OWEN WILSON ON WONDER
TEARJERKING movie Wonder tells the story of August (Auggie), a young boy with facial differences and what happens when he starts school for the first time, aged ten. We met up with huge Hollywood stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, plus Jacob Tremblay (who plays the lead role in the movie), when they came to London, to find out more…
Jacob, you spent some time with children who su er from the same condition as Auggie. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Jacob: My parents and I were learning about facial differences online and we found a group of children in a kids’ hospital in Toronto, so I reached out to them and I asked them if they could send me letters of experiences and tips. Just anything they could share with me or wanted me to know. Later I got back all these letters. I put all the letters in a binder and I had it with me every day on set and I would read it before I did some emotional scenes. And also, before I filmed Wonder, I went to a retreat where families of kids who have facial differences get together and just have a good time. They invited our family and I got to go to Florida and I made lots of friends. It was very fun.
You spent a lot of time in make-up to play Auggie, then you had to forget about the make-up to play him. How was that?
Jacob: It was challenging but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Julia and Owen, you play pretty cool parents in the film. Do you think you’re cool parents in real life and do your kids think you’re cool?
Julia: They’re two very different questions because I was going to say we’re incredibly cool parents, but would our children say we’re cool? I don’t know, it would depend on the day.
Owen: That does seem to be part of being a kid, is that at some point you start to roll your eyes at your parents. And sadly with me, it’s already begun at six. But I think I’m a pretty cool parent.
Do you ever recall a moment in your life when somebody’s kindness has made your day or your kindness has made somebody’s day?
Julia: I think yesterday, that nice man whose birthday it was, who came in and talked to us, he put a smile on our face for the rest of the day. He told us such a sweet story about being at school with a classmate when there was an accident. He was new as a senior and a guy was kind to him. He reached out to the guys four years later and told him that, even four years later, it still means something to him that he was the only person that was truly kind to him. We were all in tears; it was so sweet.
What’s your favourite funny moment from behind the scenes?
Owen: It actually didn’t end up being behind the scenes because we used it in the movie. When Julia’s character gave me her manuscript and then I give her a present and she opens it – that was behind the scenes, but you got to see her reaction to it in the movie. I was excited that day and had an idea.
Julia: He wasn’t supposed to give me any present, so it was pretty funny.
Jacob: Of all the funniest things that happened on set, most of them have to do with Owen and some of them have to do with just us kids messing around. During one scene Owen stubbed his toe and he fell to the ground, which was pretty funny. I don’t know why I laughed at him getting hurt, but it was funny.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling at school and trying to fit in?
Owen: It’s such a great thing what Izabela [who plays Auggie’s sister] says in the movie. Maybe you want to say some version of that.
Julia: She says: “It’s impossible to blend in when you were born to stand out.” But that’s so hard to feel when you feel really small in class with giants, or whatever the feeling is!
Wonder is in cinemas now.