Fin Argus Brings Zach Sobiech’s Life to the Screen in Clouds
Disney+ released the highly anticipated Clouds today, bringing the true story of Zach Sobiech to the screen. Portraying Zach’s story and the story of everyone in his life is an impressive feat, and carefully choosing the people who would play each person was a prominent goal. This brings us to Fin Argus, the 22-year-old actor who stepped into the challenging role that will undoubtedly touch your heart and inspire a new outlook on life.
What drew you to the role of Zach?
Everything from his goofy, fun loving personality to his profound use of songwriting to provide a sense of love and unity in the face of adversity. Playing a real person is always an immense responsibility, and at first I felt a lot of pressure to do Zach justice in my portrayal. The better I got to know his family and friends, however, the more secure I felt. They opened up in ways I can’t imagine would have been easy, but they did it with strength. They did it so the film could be authentic and honest to Zach’s spirit and story. I feel like I’ve gained a whole new family through playing Zach Sobiech.
In what ways are you similar and different from him?
Zach and I come from very similar places, both having had a Midwestern upbringing and very similar family dynamics. I truly believe Zach and I would be great friends if we had had the chance to meet. Our personalities and sense of self developed in a way that makes me feel as if we’re parallel versions of one another, but of course there are key differences in any parallel universe. For one, I think our song writing style is quite different, as Zach leaned more into folk, and my style is more akin to indie rock/pop. I did end up writing a song in his style called “My Little Dancer” that I perform in a very heartwarming scene in the movie, and it was fun to explore his inspiration for music. Also, our sense of style, clothing-wise, is quite different. There was definitely a point in my life where I dressed with clothes similar to the items of his I wore in the movie. Nowadays though, I love exploring the intersection between masculinity and femininity in fashion expression.
This film is inspirational and evokes a lot of emotion from its audience. What was the most emotional scene for you to film?
The final scene that I’m in, in the film, was easily the most emotional. Not only was it difficult to get to where I needed to go physically and emotionally, but I was also surrounded by all of Zach’s family and friends and even my own family as well. It is a concert scene, and as I performed the song I was actually looking into the audience and seeing Laura Sobiech, Sammy Brown, and my own mother and little sister. That’s only naming a few. The love I felt in that room is indescribable. I could almost see the place vibrating with energy, positive and negative, but overwhelmingly cathartic. I cry almost every time I watch it.
What is the most influential lesson you learned from working on Clouds?
Zach provided me with a realignment of my perspective on death. Having experienced Zach’s love and presence while filming helped me to understand that even when our loved ones pass on, they are still with us. They’re with us in the love we feel for them and the memories we hold. They’re with us in the little or big impacts they left on the world, whether it’s a song that they liked that reminds you of them when you hear it, or a piece of clothing you have of theirs. Their love lives on with us.
Do you have a favorite memory, on or off set?
There was one night before filming started where my castmates Sabrina, Madison, and I went out to dinner and later explored Old Montreal where we were filming. We ran through cobblestone streets dancing and singing, just getting to know each other for the first time really. I remember going to a dessert shop that sold cups of cookie dough to eat as is, and I somehow fit it into my pocket when we went on the Ferris wheel. There were technically no snacks allowed; please don’t tell on me. It was the perfect bonding experience to solidify our relationships before going into production for a very relationship focused film.
You got to work with Sabrina Carpenter, who plays your best friend. As two musicians, what was it like acting together and intertwining your acting and music careers together in the film?
Sabrina Carpenter is one of the kindest souls you could ever meet. She captured Sammy’s essence perfectly for the film, and together we channeled the spirit of “A Firm Handshake” (Zach and Sammy’s band name). Whether we were on set or not, we were almost always playing music or singing. Being able to perform with her both musically and acting wise was a tremendous honor. She is a powerhouse of talent, and playing those songs together happened with ease. We connected through music immediately which made being friends on screen and off organic and so much fun. One incredible memory from our first night in Montreal is Sabrina and I walking through the town on an echoing residential road after sunset singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. I hope we didn’t annoy the neighbors.
What was your favorite part about working with director Justin Baldoni?
Justin goes into everything he does with so much heart, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness. Doing Zach’s story justice is a big ask considering how inspiring of a young man he was. Justin took that responsibility and blossomed. On set, he encouraged open communication and was not afraid to be vulnerable himself. This created a safe space for us all, as actors, to go to where we needed to go emotionally and still feel supported. I am certain he is going to continue to make heartfelt and touching movies for years to come. It’s in his bones.
Share with us the first audition you ever went to. What was it for? How did it go? How were you feeling?
The first audition I ever went to was for a small theater production of “The Little Rascals” when I was ten years old. I was incredibly excited and prepared way more than they asked for. After about an hour of a group audition, taking turns singing, dancing, and acting with other kids, they dismissed us all and said the casting results would be available in a couple of days. After everyone left the room I went up to the director and said, “If you don’t mind, I prepared an extra monologue and song that I’d like to perform.” To which they politely responded, “Thank you so much but we’ve seen enough to make our decisions.” Mind you, I was ten years old and mortified that they’d denied my offer. Two days later, I nervously checked the casting choices, and sure enough, I was cast as the lead, Alfalfa!
Where is the first place you want to go when people are actively traveling again?
I would love to visit my grandparents in Florida. All I do when I’m there is sit with them on the beach and play ukulele. It sounds like the perfect mix of family and leisure time that I’ve been missing for the past year or so.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year. What has helped you stay positive and get through 2020?
What has helped me stay positive is actually Zach’s sentiment to live for today. While there is much sadness and we’ve all been given a stark reminder of our mortality, we can all take a page from Zach’s book at this time. In the face of a terminal diagnosis he stayed strong and strove to make people happy. He set an example for appreciating his limited time. We may not have forever, so now is the time to tell people you love them and let them know you care. I hope for the happy physical reunion of family and friends when this virus is under control.
What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to concerts, playing music with friends, playing board games indoors, flying to visit my family, beach bonfires, seeing movies in theaters, and mostly giving people hugs. I hate the physical disconnect that is necessary to put in place when seeing people you may love and care deeply for. I am going to hug all of them so tight as soon as I know it’s safe. There is so much pent up love that I believe we will find ourselves in the midst of a renaissance by the time we turn this page of history.
Talent FIN ARGUS @finargus
Photographer ALENA SAZ @alena_saz
Creative Direction ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC @alekandsteph
Styling ROCIO VEGA @_rociovega
Grooming ANNA BERNABE @heyannabee
Interview by ARIS PANGAN @arisjpangan
Production @BELLOmediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites