Skyler Shaye Talks About Baby Geniuses 2
Seventeen-year-old Skyler Shaye stars in the new movie Baby Geniuses 2: Return of the Super Babies. The movie is the sequel to the 1999 hit Baby Geniuses. In this movie, Shaye plays Kylie. Kylie accidentally gets her hands on a disk that Bill Biscane (played by Shayne's real-life godfather, Jon Voight) needs to put an evil plan into effect. Shaye has been in other movies, but Baby Geniuses 2 is her first major role. She will also star in ABC's new drama series Gray's Anatomy, which starts in January. The star lives in Los Angeles and enjoys swimming. Read on to find out more about Shaye and her new movie, which hits theaters on Friday, August 27.
Skyler Shaye. (Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment/ Photo by Rob McEwan)
SN: I was reading in the bio that you came from a show biz family. Jon Voight (Holes, The Manchurian Candidate) is your godfather. Are other members of your family in the profession?
Shaye: My mother was a child actress.
SN: Did she have reservations about you getting into acting or was she encouraging?
Shaye: It's not that she really was encouraging me. She always let me do whatever I wanted to. Ever since I was young, I always loved being around movie sets and being in productions. It was just me kind of falling into it.
SN: Was [acting] everything you thought it was going to be? Was there disappointment?
Shaye: Honestly, in the beginning it was a lot of fun. But it started getting harder when I was younger because I couldn't handle going into auditions and seeing all these other girls. When you're young, and even at my age, [the other girls can be] harsh and they can be cruel. The competition is very hard. So I kind of kept at it because it was something I wanted to do when I was younger. Then when I was a kid, I did give up a little bit because it was too hardthe rejectionbecause I couldn't handle it at that time.
SN: And then you led a normal kid's life for awhile?
Shaye: I stepped back. I went to school in Beverly Hills for a little bitup until like seventh grade. When I was in seventh grade, it might have been sixth grade, I was like, "I'm ready to do this again." So I went into home-schooling. I took new head shots. I got an agent and I started back when I was 12 or 13.
SN: Tell me the process of getting the role in Baby Geniuses 2.
Shaye: What happened was, they sent me the script. I was like, "I love this. I can do this." At the time I was 14 and they wanted to go for a little bit of an older girl. I was like, "Look, I can do this, I look older." I went in, I met with the casting [people], I met with the producers. They really liked me. They said, "Now you just need to meet with the director. We like youthe director just needs to approve you now." So they brought me to the director with another guy who plays my love interest in [the movie]. And we read off each other. They said the chemistry hit and I booked [the movie] that day.
SN: That's terrific. Growing up with Jon Voight as your godfatherprobably one of the best actors everdid he give you advice or guide you in any way? Did you do lines with him?
Kylie (Skyler Shaye) and Kahuna (Gerry, Leo, and Myles Fitzgerald) in Baby Genuises 2. (Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment/ Photo by Eike Schroter)
Shaye: Oh, god. He's my mentor. He's more than a godfather. He's like a father. He's been there my whole life. Whenever I needed help or even in life besides the acting roles. Everything I ever need in my life he was there for. In acting, if I needed help I'd say, "Jon, what is this?" and he'd help me with the script and he'd break down the script with me. He'd work with me and give me the objective of itwhat am I looking for with this character? He's coached me.
SN: What's your favorite memory of being on a movie set of a film you did?
Shaye: I have to say being on the setthere's a lot of projects I've worked on and I just finished a few recentlybut Baby Geniuses 2 was just such a great experience. The kids were just so amazing and so wonderful, even though sometimes they'd get out of hand. We'd call "Action!" and all of a sudden they'd be on the other side of the room, doing whatever they wanted. They were just so lovely to work with and just this innocence. They're so beautiful. The starsthey play Archietheir names are Mikey and Max, and I was their girlfriend. When we'd be on set they'd introduce me as their girlfriend Skylerand these kids are 2, 2 1/2 years old! It was like, "How do they know to even say that?" I would laugh with these kids every day and we shot this movie for about three months.
SN: Your character's name is Kylie. Tell me about the plot of the movie and what Kylie's all about.
Shaye: Kylie is kind of really sweet. She doesn't have a lot of luck with the guys. She's very smart and she's just wonderful with the children and she comes to visit them once a week and reads to them.
