How ‘9-1-1’ Star Gavin McHugh Landed The Role of Christopher Diaz

by Jacklyn Krol

Auditioning for a show like 9-1-1 takes a lot, and Fox star Gavin McHugh revealed how he landed the role of Christopher Diaz.

In a new interview with Teen Vogue, the 11-year-old revealed his background. After being adopted from Riga, Latvia at two-and-a-half years old, he fell in love with acting thanks to his family. He began going to auditions with his four older siblings and soon wanted to audition himself. Before 9-1-1 he appeared in commercials for major brands like Honda and Walmart. Then in Summer 2018, he was offered an audition for the first responders hit. The series’ producers wanted to broaden their casting range and were looking for a child actor with a disability.

“By the time the selections got to me, Gavin was already a favorite of our casting director,” Tim Minear, the co-creator and showrunner of 9-1-1, said. “For me, it was seeing his audition one time, and I knew he was the one. He just came across as so genuine and sweet and special … He was the perfect kid for the part.”

Just a few weeks after auditioning Gavin and his family was “surprised” to learn that he landed the job. This marked his first major television show gig. He then met Ryan Guzman (Eddie Diaz) and Oliver Stark (Evan “Buck” Buckley) in the makeup trailer.

“I just felt like I wanted to do acting,” Gavin told the outlet. “I just felt like it was the right role for me, and I’m happy that I got to do it, and I’m happy that they picked me.”

Gavin’s character debuted in Season 2 and quickly became a hit among fans.

Inspiration Beyond ‘9-1-1’

Surprisingly, 95% of television characters with disabilities are played by able-bodied people, according to a 2016 study by Ruderman White Paper.

Gavin’s mother Lisa McHugh said that some of his Instagram comments make them want to cry. He has inspired fans with disabilities that they could achieve their dreams.

“They’re like, ‘you changed my life,’ or ‘you made me realize that I could do things that I didn’t realize I could do.’ It’s really incredible to not just have fans or have a show or a job, but [also] to be able to move people the way he is. It’s been really exciting to watch,” Lisa said.

Lisa shared that she has seen her song give hope. He shows kids with disabilities that they have something to strive for.

She revealed that 9-1-1 also helped her son with his confidence and self-worth.

“When you go to school and you’re the kid who can’t see or can’t read or can’t play on the playground, but then you’ve got this thing that nobody else has it makes you feel special,” she concluded.