Do you plan to continue acting as an adult?
Yes! I plan to go to film school after I'm done with college. I was thinking about either NYU or USC, depending if I want to leave home or not, because I know they both have amazing film schools. I want to become a producer and director and writer in the future when I grow up and kind of do a little bit of everything.
I definitely want to stay in the entertainment industry and also stay in acting. I just love it. Every time I go to work, I have the time of my life. Every single time. It's just something that if I wasn't doing it, I would feel like there's something missing in my life.
Last summer you shot The Games Maker in Argentina. What was that experience like?
That was an experience, to say the least! It was weird at first, but it was so much fun working every single day, six days a week. I was pushed to my limits on that shoot, and I think it really made me a better actor. It was intense shooting for three months, six days a week. I did my own stunts, I worked with such amazing actors--Joseph Fiennes, Ed Asner, Tom Cavanagh--really, really great people.
It's actually great because I was at Comic-Con and Tom Cavanagh was there promoting Flash, and I hadn't seen him since last summer, a year ago. That was a weird but cool opportunity because I didn't know he was going to be there. I just ran into him.
Argentina is a fantastic place. It's really pretty outside the city, Buenos Aires, which is where I was the whole time except the very last weekend. As a wrap gift they gave my mom and me a trip to Iguazu Falls, which is on the border of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. It's the biggest waterfalls in the world, and it's so pretty there. It's amazing. It's also a really different place. It was cool going to a different continent.
Gotham is set when Bruce Wayne is a kid. What does the city look like without Batman around to save it?
In city chronology, it's not that bad of a city, but it's going downwards. Once the Waynes are murdered, which happens in the pilot of Gotham, it keeps spiraling downward. There's more crime happening and it's just getting worse and worse. Really the only good person in Gotham right now who has any position of power and can actually make a change is Detective James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, who is also an amazing person. It's just getting worse, and it gets worse and worse until the need for caped crusaders comes into the picture.
Was it difficult to shoot the part of the pilot in which Bruce's parents die?
That was actually the most fun I've ever had shooting a scene! I screamed like I hadn't screamed ever before. That night I screamed so many times as loud as I could, so when I woke up the next morning I could barely speak, but it was okay because it was so much fun. It was an emotional scene and sometimes people ask me "Where do you get the emotion from?" or "Where do you pull out of?" I don't really know the answer to that question. I think that's the nice part about being an actor: you put yourself in someone else's shoes, you don't really get it out of your own life experience. You try to make-believe you're that person. It was a great night. I had so much fun.
You said that you "make-believe" that you are the characters that you play. How did you prepare for the role of Bruce Wayne, how did you "get into his shoes"?
He has a tragic accident that happens to him in the very beginning. So my character, Bruce Wayne, he's angry, he's scared, he's lonely, he feels like he doesn't really have a friend in this world. He has Alfred, but he's still lonely.
Eventually you'll see a few episodes in that he becomes compulsive, and he's searching for any reason or any meaning to his parents' death. He's kind of a mess! I would probably be doing the same exact thing--if not being even more compulsive because I'm pretty compulsive as it is. If the same thing happened to me, if my parents were shot right in front of me. They were slain right in front of his eyes; imagine being 12 and having that happen to you. You'd be pretty messed up. So that's kind of how I did it... I thought about it for a while.
And also, of course, I read a bunch of comic books. I have this Batman book, it's like a Batman encyclopedia of everything you'd need to know about Batman: the Batphone, the Batcave, the Batsuit... his love interests... Batman versus Superman, Batman working with Superman, the Justice League... everything. So it's great. I've watched movies and watched different TV shows, I watched a few episodes of the Adam West TV show and that's campy fun.
Did you read and watch these to prepare for this role or were you familiar with them before?
No, Batman's always been my favorite superhero. That is because all the other superheroes in the DC Universe (and really in all the other universes also) are born with a special power, and they use that power to overcome their enemies and to succeed. Batman, he takes his tragic loss, he takes his anger and his need to seek revenge and his despair to become a caped crusader. He finds himself. That's the cool thing about Gotham. There's not going to be super powers at all--it's all realistic, it's all stuff that could really happen in a city like this. It's all very cool because it's not like, "Oh, that'll never happen." It definitely could happen in any big city.
