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St. Louis native Cameron Gellman catches big break with DC Universe's 'Stargirl'

He's only 21 years old, but St. Louis' Gellman is playing a pivotal comic character named Rick Tyler on the new series, which debuts Tuesday night
Credit: DC Comics

ST. LOUIS — In the land of make-believe, the big break is everything.

Actors can spend decades in Hollywood searching for a breakout role that changes the game for them, shifting the landscape of their dreams and setting up a new path.

St. Louis native Cameron Gellman may have found his spot with a new comic book-inspired television series, "Stargirl." Starring Brec Bassinger as the title character, a high school sophomore named Courtney Whitmore, the series is the latest new television show and one of the first to truly launch DC Universe, the new streaming network for the comic book powerhouse.

Whitmore forms an unlikely group of young superheroes, reviving the ancient group called -- pay attention, comic nerds -- The Justice Society of America. A long-lost group, the young Courtney brings them back to hunt down villains of the past.

According to Full Circle Cinema, Gellman is playing another "legacy character" on the DC Universe series, Rick Tyler. The so-called second Hourman, following his father Rex, Rick relies on a special drug named miraclo, to give him superpowers for one hour. Rex, a scientist from the old school who created the drug and fought crime, will be played by Lou Ferrigno Jr. ("S.W.A.T"). Only time and episodes will tell, but Rick takes up the mantle to save a girl, much to the chagrin of his dad ... or at least that's how it played out in the comics.

Gellman was born on October 11, 1998, and grew up in Clayton with his parents and older brother. He attended Clayton High School, but in 2014, after his freshman year, he made the bold move to move to Los Angeles with his mother to really give acting a shot.

Credit: DC Comics

Gellman had a couple of small film roles in the 2018 film "Charlie Says" and the 2016 film, "20th Century Women." He made his debut back in 2016 on the soap opera, "Days of Our Lives." This may be a stretch, but a couple of other actors made their debuts on soap operas and have fared well, even finding some luck in comic book-flavored tales. Tom Pelphrey, who was last seen doing Emmy-worthy work on Netflix's "Ozark" and also co-starred in Disney's "The Man with The Iron Fist," had a role on "The Guiding Light" back in his early days. Frank Grillo, aka Crossbones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, also starred on "The Guiding Light." If Gellman follows their game plans, he should be fine.

Gellman does have some things going for him though: youth, good looks, and a brand new juicy role in a DC Universe that is running smooth and sound after earlier hiccups. If he plays his cards right, the St. Louis native could become somebody real soon.

The series was created by Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti. Johns is a DC film and television show veteran, helping pen the story for the 2018 Jason Momoa-starring "Aquaman" while acting as a producer on the smash hit 2017 film, "Wonder Woman." He was a writer for "The Flash" and also contributed to "Titans" and "The Arrow." Scroll up and down his IMDB page and you'll find plenty of DC comic-related projects.

Berlanti directed the 2018 sleeper hit, "Love, Simon" while also serving as executive producer on hit shows like "Riverdale" and "The Arrow." The two men are a veteran of comic book productions and according to critics who have screened the first few episodes, have done a fine job with "Stargirl." The New York Times and Den of Geek both used "hopeful" in their review headlines, which bodes well for the new show, which debuts Tuesday night.

If the comics are any sign, Gellman has a big role to play here. Carrying powers passed down reluctantly by his father and going head over heels for a girl, Rick should give the young actor a moderate amount of screen time. The 23-year-old actor previously starred in "Heathers," a remake of the 1988 dark comedy for Paramount Network. Gellman played Kurt in seven episodes of the series, which hasn't been greenlit for season 2 or canceled. He was also recently seen in "The Good Doctor" and "Solve," each individual episode arcs.

These days, comic books rule the world of Hollywood. They are conquering audiences by land and sea, screens both big and small. Gellman is getting in at the right time. While he may not emerge on "Stargirl" for a few weeks, you should expect him to make a dent by the end of the 13-episode run.

Pandemic or not, Hollywood is a competitive arena stuffed with a vast array of talent, most of which is never realized. Actors spend months and years trying to find that role that could expand and lead to other big roles. It took Grillo and Pelphrey decades to find their respective comic-related roles. Gellman has found Rick Tyler after just four years of hustling. Acting's only superpower is longevity, and Gellman is winning on the scorecards already.

Keep your eye on this kid. Tyler's powers may only last for an hour at a time, but Gellman hopes to make his Hollywood dreams last for a very long time.

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