Meet Ty Simpkins. If you live in a big city like Los Angeles, where there are always tons of movie billboards, then you already know him. He's stared you down as you drove on Sunset Blvd. for his "Insidious" movie poster. It was scary. Really scary. But meeting the star himself was a relief! Ty is just a regular 12-year-old who happens to know and work with A-list stars like Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Avengers) and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids). And he plays a lot of video games. A lot.
His next film "Insidious: Chapter 2" is out on September 13th, which is the sequel to "Insidious."
Ty, at such a young age, you have already starred in great movies such as "Gardens of the Night," "War of the Worlds," "Iron Man 3," and that¹s just to name a few! What do you enjoy most about acting and why?
Yeah, I think I've been in like 15 or 16 movies. "War of the Worlds" was my first movie. And they are not all as big as "War of Worlds" or "Iron Man 3." Some films I got cut out of, and some like "Gardens of the Night," (that's really, my sister Ryan Simpkins' movie. I just have a small part in that, so I am not really starring in it. But it¹s a really important film. (I actually haven¹t seen it, but I know what it's about!) and parents really need to talk to their kids about 'stranger danger!'
I love almost everything about acting! What I like most is I have clear mind when I¹m working, like being free. Everything is already usually set in the script, and the set is ready, the location, wardrobe, and directors are all ready, and then when I walk on set - we make movies! I like that everyone¹s job is important too. Even small stuff that most people don't even realize someone painted or designed. I love the words "action!" and "checking the gate!" What I don¹t like is hair and make-up. I love the people who do that job. It's just my hair grows fast and it's a lot of haircuts sometimes, which means having to sit still.
Can you share with us, what has been your favorite project to work on so far? Every project is always so great when working on it, and I always have great things I remember from each film - so I know that¹s kind of a cheesy answer but its really true. But if I had to pick just 1, it's totally "Iron Man 3!" I mean, who wouldn't want to be in a super hero movie! Ever since I was little I was telling our agent, 'I want to be in an action film, a super hero film - can we do that?' And then bam! Iron Man 3! It was, well it is total awesomeness! And I know I'm lucky.
Who is your biggest inspiration as an actor and why? So many and to pick one. I'd say I have three. First, Harrison Ford. When I was little I would watch "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" over and over. I know both film series pretty much by heart and he has really cool characters in both, and recently I¹ve been addicted to "42." I mean, he still has it. That¹s a really long cool career. He's just a great actor. And then there is Johnny Depp. "Pirates of the Caribbean" just might be my favorite film series. I mean I like him in lots of his stuff, but what I like is the way he creates his characters. It's got to be so fun. He is like a live action cartoon. And last but not least…Robert Downey Jr. Obviously I know him more then Harrison Ford or Johnny Depp, but Robert really inspires me. He's kind and caring. And when I am with Robert I have a feeling of just being safe. Robert's character building is amazing, examples: "Chaplin," "Sherlock Holmes" and the Marvel films. He's just awesome. He¹s the acting God.
Now we loved you on "Iron Man 3." You had such great chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. What made it so easy for you two to work together? I think that was the "safe" feeling. Like, we just connected. He's really helpful and when I couldn't say this tongue twister thing he totally helped me, and in the edit you would never know I couldn't say "retro reflection panels". Also, Robert told me I reminded him of him, and that my confidence was what he was looking for (even though I was a little in shock my first day on set). Robert just made me be awesome. He knows how to make everyone feel comfortable.
Well, while we do love your character on "Iron Man 3", we must say that your role on ³Insidious² is completely horrifying in the best possible way! Is there anything you can tell us about your next appearance as Dalton on "Insidious 2"? Sadly, I can't tell you anything about "Insidious 2." Sorry! But I think people are going to like it. I like my character, Dalton a lot, and I love working with Patrick Wilson who plays my dad. Aka: Josh. Patrick is another guy I know I work so well with. He's played my dad three times. Twice in "Insidious" and in "Little Children" when I was three. I hope every every years I get to be in movies with him.
You have experience in quite a wide range of genres including horror, drama and action. What do you enjoy about each of them? And do you prefer acting in any one to the others? I think I love the action stuff best because I get to be strong and in control and a hero. That's just really cool you know? And the drama stuff, I'm actually really good with the slow pace, and I just feel what my character is going through I think. As for horror. I love being part of "Insidious" 1 and 2, but to be honest, I really get into my character, and I really am scared. I used to think 'I don't know if I need to do another horror film, they are too scary, but then I think about it and the scared feeling really is kind of fun. If I could only remember that when I'm filming 'This is really fun. This is really fun, this is really fun!' But my imagination just gets in my way.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years as an actor? I never really think about my future and where I might be in five years. I mean, I'm still a kid and I'm in school, and the way we do it now is, I audition and I forget about it, unless I book, then I travel, and film, and when it's over I go back to school until the next one. But none of that was ever really really planned. I mean, seems like for me and my sister it's kind of easy. She works - we all go. I work - we all go. So I said I was in like 16 movies, right? Ryan's been in about the same I think. But we've gone to each other¹s sets so we really have been in like 32 movies. Kinda.
Is there anything besides acting you could see yourself getting involved with as a career? I always wanted to be an archeologist like Indiana Jones. Or a pirate like Jack Sparrow, or a genius billionaire like Tony Stark. I also think being a sea explorer or scientist would be awesome.
I heard schools back in session, and in order to take a break from class work and your career, what hobbies do you enjoy during your spare time? Yes. I'm back and school and I started a new school this year and I¹m in 6th grade. My school is so great! It's a really long day but I don't even seem to mind. But in my free time I like hanging out with my friends, I like playing the game Star Wars Old Republic. I take an improv class and I play cello. I kinda take Tae Kwon Do when I can, and I want to get back into fencing and ice hockey but I'm sort of out of free time.
Can you tell us about any future projects you have in store? I have a couple. We are still waiting on funding for "Conversations with Andy," which I am really excited to film. It's about a kid whose parents are going through a divorce and the kid (me) gets advice from Andy Warhol. And something I can't talk about until it¹s announced, which will be so awesome when it happens. They have to work out some stuff I guess. But oh it would be amazing! Thinking optimistically! It's what I do!