While growing up in Lufkin, actor Ryan Rottman didn’t care much for amusement parks.
“I couldn’t stand roller coasters,” said Rottman. “I would get motion sickness really bad. And I couldn’t do those spinning rides, I would be sick for hours.”
It is perhaps ironic that he is spending a lot of time at an amusement park in his role as Theodore Chandler on “Happyland,” a MTV-scripted series debuting this month.
He plays the son of the man who buys Happyland, a troubled amusement park (think Six Flags) and takes over as the creative director.
MTV is describing the show as a “teen dramady that explores the underbelly of the country’s most popular theme park and the complicated lives of those who work in it.”
So what does that mean? The show’s promotional trailers feature the behind-the-scenes antics of the park’s young staff members and their drama-filled love-hate relationships.
And yes, there is a lot of “hooking up,” said Rottman, in a phone interview from California.
Rottman spent his childhood in Kingwood. When he was in the fifth grade they moved to Lufkin where he spent the remainder of his school years. In high school he played on the baseball and golf teams. While attending Texas Tech University, Rottman studied business and theater and began landing roles in Tech’s stage productions.
He was soon hooked on acting.
“I decided one summer go to go LA to check it out,” Rottman said.
He ended up enrolling in the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus and then hit the audition trail. He said auditioning was a nerve wracking experience and that it took him a few years “to get the hang of it.”
Then, he began landing roles on television including “90210,” “The Lying Game” and “Gigantic,” a show on TeenNick. His made his big-screen debut in 2008 in a small role in “The House Bunny,” a comedy that starred Anna Faris.
Rottman describes his character on “Happyland” as a “pawn master” controlling his feisty younger brother, Ian (Shane Harper), who also works at the park, and Lucy (Bianca Santos), a jaded longtime employee who falls in love with Ian.
“I am the responsible son who has the family’s best interest at all times,” Rottman said.
Theodore often has to clean up the messes caused by the young employees who are not always on their best behavior.
“There were a couple things that really drew me into wanting to do ‘Happyland,’” Rottman said on his fan website. “I was definitely excited to have the opportunity to work with the creator, Ben Epstein, he’s extremely talented and of course, the great cast. The idea of getting to play a character that works at a theme park really sparked my interest as well.”
“Happyland” is scheduled to debut at 10 p.m. on Sept. 30, airing after “Awkward” and “Faking It.”