Check our interview with talented young actor Grayson Kilpatrick who is best known for his role as Sheldon in Chicken Girls the Movie, American Horror Story, Netflix’s Black Pumpkin and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, Daddy’s Home, Documentary Now! Directed and started in his own Chris Farley SNL Matt Foley Living in a Van Down by the River sketch that won best actor awards at YAA.
Hi Grayson, please tell us a little about you?
First, I would like to thank Naluda for this interview. I am a fifteen year old aspiring teen actor from Huntsville, AL. So, Roll Tide.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Silly, caring, determined
Name one your strengths?
I think my strengths are the ability to adapt. When I am on set if the director wants to change my lines or change the way I am doing something, I do it! No questions asked. I put 1000% percent into any production that I book. I want to make sure I do my very best for their production and for myself. I put a lot of stress on myself sometimes because I want to give perfection. Even when my dad tapes my video auditions. I know he gets tired sometimes but after we finish a scene, I will watch the video clip and I can see things that I want to improve on, whether it is the way I said something or facial expression, so I will say “ Let’s do it one more time”.
How’s a typical day in your life?
My typical day is mostly filled with homeschool, auditions and at night playing with my friends on Xbox or PC. A great day is when I meet up with friends at either Knott’s Berry Farm or Magic Mountain.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My Mom and Dad are my biggest supporters. They were both Engineers and they have given up so much to move here to LA. We moved away from family and friends to a place we were not sure about. But they believe in me and made the jump. My dad homeschools me as well as takes me to auditions and to set when I film. My mom works about 46 miles away so she gets up very early in the mornings and is not back home until kind of late at night because of traffic and work. But she does take off 1 or 2 days a month to go to go to fun places we me.
Both me and my mom are big Comic book nerds so we are so excited about attending Comic Con this year in San Diego. I have family and friends back home that encourages me and a great Manager here in LA that is always there if I need to talk or help coach me for audition.
How did you get started in the industry?
I was 8 years old and it was in the summer that I met an actor, Grayson Russell (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). He was in Huntsville, AL filming a movie at the Space and Rocket Center. My dad had seen an article in the local paper about Grayson Russell was going to be at the Monaco Theater at Bridge Street Town center that week to watch the Diary of Wimpy Kid: Dog Days with movie fans. So, my dad took me and one of my best friends Mason to the theater and we got to meet Grayson Russell. Grayson was great! We are both named Grayson and we are both redheaded and from Alabama so we hit it off. Grayson had mentioned the movie he was working on called Space Warriors and they were looking for extras to be in the movie. So, I asked Mom if I could go try out for extra. Mom took off from work the next day and took me to the filming location to see if they could use me as an extra. They did and when I got on set I fell in love with the environment. I talked to the crew and the more I was on set the more I loved it. There was a lot of waiting around until they reset the scene and started filming. The scene was filmed over and over to get the best shot. I remember how much I loved that. Some of the other kids were getting bored with the waiting around, but not me. I would watch the crew how they moved their equipment around and the lighting to change the angle of the shot. I thought this is the best place on earth. So, after filming I asked my mom if I could take some acting classes. So the next week mom enrolled me in the local acting school in Huntsville called Hollywood Huntsville. I took classes the rest of that year.
I booked my first movie the following spring. It was the best day meeting Grayson Russell and what makes it even better is we are still friends today. I really appreciate him taking the time to meet me and talk to me.
What was your first acting role?
My very first role was in a movie called Campin’ Buddies. It was filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was great! I got to work with Legendary actors like Tom Lester (Eb Dawson-Green Acres), Victoria Jackson (SNL), Don Most (Ralph Mouth from Happy Days) and Ray Stevens (Country Music artist). My Papa Ernest would have loved to know that I was in a feature film with Ray Stevens because he loved his “Mississippi Squirrel” song. My role was the Shimmy-Sham kid. They were all so very nice to me and we sat around just talking about the project and acting when we had down time.
Do you have or had acting classes?
Yes, my past acting classes have been with some amazing coaches that have really been an inspiration to me. I have studied with Gray Studio (David Gray, Curt Mega and Kenton Duty), had private acting coaching from Wendy Faraone (Disney on set acting coach for Liv and Maddie) Ivan Chubbuck Studio (Clair Chubbuck), Margie Haber, Lisa Picotte at the Young Actor Workspace. Currently, I am taking private and weekly acting classes with Keir Thirus at Dustin Felder Actors Studio.
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
The best part is meeting new people in the industry and making friends.
The worst part for me is after you have worked with the cast and crew for a few months it’s time for the production to wrap then you have to say good bye, until the next time. When I am on set, it is like being a family. But even the friends I meet on set stay in touch with me and we support each other. When I see that one of my friends have booked a production, I also give them my congratulations and repost their success.
