Child Actor Dominic Scott Kay Shines in "Charlotte's Web"
- 2006 12 Dec
Boys are pigs. At least that’s what some girls say. But, in the case of Dominic Scott Kay, it’s true. He is a pig – a very famous one.
Kay is playing the lovable Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web,” the much anticipated Paramount Pictures and Walden Media film. Based on the 1952 award-winning classic by E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web” tells the story of a friendship between Wilbur (Kay), farmer’s daughter Fern Arable (Dakota Fanning) and Charlotte (Julia Roberts), a mysterious spider who conveys messages about Wilbur on her webs, saving his life in the process.
Although Kay is just ten years old, he’s already a veteran actor, with an astounding 17 films to his credit – including Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” in which he played Tom Cruise’s son, and Kevin Bacon’s “Loverboy.” Kay has also written and directed his own film, a documentary called “Saving Angelo” which is based on his real-life experience of saving and nursing a Boxer puppy to recovery. It stars Kevin Bacon, Eric Close and Dana Barron, and all proceeds are going to Kay’s pet charity projects, which include the Adopt-A-Star Greyhound Agency.
A sports enthusiast, a music fan, an animal lover (his father is the drummer for The Commodores) – this boy is many things. But what he is, first and foremost, is a Christian. I chatted with him recently about dogs, cats, fish and guinea pigs … and what it’s like to work with Julia Roberts.
So, you’re just ten years old, and already you have a job – lots of jobs, in fact. What’s that like?
(Laughs.) You know what, it’s just fun! (Dog barks.)
Is that your dog?
Oh, we have so many animals! Three dogs, three guinea pigs, a cat and a fish. We have Harley, a cocker spaniel mutt; Jake, a Shitsu, and a new baby Australian shepherd named Charlotte. We have Wilbur our fish, Templeton and Gary, guinea pigs. Gary is named after the director [of the film]. Our third guinea pig is named after Axel Rose.
That sounds like one of Mom’s decisions.
[Mother: That’s right! It was!]
Why did Gary get the guinea pig name?
That kind of fit him.
So Gary Winick (“13 Going on 30,” “Tadpole”) acts like a guinea pig?
Well, sometimes. Gary has lots of personality – he has a full-on hairstyle, with hair a couple of inches long. It does the wave over his head, naturally.
I take it that you became really attached to him?
Yes! He is so much fun. He’s like a big kid. Every time we recorded we would, during the breaks, make paper airplanes, and try and make it into the lamp. He would tickle me or make me do laps around the studio.
This film is a little different from the other films you’ve made.
There’s a lot of differences with the voiceover, but I had a blast. The whole time, every bit of it was so much fun. Every time I went out to New Mexico to record with Julia, we had so much fun.
Why’d you go out there?
She had her babies at that time, and she thought it would be more natural. She lives out there.
Did you get to know her?
What was she like?
Super nice, always making jokes, very funny. She’d say, “Go back to your trailer, Wilbur.” In one line, she catches a fly and says, “It helps everybody in the barn. It helps the world. It helps me have my dinner.” So we had an ongoing joke about the fly.
Is this your first time doing voiceover?
No. I did young Samson in “The Wild.” And I do a British accent in a Pooh movie. I’m a Heffalump.
I don’t think I’ve seen that. Is that coming up?
No….I think they canned it.
(Laughs). That has to be discouraging.
Yeah. It’s happened more than once.
Did you get to meet Dakota Fanning on the set of “Charlotte’s Web?” Did you hang out?
Yes. But I’m ten and she’s twelve.
So you feel like she’s a lot older than you?
Well….she’s really tall.
Gotcha. What was the best part about making the movie?
You know what, everything – everything was so much fun. Recording it, getting to meet Gary and have so much fun in the studio. I had a blast.
How did you prepare for the role?
I did parts where I ran around the studio, to get exhausted. Wilbur runs and jumps, so I had to be out of breath a lot. Recording is a lot easier, first of all. And it’s fun. I didn’t prepare for it too much. I went over the lines, but you can read it when you do it. And the director will tell you ideas about how to do it. It’s pretty easy.
