An actor finds his footing in film and TV

Miles Gutierrez-Riley says it was at Fordham College at Lincoln Center that he truly grasped how to be a well-rounded actor and person—although the California native has charm and charisma that can’t be taught in the classroom.

Set to appear as Hulkling in the forthcoming Marvel Studios and Disney+ series Agatha: Coven of Chaos, Gutierrez-Riley has already starred in a coming-of-age feature film, The Moon & Back (2022), and the Amazon Studios series The Wilds since graduating from the Fordham Theatre program in 2020.

Amid this year’s historic strikes by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the 25-year-old rising star has been auditioning for theater productions.

“My heart really does lie in theater, and I also love making TV and movies,” he says. “I want the flexibility and the reputation to have a name in all three of those.”

The Collaborative Spirit of Fordham Theatre

Gutierrez-Riley says he chose Fordham Theatre for the individualized attention it offers students and for Fordham’s interdisciplinary core curriculum, including courses in science and theology. He took advantage of the Lincoln Center campus’s proximity to the Broadway theater district. Seeing shows after classes and seeing what he and his classmates could create on a regular basis made the dream feel within reach, he says.

He humbly recalls acting in 10 shows at Fordham, directing one, and being involved in small ways with as many projects as he could. He says his favorite classes, Collaboration I and II, helped him learn to take constructive criticism, creatively engage with others, and garner a deep appreciation for critical communication.

This collaborative spirit lies at the core of the Fordham Theatre program, says Gutierrez-Riley, who credits a former professor, Stephanie DiMaggio, FCLC ’04, with encouraging him to be “a really alive being.”

“She told me things like, ‘When you’re at the deli, talk to the people and say thank you,’ and ‘Take your headphones out on the subway.’ I really didn’t understand this until I was out in the world,” he says. “Having so many different experiences with so many different people is what’s going to make you a strong actor.”

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