Mas­sively skilled

Kait­lyn dever has a boom­ing ca­reer – at just 17.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By DAVID HILT­BRAND > TuRN TO PAGe 16

FOR Kait­lyn Dever, time is pass­ing too quickly. She turned 17 in De­cem­ber, for Pete’s sake. “I’m the op­po­site of all my friends,” says the lit­tle scene stealer from Tim Allen’s com­edy Last Man Stand­ing.

“They can’t wait to be 18 and driv­ing and head­ing off to col­lege. I’m kind of pan­ick­ing. I wanted to be 16 a lit­tle longer.”

If your ca­reer were boom­ing like hers, you might want to stop and smell the resid­u­als, too.

In ad­di­tion to Last Man Stand­ing, on which she plays flinty youngest daugh­ter Eve, she reprised her role re­cently as the dan­ger­ously re­source­ful teen Loretta McCready on Jus­ti­fied. Loretta is the fire­cracker who dared shoot Mags Ben­net (Margo Martin­dale), the kid who keeps draw­ing the pro­tec­tive in­stinct out of Ray­lan (Ti­mothy Olyphant).

At the mo­ment, Dever is back­stage on the Last Man Stand­ing sound­stage, wait­ing for a ta­ble read. She’s sit­ting in what serves as the class­room for her and Flynn Mor­ri­son, eight, who plays Boyd on the show.

“I’m a ju­nior learn­ing Al­ge­bra 2,” she says, “and I’m in with a third grader.”

Lately, she has been play­ing hooky a lot. But she has a note from her agent.

Dever has been split­ting her time be­tween the sit­com and the set of Men, Women & Chil­dren, an Ivan Reit­man com­edy with Emma Thomp­son, Adam San­dler and Jen­nifer Gar­ner, now film­ing in Texas.

It’s one of five films she has done in the last two years, in­clud­ing the forth­com­ing Lag­gies with Keira Knight­ley.

It’s un­usual for a net­work to give a se­ries con­tract player so much lat­i­tude, but ABC re­alises what they have in Dever and makes ev­ery ef­fort to ac­com­mo­date her.

“She’s a mas­sively skilled ac­tress,” says Last Man Stand­ing’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Tim Boyle. “It may get to the point where she’s at a Jen­nifer Lawrence level, where we can’t hold onto her, but we want it to last as long as pos­si­ble.”

The fact that Last Man Stand­ing runs with clock­work ef­fi­ciency af­fords Dever more away time. The lead, Allen, is a sea­soned pro, and he brought over an old hand from Home Im­prove­ment, di­rec­tor John Pasquin, who stresses re­hearsal. The re­sult is quick tap­ings.

“It’s great for the (stu­dio) audi- ence,” Dever says. “It keeps them happy and awake. If you have to do mul­ti­ple takes, they tend to fade.”

It would be easy to call Kait­lyn pre­co­cious, ex­cept she has had her eyes on this par­tic­u­lar prize since she was a child in Dal­las, Texas.

“I’ve al­ways been good at do­ing im­per­son­ations,” she says. “When I see a per­son on TV, within three min­utes, I can do all their man­ner­isms and their voice. Act­ing has al­ways come nat­u­rally to me.

“I kept beg­ging my par­ents to let me take act­ing classes,” she says. “I came home from the first day of classes and said, ‘Mum, that was the best day of my life!’”

Dever was spot­ted by a tal­ent agent who was con­vinced the kid would take Hol­ly­wood by storm. Thus started another long siege cam­paign of her par­ents.

The Dev­ers were ice skat­ing coaches in Phoenix un­til Kait­lyn’s fa­ther, Tim, won a na­tion­wide cat­tle­call to be­come the voice of Bar­ney, the pur­ple di­nosaur. (He would later go on to voice another pop­u­lar chil­dren’s char­ac­ter, Bob the Builder.) Tim’s voice work took the Dev­ers to Dal­las.

But up­root­ing the whole fam­ily (Kait­lyn is the old­est of three sis­ters) for some­thing as iffy as a child ac­tor’s chances? On the other hand, Kait­lyn was in­cred­i­bly per­sis­tent.

So they com­pro­mised: Mum Kathy would take Kait­lyn out to Los An­ge­les so the nine-year-old could see what a dis­cour­ag­ing job act­ing was. Then duly chas­tened, Kait­lyn would buckle down in Dal­las. That was the idea any­way.

“I booked the first thing my agent sent me out on,” says Dever. “For a while, we’d go back to Dal­las ev­ery sum­mer.

But I kept book­ing more and more things, so three years ago, we all moved out.”

Be­fore we lose you to the ta­ble read, Kait­lyn, what would you say is your best im­per­son­ation?

“I got it from The Best Of Will Fer­rell col­lec­tion. I put on a wig and gi­ant glasses and act like Harry Caray.” OK, did not see that one com­ing.

“I want to host Satur­day Night Live. And I want to be on Jimmy Fal­lon’s show,” Dever gushes. “He was on SNL, and he’s the fun­ni­est guy.” — The Philadel­phia Inquirer/ McClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices life so scrappy that men will bat­tle to near-death over a cou­ple slabs of wood, while the one-per­centers show ut­ter dis­re­gard for the shiv­er­ing masses.

It doesn’t take much of a leap to draw par­al­lels to our mod­ern-day eco­nomic gap.

“I see this just as another piece of Amer­i­can mad­ness,” said Sam Shep­ard, who plays a kind­hearted pri­est try­ing to bring God to a god­less so­ci­ety.

“It’s another chunk of the in­san­ity that we carry around with us, re­gard­less of whether we’re in­volved in tech­nol­ogy or if we’re in­volved in trap­ping beavers.”

To cap­ture the raw tone of the era, di­rec­tor Si­mon Cel­lan Jones es­chewed com­puter-gen­er­ated ef­fects and had his ac­tors get their feet wet – some­times lit­er­ally.

A piv­otal scene had Mad­den fall­ing out of a raft and bar­rel­ing down freez­ing-cold rapids.

“I just kind of con­vinced my­self that it was a stu­dio and we could just turn the rapids off if it got dan­ger­ous,” said Mad­den, last seen be­ing stabbed through the heart on Game Of Thrones, where he played Robb Stark.

Other scenes dur­ing the 56-day shoot near Cal­gary, Al­berta in Canada, forced ac­tors to per­form in tem­per­a­tures be­low 0°C at 2,700m above sea level, a com­bi­na­tion that some­times

Fresh im­pact: new­comer Kait­lyn dever and vet­eran Tim allen in the com­edy LastManS­tand­ing.

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