Moises Arias – Despicable Me 2

July 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Chaléwood, Interviews

In the animated sequel “Despicable Me 2,” actor Moises Arias plays Antonio, the son of the supervillain El Macho (Benjamin Bratt), who uses his natural charm to woo the eldest of Gru’s (Steve Carell) daughters, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove). During an interview with me, Arias, 19, who is of Colombian descent, talked about playing such a charismatic lady’s man and also discussed his other film currently out at theaters, “The Kings of Summer.”

This will be the fourth time I’ve interviewed you in the last five years. The first time was when you were only 14 years old. Now, you’re 19. You’re making me feel very old, you know.

(Laughs) Yeah, being 19 is pretty crazy. Being in this business does mature you very quickly. But luckily I’ve had parents beside me that have always taken care of me. They’ve given me great values and taught me that if I really want to be in this business, I have to put time into all my characters. I really think that has impacted me starting at such a young age.

How much of your own personality were you able to put into Antonio?

A lot of it. In animation, you take the words right off the page and make them your own. They showed me the animated sketches and what [Antonio] was going to look like. You try to embody that and imagine what his voice is going to be. It was a very different and cool process.

What did you think when you first saw Antonio?

I thought he was surprisingly similar to me. I thought he was very good looking. (Laughs)

The first voice work you ever did in your career was when you were 12 years old. Is it still as fun now as when you were a kid?

When I was a kid it was much more difficult. You’re trying to understand what the director wants. It’s a learning process. Now, you go in and it’s more of a collaboration.

What did you like the most about the first “Despicable Me” film?

It was funny and dark and cute. I liked the Minions and Gru’s dynamic with the girls. Everything put together just made a perfect film. I was very excited to be a part of the second one.

I know when you make an animated film, you usually record your lines all alone in a studio, but have you gotten the chance to meet Benjamin Bratt yet since he plays your dad in the movie?

Yeah, I actually met Benjamin for the first time today. I went in and said, “Hi, I’m your son.”

There are a lot of animated films this summer going against “Despicable Me 2” at the box office like “Monster’s University” and “Turbo.” Why should parents take their kids to see your movie first?

I think “Despicable Me 2” is for all ages. I think it has every aspect for every age. I hope everyone gets a chance to go see it.

Other than yourself, who is most excited to see this film that you know?

All my friends that are girls. They were so excited when I told them I was doing “Despicable Me 2.” It’s so funny because there are all these 19 and 20 year old girls who are very excited to see it.

Not to take anything away from you, but it might have a lot to do with the Minions, too.

(Laughs) Yeah, it probably does.

If you had your own Minion, what would you do with him?

(Laughs) Oh, I would make him do everything for me.

Like, “Hey you! Go get me a drink from the fridge!”

(Laughs) Exactly.

Your other film “The Kings of Summer” is also out at theaters right now. What did you see in your character Biaggio that you liked so much?

How the character was written by Chris Galleta is so fantastic. Just off the page, it made me laugh out loud. When I read the script I was like, “What the hell is this character?!” That’s really what attracted me to the project. It was all about believing in the script and giving it your all as an actor. I wanted to make it believable and funny and heartfelt.

Have you ever felt the need to escape like the boys in the film?

I mean, even when I was 14 I guess you kind of want to be your own man, but it was always enough to just stay in my room and calm down. I’ve never really had the need to escape or run away, but vacations are always nice. It is nice finding that place where you can just go and relax. Even if you’re at home it’s great.

The Kings of Summer

June 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts (debut)
Written by: Chris Galletta (debut)

Back in 2010, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts brought a short film called “Successful Alcoholics” to the Sundance Film Festival. Reuniting “Cloverfield” co-stars Lizzy Caplan and TJ Miller, the darkly hilarious short about a couple who are successful in their lives and jobs despite being perpetually drunk, gained a lot of buzz and excited people for the future of a new up-and-coming filmmaker. In his feature length debut, Vogt-Roberts impresses once again as a new directorial voice in “The Kings of Summer.”

In the film, teenager Joe (Nick Robinson) sets out into the woods to build a real house so that he can get away from his father (Nick Offerman). Joining him are his best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and Biaggio (Moises Arias), a strange kid who always seems to be lingering around. As they forage for food, explore, and build a house, the trio learn to live independently from their overbearing parents, and set out on a quest to grow from boys to men.

In his first feature length film, Robinson is quite good as a rebellious teen. Basso, who is a little more experienced, also brings a lot to the table as his friend Patrick. The last young actor of the trio, Disney Channel veteran Arias, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. In his finest moments, his bizarre character Biaggo is hilariously weird. Then there are times where he is strange simply for the sake of being strange. A lot of Biaggio’s humor is rooted in facial expressions and while it doesn’t completely wear out its welcome, it does get tiresome. The MVP of the cast, without question is Offerman. Deviating only slightly from the monotonous and dry wit of his “Parks and Recreation” character Ron Swanson, Offerman runs away with every scene he appears in and delivers the funniest lines of the film with complete perfection.

“The Kings of Summer” will likely draw comparisons to indie filmmaker Wes Anderson’s work, which is accurate for the most part. The quirky sensibilities of Anderson are there, but Vogt-Roberts does a really good job of reigning it all in and allows the film’s quirkier moments be a part of its charm, rather than use those scenes as a crutch. A lot of credit should be given to former “Late Night with David Letterman” writer Chris Galletta. The screenplay features strong albeit weird jokes and storytelling beats that appropriately capture the essence of teens trying to get away from a suffocating and annoying home life.  Much of the humor in the indie is found in subtleties. Galletta’s one liners and non-sequitors hit at a pretty good clip and laughs can be found even in the terrible patchy stubble of the fresh-faced leads.

It’s oddness might detract some viewers, but it’s hard to imagine young audiences not enjoying the hell out of “The Kings of Summer.” It’s an above-average coming-of-age story with a narrative about love, strained friendships, and the fight for independence. Above all else, Vogt-Roberts brings his unique voice to the indie film industry. He definitely has a bright career ahead of him.