You may not have realized this, but there has been a sea change of sorts in Hollywood: Lindsay Lohan and that kid from The Hughleys notwithstanding, most child actors are growing up just fine. Maybe those tales of the ’80s, were proper cautionary tales for everyone from Anna Chlumsky to Daniel Radcliffe. And that gives us hope for the two 13-year-old stars of Wes Anderson’s latest movie, Moonrise Kingdom, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman. Also giving us hope: How smart and sweet they were when they got on the phone with VH1 Celebrity to promote the film, in which they play Sam and Suzy, who run away together (he from his scout camp, she from her home on the same remote island), enjoying a quirky adventure in nature while the adults in their lives frantically search for them.
So, what do they think about being “child actors”? “That sounds kind of fun!” said Kara, who lives with her parents and 9-year-old brother in Boston. “I definitely want to continue acting. It’s a lot of fun. This got me started, and I’m very happy to continue. I’m going to try and stay away from the bad rap [of other child actors].”
“I’m trying to be positive and nice to everybody,” agreed Jared, who lives in northern New Jersey. And the fact that both still live in their hometowns, with their old friends, seems to be keeping them in check, no matter the the fact that they’rein a hit movie co-starring the likes of Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand.
“My friends are really supportive of me, yet they also don’t want me to get a big head,” Jared said. “So they kind of keep me in check. They treat me like they would anyone else.”
Kara cited the careers of Emma Stone and Emma Watson as girls who managed to grow up in Hollywood and “have learned to balance what they love with their career.” But if the whole acting thing doesn’t work out (we can’t imagine it wouldn’t), she has a backup plan.
“I like to write a lot,” she said, and sounded just like another fave Wes Anderson character, Margot Tenenbaum, when she added, “I’ve actually had some of my poetry published, and I think that maybe one day I would like to pursue a career in writing in addition to acting.”
Jared, too, has a pretty ambitious plan B: “I guess if I wasn’t acting, I would be golfing. I get a lot of joy out of it, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good.”
Yeah, these aren’t your typical Hollywood kids, or your typical kids at all. We wondered what sorts of music and films they’re into, and their answers kind of made us want to go back and be 13, just so we could be friends with them.
“I like a lot of rock, alternative, indie rock, electro, dub step,” Jared said. “You’ll probably find Black Keys, Skrillex, White Stripes, that kind of thing on my phone. Something I recently just saw that is definitely top 10 worthy would have to be Sam Rockwell’s Moon.”
“For music, I love Bryan Adams and Aerosmith,” Kara said. “For movies I’m really a fan of, of course, Wes’ films, but also 1994’s Little Women, with Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst because the main character wants to be a writer.”
[Photo: Focus Features]