Interview Exclusive HTF Interview with actor Jason Drucker (Bumblebee)

Neil Middlemiss

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In Bumblebee, the first spin-off Transformers film centered around the lovable VW Bug-based Bumblebee character, Jason Drucker stars as the younger brother to Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie, the young girl who befriends the yellow Autobot. Drucker and Steinfeld share a familiar sibling relationship onscreen, with Drucker’s Otis managing to frustrate his older sister with his upbeat, oblivious ways.

Drucker, who started out with the Disney TV movie Every Witch Way: Spellbound as Tommy Miller, and who continued with the character in the follow up TV series, Every Witch Way, has an immediate and likeable energy in his performances. His proclivity for comedy was perhaps best showcased in his performance as Greg Heffley in 2017’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. In the critically acclaimed Transformers spinoff, Bumblebee, he is able to once again tap into that comedic inclination with fun results.

Bumblebee is available now on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Paramount Home Entertainment.

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HTF: Thanks for talking with the Home Theater Forum today. Were you a fan of Transformers before you came aboard Bumblebee? Had you seen the previous five films or the recent cartoon show And there was an '80s cartoon that you may have missed, but were you a fan before you came aboard?

Jason Drucker: I did not get the chance to grow up with the '80s cartoons, but I was a huge fan of the toys. I did see the newer cartoons and I saw films the first three movies and I am planning on seeing four and five soon. I was a huge fan. I had a bunch of Bumblebee and Optimus Prime cards and when I heard I was going to be in Transformers, I was super excited because it was something that I've grown up with.

HTF: And what was the process like coming aboard the film?

Jason Drucker: Well, I got very fortunate and I booked it off my first audition which is kind of rare. So I got very fortunate. It did take like two or three months to tell me, though, [laughs]. I was like, "Okay, well, I guess I'm not getting this one. Onto the next role." And then, three months later, surprise, I heard that I was going to be in the Transformers movie.
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HTF: Had they known you from your role as Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul?

Jason Drucker: I'm not sure if they had heard of me previously, but I guess they really liked me because they picked me off the first audition. So, whatever it was, it worked [laughs].

“Well, getting to work with [Hailee] again was absolutely incredible. It was so exciting from day. She’s so much fun to work with.”

HTF: You worked with Hailee Steinfeld on Bumblebee and you some fun scenes together. You'd also worked with her in a film from a couple years ago, Barely Lethal. What was it like to work together again?

Jason Drucker: Well, getting to work with her again was absolutely incredible. It was so exciting from day. She’s so much fun to work with. On Barely Lethal, she was so cool and would pull me aside sometimes just talk about education, homework and how my life is going. So, when I heard that I was going to do Bumblebee and work with her again, it was awesome. I really loved her character because it sort of resembles what our characters are like in Barely Lethal. It was just the bratty little brother who's very up on himself and doesn't take very kindly to his older sister. Then, throughout the movie, we do see that their relationship tightens and they become more loving for each other. So, I really liked that.

HTF: You had some really fun moments in the film, the funniest for me, and mini spoiler alert here, was your reaction after the crazy car chase where you give a thumbs up because you enjoyed it, and then spew your guts up. That was a very funny scene. Is that the most fun kind of scene that you get to do? I mean, you had some pretty crazy backseat car scenes in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, so do you like that kind of physical comedy?

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Jason Drucker: Yeah, of course. I love that kind of physical comedy. I was sort of surrounded by it 24/7 on Diary of a Wimpy Kid because the comedy sort of revolved around that potty sort of humor. So bringing it back in Bumblebee was kind of cool. It was a lot of fun to film, actually, because it was oatmeal that I actually had to ‘throw’ up. Not a lot of people know that and I'm not the biggest fan of oatmeal. So, I had to stuff my teeth with the oatmeal and then spit it right back out when they called action. It actually only took two takes which was pretty good!

HTF: Talk about working with director, Travis Knight. He's got a wonderful resume of animated films, working on ParaNorman and Boxtrolls, and directing Kubo and the Two Strings. How did you find working with him and were you familiar with the animated films he’d worked on before?

