By Catherine Cheng, AKOM Writer and Editor
Bobby Batson is the child star of 90 Minutes in Heaven and Evan Brinkman is the child star of TRAINWRECK. Both are on track to become talented actors, but each has a different story. Regardless, they both focus on giving back and staying humble about their careers. Read on to find out more about Bobby and Evan’s stories.
AK (Amazing Kids): How did you first get into acting? Would you consider acting a dream of yours? Why or why not?
BB (Bobby Batson): My sister Maggie and brother John are actors and they inspired me to try it. I fell in love with it at my first audition. I love getting new auditions from my agents and working with my coaches on the auditions. They make acting so much fun. Acting is a dream of mine. I love to do it! I would also like to be a veterinarian and a professional basketball player.
EB (Evan Brinkman): I was six-years-old when I participated in a summer youth workshop at my local community theater. The following summer I returned to the theater camp and landed the lead role in the play Rumpelstiltskin. I realized after that lead performance that I wanted to be an actor. I started taking acting classes and auditioning for anything available. Acting is a dream job for me. Believe it or not I can be a little shy and acting allows and encourages me to be more assertive and adventurous.
AK: Tell us a little about your first acting experience. Was it as you expected or completely shocking?
BB: My first national commercial was not what I expected. I was 5 years old. We had a call time of 6:30 pm. We didn’t start filming until about 9:30 pm. It was past my bedtime and that was very exciting to be out so late. I met Santa Claus that night and my job was to give him a cookie. It was so much fun and I fell in love with acting!
EB: My first movie role was in the independent feature film, Doctor Bello. At the time I was nine-years-old and I was playing the role of seven-year-old Sam Stein, a boy dying from cancer. The actor Isaiah Washington was my doctor and actress Vivica A. Fox was his wife. We filmed in NYC during the winter of 2011. I would sit through four hours of special effects make up every day before filming my scenes. I really had a lot of fun with the entire cast and crew. The only thing that shocked me was learning how many crew people it takes to film a movie and the length of time it takes to set up a scene for filming.
AK: Bobby, you recently starred in 90 Minutes in Heaven. What was the most meaningful experience you had while filming? What are your opinions on the movie and your performance in it?
BB: I loved meeting all my new friends. “Strangers are friends I haven’t met yet”. When I met Don Piper I thought he was amazing. This was a man who actually went to heaven. He was so nice and kind. I thought the movie was really good. It was so exciting to see everyone on the big screen. I think I did a really good job.
AK: You recently starred in TRAINWRECK. Evan, what was the most meaningful experience you had while filming? What are your opinions on the movie and your performance in it?
EB: I think my most meaningful experience was being allowed to improv my scenes.
Director Judd Apatow would tell me to improv my scenes after I filmed using the script. My opening scene in TRAINWRECK is actually all improv. I talk about what I’m learning in school with Amy Schumer and it was all improvisation. I was pretty flattered to see that it made the movie.
I haven’t seen all of the scenes in the movie yet due to the mature content but the scenes I have watched are both touching and hilarious. My favorite scene in the movie is the last scene with Amy and Bill Hader.
AK: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve experienced on your journey? How did you overcome it and manage to persevere?
BB: I haven’t had many challenges. I feel like I am very blessed and things always work out the way they are supposed to.
EB: The biggest challenge is the wait. I’ll submit an audition after hours of preparation and usually never hear anything about that role again. This is a competitive business, even for child actors. I have my homework from school that keeps me busy and I typically forget about the audition pretty quickly.
AK: Besides acting, what other activities do you enjoy doing in your free time?
BB: I love sports! I am currently playing football. I love to tackle the quarterback!! I will play basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. I like to play video games with my brother too.
EB: I play the acoustic guitar. I also like to play golf and cross country running, typically 5 miles each time.
AK: Despite your young age, Bobby, you’ve been supporting the non-profit organization Carpathia Paws. Please tell us a bit more about the organization and your involvement in it.
BB: They save the animals of our community. They try to find them suitable furever homes, after they have been neutered/spayed and are fully vetted. Right now I donate money that I earn from my acting to them. I am too young to volunteer there but I can help with money.
AK: What inspired you to donate to Carpathia Paws and how will you continue to support this cause in the future?
BB: My sister was my inspiration again. She started donating money to our local Humane Society in Moore County, North Carolina. We would go see the animals while she would give them money. Back then I didn’t have very much money but I would give a few dollars. I plan to always help others where I can. Our parents have taught us the importance of giving back.
AK: Evan, you are a proud supporter of three different charities: Half the Sky Foundation, Holt International Children’s Services and Safe Animal Shelter. Please tell us a little about each one and your involvement in them.
EB: Half the Sky Foundation has just changed its name to One Sky. It is a foundation that supports orphaned children in China. Both of my sisters were adopted Chinese orphans. I am so thankful to have my sisters and I wish all orphans could have a loving home. One Sky helps those children feel loved and not forgotten.
Holt International Children’s Services is the adoption agency that my parents used to adopt my sisters from China. Holt International helps orphaned and abandoned children thrive until they can find a loving and permanent home.
Safe Animal Shelter is a no kill animal shelter in my community. My family loves animals and all our pets were rescues.
AK: What are your personal and professional goals for the future? In other words, where do you see yourself twenty years from now?
BB: In twenty years I will be a professional athlete and actor. I think I can do both. I work very hard. I would like to be in movies like Star Wars just like Hayden Christensen.
EB: I will attend college, hopefully Harvard. I’m not sure what I will choose as my major because I have a lot of diverse interests. I like technology and science. In twenty years from now I will be 33 years old. I would love to have a TV role like Jim Parsons, aka Sheldon Cooper, on the Big Bang Theory. This would allow me to pursue both of my passions, acting and science.
What advice would you give to our readers about following their dreams and making a difference?
BB: You should always work hard and never give up. If things don’t work out like you plan, keep trying. My daddy always says, “Never give up”! My mom says I have a happy heart. I think she is right. I want to always help others and I find almost everything fun!
EB: Don’t give up on your dreams. I auditioned for 2 years after filming Doctor Bello before I landed the incredible role of Allister in TRAINWRECK. Just enjoy your life and be grateful for every day.
AK: Is there anything else you would like to add?
BB: I love acting and hope I can get a really big role again sometime soon. The more roles I book, the more I can help cats and dogs.
EB: If you want to be an actor then seek out your local community theater and any plays at your school. Getting in front of a live audience is the best feedback about your performance. It is also a lot of fun being with other kids who want to act. I have wonderful memories from community theater.