Here at Ones2Watch4, we’re always on the lookout for fresh, talented new faces, and 15-year-old Callan McAuliffe is no exception. This young Australian actor is the star of Rob Reiner’s new film, FLIPPED, a sweet coming-of-age tale that chronicles the ups and downs of first love. Adapted from Wendeline Van Draanen’s young adult novel of the same title, the film recounts the ins and outs of Juli’s (played by Madeline Carroll) unrequited crush on Bryce (McAuliffe). It’s only after six years of begrudgingly putting up with Juli’s seeming peculiarities that Bryce begins to grow up and realize how special the girl next door truly is – the only problem is that he may be too late.
In our exclusive interview with the FLIPPED star, Callan discusses his dissimilarities with Bryce, his nerve-wracking kissing scene, his acting background, his musical tastes and even his sweet tooth. With a wise maturity beyond his years, a solid ambition to be a versatile actor and unmistakable natural talent (which you’ll experience firsthand when you catch FLIPPED in theaters), Callan makes one excellent Actor2Watch4. Read on to see why we’ve completely flipped for Callan McAuliffe.
What initially attracted you to the role of Bryce?
Definitely the fact that it was my first American audition and that it was a Rob Reiner film.
Have you seen his previous work?
I have. Definitely a favorite of mine is Stand by Me. I think that’s a classic.
I think you and Bryce were probably around the same age when you were filming. Could you relate to him at all?
Yes, I was 14 and I think I was supposed to be playing Bryce around 13 or 14. Other than the fact that he’s a boy, and I’m a boy, it’s pretty different because of the period setting of the late 50s, early 60s. I’m a bit lazy, so I’m into the technology and stuff, and I sit around and play Xbox with my friends all day. They didn’t have that sort of stuff back then so everything was a lot more active, and everyone was a lot more open. It’s a pretty different experience.
Flipped is a really great coming-of-age story that has touched a lot of readers, and I think the film will do the same for audiences as well. Are there any books or films that have had a huge impact on your life?
There aren’t any films or books that I’ve based my life on, but I actually really enjoyed the book. Out of respect once I had gotten the role, I felt obliged to read it, and it’s not really my genre of book that I would read, but I thought it was fantastic. It was a beautiful book. And they kept really true to the book as well, which I think fans will be really, really happy with. I know that in most movies, especially the big action-y ones, you can’t speak to everything because you can’t turn a whole book into the film. Other than the fact that my eyes aren’t blue and that my hair isn’t black, they stayed really true to [Flipped], so people should be happy about that.
So I love the basket boys scene in the film, and I was wondering if you were to make your own basket for the auction, what would you include in it to impress the bidders?
I would definitely include junk food. Lots of junk food. [Swedish] chocolate or something like that. Because that’s what I like. And, if the girl didn’t like that as well, then it wouldn’t work out [laughs].
Was this your first kissing or, I guess, almost-kissing scene on-screen?
That was really nerve-wracking because there were a lot of other kids in the room, and so part of their role to play was to make fun of me after I did it, so they were really making fun of me. It was really nerve-wracking…I had to lean in and almost kiss Madeline with all these people watching. It was kind of fun though.
She seems really lovely. Did you and Madeline get along well?
She’s fantastic. She’s a really beautiful girl too, and she’s a really good actor. She’s a pleasure to be around.
I hear you’re currently working on a film called I Am Number Four. (Callan co-stars in the film alongside fellow One2Watch4 Alex Pettyfer).
I am. In Pittsburgh.
How is that going? Can you tell us a little bit more about the film and the character you play in it?
Well, I can’t divulge too much information, but it’s going fantastic. I play a character called Sam, and it’s a classic, alien sci-fi modern day film. I think people will really enjoy it. It’s loads of fun. It’s definitely a stretch from Flipped as well. It’s good to get a bit of contrast in [my] career, so I’m not typecast.
In the future, is there any sort of specific role that you’d like to pursue?
I would love to have a film with Johnny Depp. He’s my role model. If there’s anyone I look up to, it’s Johnny Depp. Just the diversity of his roles is fantastic.
And just a little bit about your background. Did you study acting, or did you fall into it?
I’m really not a fan of acting classes. I really did just fall into it…almost literally. I dislocated my kneecap falling in a sports game, and so I needed to find something to do on the weekends. So I joined an agent and got into commercials and things like that to put some money in my pocket so I could buy my own things and be a little more responsible. And, eventually, somehow it led to this.
Your official website also mentioned that you are actually quite involved with a lot of musical theater, and that you’re quite a singer. Is that something you enjoy doing?
I used to do it before I was a teenager and before I got super lazy. I did a bit of musical theater for my school, and I really enjoyed that, but I think I much prefer acting for screen because it’s way easier, for one, and you can do it as many times as you want. You can screw up and then you can do it again. For theater, it’s all one shot, and you’re in front of an audience, which is really nerve-wracking. I used to be able to sing, but I’m not sure if I can anymore.
I was Oliver in my school musical, and I think we had to drop the entire musical down an octave illegally for me, about three years ago. That was fun. I really enjoyed that.
Since, we’re on the subject of musicals, I’m going to ask you some quick questions about music if that’s all right.
Favorite band or musical artist?
Definitely Hans Zimmer. He’s the composer from Pirates of the Caribbean and all that sort of stuff. I’m really into that.
He just worked on Inception. You should see that if you haven’t yet.
I’m really looking forward to seeing that film. It looks absolutely fantastic.
Yeah, it’s really great. Okay, favorite song of the moment:
That’s a tough one. I don’t really have a favorite. I don’t pick specific things when I download things onto my iPod. I just have a whole bunch of crap, and so I just put it on shuffle, and I’m usually happy with whatever comes on, as long as it’s not rap. I’m really not into rap. [Actually], I honestly despise rap. When it comes on, I ask people to turn it off.
And you mentioned you were in Oliver! Do you enjoy watching musicals yourself?
It’s not as bad as when I’m playing it, but I always feel really nervous when I’m watching musicals because I really don’t want anyone to screw up. I don’t want them to feel bad or anything like that. And so I never really liked going to musicals because I feel like my presence is going to make them mess up or something like that.
Earlier on, you mentioned that you were really into technology and things like that. I know a lot of young actors are involved with social media, like Facebook and Twitter. Are you into that at all? Do you have any official accounts that your fans can follow?
I do have a Facebook account, but I have a secret alias.
Finally, we’re really looking forward for Flipped to hit theaters. I think everyone’s going to love it. What would you say to tell someone to go see it?
It’s a beautiful little teenage coming-of-age romantic comedy almost, and it’s about these two confused, scared teenagers falling in and out of love. It’s a great film that pretty much all kids can relate to, and it’s also a really good date movie too. If you’re a guy, you should take your girlfriend to it.
FLIPPED opens in select cities (Los Angeles, Sacramento and Austin) on August 6th, 2010 and nationwide on August 27th, 2010.
Gallery for Flipped: