In show business, there are two hard rules that every actor knows – never work with children or pets. While ABC’s Winter All-Star party at TCA was devoid of critters, there was a fair share of child actors milling about thanks to shows like The Middle, Nashville, The Neighbors and Red Widow.
I suppose it’s a dirty little secret that kids make me uncomfortable, so it’s rare that I will approach a child actor for an interview. I never know what to say, and although I want to treat them professionally, the whole thing seems a bit weird to me. I know … I’m going to heck.
But I digress. ABC’s shindig — unlike the Fox and NBC ones — was actually productive. Not only did I have a great chat with Zero Hour producer and writer Zack Estrin (Prison Break, The Good Guys) about the industry and his show, but I also chatted up Neighbors Lenny Venito and Toks Olagundoye, as well as Canadian Sarah Chalke, Scandal’s Josh Malina and The Middle’s Eden Sher, a.k.a. my new favourite interview. Seriously, we did the Sue Heck dance together, and she hugged me and kissed my head goodbye when she left.
Here’s the downfall to dancing with an ABC star though — publicists for other stars see this, and want you to talk to their client. Usually it’s OK — welcomed, even, but if it’s for a show you didn’t particularly like, or an actor you don’t know, you can run into trouble.
Which brings me back to my point about child actors. As I was winding down my chat with Sher, a publicist asked me if I could interview nine-year-old Jakob Salvati, who was standing there, looking up at me with his big blue eyes. Yeah, I was going to say no to that.
Next thing I knew, I was in the corner of the room with him, crouched on my knees so that we could be at eye level while his publicist or someone snapped photos, and I hid my glass of wine hidden behind my back, because I just don’t think it’s appropriate to sip wine while talking to a kid.
Here’s what happens when Amber hosts Kids Say the Darndest Things.
Amber: “So, how do you like acting on TV?”
Jakob: “Um, I think it’s a blessing to have this kind of job and I think I’m blessed from God. He’s gave me a wonderful life.”
Amber: “God’s given you a wonderful life? That’s great. So what can you tell me about who you play?”
Jakob: “I play Boris in Red Widow, and I’m in [the movie] Little Boy.”
Amber: “Right on. Are you allowed to watch the show?”
Jakob: “Actually, it goes on after my bedtime. But Little Boy is going to be in the movies soon.”
Amber: “Yeah? So how long have you been acting for?”
Jakob: “Um … ah … since I was four.”
Amber: “Have you always wanted to do this?”
Jakob: “Mm hmm.”
Amber: “Yeah, what do you love about it?”
Jakob: “Well, I love that you can actually be in the part, when you play it.”
Amber: “So what do you have in common with Boris?”
Jakob: “Um, well I wouldn’t bring a gun to school. He would.”
Amber: “Yeah, he got mad, right?”
Jakob: “Yeah. Sterling, you know, my brother in Red Widow, he can get very mad when I’m determined … so, yeah.”
A very alarmed Amber: “But obviously you know that’s a bad thing to do, right?”
Jakob: “Yeah. But I did that after my dad died.”
Amber: “Have you ever gone to school, or do you learn on the set?”
Jakob: “I learn on the set, and I’m home schooled.”
Amber: “What’s your favourite subject?”
Jakob: “I like blue anything.”
Jakob: “Blue’s one of my favourite colours, because it goes with oceans and dolphins and stuff. Dolphins are some of my favourite, favourite animals.”
Amber: “Really, why?”
Jakob: “Because when they jump they go into the water and back and then jump again.”
Amber: “That’s cool. Do you like swimming?”
Jakob: “I love swimming.”
Amber: “That’s pretty cool. OK so what is your favourite thing about Red Widow?”
Jakob: “I think it’s all the people around me when I do the show, because they’re all so nice.”
Amber: “Have you ever been to Canada?”
Jakob: “Ah, that’s where I film Red Widow.”
Amber: “Right! Where do you film it, Vancouver?”
Jakob: “Ah, yeah.”
Amber: “What do you like about Vancouver.”
Jakob: “Well, the thing I don’t really like, it it’s too expensive.”
Amber: “It’s very expensive!”
Jakob: “You can get like an ice cream for four bucks! In Riverside, you can get an ice cream there for like 50 cents.”
Amber: “Yeah Canada is very expensive. Well it was very nice meeting you.”
Jakob: “It was very nice meeting you too.”
Up next: A night at the Bachelor Mansion.
Follow Amber on Twitter as she covers the 2013 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena.
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