Best advice ever given?
Trust in yourself. When you go into that audition room you do your best. When you leave that audition room, let it go and focus on the next audition. There is nothing you can do about the audition you just had, forget about it and let it go. Be ready for the next one. My Manager’s favorite phrase is “Onward and Upward”.
How do you prepare for a role?
I read my character break down to get an idea of what type of character they are asking me to audition for. Then, I read the sides (or scripts) given, memorize lightly, work on what I want to do as the character and reactions for the audition. Then, I memorize all my lines and make my choices for the character. It is always best to be off book as much as possible. Try to always be prepared for anything once you get into the audition room.
Now tell us about your work in “Chicken Girls the Movie,” and your role as Sheldon?
It was great working with Brat productions on Chicken Girls: The Movie. I played the role of Sheldon and his character is always trying to butter up Principle Anthony (Melanie Paxson, Disney’s Descendants Fairy Godmother) to be her pet and tattle tale on the students at Attaway High. So, I’m like a nerdy spy. I think Sheldon is a good kid. He just doesn’t have any friends but the principle. I think he would love to be a cool kid like Rhyme or TK, or even be in their group. He is just awkward and not sure how to be a friend. I have to say I was pretty excited to see me in this picture with the rest of the cast of the Chicken Girls that was featured in the J-14 magazine. I was just so honored to have worked with such a great production and great group of people. I am hoping you will see more of Sheldon in the future. But you can also see Sheldon in Chicken Girls single “Dancing on the Ceiling” video. (YouTube) Thank you to all the amazing fans for 20 Million views on the Chicken Girls: The Movie. The fans are the best!
And about “American Horror Story?”
I loved working on the set of American Horror Story! It was amazing. I played in Season 8 episode 3 “Forbidden Fruit”. I played the role of older boy but was dressed like a werewolf. The hair and makeup was unbelievable! When I looked in a mirror I could not believe how real they made me look like a werewolf. My dad was on set with me and he was like WOW! I loved being a part of that production. I love horror almost as much as I love comedy.
What other projects you have been part of?
I was in Daddy’s Home. This was filmed outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. I worked with Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Scarlett Estevez and Owen Vaccaro. Mark Wahlberg was amazing to work with. He was so nice on set, my role name was supposed to be “big kid at half pipe” but Mark and I would fist bump so much on set production changed it to” Fist Bump kid”. Everyone was so nice. I actually had a scene with Mark Wahlberg but some scenes gets cut and ended up on the editing floor and mine did. But like I said previously, I always meet great new friends and Owen Vaccaro and I are still friends. I am so very happy for all his amazing success. Other projects are American Hero. I played “Batman Kid” and it was really nice meeting Stephen Dorff. On the set of Man Down, I met Shia LaBeouf. This was filmed in New Orleans as well. As soon as I arrived on set, I have to say I was really nervous and not sure what to expect but Shia came right up to me and welcomed me on set along with Kate Mara. They both gave me a hug and they just made me feel so welcomed. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated Shia for making me feel like part of the cast. I was also in a feature film called Hurricane Bianca with Miss Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock). After the scene, Mr. Haylock asked me what I loved the most in life, I told him God, Family and Pie. He laughed and said he would never forget me.
I have been in several TV series like Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell. I was in season 2 episode 11 “Krampus Nacht”. I played Jonas who is the nephew to Gary (Henry Zebrowski). Sometimes on Twitter we will respond to each other from lines in the episode. In Wet Hot American Summer: Ten years Later, I played the role of Pete in season 1 episode 3: Tigerclaw. In Documentary Now! Season 2 episode 4 “Globesmen” it was great meeting and working with Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. A few months before that season was released, my scene was actually played on the Conan O’Brien show when Fred Armisen was a guest. So, I was really excited about that. In Cinemax TV series Outcast I played Sammy in Season 1 episode 9 “Close to Home”. It was so much fun! This is where I met another one of my friends Madeleine McGraw. This was the first time I had a stunt double. They flew Michael Munoz in from Hawaii. He is the same stunt man for Danny DeVito and Joe Pesci. But sadly this scene didn’t make it thru the editing and ended up on the floor. But I am thankful for the opportunity. Other TV shows I have been in is ABC’s This isn’t Working and NBC TV Pilot that did not get picked up. I was to be recurring as Paulie Fitzsimons. It was a Kourtney Kang project but I was so very honored to have worked with Director Fred Savage. I was sad it didn’t get picked up but so glad I was able to have that time on set with Mr. Savage. The other TV Show I’ve been on ABC is To Tell the Truth. It was amazing working with Anthony Anderson and his mom. I have even played Russell from the Disney Movie “Up” in a Dorito Challenge Commercial and in a Blackbear/Gucci Mane Video called “Do re mi”.
