We are so grateful to have connected with Lyon Daniels and his family! Liam and Maggie loved coming up with the interview questions and our whole family can’t get enough of the movie “We Can Be Heroes”!
Photo Credit: Lilly K Photography
How did you feel and celebrate when you found out you received the part of Noodles in “We Can Be Heroes”?
When I found out that I was offered the role of Noodles I screamed and ran around the block! My mom had just picked me up at my school bus stop and said to me, “can I have your autograph Noodles?” I looked at her trying to process what she had just said and then she told me that I got the part! I jumped higher than I think is actually humanly possible and I did like 3 laps running around my neighborhood block screaming at the top of my lungs!
Liam & Maggie loved the special effects of this movie and they have so many questions about how it was made: They both want to know – How do you “noodle” and get so stretchy?
Well, every day I would practice stretching my neck and arms, ha-ha I’m just kidding! Luckily, we had an amazing VFX team that actually worked on some huge superhero films such as Alita Battle Angel, Deadpool and Suicide Squad. I recommend watching this really cool behind the scenes video Netflix released called Robert Rodriguez Breaks Down the Visual Effects in We Can Be Heroes
What do you do to practice and rehearse for a role or work on acting skills?
When my team sends me a new audition, I do have a process that I go through. First, I read the character break down that is included with the audition sides. I like to get to know who this character is so I can figure out my own, unique way to connect to him. I research the director and casting directors to get an idea of their previous work, so I know what they like and am familiar with the past projects that they have worked on. Last, I work on learning and memorizing the scene line by line and in between the lines. I do this by reading it with my mom over and over again until I can do it without looking. My mom reads the other character and I say my lines over and over again. A lot of new actors start out just memorize the lines, but in order to stand out and have a real chance you have to read between the lines to bring out what emotions the character is feeling. If you do this, then the character comes to life and you are not just sounding like you are just saying memorized lines like a robot. Casting directors want to see your own interpretation of the character, so you need to bring your own personality to the character in order to stand out.
What is a typical day on set like?
We would have a set call time and a van would come and pick us up from the hotel at our specific call time. The van would drive us to the studio and drop us off where we would walk over to our trailers and change into our costume wardrobe that would be hanging in the closet. Then we would walk over to the hair and make-up trailer where we would get our hair and make-up applied for the day. We would go back to our trailers and someone would deliver us our breakfast to eat really quick before we had to get to set. Once we got called to set, we would walk over to the studio and begin working on our scenes with our director Robert Rodriguez. We would do some practice takes before we really filmed to make sure we were all on the same page with what we had to do. Since we are minors and still in school some of us would have to leave to break for set school. There was a set school trailer that we would go in to work on homework and then we would get back to set. We also all had our own “pumpkin times” they called it which means the time we could legally work until since we are minors. We are not allowed to work longer than I believe 8 hours a day from our start call times.
Congratulations on “We Can Be Heroes” having a sequel! We love how all of the superheroes need to work together in the first movie. Are you able to share the storyline or anything about the sequel?
Unfortunately, I do not know anything more about the sequel then you do right now! I just know that I am so excited to get back to filming and bringing Noodles to life again! I am older and more experienced now, so I feel like I am even more ready to come back and bring a new perspective to my character.
We read that you enjoy drawing, illustrating comics and making movies! We love all of those things too! We even work with our friends in the neighborhood to make movies with our light sabers and tablets. My parents also gave me flip animation books. Do you have any tips on these hobbies?
Well, I would say to watch Youtube video guides and to keep doing it because my first film wasn’t the best and when I kept filming and editing, I got better. So, if you keep practicing, you’ll get the hang of it.
Liam and Maggie would love to be involved in the entertainment industry. Do you have any insight for kids who want to act or be involved in making movies?
I would say to keep practicing and get involved with any drama classes or school plays that you can. Read a lot of books, watch a lot of different types of movies and get a lot of different perspectives. You need to have things to pull from so you need to be exposed to a lot of different cultures, stories and points of view. You have to have thick skin because this industry does have a lot of rejection. I probably did over 100 self-tape auditions before booking a role so it’s easy to get discouraged. You have to remember that just because you didn’t get the part does not mean that you are not a good actor. Most of the time it comes down to look first so you may be too tall or too short or too skinny etc. So many variables that are out of your control, so you just need do your best each time.
I would also say that when you are a child actor it is a family sacrifice and effort. If you book a movie, you have to be prepared to travel and leave your family for months at a time. Sometimes only one parent is allowed to go with you, so it is hard to separate from your family for months at a time. You have to be committed and prepared for that. You also have to be financially committed to take risks and possibly have to pay to fly to Los Angeles for a call back audition with a chance you will not get the part.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a huge dinosaur enthusiast. I was recently interviewed for a fun documentary for dinosaur enthusiasts called, “Why Dinosaurs?”. A father and son went on an adventure around the world interviewing top dinosaur paleontologist experts and dinosaur enthusiasts like myself to find the answer to Why Dinosaurs? Why are people so fascinated by dinosaurs? Some of the people interviewed were involved with the Jurassic Park franchise, which is my favorite movie of all time! The documentary project does not have a home yet, but you can follow along on Instagram @WhyDinosaurs
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?
A few of my favorites would be to reach for the stars, but always keep your feet on the ground. I also have taken with me a cool piece of advice from my TV dad on the Amazon Prime series Patriot. My TV dad, Michael Churnus told me that while he was filming Men in Black with Will Smith, Will told him not to worry because “movies are made in pieces.”
Where did you and your family live in Lake County, IL and what were your favorite things to do in the area with your family?
I was born in Evanston, but my family lived in various North suburbs from when I was age 3-12. We lived in Kildeer, Vernon Hills and Gurnee. I loved going to the Vernon Hills water park because they had a really fun lazy river that would dump water on your head! I loved going to Jay’s camp every summer in Long Grove and I of course loved going to Great America when we lived in Gurnee. I especially loved Freight Fest since I’m a big horror movie fanatic. Picnic Basket was our favorite – please tell them we say hello!
We look forward to seeing you in the sequel, on the documentary “Why Dinosaurs”? and on your Instagram @lyondanielsofficial
Thank you for your time and sharing your story with Sarah, Liam and Maggie and the whole Libertyville Area Moms Network!
Follow Lyon Daniels on Instagram: @lyondanielsofficial
*Head Shot Photo Credit to Lilly K Photography. All other photos are from @lyondanielsofficial Instagram account with his parents permission, of course!