Make way for Joey King. At just 12-years-old, the young actress has already starred in her own feature film, Ramona and Beezus, and tacked on about eight other big screen titles to her resume. But, of course, it’s not just about lengthening your list of screen credits, but lengthening that list with films of quality and boy does King have some potential hits on the way.
Next out of the gate for King will be the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises. Then, on March 8th, 2013, King will grace the screen as China Girl in Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful. But wait; there’s more! King also snagged her very first series regular role for NBC’s upcoming romantic comedy Bent.
See what I mean? We’ve got a hefty dose of King on the way! But, even with all this work to get to, King still makes time for her family and a good deal of charitable causes, too. Apparently, there’s near to nothing King can’t do – with her pig Jay Jay by her side, of course. It isn’t time to chat about The Dark Knight Rises or Oz: The Great and Powerful just yet, but check out everything else on King’s plate in the interview below.
You’re only 12 and you’ve got quite a number of credits to your name. When did you decide this was the career for you? You started so young, so I imagine it might have been family giving you a nudge.
Joey King: You know what? It actually wasn’t. I used to do stage and theater plays before I did acting and ever since that I said, ‘I wanna do this. I wanna go on stage. I wanna film things with other people.’ It was really a dream of mine ever since I started. Even when I was four years old when I first started, people were like, ‘Hey, Joey. What do you wanna do when you grow up?’ I said, ‘I wanna be an actress!’ It’s always been a career choice of mine and I hope I’m successful at it for a really really long time!
So far, so good! Have you had that moment yet when you thought, ‘Wow, now I’m a star?’
Right after I booked Ramona and Beezus I couldn’t believe it. That movie was just so incredible to work on. People were so nice and I wasn’t even thinking about that, but right when I booked it I was just so excited because so many people have read her books, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona book series, and that they would be watching it and I was just so excited.
That was definitely your movie; you really carried that one, so it’s certainly something to be proud of!
Yeah, I was only like nine-years-old when I filmed that, my mom said, ‘Yeah, we didn’t want you to know how much of a responsibility it was to be a lead in a movie. We didn’t want to put the stress and pressure on you.’ I said, ‘Well, it wasn’t really that hard. I had so much fun!’
What do your sisters think of your work? I know they both act, so is there any sibling rivalry?
No, absolutely not. There’s no rivalry. We’re so far apart in age, there’s nothing really to rival about. We don’t go out for the same thing. My sisters, whenever I get a job or whenever I go out on an audition and I get a callback or I go screen testing, they’re always so proud of me and they’re always so happy for me. They give me a big hug and they say, ‘Let’s go out and celebrate and go eat!’ They’ve always been really really supportive and they’ve never really been jealous of me, never.
I know one of your sisters had a role I’d be jealous of – playing a young Debra Morgan on Dexter.
Yeah! She was really excited. That was the first time she ever shot a gun in that show, so she was really excited for that. I think she did a really great job and I’m so proud of her for that!
Now onto your projects. Can you tell me about the casting process for The Dark Knight Rises? Was this a role maybe your agent came across and brought to you?
I went out on the audition and then they said, ‘Okay, next time we’re going to have you meet with a casting agent,’ so I met with him and he said, ‘Okay, that was awesome.’ He was so nice, John Papsidera. And then I got a call a couple days later that said, ‘We want you to meet with Christopher Nolan for this next audition,’ and I’m like, ‘What?’ I was so excited! I was like, ‘Mom! Did you hear?’ And my sisters, Kelli and Haley, when I told them that, they were like, ‘Oh my gosh! No way! You get to meet Christopher Nolan! That’s awesome!’ [Laughs] I was really excited to meet him and he was really nice and it was just really fun to work with him, too.
Now, The Dark Knight Rises and Oz: The Great and Powerful are two massive movies. Both have budgets of $200 million or more. What’s the biggest perk of working on such a big production?
