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INT: Tyler James Christopher


Tyler James Christopher, who plays the geeky character Charlie in the upcoming film UNACCOMPANIED MINORS, comes across much more mature than his age. He was appropriately dressed in a little man suit and described his character to be sheltered from the real world. Heís a confident boy with zest for acting. Currently starring in the TV show "Everybody Hates Chris", Iím sure weíll be seeing a lot more of him in the future. In the meantime, see what he had to say about the film.

Tyler James Christopher

Is that your costume for the movie?

Yes, this is my costume for the movie.

Whatís your character?

I play the character of Charlie Goldfinch. Heís a home schooled kid. Heís been sheltered his entire life. His parents are divorced, so theyíve really overcompensated for his education. He doesnít get out much; he hasnít been around a lot of kids. So he takes tips from 1960ís movies, as far as clothing. So thatís really Charlie. Heís always one of those guys who looks at the glass as half full. He can take somebody who got shot, but say, ĎThey werenít shot in the heart!í

Is it fun working with all these other kids?

Itís really fun. Itís a lot like the show, because thereís a lot of other kids there. I think that was a good movie to start off with after the show, post ĎChris.í That way, I can still have fun, but still work. If Iím just sitting in one space, not working, I get stir crazy.

What are you carrying?

Oh! Itís funny, I didnít even know I had this in my hand. Itís a life Pod. Itís speakers for my iPod and everybody elseís. On the set, when weíre shooting in the Delta Center, I am the DJ. I take everybodyís iPod and I play.

In the movie?

Oh, no, no. For this, here.

How long have you been acting?

Iíve been acting since I was four years old. So Iím pulling up on about ten years now.

So how did you break into acting?

It wasnít really a break in. You donít really break into anything when youíre four. It was moreÖ I saw the movie Men in Black. And I told my mom I wanted to do it. And she thought it was just like another thing. But then after I kept saying it, she said ĎFine, letís see what we can do.í A lady at my auntís church was with a management company, and she said, ĎHey, let him audition for the management company. If he gets it, hey, itíd be nice.í I booked the management company. They picked me up, and then they started sending me out on auditions. My first job was actually Sesame Street. That was my first job ever, and that was great.

How was it doing that show and seeing all the behind the scenes stuff, like the puppeteers?

It was cool. It was cool seeing them. It wasnít like it was a big thing for me, where I was like, ĎOh my gosh! Heís got his hand up his butt!í It wasnít anything like that. I kind of knew it already.

Your show is a one camera show. Is doing the movie much different?

Not different at all. Itís just that we have more time to get things here. On the show we have a week to do an episode, and a week period. Here we can take our time and get it done.

Did you have a break between the show ending and beginning the movie?

Yeah, I had about a month. I was able to just chill out; get prepared for this movie. Then I came out here February 28th. And we had wrapped for the show January 25th.

But you like to keep working?

Yeah, I like to keep working.

Are you involved in any stunts? Are you in the canoe?

Yeah, Iíve done just about every stunt for this movie.

How has that been?

UmÖ incredible! In every sense of the word. Just yesterday I had to do a scene where I was falling through a vent. I was crawling through it, and then I had to fall through it. And they used a hydraulic, and I just fell through. And that was crazy. Yeah, I did the canoe; I did all the canoe. What else? I did all my stunts getting hit; hitting stuff. I was able to do that too.

So should we assume this is not your typicalÖ

Yes! This is not my wardrobe!

Whatís your style actually like?

I like hats! I like hats a lot. I like caps. Those are cool.

Whatís your favorite baseball cap?

A New York Yankees baseball cap. Thatís my favorite cap.

Whatís it been like for you this past year getting recognized thanks to the show?

Itís been odd! Very odd. I mean I wasnít used to people recognizing me, and talking to me and all that stuff. I wasnít used to that.

What do fans say when they approach you?

Theyíve given me a new name. Little Chris; thatís my new name. Thatís what they do. I mean people come up and say, ĎHey, youíre from the show?í No, actually, they donít ask me if Iím from the show! Itís like they just know. Itís like they just have an instinct. Whatís that?! Theyíll come up and say, ĎHey, I love this episode!í Or theyíll ask me, ĎWhy did you do this?í in an episode. ĎWell, it was in the script!í

Have you talked to Chris Rock at all about the things in his childhood the showís based on?

No, I didnít talk to him about that. Nobody knew Chris Rock when he was 13. Nobody knew what he was like. So for me, I was able to mold it that way. Just make it my own.

Was it fun for you to go to the tribute to the show The Museum of Television and Radio did?

It was cool! It was cool to see everybody out there. To know the people like the show and they came out. Itís nice.

Is there a lot of improvisation on the show that prepared you for the movie?

Not that prepared me for this. More of, prepared me for my career. Tichina Arnold [Note: She plays his mom on "Everybody Hates Chris"] really helped me in a sense, where she would improv, to help me not to smile; help me not to laugh. To build my chops. She really helped that. Cause I came in smiling in just about every scene. So now Iím trying to do it to these kids. Iím trying to break them!

So how are you doing on that?

Very well! I like it.

Are you in school? Are you home schooled?

Yes. Iím home schooled. I have to have three hours of school each day, on set. Iíve gotten my three hours already, so Iím done!

Do you miss school?

No. Never liked it at all. Never liked the concept of getting up and going to school. I mean it wasnít even the people. I didnít even really miss seeing people there. It wasnít that. Iím just not really interested in school. I mean not interested in school, but school, the placeÖ going there.

Are you interested in writing or directing?

Writing. Definitely writing. I love to just make people laugh and writing helps as well. Directing I would like to do, cause I like to boss people around, tell them what to do. Directing would be something that I would do as well.





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