IN THE SPOT­LIGHT

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - NEWS - Photos and text from wire ser­vices

Real-life road trip helped ‘Brad’s Sta­tus’ ac­tors bond

TORONTO » Ben Stiller thought the best way to pre­pare for his role as a dad tak­ing his son on a col­lege tour in the film “Brad’s Sta­tus” was to take the ac­tor play­ing his son on an ac­tual road trip.

So Stiller and Austin Abrams got in a car and took a drive from Mon­treal to New York, mak­ing stops along the way. “I feel like it re­ally it helped be­cause we’re sup­posed to be like fa­ther and son,” Abrams said.

The bit­ter­sweet com­edy has Stiller’s char­ac­ter, Brad, driv­ing his son around the North­east look­ing at schools, but all he can think about are his own fail­ures in life. Along the way, he starts to ques­tion if he has re­ally failed.

Stiller saw the sub­ject mat­ter as re­lat­able, along with hav­ing a chance to work with Mike White, who wrote and di­rected the film, which hit the­aters Fri­day.

The road trip not only helped the two ac­tors’ re­la­tion­ship on screen. Stiller said they also had a great time do­ing it. On the way, Stiller stopped at a his­tor­i­cal at­trac­tion and dressed up in a Revo­lu­tion­ary War out­fit, much to em­bar­rass­ment of Abrams.

That mo­ment made it feel real. “I was like hey, we’re fa­ther and son. This is hap­pen­ing,” Stiller said.

J Balvin ar­rives to US with “Mi gente” high in the charts

NEW YORK » J Balvin has kicked off the U.S. leg of his “En­er­gia Tour” with seven sold-out con­certs and the hit “Mi gente” high up on the Spo­tify and Bill­board charts.

The reg­gae­ton star’s “Mi gente” is the third fastest to reach 500 mil­lion views in YouTube and al­ready ex­ceeds 746 mil­lion since its re­lease this sum­mer, ac­cord­ing to Balvin’s la­bel, Univer­sal Mu­sic Group. It is in the top five of Spo­tify’s Global Top 50 chart and is in the top 30 of the Bill­board Hot 100 chart.

“I am re­ally su­per grate­ful. All I can do is thank God and the au­di­ence for the bless­ings they have given me,” Balvin said from his na­tive Colom­bia. “I be­lieve this is only the be­gin­ning,” he added. “I feel it very deep within me. I am a man of great faith and I be­lieve that I am just start­ing.”

“Mi gente,” a col­lab­o­ra­tion with DJ Willy Wil­liams of France, is Balvin’s eighth No. 1 on Bill­board’s Latin Air­play. It is one of very few Span­ish songs that can be heard on the U.S. top 40, and comes right af­ter Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yan­kee’s megahit “Des­pac­ito.”

Balvin said deal­ing with the pres­sure and temp­ta­tions of fame hasn’t been a prob­lem for him.

“It’s not hard,” he said firmly. “When you know that th­ese are bless­ings that not ev­ery­one has it lets you be more thank­ful. Few peo­ple have this gift, so we need to be­have well.”

Some­thing that he says has helped him stay grounded — sur­round­ing him­self with good peo­ple. “Child­hood friends, my fam­ily, my blood — that helps a lot,” he said. “To a great ex­tent, you should not al­low your­self to be swayed much by it, you have to sim­ply en­joy it.”

J Balvin per­forms dur­ing the Latin Bill­board Awards in Coral Gables, Fla.

Ben Stiller

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