Being Child Actors Prepared the Henrie Brothers to Make Their Own Film

Video Source: Youtube

Talent runs in the family for David Henrie and Lorenzo James Henrie. The “Wizards of Waverly Place” and the “Fear the Walking Dead” stars, respectively, often collaborate behind the scenes. But the brothers’ new indie feature, “This Is the Year,” marks their first time working together onscreen, and David’s feature directorial debut. Via Instagram Live, the duo discussed what growing up as actors has taught them about filmmaking.

A fascination with ’80s films inspired “This Is the Year.”
David Henrie: “I grew up loving ’80s movies [and] coming-of-age films, and I am inherently an optimistic guy. I love movies that deal with deeper themes, so I wanted to do a new spin on one of those classic ’80s films. We started to play with this theme of expectation versus reality and how our generation, more than ever, is just inundated with social media, news, film, TV. I kinda wanted to ground that in a fun story and make it an adventure. One of the things that Selena [Gomez, who executive produced,] really liked was that it had a fun ending—a powerful ending.”

Growing up as actors made the casting process easier for the brothers.
DH: “It’s so hard to make an indie film, and you need actors who can pull it off and pull it off quickly. Growing up [as] child actors gave us—and me, in particular, as director—a real advantage in the casting process, because I just knew who could get it done and get it done quickly, because I’ve been in their shoes so many times. I went to some friends for certain roles right off the bat.”

If you’re having fun auditioning, casting directors will take notice.
DH: “Make your tapes as professional as you can, and make them different. Get a decent camera, try to light yourself well, and it’s worth the investment. You can always keep it in your room; you can knock out tons of self-tapes on it. Don’t ever move it; have it hooked up to your computer; you can nail it. And don’t be afraid to be different. Be fun, and be funny. I do that stuff for my own auditions, and it stands out.” 

Lorenzo James Henrie: “[CDs] are seeing so many tapes per day; I’m sure they want to laugh.”

When it comes to auditioning, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. 
DH: “I would tell myself, ‘You’re not that important; stop caring so much. There’s so much more that goes into getting the role than just your performance. You know what, David? You’re not that important. Just go in there, do your best, and the rest is up to them.’ I would put so much stress on myself to nail it, to be perfect, to give the best performance ever, and it would exhaust me. I wish I could go back in time and just say, ‘There was so much more than a good performance.’ There’s so many other things that are out of your control. Just act it, and the rest is up to God, honestly.”

LJH: “What that does is it lets you have fun with the auditions. When I [auditioned for] ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ on AMC, I did not think I was going to book the role. I was very prepared. When I went in there, I had so much fun. The casting director was amazing; they brought me in again. The pressure was taken off of me, and it really made me free.”

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