He's one of the busiest people in show bizand he's only 15. Marc John Jefferies has already starred in hit movies like Stuart Little 2, The Haunted Mansion, and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Marc has also created the Secret MJJ book series for young adults. As if that weren't enough, Marc also likes to perform stand-up comedy in clubs in Los Angeles, California. Scholastic News Online recently caught up with Marc and asked him about his many projects. Here's what he had to say:
Q & A
Do you prefer drama or comedy?
Marc: I was the youngest kid to perform at The Laugh Factory, a comedy club in California, so I really like comedy because I guess I am naturally funny. Drama gives the skills in order to play different roles and to bring out emotion. I would have to say that I like to do both. There is no preferred role.
Do you write your own comedy act?
Marc: I write it and my dad critiques it to make sure I don't go overboard. Eddie [Murphy] and I would do a little bit of his stand-up and he would tell me what to do and how I could change it to make it funnier. I actually lived with him for a while because his son, Miles, is my best friend.
Describe your style of comedy.
Marc: I use real life situationsthings that I see each day and things people can relate to, things that happen to them. I make that funny and I use that in my comedy.
Do you think you would like to do stand-up comedy as a job?
Marc: Yes, I really do like to do stand-up comedy. I like to warm-up the crowd.
Tell me about your book series.
Marc: It consists of 10 books. Right now, three books are in all the major bookstores. It is about my life as an actor, but in the book I am a secret agent. The organization is called "The Order of the Cat." A little bit about the history of the book: It is for 9- to 13-year-olds. The audience gets older as I order the books and the comprehension is going to advance, so it is going to throw that audience into the older ages. This is the first series for boys since The Hardy Boys.
Did you and your dad come up with the idea for the series?
Marc: Yes, we did. A few years ago, when I was in school, I would always like to read and there wasn't an adventure series for boys that really got my interest. I told my dad that we should try to come out with my own series. At first, the idea seemed kind of shaky but then my dad [thought it] made a lot of sense. We came out with the Secret Agent MJJ book series about my life as an actor/spy. I use my cover when shooting movies and they cover me to go on missions and solve all these different problems. Each book has a different story line of what I am trying to solve but everything links into the first book.
Have you thought about making any of the books into movies?
Marc: Yes we are. Right now, we are in the stages of seeing how everything is going to work outthe budgeting and casting.
Why do you think reading is important?
Marc: A lot of kids tell me they want to be an actor, be a rapper, or that they want to sing. You have to learn how to read in order to read the script. If you don't know how to read, you can't be an actor. Reading helps with every part of your life. When you read, it opens your mind up to other possibilities. A kid who reads for two hours a day instead of playing in a game for two hours a day has a bigger possibility of making something of his or her life.
When you're filming a movie, how do you do your school work?
Marc: I have a private teacher who travels with me when we are on location. Right now, I am in 11th grade and all my schooling is online. My work and my classes are given to me through e-mail.
Finally, if you could create a flavor of ice cream, what would it be and what would you call it?
I would make a flavor with chocolate, cherry bubble gum, and a little bit of vanilla. I would call it the MJ Surprise.
Interview by Gerri Miller
Marc John Jefferies
(Photo: Courtesy of Marc John Jefferies)
Marc's new movie, Keeping Up with the Steins opens in theaters nationwide.
Birth Date: May 16, 1990
Birthplace: New York, New York
Childhood Home: Bronx, New York
Astro Sign: Taurus
Siblings: younger brother, Marc Arthur; younger sister, LaShawn Tinah
Childhood Book: Messy Mark by Sharon Peters
Book: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Author: Lois Lowry
School subjects: Geometry, Chemistry, and American Literature
Snack Food: caramel candy apples
Movie: The Interpreter
Pastime: playing video games
Sports Team: Detroit Pistons
Athletes: Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady
Cartoons: Dexter's Lab, Kids Next Door, Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Odd Parents