Tomorrow, March 13th, Race to Witch Mountain comes out in theaters. It stars AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, and Dwayne Johnson (many of you might know him as “The Rock”). And it looks like it’s going to be one action-packed adventure movie!
We caught an exclusive interview with stars AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig. (I think Dwayne was busy lifting weights. Just kidding. Don’t hurt me!)
First, let me break it down for any Witch Mountain newbies out there:
- In 1968, Alexander Key wrote a science fiction book called Escape to Witch Mountain and its sequel, Return from Witch Mountain.
- In 1975, Disney made a movie based on Escape to Witch Mountain (I give it 1.5 thumbs up).
- In 1978, Disney made a sequel to that movie based slightly on the sequel to the book, called Return from Witch Mountain also.
- Then, in 1982, there was a made-for-TV movie called Beyond Witch Mountain, which was actually supposed to be the first episode of what undoubtedly would have been an epic TV series, but then it got canceled. Disney never released Beyond Witch Mountain on video or dvd, so few people have seen it.
- And NOW, in theaters tomorrow, it’s Race to Witch Mountain, which is a re-imagining of the earlier movies.
(Speaking of books being made into movies, remember to join our LIVE chat with kids on Saturday, March 14th at 4 p.m. ET! If you’ve read any of the Witch Mountain books or seen the movies, we can’t wait to hear what you think!)
And now, on to the interviews!
Remember – Beware of Spoilers Ahead!
Race to Witch Mountain cast: Carla Gugino, Dwayne
Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig
Q: Did you watch the 1975 Escape to Witch Mountain film? What did you think?
Alexander: Actually, it was one of my favorite movies growing up . . . I had a huge crush on Tia, played by Kim Richards, and honestly, it still hasn’t hit me. I can’t believe that I get to be these kids that I’ve idolized my whole life . . . And they’re actually doing cameo appearances in this movie as well. So it’s very cool! There’s sort of a hint that maybe they’re their same characters. There’s actually a scene where they help us out, get out of a really tight situation, and it’s very cool. It’s very mysterious in that way.
AnnaSophia: Andy Fickman, the fabulous director of Race to Witch Mountain, sent me the original two films, Escape to Witch Mountain, and Return to Witch Mountain. They are both definitely ’70s movies, but when I was watching them I could tell how they became such classics; they are just such adventure stories. Knowing me, I probably would have made up a pretend game with my cousins pretending to be the Witch Mountain kids with their special little star compass. It was sooo cool!
[Nancy] Thanks for the inside scoop, Alexander/AnnaSophia! I can’t wait to see Tia and Tony back in action.
Q: How did you like working with Dwayne Johnson? Do you actually call him The Rock? Dwayne? Mr. Johnson?
Alexander: I asked him, actually, I think the first day I met him, “Alright, what do I call you? Because everyone’s giving you a different name.” Andy Fickman (he’s the director) called him D Rock J or Princess. [laughs] I called him Dwayne. I’ve gotta come up with a cooler name for him though.
AnnaSophia: Dwayne was so much fun to work with. He is a really great person as well as an actor. He is so respectful and kind to everyone on set, and he was great to act opposite of. He really gives back as an actor and is really encouraging.
Q: What were your favorite scenes to film?
Alexander: There’s a great scene when our parents have this secret undercover lab where AnnaSophia, Dwayne, and I go underground into this lab. And it was so cool because there’s this assassin chasing us down in this lab. And the assassin starts chasing us throughout this crazy experimental place and there’s explosions and fire and all this running. You don’t really have to pretend that you’re scared because there’s explosions going on in the room. So you’re sort of feeling it.
Another scene I really love towards the end of the movie — actually, it’s really a heartfelt scene where we’re trapped by the U.S. military and they’re shooting at us. I don’t want to ruin it because it’s a big twist in the movie, but there’s this great scene where the military starts firing at us and there’s this moment that you realize that we’re all trying to pretty much save each other and we’re willing to risk our lives for each other as well.
Also, actually, they built the spaceship, and the spaceship looks amazing.
AnnaSophia: Sara is a really intelligent girl — well, alien — and she has a real big heart and cares for people: her brother, her family, and her planet. I think I would be friends with her.
Alexander: At the start of the movie, he’s very reserved and not trusting anyone. He has no faith in humanity and doesn’t want to trust them because he doesn’t want to compromise his mission. He just wants to get to his target and finish it. Whereas his sister, Sara, played by AnnaSophia, is much more trusting in humanity and humans. And at the start of the movie there’s a big conflict between me and Dwayne because I totally don’t trust him and I don’t buy his story, whereas Sarah — because she can read minds — totally understands he’s actually a good person at heart and he does want to help us.