As I walk down the street I bump into Mister Jon Voight's (who plays Bill Biscane) bad people. As I bump into them, there's a CD-ROM that they hold and they want to take over the minds of children all over. Once you watch television, [the bad guys] can control your mind. I basically bump into them and the CD-ROM falls into my bag. Next thing you know I have these people chasing me and I have no idea what is going on. Then a 4-year-old superhero comes and saves us, brings us back to a compoundwhich is like the Wizard of Ozit's the most magical place. You see these kids becoming these superheroes. These children show that they can kind ofthey can stand up for themselves. They can be heroes of their own.
Basically, I meet a guy in the compound; a guy that likes me, and I like him. The children help me transform. It's kind of like them transforming me into Cinderella. It's such a sweet story.
SN: Was this the first time that you worked with Jon?
Shaye: You know, he directed me in a film when I was a little girl. It was a small part I had. It was the first time that he and I did a big film together, yes.
SN: Was that easy or was it hard?
Shaye: You know what? It was both, because he's my godfather, so it's kind of like, "It's my godfather, I have nothing to worry about." But then it's also like, "Wait a second, he's my godfather and he's this incredible actor and I have to live up to his expectations as an actress."
SN: That's got to be heavy-duty.
Kahuna (Gerry, Leo, and Myles Fitzgerald), Finkleman (Jared and Jordan Schneideman), Kylie (Skyler Shaye), and Alex (Joshua and Maxwell Lochart) in Baby Genuises 2. (Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment/ Photo by Eike Schroter)
Shaye: It was definitely heavy-duty. I was nervous, but then he would help me. Before we went into the film he would go through the script with me. You know, "This is what we're doing. What are your ideas?" He talked and walked me through it.
SN: Tell me about your character and the premise of [Gray's Ananatomy, a new series].
Shaye: Basically Gray's Anatomy is a doctor show. It's like the new ER. It's about these interns, these five young interns, working in a medical office. It goes through a 24-hour time and shows you hour by hour what's going to happen. It's the first day and they bring in this new patient, Katie Rice, and I'm a beauty pageant queen. I have seizures. So, it was a very emotionally dramatic character for me to pull off. But let me tell you, Patrick Dempsey, who plays a doctor on it, made me laugh through those times. Because I felt like I was going to cry!
SN: Do you prefer drama to comedy?
Shaye: You know, they're both such beautiful talents and I love both. They're both so hard in their own ways. I love to be able to touch somebody in an emotional way and I would love to touch somebody in a funny, comedic way when you cry from tears of laughing.
SN: When you were a little kid, did you have a favorite book?
Shaye: I did have a favorite book. Eloise Visits the Plaza; that was my favorite book.
SN: Did you picture yourself as being Eloise?
Shaye: Yes, I did, which is funny because I always wanted to play that kind of character.
SN: Why do you think reading is important for kids?
Shaye: It develops you. It gives you a certain knowledge. First of all, it gives you time alone. It gives you peace. It's kind of like a meditation with yourself. It teaches you a lot. It can make you laugh; it can make you cry. And if you lose yourself, you can visualize yourself doing something else in a way.
SN: I was also reading that you started your own production company.
Shaye: I did. We're actually working on a film now called Solo. It's an independent film, and it's going to star Jon Voight, Cary Elwes, and Saffron Burrows.
SN: What does that entail and how did you learn all that?
Shaye: First of all, I learnedmy uncle produces, so I grew up watching him producing, making deals, going into the offices, closing deals, pitching things. I've kind of watched that my whole life and I've always wanted to produce. Basically you find a script you love. You have to put all your heart and soul into this script. Then you have to go out there and get the money for it.
You need to be able to pitch it and be able to tell them what you can do with this film, how you're doing it, what it takes to make it, and what you want to get across to the world with this project. Once you do that and once they believe in you and the script, then you've got the money. Then you've got to go get the cast. You just have to get the right cast. You have to know what you're looking for. And whoever falls into that cast, that's that cast.
SN: What's your favorite way to relax?
Shaye: I would say probably massages.
SN: Do you like sports?
Shaye: I really love sports.
SN: What's your favorite sport?
Shaye: To play or to watch? I work out all the time. I'm a gym person.
SN: To watch?
Shaye: I am such a basketball person. I'm a Lakers girl.
SN: Have you ever been able to go to a game?
Shaye: I'm always at the Lakers games and I love it. The adrenaline is just amazing, and you have all of Hollywood there!
SN: Do you have a favorite player?
Shaye: I really love Kobe.
SN: Favorite food?
Shaye: I love broccoli.
SN: Healthy girl!
Shaye: I'm a healthy person.
SN: Do you ever go to a fast food restaurant?
Shaye: I go to In-N-Out [Burger].