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David Henrie Interview: "There’s Someone out There That’s Got My Eye, but We’re Just Seeing Where It Goes"

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Image attributed to David Henrie

David Henrie

Twenty-five year old California native David Henrie is known as Ted Mosby’s “future son,” in the CBS hit How I Met Your Mother, which concluded its nine-season run in March 2014 and as Justin Russo in Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place. He has directed a few short films including Boo! and Catch (available on iTunes or at catchtheshortfilm.com).

The war drama, Little Boy, is scheduled to be released on April 24, 2015, and also stars Kevin James, Emily Watson and Ted Levine. Henrie can also be seen in the spring release, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and Walt Before Mickey, a film based on a book and a true story about the early years of Walt Disney.

“I just find virtue so much more attractive in a woman than the flesh or just physical attributes. I mean, do you want a husband one day? Do you want a husband who’s temperate, modest and respectable? You’d probably list all of these as virtues that you’d want in a man. If that’s the case, why are you dressing to attract the wolves? (laughs)”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): David, thanks for taking the time today.

David Henrie: No problem. I love your accent. It brings a smile to my face.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Thank you. Congratulations on being cast in a new Ronald Reagan biopic!

David Henrie: Kind of cool, yeah.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is the film focusing on his early years?

David Henrie: It’s actually more focused on his later years. I don’t know if you recall that Reagan was a lifeguard when he was a teen, but I’ll be playing a young Ronald Reagan in his teen and early adult stages when he was a lifeguard and at pivotal moments in his life with him defining who he was as a man.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you watching old Ronald Reagan movies to prepare for the role?

David Henrie: Yeah. I’ve got a bunch of books that I’m going to be scouring just so I know the man inside and out. Also on a funny note, I don’t know if you know what kind of bathing suits they wore back in the day, but let’s just say they were small. So I’m planning on getting in good shape for the summer because it’s pretty much like being in underwear.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Didn’t the men wear one-piece bathing suits?

David Henrie: They had something that kind of looked like a singlet, you know, like wrestlers wear. They have some that kind of look like that, so I’m pushing to wear that. There are a couple of outfits from back then, but I’m hoping to get the singlet because it covers more. I’m going to tell wardrobe that I don’t want to be hanging it all out there (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): (laughs) Did your parents ever talk about Ronald Reagan or his time in office as the POTUS?

David Henrie: Oh, of course. He’s one of the most iconic presidents we’ve ever had, so I grew up hearing all about him. The fact that he was a movie star and got into the film business and how that sort of segued into his presidency later down the line was fascinating. My family has a great admiration and respect for Ronald Reagan. We agree with a lot of the values he stood for.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Several media outlets call you a “rising star.” Do you feel that things are falling into place right now as an actor?

David Henrie: Yes. It has been good, you know. I have no complaints. I’m just trying to stay faithful. I’ve got two movies coming out in April, one called Little Boy and one called Mall Cop 2. Both are great roles for me.

Little Boy is a drama. I think the producers of the film on Reagan actually saw that film, and that’s what convinced them I could play Reagan. It’s a very dramatic role for an actor, and it’s a period piece, so you get to see me in a period look in the 40s. To answer the question more directly, I’m just doing my best, and whatever happens, happens.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is Little Boy classified as a Christian film?

David Henrie: No. It’s not a Christian film. It’s definitely a film for the masses. It’s a family film. It’s a World War II drama. It’s heavy hitting. It’s packed with a lot of emotion, and it deals with a subject matter that I think we can all relate to. The philosophy of the film is, “What do you put your faith in? Do you put your faith in yourself or something bigger than you?” It really tackles that in a very unique way in World War II.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Jakob Salvati plays the little boy (Pepper Flynt Busbee). How old is he?

David Henrie: Now he’s like ten, I think, but when we shot the movie he was seven or eight for sure. I think he had just turned eight.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was that the first time you’ve worked with someone that young?

David Henrie: I started acting when I was nine, so I was more than used to the dynamic of how working with a kid worked, and I grew up on the Disney Channel. I had a show on Disney for many years, so I was always used to working with kids. I’d been working on Disney since I was thirteen or fourteen until I was twenty-two.

It’s tough. Kids can only work a certain amount of hours, so the days are shorter, things are more compact and things are more tense. You have to work longer in terms of days because you have less hours in a day. Things are definitely more tense because there’s not the luxury of working just with adults and having unlimited time.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I read that your mom was a talent manager, so was she the reason you became an actor?

David Henrie: My mom was always a stay at home mom, and she became a talent manager when my brother and I were both young adults. My brother was eighteen, and I was twenty-one. We were grown up, and my mom had nothing to do. She grew up in performing arts and was a very good dancer and was always very artistic and very creative. As we grew up, she found talent in being able to coach kids.

Mom coached me and my brother for every audition, every television show we’ve ever done. I’ve done over two hundred episodes of TV, and she has coached me on every single one, so she’s a great asset. She just started working with people for fun, and then it turned into a really successful business. She has some of the top working young actors in the business.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Very cool. I assume then that your parents have always totally supported your career choice?

