November 29, 2006
A Blue Christmas, With Dylan
He says he's been "very, very lucky." But five minutes with Dylan Blue, with his sparkling eyes and even more effervescent personality, are enough for anyone to see the 10-year-old from Water Mill has that certain something they call "star quality."
| (click for larger version)|
Last Wednesday night, his first foray into a major film — Deck the Halls, premiered on the East End.
While the local premier was decidedly low key, two weeks ago the Hollywood debut was classic fantasy. A million watts of lights festooned Grauman's Chinese Theater. "We pulled up in a new Chrysler Aspen with lights all over it. On the red carpet, paparazzi were snapping away. It was the most Kodak moment," Blue enthused.
The story, directed by John P. Whitesell (Big Momma's House 2) follows the competition between two seemingly different dads, played by Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito. Blue was cast as Broderick's son cum accomplice, without ever auditioning in person.
He'd taped an interview with the casting director and one day last April, Whitesell just called out of the blue, Dylan's mom, Sara, recalled. With dad, Russell, the family headed off to Vancouver for the summer to film.
An avid baseball card collector — "That's my top hobby so far!" — Blue described the making of the film with the wonder of a new actor: riding between sets on a golf cart and watching the film crew make "snow" to set the proper holiday ambiance were among the delights for the student at Southampton Intermediate School.
Castmates created a second, warm family. "Matthew was hilarious. Danny was always funny and Kristin was the motherly one." Kristin Davis, a household name after her years as Charlotte on "Sex and the City," plays Blue's mother. Staying in character, she was often found with her arm slung across her "son's" shoulders.
Although Deck the Halls is Blue's first go in a major movie, he has some experience in the industry, playing a bully in the indy offering Just Like The Son, which features Rosie Perez. The film showed at the Tribeca Film Festival recently. Russell recalled that, when the movie was slated to show, Dylan was a tad concerned. "I don't want my friends to think I'm a bully," he told his father. Smiling sheepishly, the young actor declined to admit whether he drew on anyone he knows to play the role. "I think of myself as an actor. If I have to I can change, if you give me a script I can do it," he said.
Blue has also ventured into the world of television, taping the pilot for a Kelsey Grammer-directed sitcom, and starring alongside Tom Cavanagh from the popular sitcom, "Ed." The family spent "two weeks and change" in L.A. last spring taping the sitcom. Now, according to Sara, "they're clamoring for us to spend time in L.A. over pilot season."
"I always wanted to act," Blue said at the outset of the interview. The immersion into the industry came about, as he said, fortuitously, about two years ago. Russell just happened to hear a commercial on the radio for a class offered by the nationally known John Robert Powers acting and modeling school. Sara spent winter Saturdays driving Dylan up to Westbury for the classes. "We just wanted to see if this was something he was interested in," she recalled.
On Sundays agencies and talent managers would come to the acting classes to scout talent. One week about 300 kids tried out for a particularly successful agent. Blue "vaguely" remembers his interview, but he obviously made an impression. She signed him on and the rounds of auditions began. A commercial, the indy flick, the pilot, were all part of his resume leading up to Deck the Halls.
Seeing the final cut of the film in L.A., Blue said, "was just amazing. It gets funnier every time I watch it."
There was one earlier pass at acting, prior to the classes and auditions — a role in the kindergarten play. "I had one line, " Blue said, with a grin . . . "but I've always been the class clown in school."
Within reason, his mother interjected. Charming and playful, and class clown notwithstanding, Dylan is a very good student, Sara underscored.
"I can't act unless I have good grades," the youngster explained.
"That's right," Sara said, "school comes first."
"No. Family comes first," Dylan disagreed. With a disarming smile he cocked his head toward his mother, adding "She's tough, but she's worth it."
With Deck the Halls promising to be a holiday movie for the new millennium like Home Alone was for the 90s, are the Hamptons harboring a child star on the order of Macaulay Culkin? That remains to be seen. For now, Blue said suavely, eyes twinkling, "Oh, we're waiting on a few things."