Carson Holmes: The teenager who’s become Ozark’s ‘Three Langmore’ (“1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast)
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - When Ozark returned in January 2022 for its’ final season on Netflix, it quickly became the channel’s #1 most popular streaming show. It has centered around Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) who, along with his wife and two children, are forced to move to the Ozarks after getting caught up in the world of money laundering and drug cartels. Die-hard fans who tuned in after the show’s 18-month break may not have recognized the character Three Longmore, a member of the local family that becomes mixed up with the Byrdes. Carson Holmes has played Three for all four seasons. But the young actor from Wrightsville Beach, who recently celebrated his 19th birthday, is taller and more mature now than when he landed the role as a 13-year-old.
“Most people think Three was played by three different actors, because I started the show at 5′2″, and now I’m 6′2″,” Holmes said from his family’s home along the coast. “I’ve grown a foot since the start of the show. Three Langmore, more people know the character name, but they don’t actually know who played it.”
Holmes calls getting the opportunity to play Three “life-changing”. The audition he did for the character was only the second of his professional career, done after honing his skills in local theater productions and at Actors Arsenal, the film and TV acting studio in Wilmington that has helped launch many careers.
“I remember it was this big monologue, full of swear words, full of all sorts of stuff about money laundering,” Holmes said about the audition script. “It was quite a lot for a 13-year-old to try to memorize and learn. It took me a solid week and sure enough, a week later after I did it, I got a call. They were like, ‘Do you know how to wakeboard?’. That was the very first thing they asked me. They didn’t even say if I got the part, they were like ‘Do you know how to wakeboard?’ I was like, ‘No’. They were like ‘Well, we can figure that out later. Congratulations, you are in Ozark’!”
Holmes says most of the show is shot in and around Atlanta, and it quickly gave him an introduction into the world of large-scale productions. Holmes also began to learn while working alongside the veteran actors on Ozark, including Bateman and Laura Linney, who plays Wendy, Marty Byrde’s wife. It didn’t take long for his real-world education to begin, when one of the first scenes he shot happened in close quarters, a bathroom, surrounded by the other members of the Langmore family and Bateman.
“As far as working with someone like Jason, the forethought he puts into his character is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before,” Holmes said, filled with admiration for the series’ star. “Honestly, you do not have to pick their brains because they are such good actors. On the sidelines, you can literally tell how their process is, what they’re doing. It’s difficult to be in scenes with them, honestly, because at least for me, I have not been doing this very long. Five years might seem like a long time for most people but in something like this, it’s nothing. You get lost in a scene. To these amazing, unbelievable actors, it is real life. You can see it in their eyes right there. You have to remind yourself that you’re an actor, too. You need to stay in the scene, get through it and make it. It’s just unbelievable to watch.”
Carson Holmes got the bug for performing as an elementary student at Friends School of Wilmington. A friend knew he liked to sing, and she suggested he talk to her music teacher who needed a young boy to be in an opera production. Holmes and his parents checked it out, and at the age of nine, his on-stage career was born.
“(The teacher) was like, ‘You know, we really like you. Really like your voice. Why don’t you do an intensive six-month opera training session with me?’,” Holmes said. “So, I did that. Kenan Auditorium at UNCW was doing Amahl and the Night Visitors, which is one of the only English operas out there, about the story of the Three Kings coming to meet the Baby Jesus. The lead boy is named Amahl, he’s the only kid in the whole show. I went, auditioned, and sure enough, I got it. Then it was another six months of intensive opera training. I ended up doing that, and I got the bug.”
For the next several years, Holmes performed in dozens of community theater productions in and around Wilmington. He credits his parents, Michelle and Scott, with encouraging his interest, getting him to rehearsals and performances night after night, week after week, month after month.
“They have been the most supportive people on earth,” Holmes says about his parents. “The great thing about it is, neither of them ever pushed me towards doing it. I found it completely by myself. The one they said was, ‘If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to give it 110 percent and not a single thing less’. They said, ‘We don’t care what you do, you just have to do it to the best of your ability’. The amount of times they had to drive me, we live by the beach, and its about a 30 minute ride downtown, every single night they’d drive me downtown. For Tech Week, we’d be there for eight, nine hours a day. They have been chauffeuring me around for a long time. I owe them a lot of gas money! So supportive, so unbelievably supportive.”
Since landing the role on Ozark, Holmes has worked on several other movies and television shows, working with veteran actors that include Mark Wahlberg (Instant Family), Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell (The Best of Enemies) and Paul Bettany (Uncle Frank). He also appeared in an episode of the CW series Naomi in January. As far as projects in the future, Holmes couldn’t share much information, but said he has some things in the works.
“Don’t be afraid to do the grunt work,” Holmes said when asked what advice he would give a young girl or boy who wants to sing, dance or act for a living. “There are always floors that need to be mopped or swept. Anything that you can do to get a glimpse into that world that you want to succeed in. I swept the Thalian (Hall) stage more times than I can possibly count. I’ve also performed on that stage more times than I can count. If you want it, there is absolutely nothing stopping you but yourself. You’re going to have to work hard and be repetitive, keep doing the same menial tasks over and over again. But it will amount.”
I hope you enjoy my conversation with Carson Holmes as much as I did. Watch for him as Three Langmore in the final seven episodes of Ozark on Netflix. As of this writing, the streaming service has not yet announced a premiere date for those episodes.
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