First things first, I love the name Belmont. Where does it come from?
Belmont is a family name, actually. My grandfather was Belmondo, and when and the rest of the family came over from Italy, he Americanized his name to Belmont and my parents were nice enough to pass it down to me.
I want to talk about your journey into acting. I hear things happened very quickly for you.
Yeah, absolutely. A few years ago, I was a freshman in college studying business. I had a number of epiphanies about what I wanted my life to look like and where I wanted to draw fulfillment from through my work, and I realized a career in business was not going to align with my ultimate goals. So I left school and I started taking some acting classes at community college. I knew I wanted to be a part of the film and television industry. I wanted to be an actor and ultimately write and direct, but I didn’t really know the best way to enter the industry. I started modeling, which allowed me to get comfortable on sets, meet some people in the industry, and travel. I had some really great experiences doing that, but it was sort of a means to an end. The goal was really to begin acting. After I was taking classes, I was lucky enough to eventually gain representation and I just started auditioning. I dropped out of school and just started teaching myself the craft and about the industry and just learned as I went along.
A little over a year ago, I moved out to Los Angeles and started auditioning out here. When I got the audition for Saved By the Bell, I was actually back home, so I put it on tape with my best friend in my basement. He was actually far more nervous than I was when we put it on tape, which was funny. I was telling him, “Just say the words—I don’t need you to do anything spectacular.” The rest of the audition process was really exciting because it was all so new for me. I had been on TV one time before, but it was a very small part. The character’s name was “cute guy,” so there wasn’t a ton for me to work with there. I loved the character and the direction that Tracey Wigfield was taking him in, and the new show was very exciting to me. Ultimately, I ended up getting it and it’s been a very quick and wild experience. I’m very grateful to have come this far so quickly.
Saved By the Bell was a big deal for me as a young adult, but I imagine it was a little before your time. Do you recall your first encounters with the original?
Some of my first encounters with the original were around the time of auditioning because I hadn’t grown up watching Saved By the Bell. I got Boy Meets World as a kid, and I was a huge Drake & Josh fan. When I got the audition, I was like well, I got to watch the show, so I went back and I watched a lot of the episodes and familiarized myself with the scope of the sitcom and how vast it was. It was all over the world, so it was very exciting to be attached to a project that was so huge and [at that time] a fundamentally new kind of sitcom on Saturday mornings. I went back and I watched a ton of episodes to try and get a gauge on the old characters and the original cast and how that would translate into a new show in 2020.