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Moonrise Kingdom’s Kid “Runaways” Spill All!

Jun 18, 2012

By: Lynn Barker

Suzy and Sam (age 12) are misfit tweens living in the 1960’s on an isolated island where everybody in town knows everyone else’s business. They “meet cute” and fall for each other. When personal lives become pretty miserable for both, they run away together and have the adventure of their lives.

Kara Hayward who plays Suzy and Jared Gilman who is Sam, are “newbies” to big films but you wouldn’t know it by their really awesome performances in the PG-13 film. Both age 13 now, the two actors are super smart but also just like you and your BFFs. We wanted to know all about their first filmmaking adventure!

In our Beverly Hills interview suite, Jared is munching on lunch and we share his French fries.

Kidzworld: How did you two get matched up for your parts in Moonrise Kingdom? Did director Wes Anderson put you together from the first or was someone cast in their part first?

  • Kara: I think Wes thought “these are the right kids for the right parts”. Then he worried about whether we’d be good together. They put us together and then said “Okay, all good”.

Kidzworld: Have either of you ever run away from home.. even just for a day..? If so was it an adventure or scary or boring?

  • Kara: In the movie, it’s such an adventure these kids go on and it really changes their lives and the lives of everyone else but, personally, I don’t think I’d be able to run away from home because I love my family so much.
  • Jared: Yeah. I couldn’t run away either. It would probably be one of those things like “I’m gonna run away!” and I actually do but then, a minute later, I’m locked out of the house and I’m knocking on the door crying and screaming.
    Jared and Kara at the premiere

Kidzworld: Did you like any of the 1960s clothes they put your characters in? Kara, I liked the cape you wore with the beret.

  • Kara: I loved that outfit. I had a lot of fun with the costumes. It was very interesting to see what people wore back in the ‘60’s that you don’t see anymore. Peter Pan collars are coming back.  I didn’t get to keep any costumes but I did get to keep Suzy’s cat!

Kidzworld: That is so cool that you gave the kitty a home. So Jared, did you get sick of your coonskin hat (Jared’s character Sam is a Boy Scout wearing the cap)?

  • Jared: I actually miss the coonskin hat. I don’t know why. I liked the badges. I could say “Yep, I’m a Boy Scout. I did all that. I don’t know what any of them are but I did all that!” I did take canoeing lessons before the movie and they gave me this oar to practice with and I kept that and had everyone sign it. A couple of months after filming they sent my backpack in the mail. 

Kidzworld: Jared, since you haven’t really been a Scout, what did you have to learn to play Sam?

  • Jared: I took the canoeing lessons and learned how to cook a fish over an open fire. I did some physical training. It was the 1960’s version of the Boy Scouts, the Khaki Scouts, the “beige lunatics”. (we laugh)

Suzy and Sam plan their route

Kidzworld: If you took away all our modern gadgets (i-phones, computers, ipods etc.) do you think 12 and 13-year-olds are really the same today as they were back then?

  • Kara: I think that if you take away iPhones and computers or whatever, they’re the same. They’re kids. They’ve just grown up with different resources around them. Inside it’s the same.
  • Jared: Personality-wise it’s the same.

Kidzworld: Do you two think kids are growing up too fast now and not enjoying being kids?

  • Kara: I think all the new technology has given kids and teens more freedom and that is why they seem to age too fast. More ways to contact each other.

Kidzworld: Kara, what do you think was the biggest reason Suzy ran off with Sam?

  • Kara: I think there were multiple factors. I think her love for Sam was really the main reason but her families’ troubles definitely contributed to her wanting to leave.

Kidzworld: Any fun on set between scenes?

  • Kara: Well, in between shots usually we all had a lot of fun. I hung out with all the boys.

Kidzworld: Okay, is it true that you guys never saw a typewriter before this movie?

  • Jared: Well, I knew what they were but I’d never seen one.
  • Kara: In real life I’d never seen one. On television and in films, yeah but never actually saw one. Fran (Frances McDormand who plays her mom in the film) had a lot of fun with that. She couldn’t believe it. She showed me that the keys are in the same place as now (on computers). 

Kidzworld: How are you each like your character and how very different? Was it hard to get into her “skin”?

  • Kara: I think, other than liking animals and books, Suzy and I are pretty different. Very different people. I don’t think there was anything hard to get into. In acting you haven’t always experienced what your character has so you have to imagine.

Kidzworld: Most fun scene?

  • Kara: The one with Frances McDormand where I’m in the tub. It was a very touching and innocent mother/daughter moment. It showed the characters at their most vulnerable moment and that was fun to get into.
  • Jared: There were so many fun things we did on set. A lot of the storm stuff we did was fun and a scene where we first meet. We were filming in that church and, I don’t know why but that was fun and the confrontation scene toward the end between Sam and Redford (the bully in the film played by Lucas Hedges) was great.

Kidzworld: What is a cool tip that the older famous actors in the film gave you?

  • Jared: Bill (Murray) taught me how to tie a tie. At the time I didn’t know. I’d never had to wear one before and when I was three years old and first saw a tie I ran around the house screaming “No tie! No tie!” (laughter)
  • Kara: So many good tips. At the premiere I was talking to Bill and he was so happy with the movie and said to me “the feeling of love at that age is so strong and it brings back a lot of memories”.  So I figure that when I’m a lot older that is what I’ll remember. He’s full of wisdom. “Childhood is something you treasure”.

Kidzworld: What cool book are you reading?

  • Kara: This year I read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. I loved that. Loved how old-fashioned it is.
  • Jared: I had to read Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” but I think my parents ordered me a graphic novel for “Kick A**.


Kidzworld: What kind of music are you into?

  • Jared: I like rock, alternative and indie rock. The Killers, Black Keys, White Stripes and I also like Electro.  
  • Kara: I like a variety. Two I really like are Bryan Adams and Aerosmith.

Kidzworld: Do either of you shoot your own videos like producers/directors?

  • Kara: I haven’t shot my own videos with friends but I write quite a bit, just some ideas.
  • Jared: I’m learning how to write them but I do little action scenes then go on computer and add blood and gun flashes.