Aliens in the Attic: Interview with Austin Butler
This Friday, July 31st, prepare for an invasion. ALIENS. ATTACK. MAINE. And possibly the world. Don't believe me? Check out the official, legitimate, totally approved movie trailer for Aliens in the Attic, the new movie starring Austin Robert Butler, Carter Jenkins, and Ashley Tisdale!
See what I mean? In this movie, Jake (Austin Robert Butler) and his family meet up with his cousins Tom (Carter Jenkins) and Bethany (Ashley Tisdale) and their family for what they think is a peaceful vacation in Maine. However, creepy but somewhat cute aliens have also arrived at their vacation house, and they have OTHER ideas. One of which includes taking over the earth. When the aliens pull out mind-control guns, they find they don't work on kids. So it's up to the kids to save their parents, and the earth before bedtime!
We nabbed an interview with Austin Robert Butler. You may remember him as the heart-throb James from Zoey 101, or Jake from iCarly (one of my absolute favorite episodes was iLike Jake!). Check out our interview. It was outta this world!
Q: Okay, first of all tell me about Aliens in the Attic. Tell me about the plot and describe your character.
Austin: Well, the movie's about a group of kids who have to defend their home - and the world - from aliens that have landed on their vacation home. The kids find out that the aliens can control their parents, and therefore all the adults, so they have to fight them off themselves. Jake watches too many action movies, so he's really energetic and he wants to be an action hero so he does everything to the extreme. Like if he has to grab something off the floor, he does a dive and roll. So he was really fun to play. I got to do all those Die Hard things that I always wanted to do.
Q: Are you the love interest for Ashley Tisdale?
Austin: No, actually Ashley Tisdale plays my cousin and then Carter Jenkins plays her brother and he's the opposite of me in the story. He's a deep thinker, so he always wants to think about things before we do it, but then I want to just do it and go attack. And he's like, “No, we need to think about this kind of thing.” So there's that contrast between us.
Q: What was it like working with Ashley?
Austin: She was great. We became really close after that. She's so down to earth and so nice. And it's funny, because we were so similar that she would always act like I was her twin, because on set we would compete at who could get tanner, because we were out in the sun so much. And so it was really fun. I love her.
Q: Did you have any preconceived ideas about her with the whole High School Musical phenomenon? Was she like you thought she was going to be?
Austin: Of course I'd seen so much on High School Musical, and so I pictured Ashley to be kind of stuck up or something like that. Because it's such a huge thing you would think that that's how the person would be, but she's nothing like that. You would never even know that she was in High School Musical or anything. She was so down to earth and so nice!
Q: Did she have any of her dogs with her?
Austin: She didn't. Not in New Zealand [where the movie was shot]. She was there for five weeks. So while she was there, she had to go film High School Musical 3, and so they flew her out for five weeks and filmed all her coverage.
[RATHA] Cool! So if she was filming HSM 3 while she was filming Aliens in the Attic . . . wonder if she has the same look in these two movies? I'll have to check!
Q: When you were a little kid, what were your favorite movies? What did you like to watch?
Austin: I always loved Arnold Schwarzenegger movies like Commando and stuff. And I also love the Die Hard movies. So I've always been really into action movies. Since I was little that was my favorite type of film.
Q: Did they have stunt doubles in this or did you get to do most of your stunts?
Austin: They had stuntmen there the whole time . . . But there's only one stunt that I didn't do [that the stuntman did] and that was rolling down this huge flight of stairs. The guy who was my stunt double ended up cutting his arm open and so I was really happy I didn't do it. But I did get to do a lot of really cool stunts, so that was great, like jumping off a two-story building type thing. It was really cool.
[RATHA] Yikes! You couldn't pay me a million dollars to jump off a two-story building. Unless . . . maybe you paid me in chocolate . . .
Q: It's not a scary movie. It's kind of a-
Austin: Yeah, it's kind of like E.T.
Q: Sort of alien-friendly.
Austin: Yeah, and it started out more scary. More- I think it would be scarier for kids the first script that I read, but they kind of made it more kid friendly as it's gone on and now they've got Josh Peck doing one of the voices of the aliens I heard. I don't know if that's confidential. I don't know if I should say anything about that, but that's what I heard.
Q: I was reading that you were discovered at the Orange County Fair [in California]. Had you thought about acting before that at all?
Austin: No. I never thought it was a possibility kind of thing. I'd always loved movies. I remember watching The Good, The Bad and the Ugly when I was like six, and I loved it. And I love movies. I watch them all the time; my dad is a huge movie buff. But it's just one of those things that I never even had the vaguest idea that it could be possible and so when it started to happen, that's I think why I jumped on it so much. When I saw that it could actually happen, I just completely went for it and it worked out.
Q: You've worked on some of the hottest sitcoms. Was that a lot of fun, meeting all these new young stars? Working on Hannah Montana and Zoey 101 and all that?
