News Review 2002




Meet Actor Ryan Pinkston (Arnold)

Ryan Pinkston.
Photo: Courtesy of Dimension Films
We talked to Ryan about fitting into the Spy Kids family, his birthday surprise, and his role on the hit TV series, Punk'd.

Star Stats:
Full name: Ryan Pinkston
Birthdate: February 8, 1988
Birthplace: Silver Springs, Maryland
Siblings: brother, Aaron
Fascinating fact: Ryan has been training in karate for 12 years. He's a black belt in kung fu and tae kwon do!

Star Faves:
Musician: Eminem
Video game System: X-Box
Video game: Halo
Dream car: Hummer H20
School subject: English and Drama
Actor: Jim Carrey
Long-term goal: to start a production company with his brother and call it "Pinkston Productions".

Q: Ryan, tell us about Arnold, your character in Spy Kids 3D?

Ryan: Arnold is basically just a very tough guy, a very solid guy. He's a very independent person; he doesn't really like to rely on anybody but himself. He loves his family and the reason he even starts going into this game—the movie's set in a virtual reality game—is if you win the whole game, you win a whole bunch of money and prizes and stuff like that. So the reason that Arnold goes into this game is to save his family from poverty. He's doing this basically for his family, which I think is a great thing. It shows how close a family should be and how close it could be and stuff like that. What happens is, he goes in there and fights. He does whatever he has to do, even if he has to turn on his friends sometimes, you know. He does whatever he can to save his family, which I think is a great moral.

Q: In real life are you a video-gamer?

Ryan: Oh, I love video games. I'm a big X-Box fan.

Q: What's your favorite game?

Ryan: My favorite game has to be Halo. I definitely started playing Halo when I started shooting Spy Kids 3D, because during lunch and stuff we went over to Robert Rodriguez's house. We'd go to his gaming room and we'd play Halo and he'd crush me, but it was so much fun. And we'd hook up all our X-Boxes and have 16 people playing at a time. Yeah, it was just such a great experience; it was so much fun. I'm definitely a gamer.

Q: What was the coolest thing about the Spy Kids 3D set?

Ryan: Well, the set itself was very unique because it's all shot on green screen. I guess I'd better explain what that is. It's basically exactly what you think it is—it's a huge screen that's painted all green, and what happens is, when they shoot with this special camera, the camera doesn't see the green, it sees it as blank. When they go over, they can add stuff in to replace the green. That's basically the special effects you see in all these movies—I don't know if you saw the first movie where they were flying around in jet packs. They used a green screen for that. Basically anything that's unnatural has been shot on a green screen.

Q: Is that really hard as an actor?

Ryan: It's different, I guess. It's not hard, but it's very different because if you were on location, it would be a lot easier to shoot something and realize what you're doing and get a better feel of everything. But while you're shooting on a green screen, you usually get Robert to explain into detail more things of what you have to do. He'll say, "Step over there," or "Take two steps," or "Jump a little higher." He knows what he wants and he'll tell us if it's right or if it's wrong or if it's close. It's definitely a challenge but I wouldn't say it's hard.

Q: It also sounds like the set was like an incredible family.

Ryan: Oh, that was awesome. The day I got there I got welcome from everybody. I felt like a family; I felt like I knew everyone way long in advance before I even did this thing even though I didn't. I just got close with everyone there. We were close after shooting, off set we were all good friends. We'd all hang out, go to dinner, go to each other's hotels and hang out.

Q: What was the most fun thing you did?

Ryan: Well, the most fun thing...when I was there it was actually my birthday when I was shooting, so they actually had a little surprise birthday for me at this laser-tag place. It was actually a lot of fun, and I had a great time. I mean, that was a lot of fun, but the best part was going to Robert's house because Robert just has a crazy house. It's awesome! I would call it a castle, basically. It really is. It's like a yellowish-grayish castle, and he has all these hidden passages in his house and he has doors that come out of bookcases. It's wild, you think about how you get all these ideas and stuff and he tells us, "Oh, you just gotta play more video games, man!" He's a lot of fun. He's such a cool guy. He's definitely a role model of mine.

Q: Besides MTV's Punk'd, have you made any other TV shows or movies?

Ryan: I've done a pilot that was another hidden-camera show. It didn't air because it was a little too risky. But it definitely set me off into many other things and that's actually the thing that got me involved with Punk'd, so it helped me a lot.

Q: Did you have any idea that Punk'd was going to be as popular as it is?

Ryan: No. I knew it was going to be popular, but I didn't think it was going to be as popular as it is. It's the No. 1 one cable-access show on TV right now and it's just crazy! I went to Hershey Park a couple days ago and I was getting rioted. They were like, "It's the kid from Punk'd!", and I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

Q: Have you ever gotten "punk'd"?

Ryan: No, I haven't, and I'm so glad I haven't. I'm sure they'll get me pretty bad. I hope not. I'm hoping to get Ashton [Kutcher] before he gets me.

Q: Do you have any secret ""Punk'd"" wish, a thing that you would love to set up?

Ryan: I'd definitely like to get Ashton in the future, maybe, if that's possible. Maybe get some of the people that we've punk'd in the past and get everyone together to get him. Or I would like to maybe get some other celebrities, like musicians. I like Eminem, so if I could get Eminem, that would be pretty cool. There're a lot of people on my list, yeah, definitely. Maybe my high school back at home. I hear all these people saying, "Ryan, why don't you punk our school?", and I'm like, "Do you know how hard that would be?" It would be funny.

Q: Describe yourself in two sentences.

Ryan: I would say for the most part I'm a really caring person. I always see myself, like if [acting] didn't work out, being a guidance teacher. I love helping people and I love doing stuff for this society—things to help the world. That's more than two sentences! (Laughs)