Q: Would you have your character’s powers, or other ones? If so, which ones?
AnnaSophia: I don’t know, my character’s powers are pretty sweet. I’m telepathic and telekinetic. I think that could come in handy a lot of the time, and it would be fun to be able to read people’s minds. I also think flying would be an awesome super power.
[Nancy] I’m with AnnaSophia on this one. I’ve never understood the appeal of the flying superpower; couldn’t we just use our awesome telekinetic powers to levitate ourselves?
Alexander: Totally to fly . . . Besides, chicks would love that. “Hey, let me take you into the sky.” It worked out well for Superman.
[Nancy] It’s nice to know that Alexander is clear on his priorities (“chicks”).
Alexander: Aww! That’s tough. That would be a hard battle. I think that the Seeker would probably win against Seth, only because of his powers. Seth has super strength and is tough. I think Will from The Seeker might be a little scared of Seth at first because Seth’s a pretty tough guy, but he’d probably win because he can reverse time and he also has super strength and he can do a bunch of other stuff. So if anything was going bad, he could just go back in time and redo it. So it’s kind of unfair.
Q: Alexander, did you know AnnaSophia before this movie?
Alexander: Before my final audition, we met in the room with each other, just to see [if there was] chemistry . . . then after I booked the role, we started meeting a lot and started discussing our roles and where we wanted this movie to go. So I knew her from there. And honestly, we just connected like that. She’s just amazing. We just had so much fun on set. We were literally like brother and sister. It was awesome.
[Nancy] That must have been easy then — playing brother and sister! Too bad the super power thing didn’t come naturally.
Q: AnnaSophia, you wrote a short story called “Backseat Swamp.” Do you plan to write anything else?
AnnaSophia: I have been writing a lot of school papers lately; does that count? I am working on developing a book, but it is in the early, early stages.
[Nancy] It would be awesome if Scholastic published her book! Let me know, AnnaSophia, and I’ll just give one of the editors a call . . . Just kidding again. I don’t have that kind of power at all.
Q: AnnaSophia, do you plan to write or record any more music, since you contributed to the Bridge to Terabithia soundtrack?
AnnaSophia: I’m not sure. I’ve been super busy with school and acting, but I am trying to keep voice lessons up between everything else.
Q: What type of books did you like to read as a child?
AnnaSophia: I liked fiction. Well, I still do. But my favorite book to read growing up that I was most excited about was the Harry Potter series.
Alexander: I don’t know what my favorite storybook is Robin Hood and — oh, I loved pirates and cowboys. Anything that had that in it, I was all over it.
[Nancy] I don’t know about cowboys, Alexander, but they are making another Pirates movie . . .
Q: Do you like to read when you travel? Where is your fave place to read?
AnnaSophia: I read all the time when I travel; it’s a great way to kill time, learn, and enjoy yourself all at the same time. I do most of my reading on planes. My favorite place to read is on the couch in our living room. My dog comes up and snuggles right beside me.
Alexander: I like to read scripts when I travel! [laughs] Favorite place to read — yeah, reading before I go to bed is usually what I do, but my favorite would be by a fire or, like, in my cabin, I usually read when the fireplace is on. It’s really relaxing. Or in Hawaii, on one of those beaches, just relaxing and reading there; that would be awesome.
Q: What character would you like to play (or voice) from your fave childhood book?
AnnaSophia: Childhood book? Well I think it could be fun to make a movie out of the “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” but that’s a picture book. I am trying right now to make a movie with two books that I just love [both for ages 12 and up], A Summer of Kings and Bloody Jack.
Alexander: I’d love to play — he’s not a super in-depth character, but he’d be amazing — I’d love to play Robin Hood . . . I’m probably too young to play it and Tom Hanks has probably already taken that, but the character from Angels and Demons [a book for adults by Dan Brown].
Q: What are some books you recommend for kids to read?
AnnaSophia: The Outsiders, Stargirl, A Summer of Kings, Bloody Jack (its a series), and Ender’s Game.
Alexander: I’d recommend — this is sort of a deep concept, but I loved it when I was about in middle school — Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I read it when I was about in grade four. It teaches you about World War II, and it’s a really great book. It’s about the Holocaust and a girl and her stories. I’d recommend Harry Potter. That’s just amazing. I love Harry Potter because it really just takes you into another world and I love that.
Q: Do you have a fave author?
