After seeing Super 8 in theaters this summer, it was so hard to believe that it was 15-year-old Joel Courtney's first role ever! Super 8 tells the story of a group of best friends who witness a train crash and then a strange (and sometimes scary) series of unexplained events. Originally hoping to make $100 in a commercial over his summer vacation, Joel wound up landing the role of a lifetime as the group's leader, Joe Lamb -- and has since signed on for many more projects, like The Healer with Isabelle Fuhrman and Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn alongside Jake T. Austin. Super 8 is out on DVD now and we caught up with Joel to find out what it was really like filming one of the biggest movies of the year!
J-14: You have tons of scenes with Elle Fanning in the movie. What was it like working with her?
Joel Courtney: It was a lot of fun. She's been in the business a long time, but she's still a regular chick. Sometimes on set, the guys would be having a little too much fun, you know? And she was always very serious. She knew what she was doing there.
J-14: Oh yeah, you must've bonded with all the guys who played your best friends, right?
Joel: The set was kind of -- not mayhem, but close! -- when all the guys were together. I don't know how the crew handled us! Whenever Gabe [Basso] or Ryan [Lee] walk into a room, the volume rises. We got along really well and by the end of the four months, we were brothers.
J-14: What did your friends back home say when they saw you on the big screen for the first time?
Joel: Some of my friends didn't actually believe me that I was in the movie -- they thought I was skipping school for four months! When I got back, the first trailer played during the Super Bowl and they were like, "Okay, he was doing something!"
J-14:Why is Super 8 the perfect holiday gift?
Joel: It's a great gift for multiple people! For the older people, it would a fun flashback for them. And for the younger generation, they can see a really good coming of age story and have a really good laugh. Personally, I think the comedy scenes between the guys in this movie are amazing. And you can go and get really scared. There are some scenes that still make me jump.
J-14: And what's on your wish-list this Christmas?
Joel: I got a GoPro as a gift from one of the producers on The Healer, so I want to get some more add-ons. You can put it on your helmet and video record whatever you're doing in high definition. And I just got my first snowboard so when I go snowboarding, I want to take some awesome videos!
Photo Credit: Tony Dimaio/Startraks Photo