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INT: Tyler James Christopher

05.04.2006

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. He’s a confident boy with zest for acting. Currently starring in the TV show "Everybody Hates Chris", I’m sure we’ll 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.

What’s your character?

I play the character of Charlie Goldfinch. He’s a home schooled kid. He’s been sheltered his entire life. His parents are divorced, so they’ve really overcompensated for his education. He doesn’t get out much; he hasn’t been around a lot of kids. So he takes tips from 1960’s movies, as far as clothing. So that’s really Charlie. He’s always one of those guys who looks at the glass as half full. He can take somebody who got shot, but say, ‘They weren’t shot in the heart!’

Is it fun working with all these other kids?

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

What are you carrying?

Oh! It’s funny, I didn’t even know I had this in my hand. It’s a life Pod. It’s speakers for my iPod and everybody else’s. On the set, when we’re shooting in the Delta Center, I am the DJ. I take everybody’s iPod and I play.

In the movie?

Oh, no, no. For this, here.

How long have you been acting?

I’ve been acting since I was four years old. So I’m pulling up on about ten years now.

So how did you break into acting?

It wasn’t really a break in. You don’t really break into anything when you’re four. It was more… 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 ‘Fine, let’s see what we can do.’ A lady at my aunt’s church was with a management company, and she said, ‘Hey, let him audition for the management company. If he gets it, hey, it’d be nice.’ 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 wasn’t like it was a big thing for me, where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! He’s got his hand up his butt!’ It wasn’t 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. It’s 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, I’ve done just about every stunt for this movie.

How has that been?

Um… 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 typical…

Yes! This is not my wardrobe!

What’s your style actually like?

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

What’s your favorite baseball cap?

A New York Yankees baseball cap. That’s my favorite cap.

What’s it been like for you this past year getting recognized thanks to the show?

It’s been odd! Very odd. I mean I wasn’t used to people recognizing me, and talking to me and all that stuff. I wasn’t used to that.

What do fans say when they approach you?

They’ve given me a new name. Little Chris; that’s my new name. That’s what they do. I mean people come up and say, ‘Hey, you’re from the show?’ No, actually, they don’t ask me if I’m from the show! It’s like they just know. It’s like they just have an instinct. What’s that?! They’ll come up and say, ‘Hey, I love this episode!’ Or they’ll ask me, ‘Why did you do this?’ in an episode. ‘Well, it was in the script!’

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

No, I didn’t 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. It’s 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 I’m trying to do it to these kids. I’m 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. I’m home schooled. I have to have three hours of school each day, on set. I’ve gotten my three hours already, so I’m 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 wasn’t even the people. I didn’t even really miss seeing people there. It wasn’t that. I’m just not really interested in school. I mean not interested in school, but school, the place… 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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Source: JoBlo.com

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