David Henrie: Oh yes. If it weren’t for them, I definitely would not be here. That’s a fact.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have publicly discussed your Christian faith. Are you a practicing Catholic?

David Henrie: Yes.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How do you remain faithful to your personal beliefs and resist the temptations in Hollywood?

David Henrie: People are chameleons, and you adapt to your surroundings. If you’re not willing to put the right people around you or stick to the right group of friends or keep the right influences around you, it makes everything more difficult.

I like this saying, “Friends are like elevators, so they’ll bring you up or they’ll bring you down.” There’s no hovering in an elevator. Either they’re going one way or the other. Whomever you’re hanging out with is either going to bring you up or they’re going to bring you down.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you think that the wrong type of friends influenced Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber to make certain choices some deemed inappropriate?

David Henrie: Unfortunately I don’t know them enough to comment on their personal lives.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have over three million Twitter followers! Are they primarily women offering marriage proposals?

David Henrie: (laughs) There have been a couple of proposals.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): A recent tweet of yours was, “When a woman veils her body in modest clothing, she’s not hiding herself from men, she’s revealing her dignity.” Please explain.

David Henrie: I just find virtue so much more attractive in a woman than the flesh or just physical attributes. Do you want a husband one day? Do you want a husband who’s temperate, modest and respectable? You’d probably list all of these as virtues that you’d want in a man. If that’s the case, why are you dressing to attract the wolves? (laughs)

You need to dress what you want to attract. Virtue will only attract virtue. It’s not the opposite way, so I’m always trying to encourage women not to compromise. If you want to be treated like a diamond, you have to become a diamond.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I assume you are also talking about how a woman acts in addition to how she dresses?

David Henrie: Oh completely. Completely. Just sit down and write out all the things you want in a husband, and then look at your life and see if you’re going to attract that kind of guy.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you know what you want in a wife?

David Henrie: Of course. I just want a woman who’d be willing to put bigger ideals ahead of herself, like family, like religion, like some sort of objective belief system ahead of her as supposed to her own way or whatever she wants.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you interested in anyone now?

David Henrie: There’s someone that’s got my eye. There’s someone out there that’s got my eye, but we’re just seeing where it goes.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’m sure How I Met Your Mother had a lot to do with your success on television, but wasn’t that an unusual job for an actor, to be seen on the screen every week with barely any dialogue?

David Henrie: Oh yeah. It was the most unique job ever. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. When I first got the pilot, they weren’t sure what our characters were going to be. They almost thought we were going to be series regulars. They thought we’d have big roles on the show and somehow do some sort of split timing thing, like maybe our characters might’ve been a much more integral part of the show. That’s what got me into the room to read with them.

I knew some of the people at the network and had done TV shows with them in the past, so they brought me in. Then once it got picked up, it just sort of became what it was, and they said, “We found the direction of the show. You guys will just do a couple of little things here and there,” and that’s what it became. At first it was confusing and sort of morphed into that. Then it became the easiest job in the world.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why do you think Wizards of Waverly Place was so popular?

David Henrie: I think it had a great formula. I think that was one of the first shows they had older kids attached to a Disney show. It’s usually kids of thirteen, but when we got on it, we were fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen years old. Also our chemistry was good together, and the creators were very enabling in allowing us to find freedom within the characters and to identify with them. It was just a great environment.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have another project also this year about Walt Disney?

David Henrie: Yeah. This year’s pretty good. In nationwide release, we’ve got Mall Cop 2, which is a Kevin James film. Then we have Little Boy, which is the one we were just talking about, and then we have Walt Before Mickey. I’m not sure when that’s coming out.

My short film I wrote and directed is called Catch. That’s online, and we’re doing a big Father’s Day campaign for that because it’s very pro father and son. It’s a beautiful little short film. If you have ten minutes, you can grab it on iTunes. It has some great actors in it and tells a really powerful story about a little boy who’ll stop at nothing to get some of his dad’s time.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you watched all of the Oscar-nominated films?

David Henrie: I know a lot of classic films, but I haven’t watched the ones nominated for Academy Awards. I’ve been traveling around too much, so I haven’t had time to watch the movies I want to watch.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What do you enjoy on those rare days off?

David Henrie: I like to hang with friends. I host a little philosophy night at my house once a week. We talk philosophy and hang and relax with buddies. That’s pretty fun.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What actor would you most want to work with in a film?

David Henrie: That’s a good question. Back in the day, working with Cary Grant would’ve been amazing, or Humphrey Bogart would’ve been unreal. Of course it would be fun to work with Robert De Niro. An actor I really like out there right now is Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s amazing.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yes he is and nominated for Actor in a Leading Role for The Imitation Game. David, I enjoyed the chat. Continued success in upcoming projects!

David Henrie: Thank you. God Bless. Have a good one. Nice talking to you!

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