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The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D
Cayden Boyd, Taylor Lautner, and Taylor Dooley talk to Scholastic News Online about their exciting new movie.
By Gerri Miller and Marie Morreale

(Left to right) Lava Girl, Max and Shark Boy in a scene from their new movie.
(Photo: © Miramax Film Corp.)

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D is about a 10-year-old boy named Max who has make-believe friends, Shark Boy and Lava Girl. They are from the Planet Drool and enlist Max in their adventures. Fun for all! We got the opportunity to talk to the three lead actors, Cayden "Max" Boyd, Taylor "Shark Boy" Lautner, and Taylor "Lava Girl" Dooley. Check it out!

Cayden "Max" Boyd

SN: Cayden, how would you describe Max?
Cayden: At first he's kind of a wimpy kid and he's always dreaming. Shark Boy and Lava Girl rescue him so he can [help them] save Planet Drool. At first he's dreaming all for himself; he wants Shark Boy and Lava Girl to take him away, but he figures out that he's making the world a bad place and he needs to make the world a good place. I like that he's selfish in the beginning and he's not selfish in the end. So far, it's my favorite role.

SN: What was the biggest challenge?
Cayden: Probably the green screen because you had to use a little bit of imagination.

SN: You mean working with objects in front of a green screen that will be turned into computer images later?
Cayden: Yes. It's a tie between the green screen and the 3D effects. There are little things you couldn't do with 3D. You can't do a lot of movement or it looks weird.

SN: Was it fun on the set?
Cadyen: Yes. Robert [Rodriguez, the director] would play Halo with us after work. We all became really good friends. We had school together and we lived in the same apartment complex when we were filming in Austin, Texas. On the weekends we would go to the park together.

SN: Fun aside, the movie has a message too, doesn't it?
Cayden: Yeah. Kids will like that it's 3D, it's superheroes, and all the action in it, but the parents will want their kids to see it because it teaches them a little bit about not being selfish and not squashing each other's dreams, because that also squashes yours.

SN: You recently had a birthday. How did you celebrate?
Cayden: This was my best birthday. I got a Playstation Portable, there are a hand-held PS2, and I got a camera with a printer dock, a remote-controlled car and shoes that are kind of like trampolines—they make you jump really high. We had a paintball party at Field of Fire in Valencia and I got many bruises. But it was really, really fun. I brought about seven people including my best friend, who was my stunt double for the movie.

SN: You and your sister Jenna [The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants] have big movies out this summer. Do you get competitive about that?
Cayden: It's not a rivalry or anything. We're both very supportive of each other.

SN: How did you get into acting?
Cayden: At first we started out doing little modeling things, being in the Target posters and stuff, and it just evolved into acting. I want to keep doing it for a really long time. Eventually I'll stop when I get out of college—I want to go to Texas A&M—and be a marine biologist or train animals on TV. I'd be like Steve Irwin but not catching animals, just training them.

SN: What do you like to do for fun?
Cayden: Play tackle football, play video games, race go-karts.

SN: Do you watch TV?
Cayden: I like Walker: Texas Ranger because of the action, but I don't watch that much TV. If it's between watching TV and playing video games, I'd play video games.

SN: Which ones?
Cayden: NFL Street 2 Unleashed. There's a new game called Hulk Ultimate Destruction. I want to get that.

SN: How about reading? What's your favorite book?
Cayden: Midnight for Charlie Bone. It's a little bit like Harry Potter. It's very adventurous. I like adventure kind of books.

Lava Girl and Shark Boy
(Photo: © Miramax Film Corp.)

Taylor "Shark Boy" Lautner

SN: How did you get the part?
Taylor: Well, my agents got me an audition with the casting director, then I got a call back about two weeks later to go meet Robert Rodriguez in a hotel in LA. I met him and he videotaped me. They went through the whole country auditioning for the role of Shark Boy and then came back to me. I booked it and we were really excited.

SN: In the first audition with the casting director, what did you have to do?
Taylor: Well, they give you sides [script pages] to prepare, and you'd have to deliver those to the casting director and she'd tape it and she'd show it to the director, Robert. He'd see it and she would give people call backs and he would too, and then he wanted to meet me at his hotel.

SN: When you left that first one did you say to your mom, "I think I aced it?" How did you feel?
Taylor: Well, usually at first auditions you really have no clue if you did bad or good, because you go in there and do your sides and they go thank you for coming. I mean they don't tell you anything, just no response, so usually first auditions you have no feeling whatsoever, but the second audition with Robert I had a good feeling, because I did the scene one time and the casting director videotaped me and he said, "Oh, can you do that again?" He took out his video camera and he wanted to videotape it. Also, he asked for an action superhero pose and I did a little pose that I use for my martial arts and he was like, "Oh my gosh one sec!" and he took out his camera and took a picture of it and he got a cool one and he was all excited so [when] I walked out, I thought that one was pretty good.

