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Next Factor Q&A: 'Moonrise Kingdom' Star Jared Gilman

Jared Gilman
AFP/Getty Images

Wes Anderson's latest movie, "Moonrise Kingdom," stars Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as two pen pals who run away together from their New England town in 1965. A local search party led by the sheriff (Bruce Willis) and the girl's parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) fans out to find the young couple in this quirky slice-of-life drama that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and has received almost universal praise.

Little is known about 13-year-old Gilman except that he was born and raised in New Jersey and was 12 when he filmed the part of Sam Shakusky in "Moonrise Kingdom." When we sat down with this up-and-coming actor, we discovered a young man with a maturity beyond his years and a genuine respect for the moviemaking process. Read on to find out how he got to know his "Moonrise Kingdom" leading lady and how Bill Murray helped him overcome his fear of ties.

Did you and Kara Hayward have a chance to hang out and get to know each other before you played two children who skip town in "Moonrise Kingdom"?
Before filming, we would go to Rhode Island and do rehearsals. In those times, we would hang out and talk to each other. The first half of the first month was dedicated to the scenes in the woods that are just Kara and I, so we hung out then. Before filming, Wes had us write letters to each other like the "Dear Sam" and "Dear Suzy" ones in the movie except we completed them. We e-mailed them at first, but Wes realized it would be better to do them snail mail to get into our characters and that 1960s vibe.

Did you know much about director Wes Anderson or had you seen his films before shooting "Moonrise Kingdom"?
I had seen "Fantastic Mr. Fox," but now I have seen all of them.

Jared Gilman in Moonrise Kingdom
Focus Features

Was "Moonrise Kingdom" your first professional acting gig?
Yes, "Moonrise Kingdom" was my first gig. I had a manager and I was going out on auditions, and in September 2010 I went in for my first audition. Then, six months later in March 2011 after three callbacks, my mom was picking me up from school -- which she never does -- and my dad told me over Bluetooth that I got the part.

What is something that happened on the set that you will never forget?
Bill Murray taught me how to tie a tie. That's going to stay with me forever. I was in costume fitting, and I didn't know how to tie a tie. The first time I ever saw a tie at home, I screamed "No tie! No tie!" and ran around the house. No women in the fitting room knew how to tie a tie either, but Bill happened to be in the room next to us. He said, "Jared, come on over. I'll teach you."

Did any of the '60s music Wes used in "Moonrise Kingdom" end up on your iPod? What music are you listening to?
I liked the Françoise Hardy song ["Le Temps de l'Amour"]. That was a really catchy one. It's all very nice and relaxing. Otherwise, I like rock, indie rock, electro and dubstep. So you'll find a lot of the Black Keys, White Stripes and Skrillex on my iPod.

Also Check Out: The Ultimate Wes Anderson Playlist

What's up next for you?
I'm still auditioning, but hopefully the next movie will be just as good as "Moonrise Kingdom."

What is your dream role?
I like a lot of action movies and comedies. But I like anything with good stories and strong characters.

Mac or PC?
Mac.

Moonrise Kingdom
Focus Features

New York or Los Angeles?
New York.

"Harry Potter," "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games"?
"Harry Potter."

Rock or rap?
Rock.

Twitter or Facebook?
Eww. I don't really use a lot of social networks.

Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake?
[pause] Timberlake, I guess?

Vampires, zombies or werewolves?
Zombies.

Lady Gaga or Madonna?
Madonna.

Apples or oranges?
Apples.

UFC or WWE?
UFC, I guess.

Do you have a favorite movie of all time?
I don't know if I have a favorite. I've seen a lot of movies that were so different in some way. A movie that I saw recently that I would put in my top 10 would have to be Sam Rockwell in "Moon." Sam Rockwell is great in that movie -- he was the only actor in the movie, really. A lot of the special effects were really convincing, considering the budget that it had.

If you didn't grow up to be a full-time actor, what do you see yourself doing?
There was a time when I was little when I really wanted to be a golfer.

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