Q&A Interview with Callan McAuliffe of “I Am Number Four” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
May 27, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Images courtesy of ©2011 DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC. All Rights Reserved.
With the upcoming release of “I Am Number Four” on Blu-ray and DVD on May 24th, 2011, J!-ENT will be featuring Q&A interviews with the cast and crew of the film.
We began with actor Alex Pettyfer, who plays the main protagonist, John Smith (or Number Four). Our second Q&A, we featured Dianna Agron, followed by our third Q&A with Teresa Palmer. This time, our fourth Q&A features Callan McAuliffe, like Teresa Palmer, is from Australia and plays the character of Sam.
Born in Australia, Callan McAuliffe appeared in the 2010 film “Flipped” and was named by Australian industry Magazine “Encore” as the “11 Faces to Watch in 2011”.
Here is the Q&A media interview with actor Callan McAuliffe.
Q: How did you get the role in I AM NUMBER FOUR?
A: “I was in America as I had been working and I did one audition for the movie. I didn’t think I’d got the job because they were looking for an 18 year old so I thought I was too young. My mother and I were about to fly back to Australia when we got the call and they said ‘you got the role.’ I said: ‘wow great’ and so instead of flying home we immediately flew to Pittsburgh where the film was being shot and that was that. It was amazing, so exciting. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I felt so privileged and so excited. It was definitely fantastic.”
Q: Can you talk about how you see Sam, what kind of guy he is and whether you have anything in common with him?
A: “Sam is an average American kid who gets picked on by the more popular crowd at school. People call him ‘Spaceman’ and torment him because of his interest in aliens. His father studied ‘close encounters’ and was an ‘astronautologist’. For me Sam is like the comic relief in the film. He is the third wheel character. He and I don’t really have much in common. I was always in the middle ground in terms of the high school hierarchy. There are the really popular kids and the nerdy kids and then there are the guys in the middle who don’t care and that was me.”
Q: What were the highlights on the set?
A: “My character gets to shoot an alien and that was one of the highlights for me. There was one really embarrassing moment. We were all running away from this giant scary monster on a football field and I fell over and rolled a few times, pulled myself back up and then I fell over again and D.J. called everyone over to the monitor and we all watched me falling over in slow motion. That was kind of embarrassing.”
Q: Can you talk about working with your director D.J. Caruso and what stood out for you?
A: “D.J. was amazing. He has a great personality and he just had a powerful presence on set. As soon as he called ‘action’, everyone became professional and did their work. Then as soon as he called ‘cut’, everyone would be having fun and throwing stuff at each other and making jokes. He made it such a fantastic atmosphere, it was a great set.”
Q: Can you talk about working with the other cast members?
A: “They are amazing. We did a table read and I could tell immediately, even before we started filming, that everyone was going to be friends. Alex was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met and because he’s British and I’m Australian we share the same sense of humor, so I could understand all his jokes and he was fantastic. He’s a great actor as well. It was great having Teresa Palmer there because she is also Australian. Teresa was amazing, so friendly and she helped me through the shoot. Dianna Agron who stars in GLEE (TV show) is definitely one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, in terms of her warm aura. Also she’s such a beautiful person to be around. I had not seen GLEE prior to filming the movie. After I had met Diana, I did watch it out of respect and I really enjoyed it. I don’t religiously watch any shows on TV but I do enjoy GLEE now.”
Q: Did the actors hang out together?
A: “Most of the hanging out was done on set because we had really long hours working. Sometimes we’d have to sit around for a long time in between shooting and that’s when all the bonding was done. When we finished filming it was often three O’Clock in the morning and we’d all just go to sleep. So really when we did hang out together it was usually on set. The set was very calm and friendly and enjoyable for me.”
Q: What do you think is special and interesting about the film?
A: “The story is really good. It’s not a generic story at all, it is completely new and fresh and different. Just look at the names involved: Steven Spielberg, D.J. Caruso and Michael Bay. It’s fantastic and all the cast members are great and of course all the aliens are great, especially Kevin Durand who plays such an amazing character in the film (the Mogadorian Commander). When you meet him he’s just this really big friendly guy but when you see him in the film, it is amazing, he is a really freaky alien.”
Q: Do you believe in aliens?