“I already loved [Travis Knight’s] work before I got to work with him and I love him even more now because I personally know him. It was just really cool to work with him because he's so relaxed on set. He's so easy. He makes the experience so much fun and he's just such a great guy all around.”

Jason Drucker: Yeah, I was. I had actually watched ParaNorman and Boxtrolls before I was on Bumblebee and I got to work with him. I already loved his work before I got to work with him and I love him even more now because I personally know him. It was just really cool to work with him because he's so relaxed on set. He's so easy. He makes the experience so much fun and he's just such a great guy all around. So being able to work with him and having him direct one of my movies is really, really cool.

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HTF: And what drew you to acting? What was the spark for you that said, "You know what? Acting, that's the life I want to lead"?

“I was six, and my mom decided to get me an agent after the summer ended. I think it was October that I got submitted for my first audition and actually booked it. So right off the bat, I have been very fortunate with my acting career.”

Jason Drucker: Well, ever since I knew how to talk and walk, I've been really animated, very expressive and super energetic. My mom saw that in me and said, "Hey, let me just put him in an acting camp. See how he likes it." And I loved it. I loved it so much that I finished through the summer. I did the entire camp for two whole months. And at the time, I didn't really know what was going on. I just figured, "Hey, I'm going to a camp. Let me just take advantage and have some fun." Because at the time, I was six, and my mom decided to get me an agent after the summer ended. I think it was October that I got submitted for my first audition and actually booked it. So right off the bat, I have been very fortunate with my acting career. I continued and I've landed three movies and a couple TV shows. So, it's been pretty interesting.

HTF: You've done a lot of comedic roles because you've got good comedic timing for someone so young. Is that the kind of role that you like to seek out, or are you just as interested in pursuing dramatic work?

Jason Drucker: I probably would take comedy over drama any day just because, like you said, I think I do have pretty good comedic timing [chuckles]. I've always been one to just make people laugh whenever I got the chance. I mean, honestly, every single night at my house, I just make my brothers crack up laughing every single second. There's not a single second that you'll see me doing something normal. It's always going to be something funny. I love comedy so much. That sort of stupid Jim Carrey comedy, I love that a lot. If I do get the chance to do drama, I'll take it just because it's something new to experience, though.

“Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell are definitely my top two actors that I've looked up to.”

HTF: Well, you brought up Jim Carrey comedies. I was going to ask you who you look to, either working today or older, that you watch and follow the careers of that are inspirations for you?

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Jason Drucker: I do love that sort of stupid Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell comedy. So, Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell are definitely my top two actors that I've looked up to. I've watched Ace Ventura [Pet Detective], I've watched Daddy's Home, I've watched a ton of both their movies and they never fail to make me laugh, so I really look up to them. If I get the chance to work with any of them, I would probably die I love them so much.

HTF: Is there was a director out there that you would just die to work for, or other actors? We know that Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey would be high on that list, but is there anybody else that you would pursue getting the chance to work with?

Jason Drucker: Jack Nicholson. I know he's not really one to be in a comedic movie, but I've seen The Shining at least like 10 million, bajillion times and oh, my gosh, I love him so much. I love his acting method. I love the way he portrays every one of his characters. And if I got to work with him, I would probably also die [laughter]. So, yeah. Jack Nicholson, for sure

“I grew up on '80s music because my dad, he put me onto classic rock immediately. I love bands like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath.”

HTF: That is a great answer. I'm sure you have seen Bumblebee now and it features a wonderful soundtrack of hits from the '80s - which is the decade that I grew up in and became a teenager, so it resonates with me. Did working on the film give you an appreciation for, obviously, the kind of music that Travis [Knight] must enjoy?

Jason Drucker: I'm not going to lie. I grew up on '80s music because my dad, he put me onto classic rock immediately. I love bands like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. So, I've actually listened to a lot of '80s music before. If there was one other aspect to the '80s that I probably found most interesting, it was definitely the fashion. Big hair, neon colors, just standing out, I was kind of in shock when I saw what they wore [laughter].

HTF: Yeah. I look back at pictures and I'm still in shock. Well, Jason, thanks for talking with us today and congratulations on Bumblebee. And all the best to you.

Jason Drucker: Thanks so much. I appreciate it. Have a good day.
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