EXCLUSIVE: Devon Bostick Talks Sacrifice
Devon Bostick stars opposite Cube Gooding Jr. and Christian Slater in this thrilling new drama, on Blu-ray and DVD April 26th
Though he has appeared in many films since making his screen debut in the 2004 cloning thriller Godsend, actor Devon Bostick only recently hit superstar status with his role as Rodrick Heffley in the two big screen adaptations of Jeff Kinney's popular book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. With Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, the Canadian born actor became a full-blown teen heartthrob, and his presence in that film helped propel it to the number one position on the box office charts, even beating the highly anticipated Zack Snyder directed fantasy adventure Sucker Punch.
Tomorrow, Devon Bostick returns with the dramatic thriller Sacrifice, which is set to make its debut on Blu-ray and DVD. The actor stars as a drug dealer who must entrust his younger sister to a narcotics officer (Cuba Gooding Jr.) while trying to straighten out his criminal past. Christian Slater also stars in the movie as a priest who gets entangled in a drug run that finds heroine stashed inside a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Here is our conversation:
So, you are still heading out to auditions? Diary of a Wimpy Kid didn't put you over the top for that?
Devon Bostick: I think for any actor, for the roles they deeply, truly want? They always have to audition for them. I have to audition for a lot of stuff, still. But what I am getting offered now is truly as amazing as I want it to be. I am so glad to be finding these projects.
You are on the cusp of a new teen heartthrob revolution. Is that cool or scary? Especially when you want nothing more than to be taken as a serious actor?
Devon Bostick: It's exciting and scary at the same time. I never thought it would be like this, since my (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) character is such a goofball and a fool. And I do play him like that. I think its good to be in that role model role that I am in right now. It does help, and has helped my career. I am trying to do some of the more serious roles, but I also want to do comedy. So, it's just good to have people admiring your work in general. I am really happy that everything has turned out this way.
Sacrifice is a hard turn from the comedy, offering you a more serious role to play...
Devon Bostick: Yeah, I play a drug dealer named Mike. He wants out of the business. The people he works for won't let him go, because he is a good drug dealer. But he wants out of the business, because of his sister, which he has to take care of. They don't have any parents. So, it's basically his journey of stealing a heroine statue from his bosses, and holding it ransom for his freedom. It's that sacrifice that leads me in this film.
How much fun is that for you? To come onto a film that is more action heavy than a family comedy? Even tough I know the physical comedy can be just as taxing at times...
Devon Bostick: Its really fun. Most of my career has been indie dramatic films. Like, I did a movie with Atom Egoyan a few years back. Other things like that. I am used to doing dramatic work, but its fun to grab a gun, and go running around, getting beat-up. Its fun to do the action stuff, because it is really physical. There is nothing like getting into a character by getting beaten up physically. And emotionally, of course. But its fun to have that physicality in a role like Mike.
Are you old enough to know how cool Christian Slater is? Or did you walk onto set thinking, "Who is this old grandpa?"
Devon Bostick: I knew who Christian Slater is! I was really happy to be working with him. He is so cool, and so nice. I had an impression that I did of him, from that show he had, My Own Worst Enemy. I went up to him one day, and I said, (Nailing Christian Slater's voice) "I guess I'm my own worst enemy." It was really cool to be working with him. And Cuba Gooding Jr.. These are both guys I've seen many times on screen.
Was Christian cool with the impression?
Devon Bostick: Christian Slater is one of the nicest guys that I have ever worked with. He is so happy, and just happy to be there on set. He is so down to earth and real. We would goof around a little before takes. We could have that normal conversation. Then, once action happened, we'd jump right into it. Which is really cool.
Sacrifice is making its debut on the home market, which used to have this stigma attached to it. But right now is an interesting time in that everything is aiming towards that home market. A film like Sacrifice is as good, maybe eve a little bit better, than a lot of the movies opening up this week at the Cineplex.
Devon Bostick: You always wish that something would come out in theaters, but its exciting that Sacrifice is getting released at all. This is a Canadian story. We shot it in Canada. I've worked with this director (Damian Lee) a few times now. It's all about having fun and shooting something that you like. Where it goes afterwards is up to the movie gods. But its just fun to be a part of this process, no matter where it goes.
It must be cool for you, as an actor, to see that transition in how movies are being released and viewed in this day and age. With a smaller movie like Sacrifice, this home platform will actually get more eyes on it...
Devon Bostick: It is weird that stuff goes automatically to Netflix now, or they pop up online. I think one of the worst parts of it is the bootlegging online. The watching of movies for free, because it really ruins the business. And the quality of the film is ruined online as well. But it's so cool to have so many outlets to watch a film. That is a plus.
You are utilizing quite a bit of gunplay in Sacrifice. That has to be a bit different than walking onto the set of Wimpy Kid, shooting your pistol first thing in the morning...
Devon Bostick: I have handled guns before. I did two George A. Romero films, so this is not a new thing to me. But they always have a gun wrangler on set. You have to be very careful. Its safety first. It's cool to be in that situation where it's needed. It means that scene will be a high stakes scene. But you always have to be super careful. Accidents do happen. And it's exciting and thrilling to deal with all of this action.
I was chatting with Cuba Gooding Jr. a short time ago, and he said his house is like a gun range. Was that a shared interest on the set?
