughout the U.S. and Mexico. He turned a year old in Mexico and also lived in Florida, Tennessee and other parts of New York State before the family settled in Northern Virginia. Living most of his life there with a single mom after his dad left, Thorn has fond memories of being a little kid at a store in Middleburg, goofing off in front of the security camera and pretending he was the star of an action movie. He was a shy loner type, immersing in comic books and video games while always wishing he could be more social and part of the crowd.
While he admired comic actors like Kevin Hart and Jim Parsons and identified with his favorite superheroes Batman and Spiderman, one of his top role models was singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, who overcame being a bullied loner to become an international superstar. To try to fit in, Thorn went through a goth punk, metal and rock phase in his mid-teens before embracing his truer self later on, moving from a mohawk and spike bracelets to dressing more preppy.
“I started acting because I was fascinated with TV and film, and always liked playing roles and pretending to make different worlds come to life since I was a little kid,” he says. “But for years I never thought I was good enough, so I drifted away frompursuing that career. But later, I learned to have more confidence in myself. It helped that family and friends told me I do have talent, especially my mom, who has always encouraged me.
“So finally, I went for what I really love doing and now my goals as an actor and model are making a living out of what I always really liked doing, including creating and bringing fictional characters to life,” Thorn adds. “I really enjoy those experiences where I get up at 5:00 am to be on set and get ready to go film all day, then get home at 9:30 have dinner and go to bed by 10:30 and do it all over again for 3 weeks. It’s also been a blast traveling to places I had never been for shoots. I know it’s often a difficult industry to make it in, and I’m grateful for any success I have achieved so far and am able to in the future. The work I’ve done so far has given me some of the most fulfilling moments of my life.”