He may be young, he may be tiny, but Alex Linz is working his way the Hollywood ladder of success. He made an impressive debut in the otherwise unimpressive One Fine Day, and scored the lead in Home Alone 3. Linz had a supporting role in the adult weepie Bounce and is the star of the new Disney comedy, Max Keeble’s Big Move.
Here he plays paperboy Max Keeble about to enter the seventh grade, which means a chance at a new beginning and an opportunity to reinvent himself and start over. But he soon realizes that seventh grade will just be business as usual: he’s got not one but two schoolyard bullies after him; the principal is out to get him; and as if that weren’t enough, he’s got an evil ice cream man on his tail.
But then Max’s parents shock him with the news that he’s moving to a new city in a week! Encouraged by the fact that he’ll soon be relocated and rather than put up with the normal routine of the school, he begins an all-out plan for retaliation on all the bullies who have picked on him. After creating a week of mayhem, Max finds out he’s not moving after all and must face up to the consequences of his actions.
The mature youngster talks stunts, comedy and bullying. Paul Fischer reports from Los Angeles.
Question: Are you familiar with Yojimbo or A Fistful of Dollars?
Answer: No. I’ll watch a kung fu movie for kicks, no pun intended, but I’d prefer to watch other movies besides dubbed kung fu things, but they’re funny.
Question: Was the food fight in the film totally adlibbed?
Answer: They said go and then we went, and then they said stop and we stopped. Well, most of the time. Sometimes they’d say stop and we’d keep going, but we usually stopped.
Question: Was this movie more physically demanding than Home Alone 3?
Answer: Yeah. Well, I don’t know. Home Alone, I was a lot younger and I was in every shot and it was a lot colder, so Home Alone was physically demanding but more like being able to stand for a long time. This one is different because it’s a bunch of new stuff. Home Alone was a lot and a lot and a lot of standing and sitting and walking and running and it was physically demanding but in this, I’m doing back flips and riding ostriches. It’s physically demanding in a new way, so it’s fun.
Question: How much stunt work did they let you do?
Answer: I did a good amount of it. A lot of the biking sequences in the beginning, like going down the steps and over the ramp, I of course didn’t do any of that stuff. I wish I could have but I didn’t. I did a lot of the biking when you see me throwing the papers. When they cut together the chase sequence in the beginning of the movie, I did some of the closer shots and Kelley, my stunt double did a lot of the wider, more advanced biking shots. But I did most of the ostrich stuff. There’s a part where I jump from a car to a car and then from a flatbed and over a wall and onto an ostrich. I did that part. That was cool. Except what they did was they had me on the ostrich with a harness and then they hydraulically yanked me 30 feet in the air and I pulled the back flip over the wall. Then they ran the film in reverse so it looks like I came over the wall doing a front flip and landing on the ostrich.
Question: How was jumping from desk to desk?
Answer: That was fun. That was cool.
Question: Did anyone slip?
Answer: They didn’t have them glued down, but they didn’t slip so whatever they were doing was [fine].
Question: Do you like gross out humour?
Answer: Every culture loves scatological humour. That’s always a favourite. In the area of gross-out humour, I like a lot of it. I get a good kick out of it but I like a lot of the satire, a lot of the sarcasm in a lot of the lines that Jindalee [Larry Miller] has. Larry Miller did it so well throughout the whole movie.
Question: What does the D. stand for?
Answer: David, which is my mom’s brother’s first name. Alex is my grandfather’s middle name and Linz is my dad’s last name.
Question: Was there another Alex Linz in the Screen Actors Guild?
Answer: No, I just thought it sounded good and it really is my name, so why change it? There’s Alex Linz and then there’s Alexander David Linz which is too long and Alex D. Linz is this nice, short, cool sounding thing.
Question: How do you think America should respond to the real-life bullies?
Answer: I think Josh just won ten dollars because he said, “First five questions, guaranteed.” I think we need to have very controlled retaliation. We should only strike when we really know what’s going on. We shouldn’t carpet bomb Afghanistan. If we wanted to hinder them we could take out strategic sites like weapons manufacturing and bridges. I would like to see us find Osama Bin Laden, but let’s say we did capture him. Let’s say we did kill him. How much good would that do? There’s still thousands of people behind him. It’s this huge thing. That’s why you can’t just attack one group and have it be this ground war. There’s a lot of variables.
Question: Do you see yourself going into politics?
Answer: No. No, I don’t. Not at all.
Question: Do you go to regular classes?
Answer: What happens is pretty much every Friday so far I’ve been going on Providence and we shoot on Friday and Saturday or Sunday. This week I only went to school Monday and Tuesday because Wednesday I shot Providence and Thursday was Yom Kippur and Friday I’m here, so that was kind of cool but you still have to do all your work.
Question: Have you been bullied and what did you do about it?
Answer: In junior high there’s sixth grade, seventh grade and eighth grade. Sixth grade are the scrubs, or that’s what everyone says. I’m one of those vertically challenged people so a lot of times even though I’m seventh grade, I’m mistaken and I’m given scrubbiness and that’s not cool, but you really just gotta shake it off, let it roll off. I deal with it but there’s really not one technique. It’s whatever you want to do and whatever you see fit for the situation.
Question: Did Robert Carradine have any advice for standing up to bullies?
Answer: No, we just hung out.
Question: What advice would you give kids who want to act?
Answer: Don’t expect it to completely explode into this huge thing all at once. It’s step by step, and also be patient. Well, that was kind of redundant. Here, never get a big head about it. Just if you really like it, go and do it. Don’t say, “Oh, I can’t do this, there’s so many things in the way” because there really isn’t. You’ve just got to look up an agency in the yellow pages and go try it out.
Question: Do you have an entourage?
Answer: I have a good four. I’ve got my dad, my stepmom and my sister. That’s a mini-entourage.
Question: What do you do when you’re not working?
Answer: I like to read and write and take pictures and bike. I like skateboarding. I’m not like a skate freak. I do skate in the bowl in Santa Barbara sometimes but mostly I like to take my longboard and cruise around.
Question: Do you get treated differently at school?
Answer: Yeah, and it’s not all positive but you just put up with it.