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Grandparent trap
by Stephanie Kraus January 17, 2013
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Parental Guidance shows why family members don’t always make the best babysitters. Grandparents Artie and Diane Decker, played by Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, hit some modern-day problems when they take care of their three grandkids for a weekend.

You star in the new movie Parental Guidance. How was working on the movie?

It was a lot of fun. I got to work with so many big (actors), and it was really amazing.

In the movie, you play the 8-year-old grandson, Tuner. What is your character like?

Turner is a really, really cool kid. He has a lot of interests. He likes science. He likes baseball — he’s a pitcher. But he is sort-of hidden behind his stutter. The movie is about getting out of your comfort zone and doing things that you never thought that you could do before. I think Turner really shows that.
Are you similar to your character or are you two very different?

My character loves science, and I love science too. He’s bullied in the movie and I have been bullied in the past a couple of times.

For our kid readers who are about the same age as you, what advice would you give to them about being bullied?

Don’t let the bullies shape you. Tell a teacher or tell someone that you trust. An adult will make it better for you.

In the movie, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler play your funny, upbeat grandparents, and you got to work with them on and off-set. Do you think you would like having them as your grandparents in real life?

They would be a pretty funny set of grandparents! We did all sorts of crazy things. I played catch with Billy to prepare for the pitching scene. In fact, for one scene, it was the middle of winter at night, and we had to shoot a scene where we were out of breath. To keep us warm and out of breath, we had a little bit of a dance routine that we were doing. It was pretty funny because Andy (the director) said “Action,” and we were so deep into it, we didn’t even hear him. Now, they have (the dance) on film for us.

Did any other silly stuff happen on set?

Billy Crystal and I called each other the “original cast members” because we were both in a table-read for this movie in about 2007. So, we have known each other ever since then. When I got the part, he was pretty much like an old friend to me.

What was your favourite part of working on the movie?

There were so many fun scenes to shoot. There was one scene where it was the first time that me and my little brother, Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), had ice cream cake. Billy’s character left us alone for just a little second and we went crazy with the cake! We did some kitchen remodelling with icing. We were covered head to toe with icing. Andy, the director, kept telling me to stop licking the icing off my face and my fingers. It was really, really fun.

What was the hardest part of filming?

My character didn’t have tons of lines because of his speech (impediment). But, it was a real challenge for me because my character goes through a lot with bullies and it’s hard to portray that without really saying anything. So, that was a challenge for me.

Do you think you want to continue being an actor? Or, do you have a different dream for when you grow up?

I love acting, and I want to keep doing that, but I (also) love science. Acting is helping me gather up the funds to get my own laboratory. That’s the dream. I would like to be the next Steve Jobs (founder of Apple).

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