I like working on big budget films. [Laughs] I like working on small budget films, too. Whatever it is, you make friends, but the good thing about working on big budget films [laughs], is that everything is so Ahhh! We had this lunchroom at the studio that we were filming in, Raleigh Studios, and the catering crew, they made the best lunches ever. It’s so yummy! With the big budget they got to make these amazingly cool sets and everything. It was just awesome.
And how about genre? You’ve got quite the resume having done some horror with Quarantine, carried your own comedy with Ramona and Beezus; is there a type of movie you like best?
I don’t know. I like doing all kinds of different movies. I like doing a variety. My next movie, I want it to be kind of dramatic! Maybe it would be up for an Oscar because that’s been my dream. I’ve always wanted to win an Oscar, so maybe that will happen.
Who do you want to win the Oscars this year?
You know what the hard thing about this is? My sister Haley, she’s part of the SAG nominee committee now, so she gets to pick who’s nominated and gets to help pick that kind of stuff, so like the Oscars and the SAG awards, so we’ve been getting all these amazing movies that haven’t even come out yet and we’re just watching them and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I love this one, I love that one and I love this one.’ I’m really torn because there’s so many great movies that we’ve seen. Let’s see. I really liked The Debt. I liked J. Edgar a lot, too.
And how about comparing film to TV? You’ve done a fair amount of TV, too, and now have a brand new show kicking off, right?
Yeah, I just finished filming it. We did six episodes and it’s gonna come out soon. It’s gonna come out next year sometime in the beginning of the year. I’m really excited about that. Comparing working on TV and movies, I love movies so so much. I do like TV a lot as well. I’ve never really been like on a TV show like a series regular like I am on this TV show called Bent, so it’s very different and I like it a lot. I’ve been making some great friends and I’m having a good time, but I really love movies too, so it’s a hard comparison.
Do you have to prepare a different way? I know the scripts for a TV show come in much faster.
Yeah, it’s like a mini movie every time. It’s like half a movie every week that you have to learn. We always have table reads, so that’s how we know how it plays off. It’s really fun. One of my favorite parts would probably be going to the table reads and seeing how everyone reads it for the first time because they’re all so funny. It’s hilarious. We have the best cast. I love this TV show. It’s really fun to work on.
What do you think makes Bent different from some of the other comedies it’s going up against?
You know what? I don’t know. There’s something about it that I think people will really like. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s really just a romantic comedy and everybody has their flaws and everything and they’re all working them out together. It’s like a love circle, kind of, but not really. It’s gonna be really funny and I hope you guys can tune in to watch it!
And now, most importantly, how’s your pig doing?
Oh, my pig Jay Jay? She is doing awesome! She’s actually in the other room right now, but she’s been snorting away this morning and she’s like, ‘Give me food!’ I’m like, ‘Okay!’ [Laughs] She’s so cute and sweet. I just love her. She’s so awesome and she’s such a great pet to have and I love her and I’m so happy that I got her so thank you, Jay Leno!
Nothing makes me happier than seeing the pictures you post of her on Twitter!
[Laughs] But you know what the hard thing is? The reason why I don’t post more pictures of her is because she’s kind of hard to get pictures of. She won’t cooperate! [Laughs]
But really, even more importantly, you’re big on giving back. Can you tell me a bit about your charity work?
Yes, definitely. I work on a lot of charities. I did this thing for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which is like Chili’s raising money for them, so I was a little hostess at Chili’s for a while. Actually, yesterday I visited Kaiser Medical Center in Los Angeles, so I visited the children there and it was really great to see them and they were just so sweet and so happy that somebody was there to talk to them and visit them, so that was really great. I work with UNICEF. This Halloween, they want you to trick-or-treat for UNICEF and this year I raised $4,035.11 for them. I do a lot at the same time and I also, whenever I can, donate to the Salvation Army and I always donate my old clothes to Goodwill, so I’m doing those kinds of charities as well.