Maddie Ziegler Interviews Book of Henry’s Jaeden Lieberher
JAEDEN: You’ve conquered the dance world, and now you’re transitioning to acting. Why?
MADDIE: Especially doing the Sia videos and other things, that’s helped me transition into acting because I’ve had to play a character, really cool meaningful characters.
JAEDEN: How often do you dance nowadays?
MADDIE: When I was younger and I did the reality show , I used to dance like seven or eight hours a day, every single day. But now, I don’t train every single day, but I still take open classes and I still dance for Sia all the time. I’m still dancing, I’m just not training for eight to nine hours.
JAEDEN: Who are your biggest inspirations?
MADDIE: My mom inspires me to be a better person every day. And then I would say that Sia is probably one of my biggest inspirations because she gives me such good advice. And she really helps me out with being in the world of fame. She tells me all the things that she’s been through and helps me along the way, so she’s probably like my biggest inspiration.
JAEDEN: Who are some of your favorite music artists?
MADDIE: Right now, I really love Harry Styles. I like his album because it’s really old school, kind of David Bowie. Very, very cool, I can relate to that. He’s probably one of my favorites, and Sia, of course. She’s incredible. Not only because I dance for her but she has really incredible music, and she’s one of the best artists.
JAEDEN: For other kid actors who are trying to make it, what three pieces of advice would you give to them?
MADDIE: Well, I feel like I’m still trying to make it as an actor, just because I’m not as experienced as some people think I am. I would say, don’t be afraid, just go for it and try it. Two, to make sure you’re having fun and not take it too seriously or else you might get too in your head about things. And three, I would say it takes time, and to never give up. Nothing really comes as natural right in the beginning.
JAEDEN: Who do you dream of acting alongside?
MADDIE: I really love Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t really know her but she seems like a good person. Zac Efron (laughs) just because I’ve loved him since I was five years old and it would be funny. Obviously I wouldn’t play a love interest with him because he’s slightly older, but I don’t know. I think it would be fun to be in a movie with him.
JAEDEN: What songs do you have all of the lyrics memorized to?
MADDIE: Well, I have to have all of the Sia lyrics memorized, just because I dance to them all of the time, and I hear them on repeat so I know every lyric. And also Khalid, he sings “Location.” His whole album American Teen, you should listen to it. Kind of like R&B, it’s really fun. I know all of them.
Jaeden, Maddie, Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay and Sarah Silverman star in the drama thriller The Book of Henry, in theaters now. Watch “The Book of Henry” trailer here!
MADDIE: When did you first hear about The Book of Henry and what made you want to do this project?
JAEDEN: Well, I had read the script, and then I met with Colin Trevorrow, the director. I met with him at the Universal lot. Then he was ready for Jurassic World to come out, so I got to see him scoring. There’s a big orchestra in the Universal lot and they were playing music and he just walked me through, showed me what they were doing. After a while, he took me on a walk through the studio and talked about the film, about the characters. I really wanted to do this project because it’s such an interesting story that’s very unique and unlike any other.
MADDIE: You play the title character Henry, tell us about him.
JAEDEN: Henry is a 10, 12 year old genius. He takes care of his little brother and his mom financially. Well, the most important thing to him is protecting people. He protects his brother from bullies, and he wants to protect Christina, the girl next door, from the stepfather.
MADDIE: A lot of the movie is about the kids and their connections with each other. What was it like to meet me and our other co-star Jacob Tremblay?
JAEDEN: It was great. I first met you and Jacob at fittings, we were just having a day to get ready for the movie. It was nice seeing Jacob for the first time. He was wild (laughs), as usual, like immediately I was exhausted, but in a good way because he’s entertaining. It was nice seeing you for the first time because in the movie, you’re kind of Henry’s crush, so it was an important chemistry to have in the movie. It was definitely an important relationship so I’m glad that I got along with you very easily.
MADDIE: You have the most screen time with Naomi Watts. What was it like working with her and did she give you any advice?
JAEDEN: Well, I worked with Naomi before on a movie called St. Vincent. I have an amazing time when I work with her because she’s a very talented person, and also she’s a good mom to her children. And even to me and Jacob, and Maddie too. She was just a good person to be around, and a good role model. She was a good on screen mom. She didn’t give me any direct advice but I definitely learned a lot from being around her, just watching her act. Being in a scene with her and the way she reacted to something another character said, and the way she made other actors react because she puts so much effort into that. It’s hard to act with her and not bring out the best.
MADDIE: Which TV show would you most want to guest star on?
JAEDEN: I love It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
It’s hilarious. Representing Philly!
MADDIE: Who are your favorite music artists right now?
JAEDEN: My favorite genre of music is 90’s hip-hop and my favorite group is A Tribe Called Quest. They really inspire me. Phife Dawg, one of the rappers, just died actually, last year. Then they just came out with a new album and even though they’re older, they’re still doing such great things. Their albums are so meaningful and powerful.
Jaeden and Maddie’s movie The Book of Henry is in theaters now. Watch “The Book of Henry” trailer here!