Drew Tholke '06 is taking what he learned at Country Day and bringing it to Hollywood. A film executive for Ethea Entertainment, Drew recently worked on the reimagined movie, "He's All That" for Netflix and is currently working on "Wedding Crashers 2." His passion for tv and film started right here at Country Day.
"Being at a smaller school, you could try everything you wanted to do. I was able to do sports, and I was able to do theater. I loved that opportunity, “said Tholke. “Playing Gaston in Beauty and Beast my senior year is one of my favorite memories. You could say that being heavily involved in theater at Country Day is kind of where I started my creative career.”
He studied acting at Boston University before heading to Hollywood, where he got his first job with a little surprise help from a Country Day connection. During his job interview CAA – one of the top agencies in Los Angeles – he was asked if he knew a fellow Country Day alum, Johanna Byer ‘05, who was doing well in the industry. “The agent from CAA reached out to her and she told him I was a good guy and he should hire me,” explained Tholke. “So, it’s funny, this old Country Day alumni helped give me one of my first jobs in LA. The experience changed my career.”. After acting at Country Day and in college, Drew originally wanted to work in acting but then found that he was the most creatively fulfilled when producing. Currently, he works with producers Andrew Panay and Jennifer Gibgot who've produced tons of comedies including the original "She's All That," "Wedding Crashers," "Hit and Run, “Serendipity,” and “Pay it Forward”
Tholke uses his creativity to come up with interesting ideas, such as the new take on "She's All That" titled "He's All That," which debuted at number one in the U.S. and globally on Netflix in August 2021. " Five years ago, I didn't think I would be doing this, but I set a goal for myself,” said Tholke. “I mean, I loved those movies when they were released – “She's All That” and “Wedding Crashers.” Now those are the people I work with every day. I'm learning and I get to be a part of all of it.”
Tholke is grateful for his time at Country Day and advises students to "try everything you can."
"I remember some days, I'd get to campus at 6 a.m. to go swimming, then I would have a full day of classes, and then we would have rehearsals after that,” said Tholke. “Whether it's a sport, a club, an activity, anything – if you want to try something, try it! I just loved taking advantage of every opportunity.”
Drew comes back to campus as frequently as he can each year to talk to students about his experiences at an acting conservatory, his life in LA, and his work in the film industry.
"Country Day was just a great, comfortable environment for me,” said Tholke. “Everybody knew each other; everyone got along with each other. Everyone was smart and driven. We had very close relationships with our teachers – our teachers really inspired us. Country Day people are awesome."