Khleo Thomas Likes Acting With Lizards
Q: How did you get the role of Zero?
Birthdate: January 30, 1989
Birthplace: Anchorage, Alaska
Current residence: Los Angeles, California
Siblings: two younger brothers, Kadheem, 11, Khamel, 3
Khleo: By auditioning. The first audition I went on, I impressed the casting director and then they called me back. I then went to audition for the director and producer of the film.
Q: Was this specifically for the role of Zero?
Khleo: For Zero. Then they called me back a third time and I had to go to a screen test. That is when they bring the best of the best of the character that you'll be playing. They put you in the studio in a scene and they switch people in and out to see who looks the best. There were 10 kids going for my role. They weren't really paying attention to me, so I said, "OK, so I didn't get this one." Then, when [our group] was leaving, there were 10 more Zeros coming in. I said, "Eh, I'm not even going to worry about this one." Two days later, I got a call saying I got the role.
Q: Why do you think you were picked?
Khleo: I think it was the director; I think he really liked me because I acted well and was very polite.
Q: What was the most fun thing about filming the movie?
Khleo: Meeting new people on the set and the lizards.
to Khleo's description of these lizards.
Q: So, they don't really bite?
Q: Was there an animal trainer on set to make them seem harmful, like they are in the movie?
Khleo: Yes, but he didn't really have to do anything because they were acting [like] themselves, actually moving around.
Q: Did you know going into this project that you would wind up in a hole with a bunch of lizards?
Khleo: I like lizards.
Q: Did the other actors pull pranks on each other when the cameras weren't rolling?
Khleo: Shia had put mud on Max's brand-new studio chairs. Max was so mad, so when Shia left to do his scene, Max threw his chair in a hole and started dumping bottles of water on it.
Q: Were you involved in this?
Khleo: No, but there was a fight. It was Jacob, Shia, and me versus the other kids. We had squirt guns and we filled them up with ketchup and mustard. We ran after the guys, chasing them, and we started squirting all of them, everything at them. We ran back to Shiais trailer, and when we were coming out, they just threw stuff at us: onions, relish, mustard, and mayonnaise. Just everything!
Q: Not those huge onions that were in the movie?
Khleo: No, no! Those were actually apples with edible ceramic wrap.
Q: How long were you out in the desert filming?
Khleo: Two months.
Q: What was there to do when you weren't filming?
Khleo: We stayed in school. They had a VCR, so we could watch movies. We'd play pranks on each other. We'd talk, or sing some songs.
Q: How did you handle school when people were in all different grades?
Khleo: They had a school trailer for us with two teachers. I was home-schooled, so it was easy for me.
Q: Have you always been home-schooled?
Khleo: No, from kindergarten through seventh grade I went to regular school, and I was just starting home school when I found out I got the part.
Q: Which do you like better?
Khleo: I prefer home school because you learn more by yourself than when you're around other people because you get distracted. At school, it would take me an hour just to finish an assignment. Now it takes 20 minutes.
Q: What's your favorite subject?
Khleo: Science, because you can do so many different things, like dissect frogs, find out about different chemicals.
Q: Did you dissect one of those lizards?
Khleo: No way!
Q: Do you like to read?
Khleo: Every other day I read a book. It takes me two days to finish a book. I like reading because if I'm not doing anything, then I read. If my mom tells me to go take out the trash, I'll go take out the trash, and come back and start reading again.
Q: What's your favorite book?
Khleo: The Harry Potter series.
Q: Had you read Holes before you got the part in the movie?
Khleo: No, I didn't. When I had to go audition for it, I went and got the book.
Q: Was there something they took out of the book when making the movie that you wish they had kept in?
Khleo: Stanley's character, Shia, is supposed to be fat in the beginning, but they ended up not doing that because they didn't want Shia to be overworked.
Q: Did Sigourney Weaver or Jon Voight give you any acting advice?
Khleo: Jon gave me pointers on eye contact. He told me that if you're doing a close-up, you should imagine the person that you're supposed to be in the scene with there.
Interview by Paul Coco