FAULT Focus: Moises Arias, star of ‘The Kings Of Summer’, ‘Ender’s Game’ and ‘Hannah Montana’

Moises was shot by Scott Council


FAULT spoke to Moises Arias on the day that he celebrated 9 years as an actor. Speaking over the phone from the set of his upcoming movie, Ender’s Game, he told of his surprise by how many accolades he had received at Sundance this year for his performance in The King’s Of Summer – Jordan Vogt-Roberts comedy about three unhappy boys with a plan to build a house in the wilderness and live off the land.

We talked about his part in Despicable Me 2, the short films he writes and directs, and about the 6 years he spent as Rico, the bully character in the Disney show, ‘Hannah Montana’, one of the biggest tween shows ever.

One could understand if all his success had given the 18 year old an insufferably inflated ego, but that wasn’t Moises. He was surprisingly articulate and humble. And it is surprising, as we have interviewed a lot of actors.

Kings of Summer is out in the UK on July 26th

FAULT: As an actor, what do you look for when you get a script?

MOISES: Most of the time it’s a fantastic story, something that’s unique. And with this it’s very unique, very cool, but what really had me going… I don’t tend to laugh out loud when I read scripts, but this is probably one of the very few that while I was reading I was dying laughing, and it happened to be with my character.

What was the most memorable thing about shooting The Kings Of Summer?

I think just the way we shot it. On our time off we would go with the director, cinematographer and the camera men and we would go and shoot random things. There are a few scenes that we 100% improvised. We used sound from an iPhone… it was incredible. We lived the characters. That doesn’t happen a lot when you’re working on a film.

What was the moment when you discovered acting?

It all started because I was very shy when I was much younger and my mum got me into an acting class to get rid of my shyness, and I loved it. My family and I then came out to LA from Atlanta, Georgia, for 3 months to see if my brother and I could get any acting jobs. I could never have done this without them. My mum and dad have done everything for us. My dad still has to work in Atlanta, so the separation that they had to go through for us to come out here was incredible. It was difficult. It was also difficult to move cause I had friends and school, and I was going into a completely new life. I went from kindergarten to sixth grade in real school and then from sixth I was getting home schooled. I went to the high school for like two months but I just never had time. I never thought that school was a place for me. I had to do more with my time. I finally got the movie Nacho Libre, then the series Hannah Montana, and it just started slowly developing more and more. My brother and I developed a passion for being in LA which grew stronger and stronger. There was no question of us going back to Atlanta after what we had done and getting the taste of whatever this is. I see this as my future. If it’s not acting then writing. LA inspires you to do many more jobs once you are out here.

ender's game

Can you tell me about the films you make with your brother?

My brother and I have been making stuff since we were ten years old. The first thing we did was fifteen minutes and was shot with the little camera on my Macbook, which we edited on iMovie. It was fun, and slowly we started doing more and more. I finished a short film which I’m very proud of. It’s called Brothers in Arms. It’s about the love of two brothers and what happens when you separate them. It was actually written when I was shooting The Kings Of Summer. I was away from my brother for 5 months, and it was that solitude and all that that really inspired me to write the script. Then when I got back from The Kings Of Summer my brother and I shot in like a month. I wrote it, directed it, photographed it, my brother scored it for me, he’s the lead actor, and it turned out really well. I’m hopeful to get it to a festival, and if not I’ll just keep it to remember what I did when I was younger and hopefully in the future I’ll be like, ‘this is where I started.’

Hannah Montana was huge. Is it ever difficult to move on from that and try something new?

Yeah, it’s very difficult to get out of that. Hannah Montana is what taught me everything I know about comedy and timing and about the etiquette on set. I wouldn’t be where I am right now, and I wouldn’t have the knowledge that I have right now without that show, but at some point you do have to move on. I’m grateful for the experience, but I’m also grateful that I’ve had the chance to work on other projects that I am very excited about. People have seen me for six years as Rico, and now they will see different sides of me.

Kings of Summer is out in the UK this Friday 26th July