Chau in New York City
They’re cute, they’re funny, and they sure
as hell can rock.
Enter the five main lead kids of “The School
of Rock,” the Jack Black comedy opening this Friday.
These kids were handselected by Director Richard Linklater
(“Dazed and Confused”) and writer Mike White
(“The Good Girl”) from a nationwide talent
search of kids from all over the nation.
This has to be the most fun I've ever had at a press
junket. These kids are bright, hilarious, and have loads
of energy. As soon as they left, the other reporters
and I were talking about how much energy and star potential
they had. They walked into the press room table with
smiles on their faces despite having done an extensive
These kids are going places and before I begin the
interview, let me introduce each one and give my impression
of what I thought of each one. Here they are, presented
from left to right from where I was sitting across from
Age: 10 / Character: Summer
(the band manager)
The youngest of the group, Miranda was adorably
precious. She has an incredibly cute smile and having
been an actress already, was the most poised out
of the group. She answered questions courteously,
with a big grin, and surprsingly, in a mature fashion.
Age: 11 / Character: Katie
(the bass player)
Rebecca was an extraordinary guitarist who learned
the bass for the movie. She has a surprisingly sarcastic
wit to her humor but was always laughing during
the interview and provided hilarious responses.
Age: 14 / Character: Freddy
The oldest of the group, Kevin was thus the
leader. He took it upon himself to speak for the
group sometimes and in doing so, was quite aware
of what he was talking about and wasn't shy to speak
Age: 12 / Character: Zach
Much like Kevin, Joey wasn't afraid to speak
his mind at all and was absolutely hysterical. An
accomplished guitarist, Joey said he worships Jimmi
Age: 13/ Character: Lawrence
(the keyboard player)
Robert was extremely polite and thus, extremely
quiet. At times, I noticed he would try to say something
but felt bad about trying to interrupt the other
kids while they were talking. Still, though, this
future grand pianist was very enthusiastic about
the film and once he's heard, can be very funny.
I wish I could transcribe the entire interview for
you guys but it would literally go 20 pages. When you
put 5 kids, each very excited about their first movie,
in a room together, they will chatter...and chatter...and
chatter. In fact, there were several times when there
would be several of them talking at the same time, making
our heads going in different directions. I just wish
I had a videotape or something of these kids cause man,
they were absolutely delightful to be with.
For example, before we started answering questions,
the table of about eight of us were asked to introduce
ourselves. The kids, which never happens with other
movie stars, took it upon themselves to get to know
the journalists as well.
KEVIN: You hear everything right?
ANGEL COHN FROM TVGUIDE: No, we see everything.
JOEY: (pointing to Rona Gellar) What’s your
RONA GELLAR: Rona Gellar.
JOEY: Isn’t that the chick on “Friends”
RONA GELLAR: No, it’s Monica Gellar.
REBECCA (confused): What?(Laughs)
And so, the interview begins. So instead of transcribing
the entire thing, I have selected some short moments
from the interviews that stood out in my mind. I've
also tried describing how they said their answers as
best I can. It was so much fun being there that it's
hard to describe what went on in words.
When was the first time you guys played together?
KEVIN: Well the first time we played together was during
auditions. We met at the first audition and they liked
both me and him (referring to Joey) and they said, ‘Can
you come in and record?’ And we kind of jammed
together and put us on tape.
JOEY: I think we played like a Zeppelin tune…Iron
So do you guys all play your own instruments?
KEVIN: Yeah. She’s the band manager though (pointing
to Miranda). She’s playing the band manager really.
So you (pointing to Miranda) are the only professional
actor among you guys? None of you guys have any acting
REBECCA: School plays, but that doesn’t count.
I played a tree!
MIRANDA: I’ve been acting since I was three.
An agent walked up to me. I was actually dancing at
a restaurant. Taste of LA, heard of it?
KEVIN: Wait, dancing at a restaurant? What kind of
What was it like working with Jack Black?
