Charlotte's Web, one of the most beloved children's books of all time, comes to the big screen this Friday, Dec. 15, in a live-action production from Walden Media and Paramount Pictures.
In the well-known story that takes place in a barn on a farm, a spider named Charlotte befriends a runt of a pig named Wilbur, who is likely slated to be the main course for Christmas dinner. Wilbur doesn't want to die, and Charlotte tries to save his life by writing things about the young pig in her web—words like "Some Pig," "Terrific," "Radiant," and "Humble."
Ten-year-old Dominic Scott Kay, who does the voice of Wilbur, might as well be called "Some Kid." Dominic already has 17 films to his credit, including his film debut at 4 years old—Minority Report, in which he played Tom Cruise's son. He also played the young son of Kyra Sedgwick in a Kevin Bacon-directed film, Loverboy.
Bacon later starred in a short film that Dominic wrote and directed, Saving Angelo, the true story of Dominic's rescue of an abandoned and abused puppy. All proceeds from the film go to various animal care groups, including Adopt-A-Star Greyhound Agency and Malibu Pet Companions.
Dominic's father, Scott Kay, is drummer for The Commodores, and Dominic has also shown musical promise at piano, drums, and singing. He's also into karate, soccer, baseball, and basketball, and he loves to bike, skateboard, surf, and swim. Whew!
We caught up with Dominic the other day to talk about Charlotte's Web and some of his other interests—and we got a little teaser from him about Pirates of the Caribbean 3 … but he wouldn't spill the beans, not even for a bribe. Drat.So, how does it feel to be "some pig"?Dominic Scott Kay: It feels great. It's so cool, getting to be Wilbur in Charlotte's Web, from the book that everybody's read.Had you read the book before making the movie?Dominic: Yeah, it was one of my first books. I was about six or seven.Why did you want to play this part?Dominic: It's kind of like, who wouldn't? It's such an amazing thing to be able to do. I happened to be reading the book when I auditioned for the part. And then it was just such a fantastic moment when I heard that I got the part, such a great feeling of joy and excitement.When you did your voice for Wilbur, did you just talk into a microphone, or did you sort of have to act out the parts too?Dominic: I mostly just talked into a microphone, but at some points, they would actually film me, to put my facial expressions to the pig.No way!Dominic: They did it so real. It's sort of like Narnia [the animals' facial expressions].Does Wilbur sort of like you, the facial expressions?Dominic: When I lift my eyebrows, it's kind of like he does.What was the most fun part about making this movie?Dominic: All of it was so much fun. I loved getting to hang out with Gary Winick, the director, 'cause he's like a kid. He would have me run around and try and attack him to get me exhausted, to sound like I was out of breath. Or he would tickle me to make me laugh. And I loved when I got to go out to New Mexico to record with Julia Roberts. [Roberts, who had recently had twins, recorded Charlotte's voice from her home.]What was Julia like?Dominic: Really, really, really nice. And very funny.What was the hardest part about making this movie?Dominic: There wasn't too much of a hard part, I mean, playing a pig and all. I just had a blast. I mean, it was Charlotte's Web! That kind of explains it all for you.When people read this story or watch this movie, what message should they get?Dominic: I think the message is about friendship, loyalty, and sacrificing for someone else. Charlotte spent most of her life with Wilbur; you know, she kind of devoted her whole life to Wilbur.Do you think you're like any of these characters in the book?Dominic: You know, I'm a lot like Wilbur in some ways. Wilbur's curious, and I'm curious. I love to meet people; he loves to too.I was also thinking you might be like Fern, because she loves animals. I hear that you love animals, and you've even saved animals.Dominic: Yes, I devote a lot of my life to animals. I love saving animals. I'm constantly saving animals—I mean, you should see my house. I've got three dogs, and one of them is a puppy that we just rescued named Charlotte. When you say you "rescued" animals, what do you mean? From the pound?Dominic: Well, one of my doggies here, Harley, he's from the pound. But I mean "rescued" like these two dogs named Sophia and Tom who were on the side of the road. And in Apple Valley, I rescued Angelo—a white, albino boxer—and he was one of the most heroic stories.He the one you turned into a movie, right?Dominic: Yes. He was in Apple Valley, and he had been completely abused completely. We found him about three or four years ago on the side of the road in the desert. Someone had thrown him out of the window, and he had been hit. He was very close to death when we found him. His leg was fractured, and he was lying in a puddle of dry blood when we found him. Nobody thought he was going to live.Do you still have him?Dominic: No, and that's the best part of the story. When we rescued him, he was like in a coma, and we took him to the hospital. They said he would probably be severely brain damaged if he lived through the week.But after months of recovery, he made it. And then we wanted to find a home for him. We took him to the fire department we lived by, and they kept him. And he still lives there.Do you ever keep some of these animals that you rescue?Dominic: Yeah, but we just had so many animals at the time, 16 or something. But we told Angelo's story in the movie I directed. And Kevin Bacon was in it.Was the real Angelo in the movie?Dominic: Well, Angelo got to play one of our other animals that we had rescued. We had to get a trained dog to play Angelo, one that was trained to be on their mark, to stay where they are, to bark when told to—you know, stuff you'd need in the movie.How long is the movie?Dominic: About 16 minutes.Maybe they'll put it on the bonus disc when Charlotte's Web comes out on DVD.Dominic: Yeah! That would be cool.How did you get to be friends with Kevin Bacon?Dominic: I did a movie called Loverboy, which he directed me in. I co-starred with Kyra Sedgwick, and I spent two months with them in New York. Kevin and Kyra, they're such great people. [Bacon and Sedgwick are married.]Cool. Hey, I hear you also did Wilbur's voice for the video game. Do you like video games?Dominic: Yeah. I play Nintendo or Game Boy or Xbox or computer games. And I love the new Charlotte's Web game. It's really cool that I got to do the voice on one of those.So what do you do in the game? Shoot barnyard rats with a laser or something? "Die, Templeton, die!"Dominic: [laughing] No. You've got to take care of Wilbur, pet him, give him baths and stuff. And you can have him run around hay mazes. There is one kind of thing that's kind of like shooting, except you're shooting vegetables from the barnyard.Anything else you want to say about the movie before we're done?Dominic: I just gotta say, it's a great movie. It brings every bit of the book to life. It's Charlotte's Web, the book that everybody's read, except now it's that much more, 'cause it's all real. So I'm just going to say, it's a great movie and I would recommend it!OK. What movie are you doing next?Dominic: I'm working on Pirates of the Caribbean 3.Really? What part are you going to play?Dominic: I can't tell anybody.Oh, come on. I'll give you five dollars!Dominic: [laughs]So you can't tell me?Dominic: I can't tell anybody! Are you related to Captain Jack Sparrow? Can you answer that?Dominic: No, I can't answer that.OK, OK. I don't want to get you in trouble. Well, thanks for talking to us about Charlotte's Web. It's really good and you did a great job.Dominic: Well, thank you so much! Goodbye, and God bless you!You too.© Christianity Today International. Click for reprint information.