Interview with Ryan Simpkins of “Space Warriors” (and a Chance to Win A Trip to Space Camp)

Posted on May 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Space Warriors is the story of a group of extraordinary teens recruited for Space Camp, who battle for their chance to win a seat in the next shuttle to space, and learn the importance of teamwork, dedication and friendship when they get called in to save some stranded astronauts.  It stars Thomas Horn (Extremely Loud Incredibly Close), Booboo Stewart (Twilight), Grayson Russell (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Savannah Jayde (Big Time Rush) and Ryan Simpkins (A Single ManRevolutionary Road).  The movie premieres on Friday, May 31st at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel.   I am proud to present an exclusive clip.

Viewers can win a free trip to Space Camp by signing up now, and tuning into The Hallmark Channel on Friday 8/7c to find the secret keyword on screen.

I interviewed Ryan Simpkins about making the movie.

What’s the scariest part of Space Camp?

Well space camp isn’t really that scary, because everything is super safe and there are people there to help you no matter what. That being said, there was this one simulator that spun you around in a huge circle and it would slowly get faster and faster. It would come to a point where you couldn’t even lift your arms or open your mouth! The only fear I had was the fear of throwing up, and that was just because it was so hot in there.

 

What’s the most fun?

I really liked the scuba diving. It really feels like you’re just flying or floating. We played basketball with a bowling ball (I accidentally dropped it on Michael’s head, but he didn’t even feel it)! I also lifted a two ton ball above my own head down there. We were doing flips and flying around- it was amazing. I also quite liked our jumpsuits. We didn’t have pockets to put our hands in, so we just held them at our collar as if we were Bane from The Dark Night Rises. We also looked like we were in Starfleet Academy cadets from Star Trek. That was nice.

 

If you were an astronaut, which job would you want?

I would probably want to be in charge of the robots. I don’t know why, it just seems cool. I have a lot of friends who build robots in school and then go to competitions and compete, and they absolutely love it.

 

What are the most important things an astronaut has to know?

I think they really have to know how to work together as a team. There is one part of the film where the Warriors get in a huge fight and completely blow a mission. They failed and they had to pay for it. There is another part where the astronauts are making an extremely important decision and they have to draw straws. They don’t fight about who wins the game of straws, or say that it was unfair, they just work together to keep each other safe.

 

What are the most important qualities an astronaut has to have?

They have to stay humble and know how to work together, or else their egos will get in the way of getting the job done and doing it right.

 

What surprised you the most in what you learned about the space program?

I had no idea that they had moon buggy races. It wasn’t in the original script and it hadn’t been written in until about half way through the shoot, and no one ever mentioned it because they just assumed everyone knew. It’s actually a huge part of space camp training. I was lucky enough to actually go and see some of the races when I went back for the premiere. It’s pretty intense stuff.

 

What did you and the other kids do to have fun while you were making the movie?

We did lots of things. Every night after filming, we wouldd go up to the fifth floor where they served food and we would play games like Janga or Uno and watch the Olympics together. When we were done we’d head down to the pool and swim for hours; playing Marco Polo, Football, or just throwing a penny into the pool and searching for it. We all went to see The Dark Night Rises in the Imax Space Center Theater, and I forced them all to see The Avengers (it was my 7th time seeing it. I love that movie). We also went to this Safari that you could drive through and the animals would come right up to your car. On the night of the premiere we had this giant sleepover and stayed up till three in the morning watching The Hobbit, some of the behind the scenes footage, having pillow fights, and eating junk food. We also watched LOTS of Netflix. I love that cast more than anything.

 

What’s the best advice you ever got about acting?

Acting is always a challenge. A great man told me that. It’s never going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go for it.

What makes you laugh?

Bad puns. I’ll go back and watch Avatar: The Last Airbender and Sokka will tell a joke that I thought was the dumbest thing when I was little but I’ll die from laughter watching it now. I don’t know why but bad jokes just make me cry from laughing. Also Edgar Wright movies. I will laugh the entire time while watching one of those.

 

 

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Interview: Thomas Horn of “Space Warriors”

Posted on May 30, 2013 at 8:00 am

Thomas Horn, Jeopardy champion and star of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” appears in this week’s “Space Warriors.”  The movie premieres on Friday, May 31st at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel and co-stars Ryan Simpkins, Danny Glover, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas, and Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino.

Viewers can win a free trip to Space Camp by signing up now, and tuning into The Hallmark Channel on Friday 8/7c to find the secret keyword on screen.

Thomas Horn was nice enough to answer my questions:

What’s the scariest part of Space Camp?

I used a simulator called the multi-axis trainer that spins riders’ bodies in multiple axes, as the name suggests. Its a little bit nauseating and scary to watch, but it is less unpleasant than it looks.

What’s the most fun?

Conducting the space mission is definitely the most fun part of the camp, because you get to put what you have learned into practice. You get a feeling for what it is like to actually operate a spacecraft

If you were an astronaut, which job would you want?

I would want to be the mission commander, because they get to be in charge and make the final decisions on the spacecraft. It is the most difficult job, but also the most important.

What are the most important things an astronaut has to know?

As far as I know, an astronaut needs to be very familiar with physics and chemistry in general. Astronauts also have to know a large number of ordinary and emergency procedures. 

What are the most important qualities an astronaut has to have?

An astronaut has to be clever and decisive, but also patient. They have to be hardworking, physically fit, and good team players. For my character in the film, this last requirement is the hardest.

What surprised you the most in what you learned about the space program?

I was really surprised when I heard that the astronauts returning from the Apollo missions had to land in the ocean, but couldn’t aim themselves very well, so they sometimes had to wait for hours to be picked up by a ship. That’s bravery.

What did you and the other kids do to have fun while you were making the movie?

We did a lot of swimming in the hotel pool (temperatures were 90+ for all but 2 days during the shoot), and we saw a lot of movies, including two in which my co-stars acted!

What’s the best advice you ever got about acting?

Be natural. 

What makes you laugh?

Jokes are great, but the funniest moments are always accidental.

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A Smile as Big as the Moon — Tonight on ABC

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Watch ABC tonight for the heartwarming “A Smile as Big as the Moon,” with John Corbett as a teacher who brings his special needs students to space camp.  It is based on the real life story of Mike Kersjes, whose book about his experience is A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp.  He proved that for students facing Tourette’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome, dyslexia, eating disorders, and a variety of emotional problems, the rigors of astronaut training were just another challenge.  Kersjes teaches special needs students in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He focuses on helping his students recognize their strengths.  An article in Scholastic Scope magazine about the Space Camp for gifted and talented students inspired him to begin what has evolved into a non-profit called Space is Special.

Kersjes says, “I believe in teaching kids to challenge themselves, to question the labels that had been thrust upon them.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtElcB8q8m8
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