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July 2006
MONSTER HOUSE: An Interview with Spencer Locke, Mitchell Musso, and Sam Lerner

MONSTER HOUSE: An Interview with Spencer Locke, Mitchell Musso, and Sam Lerner
By Wilson Morales
July 17, 2006

Coming out on July 21st is a new animated film from executive producers Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg called “Monster House”, a house that is appears spooky and mysterious that when three kids across the street go inside to check it out, they experience the greatest adventures of their lives. Blackfilm.com recently spoke to Spencer Locke, Mitchell Musso, and Sam Lerner, the kids who play the leads in the film and they spoke about the fun they had on the set and working with Steve Buscemi.


How do you feel when you see yourself in this animated film?

Spencer Locke: It’s definitely weird because it is me, but it isn’t and it was kinda weird to see that.

Sam Lerner: It’s us doing all the expressions and we acted the parts out so it’s really us out there with just a different person.

Mitchell Musso: We’re totally different but if you hung out with Sam for a day, you can see that those are Sam’s reactions. That’s how he acts.


How did you get the part? Did you read for it?

Sam: We read for it probably like 8 or 9 times each and then we had a mix and match with us three and I actually remember that we had great chemistry together.

Mitchell: We knew something was up because they would put me and Sam and someone and then me, someone, and then Spencer, and then they would bring us three in, do a couple of more people, and then bring us three back in.

Sam: They got the parts first and then I was told I didn’t get the part and I really wanted it and it was between me and another kid and I just forgot it. Three weeks later, they called back and were like, “We just thought that you might sound or look too much like DJ, Mitchell’s character.” I came back and just worked with the director and he had me make my voice a little raspier than it is, so I can try to sound less than DJ and I got the part and I was so happy.


Did you get to meet Producer Robert Zemeckis?

Mitchell: Robert came like two or three times but I think Steven Spielberg was out filming War of the Worlds, but Zemeckis was really nice.

Spencer: I can’t wait to meet Spielberg.


What’s the thing that impressed you most, in terms of skill or talent, about the director?

Spencer: He was always excited about it.

Sam: He was loose about everything. He wasn’t uptight and telling us what to do. He would say, ‘Here’s the lines, you just do it because I know in your hands” and he really trusted us with all the parts and so far, it’s turned out amazing.


When you saw the film, what was it that surprised you about what you saw?

Mitchell: I personally liked the sound. It makes the movie so much better.

Sam: Just to see it from what we worked in. They threw in stuff that we didn’t even know that was coming because it’s animated and we also had to do it so they could just put something in.


Was it exciting working with Kathleen Turner?

Sam: We did have a scene with her but it was cut out of the movie. She also got to be the Monster House. They would put her in this 20 x 20 stage and she would use her hands as the trees and just walk around. They took her voice and made her this monster house. It was so crazy.


This film is a bit scary in the beginning. Is there a film that you remember that was similar to this one?

Spencer: I remember I was very little and I saw the movie “The Haunting”. The house, that big mansion, comes alive. That movie always scared me. The newer film, not the old one. I would cry my eyes out. It still has that exciting scary feeling even if it’s hilarious.

Sam: This film is like, not like a gross out film, but like pop out roller coaster ride.

Mitchell: It really is like a roller coaster ride. They can really make this into a ride at a theme park.


What are you doing next?

Spencer: I just got back from Mexico filming for 8 weeks for "Resident Evil 3:". It was amazing. I play K-Mart. She was found in a K-Mart by the rest of the convoy and Claire and Alice. K-Mart has a strong relationship with Alice and Carlos. She looks up to them in a way and Claire is like the big sister. We all have to stick together as we're trying to find a safe place to go.

Sam: I did a pilot with Brett Ratner. It’s untitled starring John Leguizamo. I actually play John Leguizamo’s son.

Mitchell: Right now, I’m working on “Hannah Montana”, which is really awesome and on the edge and everyone’s loving the show, so we’ll see.


Do you get to go to regular school or do you get tutored?

Sam: I go to regular school.

Spencer: We do home schooling, which is easier because when you are on the set, you don’t have to worry about missing school. You have to do three hours a day.

Mitchell: Of course, we have set teachers.


How long have you been home schooled?

Spencer: I started when I was in the sixth grade, and I just finished the ninth.

Mitchell: I just finished seventh.

Sam: I’m in regular school and I’m going to the ninth grade.


What drew you to the business in the first place?

Sam: My dad. My dad’s an actor.

Mitchell: We all have a little acting in our family like my mom and my dad did a lot of community theater and I would go up there when I was younger and watch and my little brother got parts on commercials and I was like, “That looks fun. Why not give it a shot”.

Spencer: I started when I was little with acting classes and I loved it and then I got an agent and then made the move to Los Angeles from Florida.


How was it like working with Steve Buscemi?

Mitchell: He’s so much fun. Me and Sam and Spencer would actually make movies on set and we’d run by Steve because at this time we were like so star-strucked and we still are, but this guy is a huge actor in Hollywood and we would show him these small movies that we would make with our camera and he would rate them from 1 to 10 if they were good or not. Of course, we’d say it was a 10. We would go home and laugh and say that it was so cool.


MONSTER HOUSE opens on July 21st, 2006


 

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