Ryan Ochoa used to be on iCarly. Now he plays Lanny on Disney's Pair of Kings. And, as if that didn't keep him busy enough, he's also done a few movies: A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey, The Perfect Game, and most recently, Mars Needs Moms. (I love this video of him with his little brothers at the premiere.) That's a lot for someone who will only turn fifteen on May 17th! Our Scholastic interviewer caught up with him to ask him about his different roles and what his life is really like.
Q: Can you compare Pair of Kings' Lanny to iCarly's Chuck?
Ryan: They're really similar actually. They're both kind of jealous, mean, mischievous, conniving kids who are trying to achieve their goal. I mean Chuck just wanted to have as much revenge on Spencer as he possibly could for treating him wrong. It's different though with Lanny because the kings are his cousins and he's still trying to get rid of them any way he can, but Lanny is so much fun to play, and you know, I get to do all these different pranks all the time. Then in the second season there's some crazy stuff that I get to do. There are so many stunts I get to do and hair and makeup. It's fun though, and I can't wait for people to see the new episode. There are some really wild last episodes of the first season with the island giant, who the kings have to fight, and then the kings go back to prom. There's some really fun stuff coming up. So it is fun obviously to play a bad boy.
Q: Does Lanny have any good qualities?
Ryan: Oh yeah, I mean he actually is really dedicated and he's really motivated to achieve what he wants. I mean, his goal is not the best thing in the world, but no, Lanny loves his cousins, but he just wants what's right. It's all good though.
Q: Do you have any favorite episodes that you've done?
Ryan: People always ask me this and every episode there was something different about it that made it so much fun, and we had a great time filming every one. Last season there was a lot. I mean, I liked "No Kings Allowed" where they steal my fish, Yamakoshi. The last episode, where the kings try to see who's older – it's really action packed, and I really enjoyed that one too.
Q: Could you describe Mitchel Musso and Doc Shaw (who play the kings in Pair of Kings)?
Ryan: They're like my older brothers. We're always laughing. I just started like my own journal. I always talk about how we're always hanging out and we talk about bro stuff. We've been to Mitchel's concerts, and actually the whole cast came to the premiere of my film Mars Needs Moms that just came out. So that was really cool. We're just a big family who is having fun on set and some crazy episodes.
Q: What is your favorite book of all time?
Ryan: My teacher actually, she's always talked to me about two books called Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow (both for ages 12 and up), but I never got around to reading them. Once I read them, it's amazing. I love the books. It's about Ender who was a genius on Earth, and the government needs all these geniuses to come to space and help them fight this war with aliens that they don't know if it's going to happen in six months or fifteen years. To me, I would love it to be made into a movie, but there's a lot of stuff in it. There's zero gravity battle rooms. It's an intense book. I love it and Ender's Shadow, which is the sequel.
Q: Your favorite sports are football and baseball. What positions do you play?
Ryan: Normally I play wide receiver for football. I like playing wide out and running deep and stuff and catching the football, but I also like playing quarterback too. And baseball – I did a baseball movie called The Perfect Game and I played catcher and that's an awesome position to play because you get to be under pressure. You get to call everything and be in control. I love it. I'm a big time Oakland Raiders fan. I love the Raiders.
Q: Did Jim Carrey give you any advice on the set of A Christmas Carol, or did he just make you laugh?
Ryan: Oh geez. I mean making me laugh was the most important one. I had my own scene with him so we got to work together for a full day, and man, it's hard to keep a straight face in a scene with him. I remember we were watching him on the screen, just him, and he was playing Scrooge. He had his long face and his smirk and he would just walk around really slow and do like these snarls at people in the scene. It was so funny. I was like, "It's funny how he's playing a mean guy right now, but we're all here laughing and he's a really funny guy." But no, he's actually really cool. He'd come up to me and he's like, "Keep it up." I was like, "Thank you." It meant a lot to me coming from Jim Carrey.
Q: If you weren't acting, what do you think you would be doing?
Ryan: I'm a big sports fan so I'd probably want to play sports, but it's hard for me because I'm also really small. I mean I'm not the tallest guy in the world, so playing basketball would be a hard option, but just to play for fun and hopefully be a football player. But acting is my dream, and I hope I can continue to act for as long as I can.
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to act?
Ryan: All my brothers act now too. It was kind of my idea to start acting, and then they followed me too into acting. But I was about five years old, and we're big WWE fans so we liked that entertainment and we're like, "I want to do that. I want to get to entertain people, and I love the movies," so I was like, "What better way than to act?"
Q: How many brothers do you have?
Ryan: I have three brothers. One older and he's eighteen. His name's Ricky. And then two younger, Robert and Raymond, and Robert is twelve and Raymond is nine. My two little brothers actually were in Mars Needs Moms with me, and my older brother just got back into the business like three months ago, so we're hoping we can do like a movie together or show, reality. No, not a reality show. [Laughter] We want to do something together. Oh yea, that'd be awesome. We're hoping. In the future.
Q: You're an honor roll student. How do you keep up with your studies?
Ryan: Well education is a very important thing for me and I always have a mindset for college just in case. It's always a huge option. I have an on-set teacher, and I do like four, sometimes five hours of school a day. When I'm not working, I go to public school and I make sure that I have all my work done before I go back, just to have a good education. And you know, I get straight A's, thankfully. Education is important and not that many kids get to have an education. That's something that every kid needs.
Q: Do you have any pets?
Ryan: Yes. I have one dog. He's a Chinese Shar Pei. His name is Rinkles, with an R, because all of my brothers, we're all R's and my dad – all the boys. Because he's a boy, he has no W. It's just Rinkles, with an R. My main chore is to feed him in the morning and at night. But I live in L.A. now, so mostly my family takes care of him. I miss my whole family. I love taking my dog out for walks and taking him to the park and throwing a football around with my family. But, it's cool. I see them every week, but just not during the week.
Well, that's the life of a successful actor! Do you watch Pair of Kings? Are you a Ryan Ochoa fan? Let us know what you think in the Comments.
Interview by Marie Morreale
Photos courtesy of Disney Channel