You mentioned that when you were studying up on Batman, you know all about him from his car to his costume to his love interest. Do you have a love interest in the TV series?
I don't want to give too much away... I guess you'll just have to watch and see!
Fear is a huge part of Batman's plotline: Bruce Wayne was afraid of bats and became the Batman. What are you afraid of in real life?
Oh... spiders. I'm terrified of spiders! All bugs really, but mostly spiders. It's kind of embarrassing because I'll be with a bunch of my friends, and then there will be a bee or a mosquito flying around, and I'll scream like a girl and kind of cry and hide. It's kind of embarrassing! So spiders is a big one. Let's see, what else... I get really freaked out when I lose something. I'm not that scared, but I get really freaked out. And the ocean! When I'm swimming in the ocean, I don't know what's in there, and so I'll have some seaweed stuck to my foot and I'll freak out. But that's pretty much it. I'm not scared of too many things.
You're not too afraid of bats then?
I've never been in contact with a bat, but I don't feel like I would be too afraid of bats if I was. Especially if it was a trained bat on the show--that would be great! I would love that.
The character and story of Bruce Wayne/Batman is very dark, but you've worked on many dark projects. How does Gotham compare to the other dark projects you've worked on?
Touch, in general, wasn't as dark as Gotham will be. Gotham can't be like Adam West['s Batman]. There are going to be some humorous parts to it, but it will be more on the dark side. In Touch, my character was a little bit more dark. It's really fun going from Jake to Bruce Wayne. It's really interesting because they really aren't similar at all besides the fact that they're dark and kind of serious characters.
What other dark things have I done... I don't really know, I mean, Gotham is probably, if not the, one of the most dark things I've ever shot besides maybe the horror movies that I've shot. Those are pretty dark and scary!
You've already said that Batman is your favorite superhero. So who's your favorite Batman villain and why?
Ah... I've never thought about that before! It would probably be the Joker. That's because you don't know who he is. In none of the comic books does it tell you his name. In none of the comic books does it tell you what he looks like really, besides the Tim Burton movie which shows you what he looks like before he gets makeup on and stuff. But you don't know any of his origins, which kind of freaks you out because you don't know who this guy is or how he came to be. So he's just some creepy guy with an unknown identity. I think that always freaked me out the most. Also, the Joker is the scariest. I think most people would agree with me--he's so freaky. But Robin Lord Taylor playing the Penguin in Gotham is pretty freaky, so the Joker might have some stiff competition.
What's it like shooting Gotham in the city?
It's fantastic! I will be shooting tomorrow (8/13/2014) in the city, so that's cool. The city is a fantastic city, it's amazing city. It's the city of all cities. I live in Los Angeles and it's so different. At first I missed home and I missed the Los Angeles lifestyle, but I'm kind of getting used to not taking cars everywhere and taking trains places. It's cool. It's different, but it's fun!
Is it hard to be away from your family in California?
My mom's with me here. My sister and my dad were actually visiting and they just left yesterday (8/11/2014) so I'm kind of sad. Honestly, I don't know if this is bad, but I miss my dogs the most. I miss my friends, I miss my school, I miss my house a lot, I miss all that stuff, but I miss my dogs the most. Before my sister and my dad came to visit I missed them the most, but now that they came to visit I miss my dogs the most. I want to pet them so badly! Any dog I see here, I just go crazy. I have a German Shepherd and a Havanese.
The Games Maker was already released in Latin America. Have you received any feedback on the movie or your role?
Pretty much good reviews! It's been released in all of Latin America besides Brazil (I think it's being released there at the end of September), so I'm waiting for some reviews from Brazil because it's probably the biggest country besides Argentina in Latin America. I feel like it's pretty good reviews. I'm still waiting to see the movie, actually. I'm really excited. I haven't seen it yet because it hasn't premiered here yet.
How do you keep up-to-date with your school work?