A: “I think there’s got to be something out there, be it microscopic bacteria on a floating rock or something more developed. I am not certain that we’re going to find any big green men anytime soon but there’s got to be something.”
Q: What was it like working with the effects?
A: “That was pretty cool because you have the green screen and that sort of stuff and you have to act and bounce off something that’s not actually there. It can be kind of tough sometimes not having an actor to react to. I much prefer working with an actual actor beside me, but it was great fun. While you are filming, you never really know how it’s going to turn out in terms of the green screen but when I saw the final results on screen it blew me away.”
Q: I believe you went on a rigorous survival course in Australia, was that life-changing?
A: “Of course it was. I was privileged enough to go to a fantastic private school and for around half a year you go out into the outback of Australia, camping and hiking. That was fantastic because I’m really into camping and the outdoors. I love wildlife and the course involved becoming one with nature, getting out of the city for a little bit and doing some outdoor activities. I loved it. I probably wouldn’t have done that had they not organized it for me and it was great to be able to go out there for a while, because that area is stereotypical Australia, how people imagine Australia. There are literally kangaroos hopping around your tent and wombats everywhere.”
Q: What were your passions as a child in Australia? You are really good at music and singing I believe?
A: “I was once a singer before my voice broke but I don’t do much of that anymore. When I am not working or doing schoolwork, I’m asleep. Growing up, everything was focused on school work and of course sport. Coming from Australia, sport is a very, very hot topic over there.”
Q: Did you grow up as a little kid knowing that you wanted to be an actor?”
A: “I never wanted to be an actor in my entire life. No it was not a dream. It always looked like such a painful job, it looked horrible to me, but actually now it has happened I am having a great time. Actually I always envisioned myself doing something in the field of biology, or marine biology. But I started acting and just kept doing auditions. And now that I am on this path, I’m happy with where it is going.”
Q: Do you go to school or are you home schooled?
A: “I’m completely uneducated (laughs). No, I am doing what’s called ‘long distance education’ now. A school in Canberra sends me a huge pile of work and I basically work through that at my own pace so that I can work around whatever I’m doing in my acting career. But I don’t have a teacher with me. I do have someone who comes in every Thursday to check out how I’m doing. You really just have to focus and you have to know that if you don’t focus it’s not going to work out well. So I have to keep up with the work. ”
Q: Are you based in the States now?
A: “We moved here a few months ago so we’re still settling in, and I definitely miss Australia. Los Angeles has a completely different atmosphere from Sydney. But I love both places actually. I have now made friends here so I’m definitely getting used to it. I do get to hang out and go to movies but I put a lot of time and effort into work.”
Q: What kind of parts would you like to do in the future?
A: “I am open for anything. Work is work for me. I love the work, I’m having a great time so anything goes really. I’ll ride the ride as long as the wheels stay on.”
Q: Do you have any particular role models?
A: “I love Johnny Depp because of the different characters that he plays and the diversity in all his roles.”
Q: There is obviously a fantastic lineage of Australian actors. Who do you like from your country?
A: “The only well known Australian actor I’ve actually met is Sam Worthington from AVATAR; he was great and I think Russell Crowe is amazing.”
Q: You say you never wanted to act, how did your film career get underway?
A: “I did a lot of commercials and short films in Australia and that’s how I got my start. Then I was somehow recommended to my current American manager and he said ‘hey, why don’t you come over and we can talk’. So I came over and the first American audition that I did was for FLIPPED. I got the job and that was a complete fluke. I was extremely lucky for that to happen because I am Australian and I thought they would want an American for the role. If I hadn’t done one commercial my manager wouldn’t have been recommended to me and I probably wouldn’t have come here to Los Angeles and I wouldn’t have done that audition and I wouldn’t have got the role and I wouldn’t be sitting here. (laughs)”
Q: It sounds like you have that refreshing Australian self-deprecating humility.
A: “Well, I’m not going to stand here and tell you I’m the best in the world. That would be kind of stupid but I do honestly think that it does come down to luck and just looking right for the role. The best actor in the world is probably waiting tables right now because it really comes down to being in the right place. You have to have talent. You have to have some skill, but really if you don’t look the part, you won’t get the part. And that is the truth.”
I AM NUMBER FOUR is Available on Blu-ray & DVD May 24th!
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