At 13, Jason Drucker is having a honey of a career. Drucker, born in Hollywood (Florida, that is), was a regular on the popular Nickelodeon series, Every Witch Way. He appeared opposite Samuel L. Jackson when he was eight-years-old in the action comedy Barely Lethal. He had the title role in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. Now he’s generating more buzz in Bumblebee, which has earned the best reviews to date in the Transformer franchise (not to mention over $450 million worldwide). The Paramount release is now available from Redbox on DVD, Blu-ray and On Demand.
Set in 1987, Bumblebee is the origin story of how Autobot scout B-127 came to our planet. Hailee Stanfield (who costarred with Drucker in Barely Lethal) stars as Charlie, a withdrawn teen still devastated by the death of her father. A whiz with cars, she befriends B-127 and gets him up and running. Drucker costars as Otis, her brother, who gives her grief, but rises to the occasion when the Decepticons bring their civil war to Earth in search of Bumblebee. John Cena costars as a government agent with Sector 7 who witnesses Bumblebee’s crash landing on Earth and spearheads the hunt for him. Pamela Adlon (Better Things) also stars as Charlie and Otis’ overwhelmed mother.
Drucker spoke with Redbox about his love of comedy, literally looking up to Samuel L. Jackson and the best advice he got from Hailee Stanfield. (And he is savvy enough to suggest that the family-friendly Bumblebee would make an ideal basket-stuffer for Easter).
Redbox: When did you start acting?
Jason Drucker: When I was 6. I just remember being the kid who said, ‘I could do what those kids on TV are doing.’ I’ve always been very animated ever since I knew how to walk and talk, so my mom sent me to an acting camp to see if I liked it. I enjoyed it so much. My mom got me an agent (thinking) we’ve got nothing to lose; let’s see where this goes. I booked my first audition—a scene for the Discovery Channel. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I thought, ‘Okay, this is fun; let me continue this.’ Here I am seven years later in Bumblebee.
RB: You make it sound so easy. As someone at the beginning of their career, are there actors you admire and who inspire you?
JD: I am a huge comedy fan; I love comedy so much. The two actors I look up to are Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey. I love their sense of humor and their silly brand of comedy. I’ve watched almost every single one of their movies.
RB: What are your favorites?
JD: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is definitely one of my favorites, just for how out there Jim Carrey portrays Ace. And Daddy’s Home for Will Ferrell.
RB: You’ve done independent films and now a big special effects blockbuster. Do you have a preference?
JD: When I am hired, I think, ‘Another film, another journey, another way to make memories.’ It’s an honor to be in Bumblebee and it’s Transformers, so it’s much more exciting. But when I get on a set, it’s just me doing what I love.
RB: I thought the food would be better on the Bumblebee set than on the Barely Lethal set.
JD: You may have a point there.
RB: You costarred with Hailee Steinfeld in Barely Lethal and now you’re playing her brother. She’s one of the best actors of her generation. Have you talked to her about acting?
JD: I was eight when I did Barely Lethal so I wasn’t really comfortable (reaching out) but she pulled me over and asked about my life and how I was doing. She said that education is very important and that school should always come first. I’ve learned some good stuff from her.
RB: Bumblebee is set in 1987. Is there any part of the 80s culture that appeals to you?
JD: Not the fashion; it was all about big hair and wearing bright colors. When it comes to fashion, I just pick out a t-shirt and shorts and go on with my day. I am sort of an ‘80s rock guy.
RB: John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club plays a nice role in Bumblebee. Were you aware of his films?
JD: I heard about 16 Candles, but I think the only one I got to watch was The Breakfast Club, which I loved so much. My dad showed it to me when I was 10 and then I watched it again because I heard it was going to be a big reference in Bumblebee.
RB: Can you imagine a time when there were no cell phones or Internet?
JD: I truly, truly, truly, truly cannot. (Laughs)
RB: What is like to act opposite a green screen?
JD: It was a new experience, for sure. I didn’t have any scenes with Bumblebee, but I did get to watch Hailee working with Bumblebee, which was just a tennis ball and a mesh of its body. It was cool to see how it all works.
RB: Speaking of cool, you worked opposite Samuel L. Jackson in Barely Lethal. What do you remember about that?
JD: At the time, I didn’t realize that he was ‘Samuel L. Jackson.’ My last scene in the movie was me staring up at him—he’s two feet taller than me—and I was being this bratty boy saying something about how I was going to be a secret agent when I grew up.
RB: Nice guy?
JD: Super-nice guy.
RB: As a fan of comedy, you must have loved working with Pamela Adlon on Bumblebee
JD: From the second I met her, she was the Energizer Bunny; she was cracking jokes left and right. She made me laugh 24/7. John Cena, also. People wouldn’t think he would be funny because he’s this big tough guy but he has a great sense of humor. One of my favorite memories of him is at the film’s premiere. We were the first from the cast to arrive, and the first person he goes to on the red carpet was me. He puts his giant hands on my shoulder, gets low to my height and he says, ‘Hey kid, have you seen the movie yet?’ I said no, and he said, ‘Well, I want to tell you you did great in it and I think you’re going to love it.’
Thanks for chatting with us, Jason! You’ve got a bright future ahead.