Why They Are On Our Radar: Actors Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward have mingled with the elite in Cannes; have acted alongside a number of Oscar winners; and have been directed by Wes Anderson — all before turning 14. In “Moonrise Kingdom,” Anderson’s critically adored Cannes opening night film and box-office smash (it broke records last week), the two headline a cast that includes Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton, as two young lovebirds who run away from their folks to partake in a romantic getaway.
What’s Next: Both told Indiewire they’re still waiting to choose their next projects. “I’m looking for something that’s as special and as beautiful a story as this one,” said Hayward. “I’m auditioning,” said Gilman. “I’m really hoping the next movie I’m in is as good as this.”
So when did you two get back from Cannes?
Hayward: We got back a week or so ago.
Gilman: Yeah, like a couple weeks.
How was the experience?
Hayward: Just to be there, to see the film get the recognition it deserves for being such a fantastic movie — it was absolutely amazing. I’m so happy I was a part of it.
Gilman: Yeah, same here.
What was the most surreal encounter you had while there?
Gilman: That’s a good question.
Hayward: I’ll have to think about that one.
You didn’t meet any of your idols?!
Hayward: Of course!
Gilman: There are so many that happened that it’s hard to pick just one. My parents spoke with Chris Pine and that was cool. At the after party apparently that happened. I met Jessica Chastain and she was really, really complimentary. That was really cool.
Hayward: I did meet Alec Baldwin and Mia Wasikowska, and they were both very nice.
I’m guessing it’s hard for you two to get starstruck now after appearing in this movie.
Hayward: They’re all so kind and sweet people. They make you so comfortable when you work with them.
How did you two get discovered by Wes Anderson?
Gilman: Well I had my first audition in September 2010. And then about six months later after three callbacks, I got the part.
Hayward: My process started when my dance teacher mentioned an open call for “Moonrise Kingdom.” And so I figured I’d go and take a shot at it. After I finished they called me back and said, “Would you like to meet Wes Anderson?” So after I met Wes, they called back another week later and said, “You have the part.”
Gilman: Yeah Kara, your story…you can make a movie out of that. I don’t know, whenever you talk about it, I imagine a trailer for something like that.
Did you both know who he was?
Hayward: I had seen “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Darjeeling Limited” and “Royal Tenenbaums” before I even knew this was going on.
Gilman: I’d seen “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and I had heard of his other movies.
So you two were relative fans of his work?
Hayward: Oh absolutely.
Were you both pursuing acting actively before this came around?
Hayward: Before I went to the open call for “Moorise Kingdom,” I had realized that acting was something that I definitely enjoyed doing. Before I had done school plays and summer camps where you write your own screenplay and act in it. But really, acting professionally wasn’t something I realized I wanted to make a career out of. So I started filming “Moonrise Kingdom,” learned what it was really like, and learned how much I did love it.
Gilman: Yeah, I was taking acting lessons and through my acting teacher I got my manager. It was then that I realized I wanted to pursue acting as a career so I started going on auditions and stuff. But yeah.
Can you take me back to your auditions? I’m guessing he must have had you two read together?
Hayward: My process only lasted a few weeks. But he didn’t really have us read together until we had the parts. He was more concerned with getting the kids who were right for the roles, and then making sure they do well together. I didn’t find it very stressful. When I first met Wes he was so kind. He’s just such an amazing person. The auditioning process for me was not that difficult at all.
Gilman: Yeah, same here, same here. He seemed like such a nice guy. I wasn’t worried about blowing a line or whatever. He seemed cool.
Do you two share similarities to the characters you portray?
Hayward: Well for myself, Suzy and I have a couple of similarities in there. She loves animals and reading, as do I. But otherwise we’re very different people.
Gilman: Well Sam and I are also very, very different. Sam, he’s a very, very outdoorsy kind of guy. He’s a Khaki Scout! Me, I’ve always been indoorsy, nerd, movie buff kind of guy. In that sense we were very different. But I could relate to Sam in terms of fitting in. That whole growing up and fitting in kind of thing resonated with me.
Jared, have you ever been a boy scout?
Gilman: No, but now that I’ve made this movie I’ve come to appreciate them a bit better, a bit more.
Do you see yourself becoming one anytime soon?
Gilman: It’s a possibility, but I’d be very bad at it. I’d be nowhere as good as my character.
Since I’m interviewing you two via phone I have no idea how you both are dressed. How much were you two influenced by the look Wes cultivated for “Moonrise,” fashion wise?
Hayward: I think that the costumes, and really all of the looks are so much fun. On set I did my own hair and makeup, so whenever I like I can just re-channel Suzy through that. I do believe that now I’ve come to have a bit more 1960’s feel to some of my clothing and the way that I dress.
Gilman: I like Sam’s Khaki Scout uniforms. The badges are cool and that kind of thing. If it bled into my life…I don’t know. I would love to go into school with a bunch of badges and stuff, but my friends know me too well. They’d see right through that.
My favorite scene is that montage that takes place between the two of you on the waterfront, where Sam and Suzy kiss for the first time, among other things. How was shooting that sequence?
Gilman: We spent a couple of weeks on the beach.
Hayward: It was gorgeous and very warm.
Gilman: The beach scene, the French kissing scene, do you notice how the background is very foggy? I’m not sure if you got it as you were watching the movie, but as were filming it, the fog really gave out this feeling of isolation. I thought it was really cool.
What did you two dance to? Was it the French ditty that they play in the film?
Gilman: Same one! They played it live for us.
Was the French kiss you two partake in the first one for the two of you?
Gilman: It was the first kiss.
So your first kiss was on screen?
Hayward: Well it was more the character’s first kiss. It depends on how you look at it. It was just another scene, honestly.
Gilman: As soon as a character wants to do something, you can’t argue with the character.