Austin: It's so cool. The coolest part is when you meet them. I mean these shows are huge, but when you're actually on the show they're just kids! And that's the coolest part for me - that it's just kids are kids. And I love that.
Q: Now you're getting your own show, Ruby and the Rockits. Tell me about that.
Austin: It's a story about two brothers who used to be teen idols. Now they're older and one of them is David Cassidy and he still plays at casinos and stuff, still milking his teen years. And the other brother is Patrick Cassidy and he doesn't want to do it any more. He owns a car dealership, and then I play his son. So he wants me to go to college first and he doesn't want me to go after music right now. But I really want to be a musician. So that's really fun for me because I play the guitar and stuff. I've played guitar and piano for a while, so it's really fun to play music on film.
Q: Now this is going to be on ABC Family?
Q: And Shaun Cassidy - is he connected with it too?
Austin: Yeah, he produces and writes it. I love going into Shaun's office and he's got some of the posters of him and his album covers. My mom had posters of him in her room. It's such a surreal experience.
[RATHA: Ooooh . . . dreamy. Check out this poster pin-up of Shaun Cassidy. He used to be a heart-throb when our parents & grandparents were kids!]
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Austin: I've got an older sister. She's twenty-two.
Q: So the brother siblings is something new to you.
Austin: Yeah. I've never had a brother. I always thought that it was cool to have a brother. I mean, I love my sister and it's cool, because she was kind of like a second mother. She taught me how to tie my shoes and wash my hair and all that kind of stuff. It was really nice because she's five years older, so she always wanted to be like my mother.
Q: Usually when the younger one is born, that's the older one's baby doll.
Austin: Yeah, she would dress me up. My dad would have to keep her from putting lipstick on me and stuff.
Q: You said that you play guitar and I read that you play piano. How long have you been playing music?
Austin: I've been playing guitar for I think five years and piano for maybe two.
Q: Do you write music?
Austin: Yeah, a little bit. I haven't as much as I would like to, but I do, especially when I started playing piano, because piano is such a straightforward instrument. It's so- it's not quite as mysterious as the guitar so it kind of opened up music to me.
Q: So Jordan in Ruby - he likes depressing music, so what kind of music do you like?
Austin: I am such a music fiend. I go after so many different types of music. I'm on iTunes constantly just buying new music! When I started off playing guitar I listened to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and the old Led Zeppelin. Lately, I've gotten into more alternative type music like Beck and Rage Against the Machine and stuff.
Q: Now all of those people were playing music before you were even thought of. How did you get introduced to them?
Austin: I had a friend who started playing the guitar around the same time I did and his dad was a real rock and roller. He played guitar when he was little, which was when Jimi Hendrix was around and stuff. So he had all the CDs and then he gave them to my friend and then my friend gave them to me. And that's before I even had an iPod or anything like that so those were like my first CDs. Once I got those I was like, “Well what else is out there?” I started getting into new music and just researching. I'm constantly finding new bands and stuff.
Q: On an average, how many songs do you download a month?
Austin: [Laughs] Oh man. Let's see, I've been trying to not go too crazy. Maybe . . . twenty songs. That's where my paycheck goes, to my music.
Q: What three books would you recommend for a twelve, thirteen, fourteen year old? Books that really impressed you or you really enjoyed?
Austin: Oh man. Okay. Let me see if I can remember their names. The Giver. I absolutely love that book.
[RATHA] I've never read that! I'll have to check it out.
And right now I'm reading 1984 [a classic for ages 12 and up]. I love that book. I'm reading that right now and it's such a political book.
Let's see, what's the third one? Oh! You know what I read when I was little and I loved it was The Time Machine. H.G. Wells.
Austin: I love the books that are written a long time ago and it's kind of like, "This guy's been dead for like two hundred years but I'm reading his writing." It's such a thrilling experience.
Q: Is there a literary character that you would love to play in a movie?
Austin: Ooh. Let's see. I always thought it would be cool to play the kid in Treasure Island. I bet that'd be really fun.
Q: Do you have any most embarrassing moments when you were in school or with your friends?
Austin: One of my friends spilled a whole milk carton all over my pants once, and it looked like I peed. And I remember having to walk to the office [in school] and I wanted to explain to everyone around that was in the whole auditorium that I didn't pee, but you can't really do that so I had to walk shamefully to the office. They called my mom and she wasn't home, so they had to give me a pair of pants that were way too short on me. And so then I had to live the rest of the day in these tiny pants. That was pretty embarrassing.
[RATHA] OMG! That takes the cake. Sorry Austin, but I was ROTFL reading that one! You would be the winner of our How I Survived Middle School Hall of Shame stories!
Q: Austin thank you so much! It was nice talking to you!
Austin: Alright thank you so much!
Q: Take care.
So there you have it! Are you going to witness the alien invasion?! (i.e. see the movie) If so, let me know what you think. And if you're a fan of Austin Robert Butler, give us a shout in the comments!
— Ratha, STACKS Writer
Interview conducted by Marie Morreale