TAYLOR DOOLEY, TAYLOR LAUTNER & CAYDEN BOYD Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
June 1, 2005
In the family film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, a lonely but creative boy (Cayden Boyd) comes face-to-face with a pair of his imaginary friends, kid superheroes Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner) and Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley). Written and directed by Spy Kids auteur Robert Rodriguez, the movie was based on ideas from his 7-year-old son Racer Rodriguez, and is presented in 3-D. George Lopez, Kristin Davis, and David Arquette round out the cast.
In this interview, the child stars of the show--Taylor Dooley, Taylor Lautner, and Cayden Boyd--talk about their experiences on the set of this family adventure.
MEDIA: What sort of input did Robert's son Racer have during filming?
TAYLOR DOOLEY: He would give Robert ideas for scenes and ideas for stuff to do in the scene, or what the background might look like. Stuff like that.
Did you find it hard to work with the greenscreen?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: I'd say the first two weeks were kind of difficult, but Robert helped us a lot. He'd specifically say, "This is over here, this is behind you, this is what you're doing..."
TAYLOR DOOLEY: And he'd draw pictures and show us animatics of what's going to happen.
TAYLOR LAUTNER: On the screen, you see like "big ol' shark boat with turbo boosters," and I'm just on this green box with two little green handles.
TAYLOR DOOLEY: Yeah, and my lava bike was just a green box with handles.
[to Taylor Lautner] Having studied martial arts, did you do your own fight scenes?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: Well, when I went in to meet with Robert, he didn't know that I did martial arts. And then he saw a DVD of me while we were shooting, and he asked me to choreograph my own fight scene. So I just did my stuff and he picked his favorite stuff I did, and he just added in the plug hounds that I fought. And it was cool. I had no clue I was going to be doing that.
And you dance as well?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: Yeah, I do hip hop dancing, and I've been doing that for like a year and a half. But the karate...I don't compete anymore, I just train at my house to keep up the skill.
[to Cayden Boyd] Your older sister, Jenna Boyd, is in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which opens around the same time as The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl...
CAYDEN BOYD: Yeah, it's back to back weekends.
So is there a certain competitiveness between the two of you at home?
CAYDEN BOYD: Well, it's not a rivalry or anything. We're both very supportive of each other. But once Robert heard there was going to be back to back weekends, it was, "Oh yeah, we're just gonna blow her movie out of the water! What are you talking about? Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Please!" It was stuff like that. But other than that, [we're] very supportive of each other, me and Jenna.
Did all of you "pretend act" with your siblings when you were younger?
CAYDEN BOYD: We'd play around. We would make up characters together and stuff like that, yeah.
TAYLOR LAUTNER: My sister and I would always be spies when I was younger. We'd be in the house, and I'd hide something, and I'd act like we were secret agents and spies. And I'd tell her that it was really happening, and she still believes me to this day. She's 6. [laughs] Pretty soon I gotta tell her that it's just fake and I'm trying to make her have fun.
TAYLOR DOOLEY: My brother and I, after we saw Spy Kids actually...That was my brother's favorite movie, and mine also. So my dad made, like out of toilet paper rolls and stuff, he made a jet pack. And we'd pretend to fly around the house when Spy Kids first came out.
Were the Sharkboy and Lavagirl costumes uncomfortable?
TAYLOR DOOLEY: My suit was all made of a urethane rubbery thing. [gestures to Taylor Lautner] He had separate parts that he could connect and unconnect, but mine was just one big chunk of urethane. So it was kind of heavy in the very beginning, but I got used to it. And it looks really uncomfortable, but it was really comfortable, actually.
TAYLOR LAUTNER: [to Taylor Dooley] Ure-what?
TAYLOR DOOLEY: [to Taylor Lautner] What?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: [to Taylor Dooley] Urethane?
TAYLOR DOOLEY: [to Taylor Lautner] Urethane.
TAYLOR LAUTNER: [to Taylor Dooley] Oh, I just call it rubber.
TAYLOR DOOLEY: [to Taylor Lautner] No, that's what they called it. They told me it was made of urethane.
Did you all become close friends on set?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, we live across the street from each other.
TAYLOR DOOLEY: And we all see each other all the time.
[to Taylor Dooley] We heard that Robert played a prank on you while filming the Sharkboy/Lavagirl kiss. What's the story with that?
TAYLOR DOOLEY: [groans] Oh! That day...Well, I was really nervous and I was always telling the hair and makeup guy how nervous I was. It was only a peck on the cheek, but I was really nervous about it. So when I was in the school room, he went and told Robert that it was my first kiss and told him, "Do something really special." And Robert's like, [crafty] "Oh, don't worry, I will." So they call me onto set. And right before the kiss, he goes, "Sharkboy off set, we're going to do the kiss. Bring in the stand-in." So they bring in this wooden post that is wrapped with green tape, and he goes, "Kiss it like you're kissing Sharkboy." So I don't know what's going on, and I'm kissing this piece of wood. I do it maybe two times, and he goes, "Okay, a little more, a little longer." And then I go to do it a fourth time, and he starts cracking up. And then the whole set starts cracking up. Everybody knew about it but all the parents, and them. [gestures to Taylor Lautner and Cayden Boyd]
TAYLOR LAUTNER: And he was going to do it like twenty times.
TAYLOR DOOLEY: Yeah, and I'm sitting there going, "Why is everyone laughing? Did I do something funny?" And he walks over to me and he gives me a hug and he's like, "That was all a joke. I was gonna try to do it like fifty times, but I couldn't." So then I ended up having to kiss Sharkboy anyway. [laughs]
Did you get back at Robert?
TAYLOR DOOLEY: No, not really. I did kill him in Halo, though...[while] he was concentrating on the lighting. It wasn't a fair killing, but I still won, you know? I still won!
[to Taylor Lautner] What was the deal with the shark teeth you had to wear?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: It was just rubber. Whenever I get mad, I go into a shark frenzy, and then I have the teeth. And when it's like a half shark frenzy, I only have the bottoms. It's like rubber and they just stick it in.
TAYLOR DOOLEY: They're kind of like retainers.
TAYLOR LAUTNER: Yeah, and they like stick it in the top and the bottom. And then sometimes they fell out. And one time I like choked on it. They make you look ugly, man! They have like three layers. They were really cool, but ugly at the same time.
Do you have a new appreciation of sharks?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: [laughs] No. I have never liked sharks and I do not now!
[to Taylor Dooley] What did you think of having fuschia hair?
TAYLOR DOOLEY: Well, that's my favorite color, so I was really excited. But my mom was really hesitant. She was like, "What's it gonna do to your hair? How's it gonna damage your hair?" And she was always worried about that. In the end, it was really damaged and it takes me about an hour to blow dry my hair every morning. [mock exasperation] But, hey! I love my hair! [laughs]