Alexander: Favorite author . . . I’d probably have to say J. K. Rowling because she’s had such success with her books. I love Harry Potter books. They’re fantastic.
Q: What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
AnnaSophia: I like history and English. I love history because what we are studying right now is interesting to me (WWII) and we have great discussions in class. English because it is such a different class and we are taught and learn in ways that I have never experienced before.
Q: When did you know you wanted to act — what does acting mean to you?
AnnaSophia: I have wanted to act ever since I was very little — as long as I can remember. There was just something inside me that made me want to perform. Acting is part of who I am, it’s what makes me an individual. I want to be able to share stories and characters and messages with the world. Charlize Theron is probably my biggest influence; I worked with her in Sleepwalking.
Alexander: When I was about nine, I started getting it in my mind, because I love magic and movies were like magic to me and I never knew how it was done; I wanted to get the mystery solved. I also just loved watching movies. So when I was just nine, I started getting the idea of it. But when I filmed The Seeker, that was sort of a reassurance for me that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. This is my passion and I wouldn’t feel whole if I wasn’t doing it, because it’s really what I love to do and I’ve been having so much fun and so much success. I’ve been so fortunate, and hopefully it continues.
Q: Do you have a celebrity crush?
AnnaSophia: Jake Gyllenhaal is pretty cute.
[Nancy] Sorry, AnnaSophia, but Karen (STACKS Staffer and Ink Splot Editor) has already claimed him. So back off!
[Editor's Note] Although I thank Nancy for her good intentions, I’d like to make it clear that at Ink Splot 26, it’s not our policy to fight with celebrities over boys. That being said, Jake is totally mine.
Q: All-time fave movie or actor/actress/director?
AnnaSophia: Meryl Streep. She can do all sorts of movies and she nails every single one of the different characters she plays.
Alexander: Director: Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese. Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. Actress: Meryl Streep, absolutely. Have you seen The Kingdom with Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner? She’s phenomenal in that. She would be very fun to work with. Actually, Angelina Jolie! That would be awesome! That would be sick! And maybe Jennifer Aniston.
[Nancy] . . . And it sounds like Alexander has a celebrity crush on Jennifer Garner, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston.
Q: Do you remember your first Valentine?
Alexander: Do I remember my first Valentine? I do remember my first Valentine. It was actually in preschool. I had a mad crush on her . . . And we sort of had that puppy love for a really, really long time and Valentine’s Day we gave each other letters.
Q: What was the most embarrassing moment at school?
AnnaSophia: Probably the first week of school. I was walking down the hall after school and the entire football team was walking the other direction. I was run over. I felt so in the way, so little, so much like a freshman . . .
Alexander: So we do these public speaking awards or competitions, and I was in the finals. I think I was like — it must have been three years ago. And I was in the finals, speaking for gold, and I finished my speech and I was walking over to the right of the stage, going down the stairs, and I completely trip and bail and completely fall in front of the entire school. It was so embarrassing, I cannot even tell you. It was so funny in the end; you just kind of laugh it off.
Q: If you could be anything other than an actor, what would it be?
AnnaSophia: A psychologist, I think.
Alexander: A rock star. Hands down.
[Nancy] I love how different their responses are! AnnaSophia is serious and Alexander just wants to rock out.
Q: Alexander, if you could perform with any musical artist, who would it be?
Alexander: If I could perform with any artist, I’d definitely perform with Jeck. They’re an Australian band; they’re fantastic . . . I guess I couldn’t say The Beatles any more! But probably Justin Timberlake because I went to one of his concerts and he is such a good performer it’s crazy. And probably maybe U2 or something. Or Nickelback. I don’t know. Something that’s a really big adrenaline rush with a bunch of — AC/DC would be awesome to perform with! I just saw their concert, one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.
Q: Do you remember the first concert you ever went to?
Alexander: It was Backstreet Boys! And guess who I took? I took that girl that I told you about, in preschool.
[Nancy] Alexander and AnnaSophia were awesome in this interview! Race to Witch Mountain comes out this weekend. If you watch it or plan to watch it eventually, remember to sign in to THE STACKS on Saturday for the LIVE chat to talk with other kids about movies, books, and more! (Of course, you should also join the chat even if you have no interest in Race to Witch Mountain at all — but if that were the case, you probably wouldn’t have made it all the way to the end of this blog entry!)
— Nancy, STACKS Staffer
Photo credit, Race to Witch Mountain cast photos: Ron Phillips, (c) 2008 Disney Enterprises, Inc.