Callan McAuliffe is just 16-years-old, but he's already making waves in America with his performance in the upcoming I Am Number Four, alongside Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Agron.
McAuliffe is originally from Australia and admits he kind of just fell into acting, but he's not taking it for granted. He understands he is doing what a lot of kids his age would kill for.
"I happened to be at the right place at the right time, went to the right audition, thanks to my manager and it just sort of worked out," McAuliffe tell us. "So I'm going to ride the bus until the wheels fall off."
We asked him about his Australian accent and how he manages to change it for his American films.
"It doesn't seem to be too difficult for Australian or British people to do an American accent," he says. "I'm not sure if that's because you guys pronounce things the way they're spelled and we don't, so it's kind of like going up a step in intelligence when you do an American accent."
What was his favorite part of filming I Am Number Four?
"I've always wanted to do an action film, I've always wanted to shoot something and now my dreams came true."
Check out the rest of his interview after the jump, including what super power he wants and how he found out he got the job in the sci-fi flick.
Tell me a little bit about Sam and what exactly attracted you to the role? Are you a big fan of sci-fi and alien type films yourself?
Sam is your comic relief, third-wheel character, who’s a bit of a moron. He’s trying to be cool, trying to be the hero, but he fails miserably. I guess what attracted me to the character was that it was another role for me to play. At that time, I was just doing auditions and one of them was I Am Number Four and it was a very standard audition process. I do a film for a) the money, b) the fun, and that’s just how it works and I had a great time.
What did you do to prepare for the film?
Well I hadn’t read the script until I was told that I got the role. I was on my way to Pittsburg to start shooting and I hadn’t read the script yet, so I read the script on the plane on the way over and I really didn’t do all that much to prepare for the role actually, it was very much, I got the character, and I worked with D.J [director] a little bit on how we were going to play him and guess it was all just very spontaneous. We did what we did on the set.
Sam gets picked on a lot in school and, at the beginning at least, seems to need protection. Did you ever get picked on in school?
In terms of high school, I was kind of in the middle ground. I wasn’t being picked on, but I certainly wasn’t the most popular kid either. I can’t really relate to him in that way, but I guess that’s what acting’s about, playing someone that’s not you.
The book wasn’t out while you were filming the movie, right? So have you since read it?
The book didn’t come out until the end of the shooting and I hadn’t read it of course until we finished and I did read it and it was fantastic. Sometimes it’s really hard to stick to the book, but I think they did a very good job with it. There’s always going to be things here and there that you can’t include, but it was great!
Now that you’ve read the book, what do you think of it compared to the film? What was your favorite part of the adaptation?
Even when I just read through the script was when Sam finally got to shoot someone in the film because being an Australian guy, I’ve always wanted to do an action film, I’ve always wanted to shoot something or someone and now my dreams came true I guess. That was one of the most exciting things I read in the script and I was reading through and I was really excited, but I was kind of disappointed because my character was sort of an idiot and didn’t really get to do anything overly dramatic and then finally I got to shoot this one guy. And I think that was my favorite part because I’ve always wanted to shoot a gun, so that was fun.
You don’t have any powers in the film – you just have this awesome gun. If you could have any super power what would it be?
I would say flying. If I didn’t have to save the world, I wouldn’t need any super strength or anything like that, so I’d probably choose flying. It seems like an amazing experience. I wouldn’t have to pay any airfare even.
You are Australian. Did you have a hard time mastering the American accent?
Actually, it’s not too difficult. It doesn’t seem to be too difficult for Australian or British people to do an American accent. I’m not sure if that’s because you guys pronounce thing the way they’re spelled and we don’t, so it’s kind of like going up a step in intelligence when you do an American accent. But really it’s just a matter of watching television and watching movies for me. That’s how I pick up acting and that’s how I pick up the accent as well.
Flipped was your first big American film and now this one. How did you get into acting? Did you do stuff in Australia first?
I never envisioned myself as being an actor. I thought I was going to do something in one of the sub-fields of biology. You know, my school if quite sports intensive and you commit to a team and you go play a game and you play against other schools on the weekend and if you can’t play they kick you out, like sportsmanship, let someone else have a go. One weekend, I dislocated my kneecap in a game of basketball, couldn’t play anymore, had to find something else to do on the weekend, so I joined an agency, decided to make some pocket money. I guess I forgot to leave the agency and they kept sending me stuff, did a few things here and there, commercials, guest roles. It was never a career path for me. It was just something I could do to make some money and maybe contribute to university of something like that and it worked out well.
Since your 16 now, how do you balance that with high school and your life?
I’m doing something called long distance education at the moment, which is something where a school in Australia sends me enormous piles of work and I sit on the couch and do them by myself and that sort of works because it accommodates an projects I have to do or any publicity I have to do, it means I still get the work done. I’ve always had this mentality, or at least the school I went to, maybe four hours of the six hour day is actually school work, the rest is social. So when you’re sitting on the couch and you’re going the work and just powering through it and doing nothing else, I can get a year’s worth of work done in half a year. That means I can work around any projects I have to do, but still get it done.
So now that you’ve made this big movie, are you going to continue? What’s next for you?
Definitely. It’s such an amazing opportunity, I’d be on drugs to turn it down, you know. It’s something people dream of doing, you know. The best actor in the world is probably waiting tables right now and it really does come down to luck and timing and placement. I happened to be at the right place at the right time, went to the right audition, thanks to my manager and it just sort of worked out. So I’m going to ride the bus until the wheels fall off.