Disclosure: My son and I were invited to an early screening of the movie, and we were provided access to talent from the film.
This was a particularly fun interview, because I got to bring my 10-year-old son Kyle with me. Relativity media is really excited about reaching kids with this movie, so I was glad that he was able to not only screen the movie with me, but also participate in the interview by asking questions of one of the teen stars, Teo Halm, and the director Dave Green. They were both extra-nice to Kyle, and I think appreciated hearing his take on the movie.
I imagine that nothing is cooler for a child actor than actually seeing your lifelong dreams realized. These young people work hard. In talking to some young actors, you can tell it’s what they were born to do — almost like Olympian athletes — and so there are sacrifices. The mom in me can’t help but feel a little saddened at their loss. I’m thinking of a normal school career with dances and outings and that sort of thing. They do have amazing experiences and the satisfaction of doing something they love, but there is a trade off.
Earth to Echo is a movie about friendship, so when my 10-year-old son Kyle and I interviewed one of the young stars of the movie, Teo Halm (along with the director), I loved hearing his take on friendship and staying together.
JD (me): How do you stay connected with friends?
Teo: All of the cast, we are all good friends, we hang out offset as well, and we still do things together today. It’s tough keeping up with my friends, because I’m so busy. I don’t know what I’d do without the friends I have. It’s good busy, but I don’t always have time to hang out with my friends.
I’ve taken the message from the movie to heart: Don’t let anything come in the way. If moving away to different cities doesn’t break you up, nothing can.
Dave Green: I have some of the same friends since I was 5 years old, we still keep in touch, so I could relate to that message as well.
Kyle: Did the kids actually get to film it? (the film is handheld style)
Teo: We always had to have a hand on the camera like it was a selfie, even when the cinematographer was filming. It was a really heavy camera, even though it looks like a handheld.
JD: I know some parents have expressed concern about the “adventures” these kids have.
Teo: It’s sad because with technology comes not having as many adventures. It was good to channel the old style of movie in feel and tone and also what would happen and bring that back. We’re not trying to encourage kids to disobey their parents but to have adventures. Inspire kids to do something, even though they are kids.
Kyle: For Echo did you have a physical thing there for all your scenes?
Half the time it was a robot thing, other half was CGI and added in later. There were emotional scenes when I was just staring into my hand instead of Echo.
JD: Which character are you most like?
Teo: Tuck, straight up. He’s loud and talkative. Alex(the character he plays) is different — quiet and introverted. Playing him, I wasn’t worried about getting his lines right, but his face, showing what’s going on in his head.
My thoughts on the movie
Kyle and I both liked this movie. It had humor and heart and adventure. There were times that I was on my seat. Tweens and teens are the perfect age to see this movie, and I think that fellow children of the 80′s like me will enjoy the throwback vibe to movies of our childhood like Goonies or E.T.
Find out more
Watch the trailer:
From the studio:
Tuck, Munch and Alex are a closely bonded trio of inseparable friends, but their time together is coming to an end. Their neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that is forcing their families to move away. But just two days before they must part ways, the boys find a cryptic signal has infected their phones. Convinced something bigger is going on and looking for one final adventure together, they set off to trace the messages to their source and discover something beyond their wildest imaginations: hiding in the darkness is a mysterious being, stranded on Earth, and wanted by the government. This launches the boys on an epic journey full of danger and wonder, one that will test the limits of their friendship and change all of their lives forever.
Starring Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Reese Hartwig and Ella Linnea Wahlestedt
In theaters July 2