Shia and me on set of “Man Down,” Me as Russell from Disney “Up,” Blackbear Video Me on set Documentary Now!
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I love to play comedy roles because I love to make people happy and laugh. There is so much serious things going on in the world I think it would be nice to watch something that makes you laugh and forget about problems for a short time. I would love to do more Voice Over. I think that would be incredible to bring a character to life by just using your voice.
What is next for Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick in 2019?
Well, last year I wrote and directed a short film in honor of the late Chris Farley and it can be watched on YouTube (watch here!) John Foley: Motivationally Speaking. I played the role of John Foley who is the son of Matt Foley aka “Living in a Van Down by the River” and a few of my friends really helped me out. I won best Actor in a Short Film at Young Artist Awards last year. So, this year I am working along with my amazing friends to write a part 2 to John Foley. I want to make it longer and better. So, I should be filming this later on this year. I am in a TV Series called NC 16. I play Nelson who is a teenager who, along with his friends, are just trying to make it through high school. Another feature film called Black Pumpkin will be released this year. I play the role of Lawrence “Pork Chop” Chubbs. It’s about two preteens in a small town that accidentally awaken an evil that has been dormant for decades and we have to survive through Halloween night. There is also a short film called Water Dawg where I play the role of Kevin. This film is set in Kentucky in 1979 and is about a man who delivers psychedelic drugs to a funeral. Me as John Foley NC 16 Black Pumpkin.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
My favorite actors would have to be Robin Williams and Chris Farley. They had so much energy on set and they gave everything they had to make people laugh. Robin Williams as alien Mork in Mork & Mindy is my favorite. I have all seasons on DVD. Chris Farley commanded the room when he was in character and of course I love the SNL skit “Living in a Van Down by the River” and him in Beverly Hills Ninja and Black Sheep. I don’t know of any other actors that will ever be like Robin or Chris. Another favorite has to be Robert Downey Jr. He can play all types of roles from comedy, drama, and action. For me, he is the best all round actor, he can do any role. My favorite actress would have to be legendary Betty White. I loved her as Rose in the Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland.
What music do you like?
I like all kinds of music, I like classical (Four Seasons), I love AC/DC, and I even like old music like Marty Robbins, Louie Armstrong, Dion and Pop music.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
My perfect Sunday is spending it with Family and Friends, whether it be playing with friends on Xbox, going to watch a movie or meeting friends at a theme park.
Something people don’t know about you?
I love Rubik’s Cubes and I have over 50, I am allergic to nuts and I absolutely hate stickers. I know strange right? I hate stickers or name badges that are stickers on me. I am not sure why but never liked it even as a baby.
What is your own definition of happiness?
To me happiness is being with the ones you love and doing something you love to do. Being on set is my happy place.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would have loved to meet my Papa Ernest. He passed away in 1992 so I see pictures of him and hear all these wonderful stories about him but would love to sit down and talk to him for one hour, to let him know about me. I know he is with me even though he is not here. I would just love to hear the sound of his voice or listen to him laugh. My Nanny (Beheathlin) passed away on January 1 of this year she was 98 years old and she spoke about him so much to me. I spent two weeks with her at Thanksgiving we knew she was getting close to passing on. While I was there she gave me this pristine box an in this box was a hat Papa Ernest worn in 1950’s it was also pristine. So, I wore it and I still wear it out to red carpet events. It was the best thing I could have gotten from Nanny.
What do you like to watch on TV?
I like the Umbrella Academy, Lucifer, anything Marvel, Black Mirror. I like old shows as well like I love Lucy, Three Stooges and one of my all-time favorites is Mr. Ed (The talking Horse) I have every episode of that TV series.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Well, I love Broccoli and Spinach a lot.
And your favorite cheat food?
I love food in general. It’s hard to say which one is my favorite. I like to try new stuff, but I do love Filet Mignon and Lobster is my absolute favorite!
Do you support any charities?
I support St. Jude’s Hospital, Make a Wish and www.eliblockparty.org
My friend Eli Williams fought for five years to overcome Medulloblastoma brain cancer but in August 2017 Eli lost his battle at age 12. Eli loved Mustang cars, and Legos. I meet Eli when I was around 7 years old when we played pee wee football together. Eli was diagnosed with cancer at age 7 and relapsed at age 9 and again at age 10 and again at age 12. Eli fought very hard and during this time he still raised money to help fight cancer with his 501(c) Nonprofit Organization he created called “Eli’s Block Party Childhood Cancer Foundation”, he lives on in his parents Ms. Kristie and Mr. Vic Williams as they still work very hard to raise money to help other children fighting this disease. He was and forever will be Eli the Eliminator.
Where we can follow you?
You can follow me on the following links: