He may no longer be a Russo on the Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place… But Jake T. Austin may soon be forming part of a new TV family.
The 17-year-old Puerto Rican, Argentine and Spanish actor has joined the cast of ABC Family‘s drama pilot The Fosters, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The hour-long drama, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, centers on Stef (The West Wing‘s Teri Polo) and Lena Foster (Rescue Me‘s Sherri Saum), a mixed-race lesbian couple who are parents to a biological son Brandon (David Lambert) as well as several adopted children. When Lena decides to take in Callie (Maia Mitchell), a troubled teen with an abusive past, the girl’s disruptive ways threaten to turn the Fosters’ lives upside down.
Austin, who recently guest-starred on Law & Order: SVU and Drop Dead Diva, will portray Jesus Foster, Mariana’s bilingual fraternal twin who may not be as book smart as his sister but is more sensible and pragmatic than she is. He’s described as a charming, hyperkinetic kid who’s on Ritalin.
The casting news comes shortly after Austin wrapped his four-season stint on Wizards of Waverly Place, where he played Selena Gomez’s kid brother Max Russo, one of three wizards, for more than 100 episodes of the series. He’ll reprise the role in the network’s upcoming one-hour special.
The pilot is currently in pre-production for a November shoot in Los Angeles.