As a child growing up in Winston-Salem, Taylor August loved film and animation.
"It influenced what I wanted to do," August said.
He is now in his first series lead role in “The Hunter’s Anthology,” which premiered Friday on Amazon Prime.
August plays the lead character Mac, a demon slayer, in this five-episode supernatural whodunnit that combines sci-fi, horror and mystery.
Some people have compared it to the 1985 movie “Clue,” and August said there are moments where people will possibly compare it to “The Exorcist.”
Other members of the cast are Eric Colton, Janna Bossier, Cole Taylor, Olev Aleksander, Kristy Kloetingh and Sara Lopez.
In the series, Mac, who is both mysterious and extremely serious, traps six strangers inside a subway car in New York to determine which one of them is a demon.
August, 36, moved to Winston-Salem when he was about 9 years old. He is a graduate of North Forsyth High School and attended Forsyth Technical College. In 2009, he attended UNC Greensboro to study film production. He is now working on a bachelor’s degree in animation at the Los Angeles Film School in Los Angeles, Calif., where he lives. He still has family in Winston-Salem.
“I’m super excited about it because I want that to be a big part of my future, creating animated films, shorts,” August said.
The acting bug bit August while he was taking theatre classes at North Forsyth. He went on to perform in a couple of plays at the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem in his early years.
Back then some folks might remember him as Taylor August Freeman.
“As a kid growing up on Disney films and cartoons, I knew I wanted to be an artist in some way,” he said.
While still living in North Carolina, he landed roles in two feature films, “Blood Done Sign My Name” and “Blue Ridge.”
He eventually moved to New York City, where he studied acting at the William Esper Studio and did a lot of theater, including Off-Broadway productions.
In 2018, shortly after filming “The Hunter’s Anthology,” he moved to Los Angeles.
Mac is a character that August said is so much fun to play.
"He really takes charge and commands the scene,” August said. “He’s got everybody pretty much where he wants them.”
He said Mac knows his purpose and is laser focused on it.
“He will do anything to achieve what he’s come there to do, basically,” August said.
Mac is also a serious guy.
"He’s strictly business, but you do see little shades of him enjoying himself,” August said. “He means what he says but there is a part of him that does still get a kick out of this.”
August is excited about the premiere of the series, saying backstories are going to be revealed for each character.
“I love this story and I love the character Mac,” he said. “I think he has a lot of room for development.”
He spoke highly of writer and producer Robert Smithline, producer Arezu "Nicky" Akmal, and the cast and crew of "The Hunter's Anthology."
“I want to thank Rob Smithline and Nicky Akmal for their vision and allowing me to help tell their story, my fellow castmates for being the amazing talent that they are, and the crew for their professionalism and hard work,” he said. “We pushed through conditions that would have slowed any production down and created something special that I hope many people will love.”
For now, August is also happy working on a degree in animation.
“I just overall love storytelling,” he said. “I want to create stories and content moving forward that not only entertains people but (also) inspires them.”
His advice to budding actors is to be in the present and enjoy every moment to the best of their abilities.
“If there’s one thing that this last year has taught me, it is to have fun with life, don’t take yourself too seriously because there’s no guarantees,” August said. “Be true to yourself. Figure out who you are and cultivate that. Don’t worry so much about trends because when people follow trends they don’t stand out as much. If you do your own thing, you’ll be the one setting a trend.”