April 19, 2018 09:47 PM

Charlie Plummer’s acting career is off to a solid start. He’s booked notable performances in buzzworthy films like All the Money in the World, and his new Indie, Lean on Pete — all thanks, in part, to a fateful theatrical experience featuring Oscar winner Mark Rylance.

“When I was about 12, I saw Mark Rylance do this play in New York City called Jerusalem and that really changed the game for me,” Plummer recalled to PEOPLE of when he knew he wanted to act. “As soon as he came out on stage he was this other person, conveying so much with the smallest of movement. He had such a joyful spirit. He talks about starting younger, doing school plays, loving make believe, that’s where [his desire to act] came from and it’s a similar thing for me.”

Plummer, 18, — no relation to his All the Money costar Christopher Plummer, by the way — started acting in school plays when he was a kid, and although he says he was very shy, he enjoyed being able to step into someone else’s shoes for awhile.

“I grew up pretty shy. My parents were in the theater so I was always somewhat surrounded by it,” he admitted. “But when I was younger I tried acting, I did musicals, that’s where I fell in love with it. It was a slow thing but because I was a shy kid, what was appealing was how it was an opportunity to show a different side of myself, but under the mask of being someone else.”

With each new role, Plummer said he tries to learn as much as he can from everyone around him, including his very furry and slightly intimidating costar in Lean on Pete — Starsky the horse.

“I was really nervous at first because I had never worked with a horse before,” he admitted. “As soon as I was able to get comfortable with him, Starsky, I really had the best time. We got off on the right foot and from there it was a real dream. It was interesting for me to work with a creature that couldn’t articulate his thoughts with words or sounds, really just through the way he would move and the way his eyes would move. Having to pay attention to him in that way was fascinating for me and eye-opening for me as an actor. When he’s your scene partner, you really have to listen to every single thing he’s doing and be able to respond in the best way and make him feel comfortable and calm. That was a special experience for me.”

When he’s not working, Plummer enjoys spending time at home in New York and hanging out with his friends.

“My family and my closest friends are my favorite things about being home,” he said. After that, I do like to play music, I play guitar, I’m a big sports fan. My favorite football team is the Atlanta Falcons. I love watching them although I have a love/hate relationship because they do make me angry and sick to my stomach at times. And then of course I’m a huge fan of film and I love going to the movies with my friends, talking about film, working on our own projects.”

His next must-see film? Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which features his inspirational fave, Mark Rylance.

“I took a picture with his picture on the [Ready Player One] billboard,” Plummer recalled with a laugh. “He’s so great. There’s something about him that makes me smile.”

Lean on Pete is now playing in select cities.

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