JOEY: It was like a vacation…
MIRANDA: He’s so cool.
JOEY: …he’s always funny.
REBECCA: He’s like a kid.
JOEY: He’s a big 12-year-old kid actually.
REBECCA: He’s not the kind of celebrity that’s
like, (in a witch-like voice) “Get these kids
out of my trailer! They’re not supposed to be
in here!” He’s more like (in a California
surfer voice) “Sup dude?”
KEVIN: I wanted to do an interview with him for my
school newspaper, and it was the last day of shooting
actually. And he was sitting there playing his XBox,
BMX XXX, and I did a whole interview with him which
was a lot of fun, and got a lot of good answers from
What was the funniest thing he said or did?
KEVIN: Well there was this one time, and it was just
me and Robert, and we had to wake up Jack by kicking
the bed. It was like the fifth take, and I kicked the
bed, and Jack just farts SO LOUD. It was like, KICK!
(makes a loud farting noise) I think he was holding
it in for a few takes. He was holding it for that exact
moment. We tried to go along with it but once he started
cracking up, everyone was.
ROBERT: He’s always very funny and laid back,
but he also has a friendly side. I remember once I was
sick, I was very sick. We were almost finished with
a take and he said to me, “It’s good for
you to come, even though you’re sick.” So
he’s so nice, and so friendly. I hope you can
see that on screen.
How was Richard Linklater to you guys?
JOEY: He was awesome.
MIRANDA: He was really, really nice.
KEVIN: I loved “Dazed and Confused.” That’s
a really good movie.
JOEY: Quote us saying he’s a great director.
Rebecca, you play the guitar. How was getting used
to the bass?
REBECCA: The bass is the same exact thing as the guitar,
only with four strings and an octave lower. Exactly
the same, only easier.
So are all you guys the same age?
KEVIN: No, I’m actually the oldest of the group.
REBECCA: (with her arm around Miranda) And she’s
actually the youngest of the group.
MIRANDA: (shakes her head) Ten.
MIRANDA: I’m always being picked on. (Laughs)
So all of you guys are supposed to be in the fifth
KEVIN: (rolls his eyes) I’m a freshman in high
school and I play a fifth grader. (Laughs)
REBECCA: He’s just a midget.
So being that you guys want to be rock stars, what
was it like being on stage for the final scene in front
of that huge audience?
JOEY: It was like a dream come true! I played for like,
a hundred people, two hundred people, gigs that I do.
It was such a dream come true!
REBECCA: I’ve only played in talent shows and
recitals and stuff like that in front of 50 people but
this was just awesome to be in front of 1500 people.
ROBERT: There were some people that you couldn’t
see behind the other people that you could see. So that
whole theater was crowded. You could feel it coming
alive, the sound of people roaring. Even though we weren’t
REBECCA: (shushing) Robert!
How was working with Jim O’Rourke? Are you
guys fans of Sonic Youth now?
KEVIN: Yeah, kind of…
JOEY: It’s different music.
MIRANDA: He’s really cool actually. There’s
one scene in the movie where Summer (her character)
is supposed to sing bad. I’m actually pretty good
because I’ve been taking lessons for five years.
I got to have a 45-minute lesson with him on how to
So do your friends treat you guys differently now
that you’re big movie stars?
REBECCA: Let’s put it this way: There are people
in the school who are like, “Hey, what’s
up? I’ve seen the trailer a million times and
it’s really good. Hey, you want to go for ice
cream some day?” And then there are the people
who are like, (in a very funny perky voice and character)
“Hey movie star! Can I have your autograph?! Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.
Come on and see the movie with me! Come on! Come on!
I want to be your best friend! I mean, I am your best
friend, aren’t I?” And then there are the
people who are like (sighing), “Oh. It had to
be you. YOU?! YOU’RE THE LEAD STAR?!”
JOEY: There’s always that one weird kid who’s
like, obsessed with you. (in a psycho voice) “Hey
man, you want to be my friend!”