SN: Your co-star, Lava Girl, is also named Taylor. When someone would say Taylor would both of you turn around?
Taylor: Yeah, that was a pain. They did that for about the first two weeks of shooting and they figured out it wasn't working because they'd say, "Taylor, come to set," and we'd both be there, so then they just started calling me Sharkey and her Lava. They'd be like, "Sharkey, come to set," and I'd come and then, "Lava, come to set," and she'd come. And all the moms, all three moms, were Debbie, so they'd be sitting in their chair and they'd say, "Debbie, come here," and all of them would turn their heads and everybody would laugh.

SN: So, describe Shark Boy.
Taylor: Well, Shark Boy is a superhero. He's half boy, half shark. He was raised with the sharks. He is very confident and sometimes that gets him into trouble and sometimes it's good for when they fight against Mr. Electric, who is played by George Lopez, and so that was a lot of fun with him being there on set. Shark Boy is very acrobatic, because I use my martial arts in the film and I have a fight scene where I use my martial arts, no wires. He's very confident. He kind of has a big head, but he has the image of a shark, too, because when he gets mad he goes into a shark frenzy and nobody wants to be around him. Lava Girl will try to cool him down and act all motherly and say, "It's OK, Shark Boy," and I'd just bite stuff and rip stuff and get all mad. I was also jealous of Max, the character Max.

SN: Obviously, you're in special costume and makeup that looks like a shark, or is that going to be a big secret until the movie comes out?
Taylor: Well, the costume was awesome. We'd have to go in hair and makeup; and there's nothing special about hair and makeup, they'd just spike my hair like usual, except it'd be really wild and spiky. The costume was really cool, very superhero like, and you'll see the details of that when it comes out on June 10.

SN: Martial arts—how did you get into it? What made you first decide that this was something you wanted to do?
Taylor: Well, my mom's boss's kids did martial arts and I saw them doing it and I kind of looked up to them in a way, so I wanted to try it. I tried the traditional classes and I went to my first national tournament, and then I met a karate instructor who taught this extreme martial arts stuff. He was the Blue Power Ranger at the time, so I started loving the extreme martial arts which is choreographed to music. It's fast beat, and up-tempo, with acrobatic moves like flips, back flips into the forms.

SN: Are you calling it extreme martial arts or is it like tae-kwon do? Is it a special form of it or is it a general form?
Taylor: Yes, well it's called extreme martial arts kind of like tae-kwon do just to the max. Yes, it's traditional karate like tae-kwon do and instead of slow hard maneuvers, we'd take them to upbeat fast tempo and use acrobatic moves. Lots of tricks into the forms and we choreographs those to music. Like if it has beats, we would choreograph all the punches to the beats.

SN: When you go to those tournaments, are there team or individual competitions?
Taylor: Yes, there are teams and you can perform as a team that's one division. And then there are forms where it's just individual and you have an age range, like at this point I'd be 13. And there are forms with open hands, and you just do routines with that, then there's weapons and you specialize one weapon and mine is the bow staff. It's a little wooden bow that is about as tall as me and then you do weapons. And then there's also sparring, which is fitting with other kids with pads on. Yeah, I used to do that, but I don't have time for that anymore. I don't compete anymore, because it's just really busy with all the acting and stuff, but I train at my house still to keep up the skill.

SN: Do you still train with the same man?
Taylor: Yes, his name's Mike Chat; he's my karate instructor. I mean he lives in New York right now, so it's hard for me to train with him, but every time he comes back to visit we'll get together and sometimes he'll have camps that I'll go to. A month ago, I just got back from Santa Barbara, and we went to a camp with him there. So, we try to train as much as we can.

SN: Are there color belts/levels and that kind of thing?
Taylor: Yes, every studio's belt colors in order are different, but black is always the highest, and once you get your black belt there are degrees, first-second-third, and it goes up to seven.

SN: And what are you?
Taylor: I am a first-degree black belt, that's when I stopped.

SN: So, you must have a wall full of trophies and stuff?
Taylor: Yeah, about 300. Yeah, crazy. We need to get rid of some of those, taking up too much space. [laughs]

SN: Where is the coolest place you've performed?
Taylor: My favorites are the Florida tournaments, basically because it is right by Disney World, and I also love the one in Louisville, Kentucky. Those are my top two favorite ones. Those are really fun.

SN: Your bio said you liked to play football and baseball.
Taylor: Yeah, I do. I've been doing those since I was about 5 for baseball, and about 7 for football. And I'm on the All Star team for both of those.