Devon Bostick: I didn't know Cuba Gooding Jr. was so into guns. I didn't have any scenes with Cuba, so I didn't get to see him in action with his gun. No! I didn't know that about Cuba. With the guns on set, everyone just tries to be as professional about it as possible. It's not a fad. It's a serious risk. Even if it's unloaded. It could be a fun sport, but things happen on set. There is always someone around.
I don't think there has been a Cuba Gooding Jr. movie made in the last five years where he is not running around with a gun.
Devon Bostick: He must love it. It is exhilarating. Its fun. I didn't know he was so into them. Its always cool to play someone with a gun, because it gives them power. Or it gives them weakness. It really does add to the character. But, then again, there are a lot of films without guns that are just as amazing.
At first glance, you don't look like a typical drug dealer. But if we go down to the local high school, or a college campus, you are exactly the type of kid who is dealing dope...
Devon Bostick: It's that whole, don't judge a book by its cover. What is interesting about my character is, he was supposed to be much older. And the sister was supposed to be his daughter. But I had worked with Damian twice before this film. I came to him after many drafts of the script had changed the story. I said, "What if this guy was younger? And he was a kid who had to take care of his sister instead of his daughter. Because we already have the Cuba Gooding Jr. storyline, about his daughter and wife being taken away." It was cool. Now, this kid had to force this maturity into his life. Because of the situation that he had gotten himself into. But it's very realistic. In High School, there are kids like this who are dealing and having to navigate some shifty characters. So it is realistic, and it does shed some light on this situation as well.
Did you ever venture onto any college campuses to get a look at some of these real life dealers?
Devon Bostick: I didn't really go...Well, I graduated from an art school myself, and you do see lots of 'things'. But with my character? He is not really your typical drug dealer. He is a guy in a suit. He has made it quite far for his age, but he is not dealing dope on the streets. He is moving heroine. In a suit. I didn't get into observing youth drug dealing, or anything along those lines. For me, it was really about playing him human. Here is a person in the worst situation, and he just wants out. He is working on his life, and trying to keep it together. The situation is bad. He is a normal kid, though. So, I wanted to play it like that.
Being Canadian, is it fun for you to see a lot of Canadian stuff hitting here in the states, and gaining an audience?
Devon Bostick: It's exciting. I am really happy that things from Canada, the films and the TV shows, are making their way over to Hollywood. Its tough when you do a film, and no one sees it. We just don't have the budget for advertising like they do in Hollywood. Also, the distribution isn't as grand. The fact that these films are doing well at festivals, and that they are coming out on DVD and on Netflix is a great thing. We have so many stories to tell that the public just hasn't seen. Its good.
Now, Sucker Punch was supposed to be this big, epic fantasy movie from Zack Snyder, and you guys came in and crushed it with Wimpy Kid. What are your thoughts on that?
Devon Bostick: It's amazing. None of us thought we could beat Sucker Punch! That is such a grand film. It has this appeal of these women, and they are handling guns. You would have thought...You know...One of those blockbusters. With Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, it felt like the fans came out to see it in theaters. There was already such a great fanbase with the books that Jeff Kinney wrote. He created this world for kids. Kids don't necessarily read too much nowadays. This book comes along, and now they are reading all the time. The fact that we had that previous fanbase, plus with this second film...In the first film, we really set up the world of these kids. And we were introduced to these characters. With the second one, we really get to play with the characters, because the introductions are over. Now we are smack in the middle of the family antics. It's so successful because it's so true. Everyone can relate to these stories. As well, they have a mass message behind them. The first one, in middle school, was all about being yourself. Don't try to be the cool kid, otherwise you will be the jerk. You will be a wimpy kid. We learn from his mistakes as well. He is a flawed character. He is Larry David in a twelve-year-old's body. It's really cool to see these flawed characters, as well as get this moral message at the end of the movie.
What is going on with the third one? You guys jumped into production on the first one really fast...
Devon Bostick: I hope that we can do it like we did before. The first and the second one shot at the same time. Well, not at the same time. We shot Part 2 the same time of year as we did before. It took the same amount of time to release it. They start editing these the day we start filming. So, I feel like we will have a 3rd one out, next year. Then again, if it comes out at the same time, we will be dealing with The Hunger Games. (Laughs) I feel like we will be able to crank one out that is funnier and better. They just seem to be getting better and better. Hopefully that will be next year.
You mentioned Atom Egoyan's Adoration. Have you experienced more and more people becoming fans of that movie the further away from its release?
Devon Bostick: It did really well at festivals, but it's not a popcorn film. People who want to go to the movies to escape, will never see this, which is a story that really makes you think. It has really helped my career a lot. Working with Atom Egoyan has changed me as an actor, a lot. It legitimized the choices I made in film, after awhile. It helped with getting Diary of a Wimpy Kid as well. It took an actor, not a comedian, to do that role. There are dramatic parts in the second film, and they knew that already. So it helped to have worked with Atom. Everyone adores Atom Egoyan. He is a genius. Even though Adoration hasn't made a bunch of money, it really has made an impact on my career. I will get something in the mail every once in a while from someone in Europe who has just seen Adoration. I have Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules fans who are tweeting at me that they've seen Adoration, so over all, it has helped my career. People are now going back to look at some of the stuff that I have done. I have about forty credits that people haven't seen. That is the Canadian indie world sometimes. But that is such a great film. I always wished that it would put me on the map. But it did do for me what I needed. And I am glad that I got that opportunity.