EXCLUSIVE: Beau Mirchoff Talks 'Flatliners' and His Real Near-Death Experience: I Thought 'This Is It'

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Yasmine Kateb

You can call it Beau 2.0, but Beau Mirchoff won't. 

The 28-year-old actor is known to many fans from MTV's high school comedy, Awkward, but his latest role is no Matty McKibben. In the year since Awkward's series finale, Mirchoff has graduated from high school to med school, with the upcoming film Flatliners. 

"I don't think I can play high school anymore, which is a good thing," Mirchoff told ET over the phone, insisting that he doesn't consider this the next chapter of his career. "I don't really look at it that way, [but] I feel like I've been evolving since Awkward." 

The actor plays Brad, a "naive" medical student in Flatliners, a reimagining of the 1990 film of the same name, which centers on a group of students who conduct experiments trying to produce near-death experiences. 

"It's very much in line with the themes of the original," he explained. "I watched [the original] when I was quite young, so I saw it with my brother when I was like, 7, and I remember it terrified me. And then I watched it again in preparation to do this, and it terrified me again, because we don't know what happens once the lights go off." 

Kiefer Sutherland reprises his role in the thriller (albeit a slightly older version), while Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton and Kiersey Clemons round out the cast. And though Mirchoff joined Flatliners halfway through filming, he said he couldn't have had a better experience with his fellow actors. 

"We had a fantastic time," he said, confessing that it was "nerve-wracking" stepping into an already well-oiled machine on set. "Whenever you work with really fantastic actors, it just makes it easier, so it's great." 

As nerve-wracking as it may have been, Mirchoff has more in common with the film's theme than most. The actor, whose Instagram is filled with images of photos of his outdoor adventures and expeditions, revealed that he once almost drowned while river rafting. 

"It was really extreme snow melt and the rapids were all lass four and five," he recalled. "I swam at the beginning of this one rapid , and there's kayakers in front of you who are throwing a safety line, [but] if you don't catch it, you're supposed to swim fast to shore... and I didn't." 

"I swam for half a mile or something, just getting tumbled in these rapids and I came to the point where I was literally, completely exhausted and I was swallowing water. I was like, 'Alright, OK. This is it.' I came to peace with it, oddly," he shared. "And then luckily the rapids subsided and I walked up on a rock and laid there for about half an hour." 

Mirchoff took a pause to seemingly reflect on the traumatic incident, before deciding to lighten the mood: "Also, everyday I drive in Los Angeles, I feel like I'm going to die." 

Though the actor's near death experience hasn't affected his sense of humor, it seems to have pushed his career in new directions. 

"I got a short film I'm going to be shooting by the end of the year, and my goal is to get into more television directing, hopefully in the next couple of years," he confessed of his plans to pursue a career behind the camera. "I didn't love acting while directing on Awkward." 

"I would like to not act [in my own projects] if possible, but who knows? I'm open to any suggestions, and if the role is good, I'd like to act as well," Mirchoff added, backtracking a little to adjust for his laissez faire attitude. "Nothing is set in stone." 

Flatliners hits theaters this Friday.