Credit: Photographed by Angelo Kritikos

Fans of Wizards of Waverly Place, rejoice! Not only is the show nominated for Outstanding Children’s Program in the 2012 Emmy race, but Wetpaint Entertainment spoke to Wizards star Jake T. Austin (Max Russo) in an exclusive interview.

Read on for Jake’s post-Wizards projects, how it feels having the final season of Wizards recognized at the Emmys, and who he’s bringing as his date this year.

Wetpaint Entertainment: How does it feel to see Wizards nominated for an Emmy this year?
Jake T. Austin: It’s really great to have the opportunity to go back to the Emmys again, I’m psyched they invited everyone, and the fact that we’re nominated against so many shows that are working hard to put out their content, it’s a huge honor.

Especially since the last season of Wizards is being recognized, right?
It’s good to have that last validation and to know that even to the final day we were doing the best work that we could. So the fact that we’re nominated in the same category, and the fact that we’ve been able to do this four years in a row, it definitely validates that we’ve been certainly working hard.

How has your life changed now that Wizards is over?
Being on a sitcom, for one, definitely is time-consuming and whatever you’re doing in your life becomes that, because anything where you spend five days a week in a similar environment you’re going to start focusing on that primarily, so that definitely was an adaptation for me as a person. But definitely falling back into a routine where you’re not just working is also challenging, but at the same time I’m lucky to have kept a lot of people I know close to me. Luckily I’m not sitting around. [Laughs]

Are you still close to Selena Gomez and David Henrie?
Everyone was close when we filmed and I can’t really speak for the other guys, but I know I’m pretty close with everyone even though we wrapped almost a year and a half ago, maybe more. I really try to keep close with the cast and find out how their lives have been, and I know the other cast as well, they’re all traveling, they’re all filming, they’re all doing their thing so it’s hard to keep tabs on everybody.

Tell us about your upcoming role in the film Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn is a recent adaptation of Mark Twain’s story. I play Huck Finn, he’s a pretty adventurous character, it’s a pretty accurate telling of the story. It’s a more contemporary version. I think it’s something kids will be excited about nowadays, and a lot of teenagers can respond to. In addition to doing the film, it was just a great experience getting to film in Bulgaria and getting to work with Joel Courtney [who plays Tom Sawyer].

Is it true that you’ll reprise your role as Fernando in Rio 2?
Yeah, they are doing the sequel, and I know it has something to do with the World Cup. I don’t know how much we can talk about the plot outline, but my character Fernando is coming back, that is definitely going to happen.

What other TV shows do you watch?
I was watching that show I Survived this morning, I really like that show on [The Biography Channel], and I like National Geographic stuff.

Those are very boyish shows.
Yeah, ESPN’s SportsCenter, a lot of guys like me, a lot of guys I know, we only watch TV for sports or maybe a movie. Other than that I’m going to be outside having fun.

 

Why do you think Wizards deserves to win the Emmy this year?
I just think Wizards is a great example of a reincarnation of some of the good sitcoms that used to be on TV, the last kind of, in my opinion, really good quality shows. That’s when I was last really young watching these kind of shows, All That, Kenan and KelEven Stevens was still on Disney, and I just feel like Wizards has a lot of those similar qualities, which is more story-driven and more [focus] on situational comedy and characters, as opposed to more marketing and branding. I feel like Wizards is one of the last good overall sitcoms that focus on family and problems people face every day.

Who will you be bringing as your date to the Emmys?
Everyone’s pretty much brought their moms when they came [in the past]. I know last year I brought my mom, and because I’m probably going to fly out for it, it’s probably going to be my mom. But you never know. 

The 2012 Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.

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