2 Things Child Actor Jaeden Lieberher Learned From Bill Murray on the Set of ‘St. Vincent’

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Photo Source: Atsushi Nishijima

Imagine acting opposite comedy legend Bill Murray for your first feature film. This is what 12-year-old actor and Philadelphia native Jaeden Lieberher was up against when he took on the role of Oliver in “St. Vincent.”

On the challenges of playing Oliver.
“One scene, when I’m fighting with Vincent in the movie, I’m crying, and that was really difficult because it’s tough to cry and feel that emotion, but I just had to pretend. I had to be Oliver and I mostly thought about being sad. During the scene when there was a close-up, Ted [director Theodore Melfi] was behind me and pinching my leg, so he tried to help me out.”

On learning tricks of the trade from the pros.
“One time when I was shooting my big speech scene and it was four pages long and in front of a bunch of people, I was really nervous. Bill took me aside and we started to meditate; that’s one thing that really helped me relax.”

On acting with Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy.
“I was definitely intimidated. When I first met [Murray], I couldn’t believe I was about to do it. I’m still nervous around him because he’s an icon and one of the greatest actors and comedians of all time, but he’s really great; he makes everybody laugh on set. Melissa is also supersweet. She seems like a great mom in real life, and she is in the movie. It was an honor to work with both of them.”

On balancing school and his career.
“It’s tough because I have to do a lot of schoolwork and then I have to balance it with the acting and the work. Whenever I have any time, I try to finish it as much as I can right then.”

On his process.
“Before the shoot, [Murray and I would] rehearse it a little bit. Bill would ask, ‘Do you know my lines?’ He wanted to know if I knew his lines too, making sure I knew everything. I learned to listen up and to relax a little bit before the scenes and just have fun. I tried to tell myself, ‘Don’t think about being in front of the camera. Just relax.’ ”

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Briana Rodriguez
Briana is the Editor-in-Chief at Backstage. She oversees editorial operations and covers all things film and television. She's interested in stories about the creative process as experienced by women, people of color, and other marginalized communities. You can find her on Twitter @brirodriguez and on Instagram @thebrianarodriguez
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