When I'm on set, there's a studio teacher on set for me. I have to do at least three hours of school every day. There's a bunch of laws and rules and all that stuff, and my teachers really just send over my work to my mom or studio teacher or to me, and I do it on set, and I turn it in the day after. Like I said, when I'm not working I'll be in school. It's going to be a little more difficult because now I'm here in New York so I'm not going to be flying back every day that I'm not working to go to school. That wouldn't really work out, but when I'm in L.A. I do that. It'll be a little bit more difficult here, but we'll figure it out.
What can you tell us about the Disney's The Games Maker and your character, Ivan Drago?
The thing about the movie that I think will really make it special is all the CGI that went into it. It's really a beautiful movie. Especially seeing it in 3D, I think it's going to be fantastic for the audience to watch. It was shot in 3D--it wasn't made 3D after--so it looks really cool and really beautiful and everything looks really real.
The movie starts off with my character, Ivan, who is entering a game competition. He finds this thing that he all of a sudden loves, and it's to invent games. Then something--an accident, a tragedy--happens in his family, so he's sent off to a boarding school. It's a very dark and cold place. But there he makes a friend, Anunciacion, who is played by Megan Charpentier. It was also great having another kid on set there for three months. So he makes a friend there, and then he goes to seek and find his grandfather in a mythical city, Zyl. His grandfather is played by Ed Asner who was so much fun to have on set. I can't stress this enough: he was the most fun guy I have ever met in my whole life, the funniest guy ever. I had the best time filming with him. And he [Ivan] goes off to face his enemy played by Joseph Fiennes -- the character is called Morodian -- and you'll have to wait and see the end!
How is shooting in 3D different than shooting in 2D?
It's really different! If you're a centimeter closer to the camera than you should be, it'll mess everything up. The focus will go wrong; the focus and the 3D are all linked. There's way more people on set for crew with people who are specialized in 3D. The cameras are actually really interesting. There's not one camera on you: there's two cameras, one facing towards you and then one facing up toward the other camera with a mirror so you can capture the 3D object of it. I'm not really sure exactly how it works, but it's really different and it's an experience. You'll go a little bit closer to camera, and then someone will go "No, no, no, come on, David! Cut!" They're like, "Really? Gotta hit your mark every time."
What is your favorite game?
Wow... my favorite game? I like Cranium. I haven't actually played it in a while, but I love playing it. I have the best time playing with my family. It's a lot of fun.
You have another film coming out soon about an exorcism. Are you the boy who is possessed by a demon in Incarnate?
Yeah, I am the boy who's possessed, and it's actually a really cool movie because it's not your typical exorcism movie. It's not really a religious movie. Aaron Eckhart, the exorcist, so to speak, does it in a way where it's all scientifically proven, and he does it with machines and with little wires. I don't even know how to explain it, but that's kind of how he does it. He doesn't do it through the typical religious sort of way. And Aaron Eckhart was a blast shooting with. He's a really great guy.
What did you do acting-wise to appear to be possessed?
Well I had a lot of makeup, that's makeup-wise. I also had contact lenses in one scene--I'm not going to tell you what color or what they were for. But acting-wise, I like playing creepy people! It's fun. It's a lot of fun playing the bad guy.
Out of all of the characters you've played so far, who has been your favorite?
The one I portrayed the longest was Jake Bohm on Touch. That was kind of my second home, going to set every day. I was there for two years and I was working four days a week. I wouldn't say that was my favorite because all of my characters are really, really different from one another. I think that's great. I feel really blessed to have characters who are really different from one another because I feel like an actor lives for interesting roles, and if you're playing the same thing over and over again, it will get boring. But all of my characters are really diverse.
Will your parents let you watch Incarnate when it comes out?
Yeah, I think so. Yeah, they will. I don't even know what the rating will be, but I was in pretty much the whole movie and I read the script, so I know what happens. I watch horror movies a lot. I love horror movies! They're my probably third favorite genre of movie after drama and comedy.
What is your favorite horror movie then?
I don't have a favorite horror movie. I'm not going to even attempt to answer that question! They're all so great and diverse in a lot of different ways. I also don't know what the scariest movie I've ever seen is. I'm waiting for mine to come out and see if that's the scariest movie ever, Incarnate or 6 Miranda Drive.
What draws you to the horror genre of TV shows and movies, not just to watch but particularly to act in?
