"Josh" Graduates To Bigger Roles

Audiences may know Josh Peck as the chubbier half of “Drake & Josh,” the Nickelodeon hit. But the actor, who’s been in the business since he was 9, is now 21, trim and a leading man in “The Wackness.”

After two years of “getting healthy,” the slimmed-down Peck plays Luke, a shy high school teen who sells pot and falls in love with his therapist’s stepdaughter (played by Olivia Thirlby of “Juno”). There’s even a nude shower scene with the actress. “I shower in real life too, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch,” Peck joked. “Only I don’t have sex in outdoor showers.”

In a one-on-one interview he recalled that he “grew up a heavyset kid.” When he was 14 he landed the hit Nickelodeon series, “The Amanda Show,” followed by “Drake & Josh.”

Peck’s life changed with the 2004 independent film “Mean Creek,” for which he was singled out by critics as a persecuted fat kid. “I came along and brought someone who wasn’t your stereotypical leading-man look. From there I said, ‘I don’t want to wait around 10 years for another part to come around like this.’ ”

Peck realized if he was heavy, “There’s only the funny fat guy parts or the heavy friend. It’s an unfortunate stereotype, and I wanted to have the chance to play roles like this, to have more quality. And I wanted to be healthier.”

He also identified with his most recent character, Luke: “He was at the beginning of something that I was at the tail end of. He was 18 and I was 20, and I felt I could bring a lot of honesty and truth to what he was. I had had my first and my only love really, and it had ended. It was quite fresh when we made this movie, one of those divine gifts you’re given as an actor.”


The Boston Herald

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