EUGENE SIMON in House of Anubis
19-year-old Eugene Simon plays Jerome on House of Anubis. It’s kind of a mystery/soap opera/fantasy set in a British boarding school, so it’s got a little of everything. We spoke to Eugene about the show, about his own boarding school experiences with bullies, his favorite American fast food, and the best advice he ever got. Read on. . .
Q: Why do you think kids love House of Anubis?
Eugene: I think what kids really enjoy is that brilliant balance between a somewhat realistic social life of kids ages 13 to 16, but incorporate the mystery into it in a way that makes it real enough for us to enjoy the ride. I think people really like that, a combination of the mystery and the social life.
Q: Tell me about your character, Jerome. Is it fun playing the sly guy?
Eugene: It is. I wouldn’t want to be any character other than Jerome. When you first meet him, this appears to be your standard prankster who doesn’t have much incentive other than to just make pranks because they are simply funny. When you come to the mid-part of the first season, it’s incredibly fun to see that he has this underlying personal problem that relates back to his family, this somewhat neglected childhood that has resulted in him being sort of a closed kind of guy. When I discovered that he was this person who had been sort of denied a real father in his life, it occurred to me that the slyness we see of Jerome is him trying to put off the fact that he is actually quite a sensitive guy.
Q: Do you have a favorite episode or scene?
Eugene: It’s a comedy scene: me eating the creamed carrots. I mean, as painful as that was, and it really did hurt, it was very fun to do. I would also say that one of my favorite scenes in the second season was towards the end with Jasper. Some of the storylines that Jasper and Jerome have together are incredibly exciting. It’s a very good pair. Jasper turns out to be quite a different character. He looks like a nice guy, but is actually an informant. He turns out to be quite an interesting character later in the series. So I enjoyed my scenes with him.
Q: Do you have a favorite prop from House of Anubis?
Eugene: I definitely enjoyed . . . the gem [in season 2]! Also just any prop that I have to use within the library. The library is my favorite set really. So the props I had to use in there were great.
Q: Do any of your actual experiences in boarding school come into play?
Eugene: Yeah, they do. Initially, I very strongly based Jerome on a rather unpleasant character that I knew at my boarding school, who has the same sort of social issues with his family that Jerome had. So my experience at boarding school was absolutely very important for that. And also, very often I had a room buddy rather like Alfie or like Alex – you know, this incredibly wacky, funny but sort of easy-to-con kind of guy. So boarding school was important for me to have a better understanding of the show.
Q: Were you ever bullied at boarding school?
Eugene: Yeah. It was three years of subtle but intense bullying that was orchestrated by one character who had a real problem with me, and essentially used people’s fear of him to turn them against me. He was a kind of ringleader who turned about 10 of my friends against me, and I left with no real friends. But as sad as that sounds, I learned a lot, you know, and it happens to the best of us. Everyone to some degree has been bullied at school. I think the most important thing is you take something away from it, an understanding of people and how shallow they can be sometimes.
A lot of attention was drawn towards me because I arrived as “the actor.” I was called Eugene Simon, Child Actor. I never really got the opportunity to be me because I was labeled. [After that] when I went to my new boarding school, I loved it because I never told anybody that I was an actor. I allowed them to get to know me first, and then one day one of my friends said, “Eugene, are you in something called My Family and Other Animals?” And then they all suddenly found out that I was an actor. But they got to know me by this point. They knew who I was, not what I was, which is important.
Q: What’s your favorite American fast food?
Eugene: One of the first days [in L.A.], I went to In-N-Out Burger and it was unbelievable. I got a Double-Double with a vanilla milkshake and fries, and I almost cried, it was so good.
Q: What is the best advice you ever got?
Eugene: A friend of mine said to me, “Eugene, you must remember something. Having agents, having managers, having publicists, this is obviously very useful. But don’t forget that even without these guys, nothing can stop you. Nothing can stop you.”
That’s great advice! Nothing can stop you! What do you think? Are you a fan of Eugene in House of Anubis? Leave a Comment!
Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon
Interview by Marie Morreale