Like I said, I love watching horror movies. I guess what drew me to Incarnate was that it was such an amazing role. Like I said, I love playing creepy people, and if I wasn't creepy in that, there's no such thing as creepy! I got to be scary, I got to speak a different language, some ancient Sumerian, it was a lot of fun shooting. 6 Miranda Drive was also another really interesting role. I was also kind of possessed in that one--kind of, not really. I'm not going to give too much away, I'm not going to say any more than that, but it was also a really interesting role.
You've mentioned all of these co-stars that you've already acted in movies with, but if you could star in a movie with any celebrity you haven't acted with already, whom would you choose and why?
Leonardo DiCaprio. He's my favorite actor and a lot of people say to me today that I remind them of him. I just love all the movies he does. I think he's really talented, I think he's really blessed. He's a great role model for me to have. He's somebody who I strive to be.
What's your favorite movie that Leonardo DiCaprio has been in?
I want to say Titanic, but I think that's what a lot of people would say, so I'm going to go with This Boy's Life because that was also an amazing movie with Robert De Niro. It was also when Leonardo DiCaprio was a kid, and so I can relate to that even more because he also started when he was a kid, so I feel like I can really do what he's done. That's somebody who I hope to be like when I grow up.
How did you first get into acting at such a young age? Whose idea was it?
I did commercials for a year before I even thought about doing theatrical stuff. It was not my mom's idea, definitely not my mom's idea! We were actually in the mall and this lady approached us and was telling us about acting classes for kids and mentioned Zack and Cody. I was 5 at the time, so I was like, "Oh my God, Zack and Cody, we're going! But really, I wouldn't have pushed my mom. My sister, who was 8 at the time, really did. She said, "Mom, please can we go? Please can we go?" My mom said, "Okay." My mom thought to herself, "Okay, fine. They'll go, they'll wait in a long line to audition (because we had to audition for the class), they're going to get bored, they're not going to want to stay, they're going to want to leave. And then that will be the end of this." We went... and we loved it! That class didn't actually teach you much. It wasn't a very good class, let's just say that. So my sister was mad at my mom because my mom didn't want us to do it, and my mom said no and they got into a big fight. My sister gave her the silent treatment for about a week. Then my mom said, "Okay, fine. If you want to do classes, I'll get you some real classes." So she did a little research, she found us some good classes, and we went to a class for about three years for three hours every Sunday. The coach of that class is still my coach today--she's an amazing person. Then we started doing other classes, and at one of the other classes, there was a showcase at the end, and that's where my commercial agent saw me and wanted to represent me. So I started going out for commercial auditions for about a year, and then a year later, he referred me to my theatrical agent, and things just kind of took off from there! It all happened very organically. I'm lucky to be doing this.
What do you like to do when you have time off from acting?
I like to hang out with my friends, I like to watch things on Netflix, I like to play with my dogs, I like to go on walks around my neighborhood with my dog when I'm on my skateboard. I do Krav Maga, so I do that quite a bit, I do that when I have time. I go to school. If I'm not working one day, I'll be in school, so homework is another thing I do in my free time. Normal, regular teenage boy things.
How did you snag the role of Bruce Wayne in FOX's upcoming TV series Gotham, premiering September 22nd?
Actually, it was a pretty long audition process. I went on an audition and I met with Bruno Heller, the brilliant creator of the show, and the casting director. I had a little audition, and they wanted me to come back for it later and test for it immediately. So I did...and then I tested for it again, and then I tested for it again, and then I think one more time after that--so I did quite a few tests. One of them they actually cut my hair for and I had a whole big, huge mound of hair cut on the floor when they had my hair cut for one of the tests. I think that was the last test. After the last test, I felt really good about it, and the amount of kids they were looking at was getting smaller and smaller. After the last test, I was getting fidgety because a week and a half later we still didn't know anything. Two weeks later I found out that I had booked it!
I was actually in a public place when I found out I booked it. My mom found out the day before, but I had gotten in trouble at school that day and it was my sister's birthday, so she didn't want to tell me that day. She told me the day after and I was in a public place when I found out; my agent told me and I was in shock. I didn't want to scream because there were people around me when I ended up getting it.