REBECCA: (laughing hysterically) BWAHH! (Imitating
someone scaring someone)
Were you guys always into classical rock?
KEVIN: Me and Joey – we were always into classical
JOEY: (pointing to Robert and Miranda) We kinda taught
these two guys.
REBECCA: I was kind of always into the Beatles and
the Rolling Stones and stuff. Before the movie, my dad
bought all these CDs like Zeppelin and Hendrix and stuff.
MIRANDA: My mom was always kind of into rock. After
the movie, I went home and got out all her old albums
and listened to them. I really like – I can’t
think of the name of it…Rolling Stones with the
JOEY: Sticky Fingers.
(Four of them begin speaking at the same time, which
ROBERT: I always liked classical music. Chopin…
KEVIN: We don’t know what he’s saying,
ROBERT: That’s the thing about classical music
is that they are all French or German.
JOEY: There are no classical players with a last name
like, Daniels or Smith.
Miranda, are you a teacher’s pet like your
character in the movie?
MIRANDA: (Very sweetly laughs) No, not at all. I get
pretty good grades but I’m not the bookworm type.
I’m more laid back. I’ll do my homework
at 10 o’clock and finish it at 1 in the morning.
Once I had a teacher who really liked me but I don’t
think I was the teacher’s pet. I think she just
REBECCA: I’m kind of the class clown.
MIRANDA: But you’re the one being made fun of.
REBECCA: We’re all the victims.
JOEY: I tend to make the people in my class laugh,
but the teachers don’t laugh. (Laughter)
What kind of grades do you guys get?
JOEY: F’s. No, I’m just kidding.
REBECCA: The lowest grade I ever got was a C.
JOEY: I think I got a C in handwriting once.
KEVIN: (sarcastically) We don’t believe in grades
in high school.
MIRANDA: The lowest grade I ever got was an A-.
JOEY: Oh my god, she must be stupid.
How do you guys do in music class?
REBECCA: We don’t have music class in our school.
(In a valley girl tone) Rip-off!
MIRANDA: I know.
REBECCA: In my school, if you’re in band, you’re
considered a geek. I don’t know why. But the band…(in
a baritone voice) sucks.
When your friends ask you about the movie, what’s
the most common question?
JOEY: You get the stupid questions, like, “Did
you get to meet Jack Black?” No, he just kind
of walked off to a corner and I didn’t talk to
him at all.
REBECCA: (sarcastically) Yeah I had a scene with him
and I didn’t get to talk to him.
JOEY: They digitally put me in and I never met anybody
in the movie.
What kind of advice does Jack Black give you when
you’re playing instruments?
JOEY: We actually taught him things…
KEVIN: We taught him a game called Sticks where you
hold out your fingers…
(At this point, Miranda and Rebecca begin playing the
game to themselves.)
KEVIN: We’d have Sticks tournaments and the assistant
director and the director would be like, “Jack
we need you over here to rehearse the next scene.”
And he’d be like, “One second. I’m
in the middle of a Sticks tournament.”
What advice did Linklater give to you guys?
(Miranda and Rebecca are still playing the game, not
paying attention to the interviews.)
KEVIN: He was really big about us being ourselves and
really wanting us to be able to play instruments. Being
ourselves was our main thing.
ROBERT: We’d laugh a lot because Jack was so
funny. So everytime he did something funny, sometimes
we’d all laugh. The problem was sometimes, I’d
be at the head of the laughter, and then all the people
would laugh. So one time, Linklater said, “Let’s
not try to laugh at every funny scene.”
JOEY: If you look closely, you’ll see that Robert’s
kind of chuckling in every scene.
(Miranda and Rebecca finally stop.)
Did you guys get to keep the instruments?
(A big sigh comes from three of them)
REBECCA, KEVIN, JOEY: (looking sad) No.
JOEY: We all use Gibson guitars in the movie so we’re
thinking sponsorship here.
JOEY: Quote that in your magazines. We want sponsorship
"The School of Rock" opens October 3rd.