Interview: “Earth to Echo” star Astro

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 8:00 am

astroBrian “Astro” Bradley plays Tuck in this week’s “Earth to Echo,” the story of three friends who discover a stranded alien and help to rescue him. Astro talked to me about being in the film and the books and music that mean the most to him.

How would you describe Tuck?

He’s ambitious, a go-getter and a guy who doesn’t settle for anything less than what he wants. Like if he wants to do something or find something out he will eventually do it or find it out. I think he is like the driving force in a group of friends in the movie.

The friends don’t have a tremendous amount in common. They are very different people. What keeps them being friends with each other?

I think they are all considered outcasts almost, not really outcast but they are not the coolest kids. They are all they have.  When you’re hanging out with your friends and only you guys really understand each other the rest of the world looks at you different but we all see each other as cool. I think that’s why we were all best friends in the movie.

Did you guys hang out together when you weren’t shooting?

Well we really didn’t have time because we shot everything to fast. We only had a week of rehearsal before we actually started filming and I think we shot the whole film in 28 days. It was everybody’s first time being a part of a major film so I think just being on set everyday was enough for us. It was just a blessing.

Your character Tuck had a conflict with his friend Alex.  What was that about?

I think that he was just scared and so he couldn’t really help Alex like he wanted to at that point in the movie. I think he was just scared because at the end of the day they are big kids but they’re still kids. They are still young.  Unfortunately he was unable to help his friend Alex at one point in the movie.  He knew he was wrong but he tried to act like he didn’t know what’s going on. Of course they dealt with it like friends would.

One of the things that make this movie so interesting and so different is that it’s got all that footage as though it’s being shot by the kids themselves, mostly by your character. Can you use a movie camera?

I shot one scene I don’t know if they kept it in the movie but they let me hold the camera for one scene. We were in a van driving away from construction workers and the camera was very really heavy.  You have to give respect to guys like Dave Green. our director and the Director of Photography, Maxime Alexandre.  They really have to hold the camera it’s like a million pounds and I don’t know if I could do that all day.

So tell me how you first found out about this movie.

My agent at Williams Morris Entertainment sent it to me. They sent me a bunch of scripts, the first role I ever had was on “Person of Interest” and this is my second role ever.  This was playful, it was cool, it didn’t seem too serious. It seemed very natural and organic and I liked it and I recorded my audition take in my living room, sent it out to the “Earth to Echo” staff. They flew me out to California to audition in front of the director, Dave Green, and I got it.

I don’t remember exactly which lines we did but we filmed it in my living room. I actually got all my roles so far that way. I have this wall in my living room that I’m going to call the Movie Wall or something because I auditioned for all these roles in front of the same exact wall. It’s this white wall in my living room, it’s weird, it’s crazy but I got three roles because of this wall so…

That’s a pretty lucky wall.

Exactly.

I have never taken acting class or anything like that but that’s pretty much as far as we went with it. Like I said it was a very natural script so there wasn’t much preparing that had to be done. I think even when you watch the film now it seems very natural, like it’s just very normal because we didn’t have to try hard. We were just having fun. The only hard scenes were like when Munch had to cry, that was probably hard for him bring those tears out but other than that it was very easy to do because we were just being everyday kids.

I would think that the hard part would probably be interacting with Echo.

No that wasn’t hard for us because we had Echo like when we actually talking to him and he’s in our hands. He was actually being controlled by a wire.

What do you think about how it came out?

I’ve seen it many times and it’s amazing! It’s amazing! I’m glad to be a part of it. I think it’s an exciting movie; it’s a family-friendly movie. You can take your kids out to see it. And anybody could see it whether you’re older or you’re younger.

You’re also a rapper, right?

Acting is still something I’m still trying out. I’m still learning about it and seeing how it works. My main focus is my music but the acting is fun as well.  My favorite rapper is Jay-Z.  Right now I am working on the EP.  I’m just taking my time with it. I have the first single and everything ready but I’m not rushing anything I just want to put it out when the times is right. But as far as my influences, I listen to Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas, Wu-Tang, Snoop Dogg, only legends because I want to be better than those guys so that’s all I listen to right now.  I’m a 90s baby so that’s all I really listen to.

I don’t express myself through acting because you have to play like somebody else. I think eventually you do express yourself in acting but you’ve got to get a certain type of role.  But I haven’t gotten that deep into acting yet where I’m really like “let me really get into this character.” For now it’s just fun.  For now it’s just fun with acting. But music is life. I’ve been doing that since I was a baby I can’t explain my love for music especially like hip hop music. Music is just the greatest thing in the world.

 

Related Tags:

 

Actors Interview

Earth to Echo

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language
Profanity: Some schoolyard language
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Sci-fi-style action and peril
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: July 3, 2014
Date Released to DVD: October 20, 2014
Amazon.com ASIN: B00MHIKRVA

 

Copyright 2014 Disney


Three kids go on a wild adventure and make an extra-terrestrial friend in this updated take on films like “E.T.” and “The Goonies.” It being 2014, that means that the found footage genre, pioneered in “The Blair Witch Project” and featured in adult thrillers like “Paranormal Activity” and “Cloverfield,” has permeated family film as well. What makes this intriguing is that its intended audience of digital natives, kids who played with iPads before they could talk, may just be better able to process the fragmented, jerky cinematography designed to appear as though it was shot by the kids in the story themselves, than any adult in the audience can imagine.

As it begins, an entire community is being shut down for a highway construction project and all of the families who live there have to leave. Three close friends, confident, talkative Tuck (rapper Brian “Astro” Bradley), shy techie Munch (Reese Hartwig), and sensitive Alex (Teo Halm)have received mysterious messages on their phones and they want to find out where it is coming from and what it means.  Some guys from the construction project have some to the door offering to exchange new phone vouchers in exchange for the phones they say they have damaged with their drilling. But the boys realize that their phones are not broken. They are being contacted by someone or something who wants them to find him/her/it.

The trio is able to get away for one last night because their parents are too distracted by the move to notice what they are doing.  They get on their bikes and bring along a movie camera and some “spy glasses” that surreptitiously take movies as well. The signal leads them to a tiny, owl-like robotic alien they call Echo, who needs their help to repair his ship so he can return home. But the “construction guys” are looking for Echo, too. Tuck, Munch, and Alex have to race against time and the men who want to capture Echo in a treasure hunt for the parts Echo needs.

There are no surprises in the storyline, but the likeable kids, cute alien, and novelty of the found footage approach makes this heartwarming story of four friends on a thrilling adventure a good choice for a family outing. Echo does not speak; he/she/it just beeps, which means the kids have to do the talking, and that keeps the focus on what they are learning as they try to understand and take on the responsibility of helping someone in a meaningful way for the first time.

Those not accustomed to the mosaic style of “found footage” films may find it disorienting, but the sense of adventure and the strength of the friendships is palpable throughout, and kids and their families will enjoy being along for the ride.

Parents should know that this film has sci-fi action and peril, some schoolyard language, 0underage drinking and drunkenness and references to tween kissing.

Family discussion: Why did the kids feel “invisible?” What questions would you ask Echo? What did Tuck learn about Alex? Why did Tuck lie about Emma?

If you like this, try: “E.T,” “The Goonies,” “Super 8,” and “The Last Mimzy”

Related Tags:

 

DVD/Blu-Ray Fantasy movie review Science-Fiction Stories About Kids
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik