Note: You can view captions for the pictures in this article by running your cursor over each picture.

On Monday, January 16, 2012, several members of the cast and production staff of the upcoming feature film Max’s Fantastic Adventures came together in Brewster, New York for a first rehearsal of the film.

Present were the four actors who will portray Max’s band of friends and with whom has previously done interviews: Gabriel Rush (Steven), Jacob Clemente (Harry), Kayla Vanderbilt (Samantha) and Joseph Harrington (Jason). Other previously cast actors participating in the rehearsal were Tristan Comeau (Max’s little brother Jimmy), as well as two other actors who will play minor roles in the film Andrew Chamberlain (young Gabriel)  and Ryan Jones (Jonathan).

Though the part of Max in the film has not been finalized to date, also present at the rehearsal was actor Talon Ackerman (who most recently appeared on Broadway as the young Clyde in the musical Bonnie and Clyde).  Talon is one of four finalists to play Max and he read Max’s lines at the rehearsal as an audition for the role.  After the rehearsal, Director Jonathan Bucari commented that he was very happy with what Talon brought to the table.  He said Talon “provided talent, energy and life to his character.”

Bucari was assisted on this day by several members of his creative and production team for the movie, including his assistant, the producer, associate producer, art director and an acting coach.  The young cast did a complete run through of all the scenes in which they appear in the film.  At the end of the day, Director Bucari was very satisfied with how the rehearsal had gone.  He stated, “The rehearsal went really well. I was really pleased to see how those kids have improved their skills as actors. The best moment I can recall from the rehearsal was to see the great pleasure and admiration they had for the story. It was a great privilege for me to work with such a great cast.”

Joseph gestures, while Talon and Jacob react and Jonathan looks pleased

The script is being constantly “tweaked” and four new scenes and some additional new dialogue had been added since the second table reading was done back in the Fall of 2011.  When asked for his impressions of the revised script Gabe Rush, who was the first actor to read the original script, said “I think the new revisions are fantastic and really add depth to the characters.”  He added “The reading/rehearsal went really well and with each reading it gets better and better. We are all looking forward to shoot!”

The rehearsal began with the cast going through the whole script, scene by scene like a conventional reading.  But at the end of every scene, Jonathan directed everyone (while the dialogue and action was fresh in their minds) into a stand up walk through of the scene, similar to how rehearsals are done for a play. The actors used their environment and performed as they would in front of a camera.

The five principal actors rehearse a scene

Sometimes, for very dramatic, scary or adventure scenes, music was played in the background — music similar to what Jonathan envisions the film’s score to sound like for those types of scenes.  He said by doing that “it was really helpful for the kids and we had a great time bringing the story to life.”

Joseph Harrington, who is the most recent of the principal actors to be cast, was asked what his impressions of the rehearsal were and how they compared to the rehearsals for the stage that he’s primarily used to.  Joseph replied “Last week’s first rehearsal for “Max” was awesome! It’s so nice to work with your friends! Most of us know each other from Billy Elliot the Musical so we already have a very tight bond. I think it will translate very well to the screen!”  He went on to say that this first “film rehearsal was still fairly similar to a theater-type rehearsal. But, I’m sure once cameras are in the picture, it will become a lot different. Also, for this film I know almost everyone, so the rehearsal room is a lot more relaxed. When I started Billy Elliot, in the early rehearsals I was alone learning the “Billy” part. So, it took a little bit longer to develop friendships and trust with one another.”

After the rehearsal, which took about four hours with three breaks, everyone present celebrated two birthdays (Gabe had turned 14 a few days earlier and on the day of the rehearsal it was Tristan’s mom’s birthday as well).

Tristan works with Director Jonathan Bucari

Since the rehearsal, Jonathan again added to the script — 10 new pages and 6 new scenes. He calls it “a privilege to be able to shape my script with such great actors”.

So what’s next in the movie making process?

Casting is complete and announcements will soon be made for the role of Max and for several adult characters in the film.  Once the announcement for the actor who will play Max is made, will do an exclusive interview with that actor as we have previously done with the four actors who will play his band of friends.  In the future, you can also expect to see further update articles about other aspects of the making of Max’s Fantastic Adventures.