Acting headshot of Trent Rowland, 2015 department of theater graduate. Credit: Courtesy of Trent Rowland

Acting headshot of Trent Rowland, 2015 department of theater graduate. Credit: Courtesy of Trent Rowland

An Ohio State theater alumnus is moving from the Drake Performance Center to the silver screen.  

Trent Rowland, a 2015 graduate from OSU’s Department of Theatre, appears alongside Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in the Oscar-nominated film, “Carol.” The film is nominated for six Oscars in four categories, including Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Mara, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Costume Design.

“Carol” is adapted from the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith and is a story about forbidden love involving a young aspiring photographer, played by Mara, and an older divorcee, played by Blanchett. Rowland said his character, named Jack Taft, plays a small yet integral part in the framing of the film.

Rowland became involved with the audition process for “Carol” during his last semester at OSU. His agent submitted a photo of him to the casting director of the film, and Rowland began driving from Columbus to Cincinnati to be included in the audition process.

“I ended up reading four separate times for three or four different parts,” Rowland said. “It was a long process, but it worked out.”

The film was shot in Cincinnati and was directed by Todd Haynes, who directed the Academy Award-winning film “Far From Heaven” in 2002, starring Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid. Rowland said that working with this all-star group of filmmakers and actors was nerve-wracking, but their kindness and expertise made the experience easier.

“One of the coolest shots is the opening sequence where there is a bunch of people coming out of the subway. The whole New York City street is alive, and I break away from the crowd and the camera follows me into the bar where I see Rooney Mara,” Rowland said.

Rowland began his collegiate career studying education, and he changed his major to theater at the end of his first year. His focus in the theater department was acting and writing, and he minored in video arts.

Rowland attributes the changing of his major largely to assistant professor Kevin McClatchy, who was a graduate student teaching the Introduction to Theater course at the time.

Rowland went from a new second-year in the program to playing Henry V in “Henry V” by William Shakespeare last spring. The play was directed by McClatchy, who also taught Rowland in an acting-for-film class.

“His audition happened right when he was in my Acting for the Camera class. I worked with him on his audition for ‘Carol.’ It wasn’t a huge amount of dialogue, but it was a huge opportunity,” McClatchy said.

Rowland recently moved to Los Angeles and is pursuing his acting career full-time. He also appears as a fraternity brother in the 2016 film “Goat,” starring Nick Jonas, but is not currently working on any acting projects.

“Trent is completely committed to getting better as an actor,” McClatchy said. “He’s got a lot of natural ability, and when you couple that with his enthusiasm and his seriousness of purpose, the sky is the limit for him.”