Culture / Entertainment

10-Year-Old Houston Actor Stars With Ryan Gosling in Buzzy Fall Oscar Contender: Talk About a Big Break — This is a Moon Shot

BY // 09.14.18

It’s no surprise that Space City is full of stars. We can claim credit for some impressive names: Annette O’Toole, Jim Parsons, Patrick Swayze and Dennis Quaid — not to mention Beyonce — to name just a few.

Now, there’s a new face on the scene. A young star’s on the rise. These major movie-makers weren’t kidding around when they cast this child actor.

Houston’s own Gavin Warren is repping H-Town and Texas on the silver screen. And his big breakout is a buzz-worthy, Oscar bait film you’ve definitely heard of. It’s a little something called First Man, the Neil Armstrong biopic starring Ryan Gosling of Mickey Mouse Club and “Hey, Girl” meme fame. And, you know, all those movies.

Ten-year-old Warren got to know Gosling on set. He wasn’t too starstruck to pal around with the Hollywood favorite, who sounds like he’s definitely good with kids. That’s no surprise since Gosling has two daughters with his actress-wife Eva Mendes.

“He was just really cool and nice,” Warren tells PaperCity. “We played together a lot.” Gosling even gave Warren some acting tips, but the little actor can’t quite remember them at the moment.

But he can tell you the advice he himself gave to First Man director Damien Chazelle. “I said whenever you have babies, do not say bad words in front of them,” Warren laughs.

And there was another teaching moment when Warren constantly asked if he could improvise. “I said ‘Just to let you know, you don’t always have to say yes to everything.’ ” Out of the mouth of babes.

Improvisation is one of Warren’s favorite elements of acting. “You can just make up things. And it can be anything,” he says.

It’s late morning in Houston, and Warren sits in front of a steaming cup of mint tea, his favorite. He’s quieter than might expect from an actor, but comes off as precocious. That’s what happens when you split your childhood between schooling and professional acting.

The junior film buff studies with a tutor for an hour a day before working on his online educational program. He hasn’t been tutored yet today, but his mother makes it clear he’s going later.

Warren’s starred in Back Roads, which comes out this year, and last year’s Two Wongs Make a White. He got his start three years ago, after being discovered by IMTA: International Modeling & Talent Association.

The pint-sized actor is no Disney Channel cautionary tale. His mother was hesitant to let him pursue his passion, at first.

“What happened was I used to do gymnastics, and me and my brother were planning to do acting for like awhile. Then we finally decided we should both do it,” Warren says. “We said let’s ask mom so we can be like Adam Sandler.”

After winning an acting and modeling competition put on by IMTA, Warren won his mom over. His brother Blake acted in a few commercials and some plays, but no longer does.

Warren’s all in. His favorite movies are comedies like Happy Gilmore, and the stars he’d most like to work with include some belly laugh-inducing bros: The Rock,Kevin Hart, Chris Pratt and Sandler himself.

But comedy isn’t exactly his thing. Would he ever consider taking on a comedic role?

Warren scrunches up his nose and sighs. “Sure, I’ll do it,” he says reluctantly.

A Drama King

Gavin Warren’s found his footing in drama, as you can see in First Man and his upcoming project. “It’s called The Descendant. And I’m the main character,” Warren smiles. It’s slated to be a heavy project with some darker material.

“I like dark or scary,” he says. The upcoming film will mark Warren’s first movie as a lead character.

But there are some moments that are light hearted — and perfect for a 10-year-old. “I think it’s a little funny because they say some stuff. Literally one of the first lines is a bad word. It’s really funny,” Warren grins.

He’s up for the task of playing the lead, even if it means memorizing more lines. Warren’s come up with a unique method for learning the script, leaning into his other creative strengths. “I like to draw pictures to help me remind myself,” he says.

Warren’s been an artist since he was four, before he could even write and before acting was even a dream. It’s just one of his hobbies, along with whittling.

“I whittle sticks. We live close to a forest and we see coyotes. So you sharpen sticks and stuff,” he says.

But he has branched out. “I was trying to make a boat and it didn’t go well,” Warren says. But he did construct a boat out of tape during the filming of First Man and sent it sailing across a lake. It lasted a good while before it sank.

“It was still there for three days. And then it disappeared. We were all trying to get it back,” he says.

He loves being on-set, but he misses Houston when he travels. “Sometimes I get homesick,” he says.

Keep your eye out — you’ll be seeing more and more of Gavin Warren. Coming to a screen near you.

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