Had you already read the book?
I happened to be reading the book when I went for the audition. I was finishing it.
Did you like it?
Oh, I cried. “Charlotte’s Web” is so great.
What do you do for school?
I’m home-schooled by my mommy. It’s great for acting.
Are most child actors home-schooled?
I wouldn’t know. Most of what I’ve seen is that they’re just out of school with their school teacher on set, which is required. When they’re supposed to be in school, there has to be a teacher on set.
What’s your favorite subject?
I love math. One of my best subjects is language arts – spelling. I love history. I’m on my third “Little House on the Prairie” book.
You are very involved in your church. Tell me a little about that.
We drive out to Simi every Sunday to attend Discovery, a really great church. They have the best programs for kids with a giant stage. It looks like the inside of a house. It’s a set, and they do all these skits with lights and smoke. It’s really cool. They also have a fake street called 252 Street with fake walls and bike shops and movie theatres – a whole street inside.
What do they do with it?
You can go into each shop or movie theatre, and inside each one the different age groups meet.
You’re involved in music, just like your dad – right?
I got attached to piano, the keyboards. I play a lot by ear and I’m learning to read music. I play “Journey” [I'm assuming he's referencing the group here … since "DSB" is a Journey song (?).] and “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Do you ever play Commodores music?
What’s your favorite song?
Oh, so many! But “Night Shift,” “Machine Gun.” And I love “Brick House.” Have you ever heard that one?
Oh, yeah. (Humming a few bars.) I actually danced to that song, many years ago, at a Commodores concert. I’m very old, you know. So tell me a little about your faith. I hear you’re a Christian.
From the beginning, I’ve always been a full Christian, totally into God. He has blessed me with everything. What he has done in my life is so great.
You mean all of your success?
Everything! The blessing that I get to live here in Malibu, at the beach. That I get to have all these friends and meet all these people. Just all the stuff that he’s blessing me with – Charlotte’s Web” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
“Pirates of the Caribbean” – wow. The sequel?
Right, the third one. But I can’t tell anyone about it.
Are you looking forward to filming with Johnny Depp?
Well….I can’t say anything. Because, his character died in the last movie, right? Yeah, he did.
So what you’re saying is, you can’t tell me whether he’s alive.
Right. I can’t tell anybody what my part is, either. But I’m going to start filming in Hawaii in January.
Hmmmm … spoken like a true actor. Okay. So was there a certain moment in your life where you became a Christian, or has that always been a part of your life?
My mommy and daddy were always Christians, since before I was born. So since I came out, I was being taught about God. It hasn’t been that I learned at a certain point.
What sort of advice would you give to other kids who want to go into acting?
It totally matters what they want to do, first of all. If they’re into it for fun, or a challenge, or just because they like it, I recommend it. Just let God take you wherever He wants to. Let him make the decisions and let him take you.
How do you find that out?
You have to pray for it. You have to let him do whatever he’s gong to do with it. He’ll do what’s right. Whatever happens, it will be the right thing.
What if God were to tell you next year that you weren’t supposed to be acting. How would you respond?
Whatever he chooses will be something better. If that’s what his will was, I’d find out something better. There would be a reason for that, that there’s something better.
You’re very grounded. Your parents have taught you well. They must be pretty amazing people.
You’re a sweet kid, Dominic. And if you keep following God, I’m sure you’ll stay that way. Good job!
“Charlotte’s Web” also stars Steve Buscemi, as Templeton, the rat; Oprah Winfrey, as Gussy, the barn’s maternal-yet-irreverent goose; Cedric the Entertainer as Golly, Gussy’s gander; John Cleese as Samuel, the authoritarian sheep; Robert Redford as Ike, the arachnophobic horse; and Kathy Bates and Reba McEntire as the barn’s sarcastic cows.
The film is rated G and opens in wide release on Friday, December 15, 2006. Click here for more information.