While in Los Angeles for the Iron Man 3 red carpet premiere, I was among the lucky few who got to interview the up and coming child actor Ty Simpkins. In Iron Man 3, Ty Simpkins plays Harley, a young boy whom Tony Stark befriends – and he actually helps Tony Stark in the movie!
As this was the first time that a child has had a role in one of the Iron Man movies, I thought that it was especially cool to meet Ty Simpkins and hear his take on working in Iron Man 3!
Iron Man 3’s Ty Simpkins was so adorable. Yeah, that’s totally me as a mom saying that – but he was also pretty professional for being just 11 years old, and I was surprised at how articulate he was during our interview!
Some of the questions we asked Ty Simpkins during our interview:
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of your character?
TS: I think my favorite aspect of being my character is that like I– I get to meet Tony Stark. But I’m similar to him. Because I’m a– like a genius in the movie. And he’s a genius in the movie, of course, more of a genius than my character…
If you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 yet (what are you waiting for?!), Ty Simpkins plays a character named Harley in a small town where Tony Stark ends up with his Iron Man suit after the Mandarin destroys his home. He happens up Harley’s garage, and as it turns out, Harley is a bit of budding genius himself.
Q: Have you always been a fan of Marvel movies?
TS: Yes, I have. I love the Marvel movies.
Being that Ty Simpkins just filmed with Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3, we had to ask him who his favorite hero was – though I can’t say that any of us were shocked at his response!
Q : Do you have a favorite hero?
TS: Iron Man. I mean it– it’s been my dream.
Q: How does it feel to be working with Robert?
TS: Oh, it’s awesome. Like literally Robert Downey Jr. is my favorite person.
At this point, I think every mom in the room had a soft spot in her heart for Ty! He was so sweet and so genuine you could really tell that working with Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3 was a dream come true for him!
I think the question on everyone’s mind when talking to a child actor is how they juggle a budding career, school and family time. As moms, I think we were especially interested to find out if Ty Simpkins actually led a normal life – one where he saw friends, spent time with family and attended school. I was happy to hear his response!
Q: How do you find a healthy life balance?
TS: So like sometimes if we’re still in LA on the breaks we’ll still go back and go to school and stuff. And I’ll see my friends a lot. And then we film. And I have a studio teacher to teach me unless I’m in summer.
Speaking of friends, I would imagine that Ty Simpkins friends would be incredibly excited to know that he worked with Robert Downey Jr on Iron Man 3. It’s not every day that you can say your friend was in a super hero movie, right?!
Ty Simpkins is a regular kid, and he does regular kid things! I love that he doesn’t just concentrate on acting and does fun things outside of his acting!
Q: What are some favorite non-acting activities?
TS: I like to play baseball. I like to fence. Yeah. And I like to make, Lego stop motion videos.
Angeline loves the move Insidious, which is where we first saw Ty Simpkins. I had heard that Insidious 2 was coming out, but I didn’t know a lot about it, or whether Ty Simpkins would be in it. I was going to ask him about that, but someone beat me to it! We were all so eager to ask him questions!
Q: What’s your next project?
TS: So I just finished Insidious 2. That comes out in September. And I’m really excited for this movie called Conversations with Andy. And it’s about a sixth grade kid who is like having a tough time in his like– in his– with his family. Like they’re getting a divorce and stuff. And then he meets Andy Warhol. And Andy helps him out and stuff. So I’m really excited for that.
I would be excited about working on an Andy Warhol project too!
Q: Any funny moments on set?
TS: I had to do this stunt where I’m sitting on a villains lap. And then I blind him with this thing. And I jump off of his lap…And I blinded him basically. And he started tipping back with the chair. And I couldn’t get off– get, like, I jumped off a little late. And I fell back with him.
Q: Who are your biggest role models?
TS: So there’s Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans. Johnny Depp. And, uh, that’s it.
Q: Who would you love to work with?
TS: Besides Robert Downey Jr. I would love to work with Chris Evans or Johnny Depp.
Me too, Ty, me too…
Q: How should kids prepare for watching this film?
TS: Oh, well, I haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s gonna be my first time seeing it. Have they seen other Iron Man movies and other Marvel movies?
There is blowing up stuff. But I don’t recommend – unless you want to, this is upon your decision – like I wouldn’t recommend seeing it in Imax ’cause I see a bunch of stuff in Imax like Jurassic Park 3-D. That was pretty loud. And I’m not a big fan of loud. But I did enjoy that.
So, um, you might just want to tell them there is gonna be some like explosions. So you– you just might want to be prepared for shocking things and stuff like that.
Seriously, how cute is this kid?
Q: What’s your favorite genre to film?
TS: Genre? Um, I don’t think I’ve done comedy. I’m not sure. But I– I do like Action Adventure ’cause this– this is just awesome filming in Iron Man, especially when you’re like with the main guy. And then like you’re helping him and stuff. That’s pretty fun.
Q: How did you react to getting the part?
TS: I screamed YES!! I was really excited. And I was at a cello class. And it kind of just made it even better, cello even better.
Q: Who is your biggest supporter?
TS: My biggest supporter? My mom.
Q: What’s your all time favorite movie?
TS: My all time favorite movie? The Avengers.
Q: What’s your favorite way to pass time on set?
TS: Oh, well, it depends. Like if I’m in summer I usually hang out with like the studio teacher, like the one that was on this set was pretty awesome ’cause she had an iPad. And she had like educational games there was one really cool called Oregon Trail. But they made a modified version. And that’s just really awesome.
I think the biggest question we all had was HOW Ty Simpkins landed the role of Harley in Iron Man 3. What is the process of auditioning and interviewing like? What is it like to meet someone as legendary as Robert Downey Jr like?
Q: How did you get the part?
TS: We got a call from my agent and I was really excited. I’m like, oh, this is so cool. And then we went to the audition. But it was so top secret that we couldn’t look at the script until we got to the audition. And but it was really easy ’cause it was only two scenes that were short -or, no, it was a scene that was short. So, um, it was pretty easy.
Then we hadn’t heard for a while. We got a callback. And I was like, oh, okay, cool, cool. This is awesome. I can’t believe I got a callback. So we went to the call back. The producers, the director was there. And we went through the scene only with one more scene. And that was a bit more difficult to learn because it was longer. It was a giant monologue– like paragraph.
And then– and then we hadn’t heard for an even longer time. And then our agent said that we gotta chemistry read with Robert Downey Jr. And I was really excited for that. And then so flew out there. That was in North Carolina where we filmed the movie. And we flew out to North Carolina. And I was looking around. I was like where is Robert Downey Jr?
And I couldn’t find him. And they were just introducing me to everyone. And then, there was a guy with a hat and glasses. And I just completely looked past him. And then the lady that was introducing me to everyone said and you know who this is. And the guy took off the hat and the glasses. And it was Robert Downey Jr. I mean it was a really disguise. I don’t know how I missed it.
Q: Were you nervous when you met him?
TS: He actually asked me that. And I said, no, I’m just really excited to meet him.
Interviewing Ty Simpkins was so much fun and I can already tell that this kid is going to go far in the movie business. He is smart, totally adorable and a great actor! I was so impressed with the way he handled himself during our interview, and he was so sweet too!
Keep an eye out of this one, he’s going to go far!
Photo Credits: Crissy Page at DearCrissy.com
If you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 yet, go see it! Iron Man 3 opened in theaters nationwide on Friday, May 3rd!
I interviewed Ty Simpkins while in Los Angeles for the Iron Man 3 premiere as part of the #IronMan3Event. My travel, accommodations and activities were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.