SN: What position do you play?
Taylor: For baseball I play second base, and for football I play running back, tailback, and middle linebacker.

SN: Do you remember the first book you read or really liked?
Taylor: Yeah, it was the Hardy Boys books. The adventure books and the Hardy Boys books, I loved those books.

Taylor "Lava Girl" Dooley

SN: How long did it take you to film Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D??
Taylor: Three and a half months. We were [in Austin, Texas, with director Robert Rodriguez] for three months in his studio.

SN: Was that fun?
Taylor: Yes it was a lot of fun. It was a great first time experience. It really was.

SN: Did anything surprise you about being on a movie set?
Taylor: Yes, I thought it would be more work. Because I had never done it, I did not know what to really expect. Once I got there it was so much fun and I really didn't want to leave. I really didn't.

SN: From what I understand, Robert really makes the whole time that people spent there a lot of fun.
Taylor: Yes, he does. Once he took us out on his boat and we went to his house. We had a lot of fun with him. He treated us as if we were part of his family and we'd do family things with him and it was great.

SN: What was the process of you getting the role of Lava Girl?
Taylor: Well, there were five auditions. At the last audition there were still 11 girls there and then it was long. It probably took like a month or a month in a half to find out that I got the part from the very beginning audition. Lava Girl was the last person to be cast. They already cast Shark Boy and Max.

SN: So when you were auditioning did you do any read through with Shark Boy or Max?
Taylor: Yes, the last audition was with Max and Shark Boy.

SN: How did you find out? Did your agent call and tell you or your parents?
Taylor: My managers. . .there is a group of five of them. So all five of them called my home and talked to my mom first and [asked], "Why did you think we all are calling?" Then they talked to me and said you got the part. I was jumping up and down and my mom and I were just crying. We were so excited and we just called everyone that night.

SN: Tell me a little about the story-line.
Taylor: Well, the story is about a 10 year-old boy named Max who is like the kind of nerdy kid in class, and he is the picked-on kid and he is always daydreaming in class and everything he dreams goes to this planet, called Planet Drool. Everything lives on this planet and he doesn't know it and the planet is slowly being destroyed by evil people. Shark Boy and Lava Girl bust into the wall of the school and take Max to Planet Drool so he can save it. It is all about the adventures we go on to try to save the planet.

SN: Did you have to do a lot of action and stunt stuff?
Taylor: Yes. We did a lot of stunts. We got there a week early to get ahead on school and did three hours of stunts every day to get used to the stunt harnesses and the stunts we were going to do. It was a lot of fun. The stunts were one of my favorite parts.

SN: Which stunt was your favorite?
Taylor: Probably the flips.

SN: Was that hard to learn?
Taylor: No, it was scary but it wasn't hard. I did it a few times and it was easier and easier.

SN: You are on the set with David Arquette and George Lopez. Were they crazy? Did they make you laugh?
Taylor: Yes, they did. They were not there at the same time though, but whenever they were there, they were so nice but yet so funny at the same time so I would always be cracking up whenever I talked to them.

SN: Did you find it hard to memorize the lines?
Taylor: Actually no. For some reason reading just helps me memorize better, I can read something once and have it memorized.

SN: In your bio, you have listed a lot of sports. You are obviously very athletic.
Taylor: Well, I am a girly girl, but my brother and I always play sports. I would play the practice games but I would never play the real games.

SN: So, in terms of sports what is your favorite sport?
Taylor: My favorite sport would probably have to be either hockey or football.

SN: You also like to go camping.
Taylor: Yes.

SN: It that something you have done a lot with your family?
Taylor: We just recently got a new camping tent big enough for my whole family. We'd always go in the backyard and stuff, since we never had the right equipment. We just recently got the right equipment so we've been camping.

SN: In California?
Taylor: Arizona. I love Arizona.

SN: What do you like best about it?
Taylor: I don't know. I like the green. I like the green here. It's just something about Arizona that just appeals to me. I think it is the fact that it is so laid-back. It is not as fast-paced as it is here. So that's what I think I like about it the most. It never rains there and there's hardly ever a cloud in the sky. It is so beautiful, the only downside it that it is always hot. So it is hard to get outside because you are always melting in the sun.

SN: I noticed you said that you really like to read.
Taylor: I love reading.

SN: Is there any special time or place you like to read. Do you like to read right before you go to sleep in your bed?
Taylor: I do. I read almost every night before I go to sleep. I have a bean bag in my room so I will just sit there whenever I am just not doing anything. I will just go in there and sit. My parents will always joke they will always go looking for me and they will always find me in my room reading a book.

SN: What book are you reading now or have read in the past six months that you would recommend to friends?
Taylor: I really like the book Because of Winn-Dixie. It's one of my favorite books.