Actor Nick Wolfhard voices the hero Jack in Netflix's animated series "The Last Kids on Earth." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Nick Wolfhard was half asleep when a buzz on his phone alerted him that he had won the coveted voice role of teen hero Jack in the animated series The Last Kids on Earth.
"That was a pretty awesome moment, and I raced down the stairs and told my brother and my dad, 'Guys, I got the part!'" the 21-year-old brother of Stranger Things and It actor Finn Wolfhard told UPI in a recent phone interview.
The screen adaptation of Max Brallier's best-selling, illustrated children's novel series will be relased on Netflix on Tuesday, the same day Book 5, The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade, will be available online and in bookstores.
Last Kids follows a resourceful, upbeat 13-year-old orphan trying to survive a zombie and monster apocalypse.
The first episode of the Netflix version sees Jack set up a treehouse as his home base, and then venture out to find his best friend, Quint (Garland Whitt), his crush June (Montse Hernandez) and school bully Dirk (Charles Demers), whom he persuades to live with him so they can protect each other and share supplies.
Wolfhard hopes viewers will find something familiar to connect to and appreciate how the show is establishing its own identity.
"If you know the book series, it can get pretty dark while also keeping its humor," the actor said. "I saw someone say it's kind of like a mix of The Walking Dead with Code Name: Kids Next Door, which was a Cartoon Network series I watched as a kid. I think that's a really good comparison."
Jack's experience as a foster child who was bounced from home to home helped him prepare for this new world.
"His life before the whole monster apocalypse happened was a real bummer," Wolfhard said. "He's got one friend. He, obviously, doesn't fit in anywhere because he's never had a family. He gets bullied."
Wolfhard could "massively relate" to the character in some ways.
"I didn't like my middle-school years very much, either," he said. "Obviously, I have a family who loves me and they were able to help me out with that, but [I related] in terms of only having a select group of friends and being bullied and, once school was over, I had all these new branches open up to me," he said.
Emphasizing the importance of people banding together in times of adversity, Last Kids also serves as a reminder that childhood is fleeting.
"You're only a kid for so long, so why not enjoy the ride?" Wolfhard said. "I kind of wish I'd taken a page out of Jack's book when I was younger. Make the best of what you have. It's like what Jack says, 'Make the best of a bad situation.' You've just got to do it."
While his on-screen alter ego manages to solve problems and fight off beasts that want to eat him -- all while having fun -- Wolfhard has no illusions about being as successful as Jack under the same circumstances in real life.
"No, no, no, no!" the actor said. "I could probably be resourceful, although I would probably also be one of the first zombified. If you stick me inside a room and quarantine me, I'd probably be fine."
Best known for voicing characters in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Beyblade Burst and World Trigger, Wolfhard would love to work on video games, as well as TV. He also has a pilot coming out soon for an adult animated series on which he collaborated with his friends and his brother.
"We both play different characters, but we also share a role," he said, adding that he and Finn recorded their lines of dialogue together in their family home.
"That was some of the most fun I've ever had recording a project," Wolfhard said.
Regarding having a brother in the industry, the actor said he is not a fan of nepotism.
"I like to earn things," Wolfhard said.
"It definitely is a lot easier to kind of open up the doors," he added. "Then you can prove to them that you are talented or that you are cool and you can do this."
The brothers are carving out their own niches.
"He's doing his movies and I'm doing the cartoons. We're working on our own stuff, but we are also very supportive of each other," Wolfhard said.