Looks like Courtney won't be hoofing it to commercial auditions in his home state of Idaho anymore. In his film debut he plays Joe Lamb, a Midwestern boy who, grieving the loss of his mother, devotes his time to helping his friends make a Super 8 zombie movie. "His dad, being the town deputy, is never really around," explains Courtney. "So, Joe finds his only comfort with his friends. His dad wants him to be a regular kid and play baseball, but Joe just wants to make movies."
After the kids witness a mysterious train crash, strange things start occurring in their small town. Courtney calls the film "a total adrenaline rush," and even though he’s now auditioning for a couple of television series, Hollywood hasn't gone to the young star’s head.
What did you buy with your first paycheck?
I think it’s being all saved right now. I wanted to get a TV, but my dad was like, "Your grades aren’t good enough." Bummer.
Are you still living in Moscow, Idaho?
I am right now living in Idaho. I have no immediate plans to be moving anywhere, but if I get a series then I will need to move down here [to Los Angeles] because then the commutes would just be like crazy.
What was your first encounter with "Super 8" producer Steven Spielberg like?
That was on set with Riley [Griffiths], and it was so much fun. He came in and it was in between the shots, so I saw him. I wasn’t sure if Riley did because we were filming a scene together, and I was like, "Dude, dude, dude!" He’s like, "Yeah I see him!" So like, that scene was incredible because I think Steven’s presence pushed us to do better since he was there, which was a really weird feeling. It was kind of crazy. He met us and said we were doing a really good job. He said the film was looking awesome so far. It was like, yes!
Whose career in Hollywood would you aspire to have?
Tom Hanks because he’s really versatile. He’s done a lot of movies, and I just really love how he can go from over here to over here and that’s just, like, crazy. I would love to have that.
What was the most challenging scene?
The most challenging scene would probably be the one where I had to argue with Kyle [Chandler], because in my family if I even talk back to my dad I would be in a lot of trouble. So yelling at Kyle was really hard.
Did J.J. Abrams ask you to do any special preparation for the film?
Not really. I listened to '70s music like disco, but I didn’t do any other research.
What was your favorite toy as a kid?
I loved Hot Wheels and Slinkys.
So you were not a model builder or painter like your character?
I do not build models. I can’t paint worth beans. I couldn’t paint a model to save my life.
Had you ever put makeup on anyone?
Mac or PC?
My dad is a PC person, but I would pull towards Mac.
New York or L.A.?
I’ve always wanted to go to New York, but I’ve only been to L.A. I can't wait.
"Harry Potter" or "Twilight"?
"Harry Potter." I’ve only seen the first "Twilight" film.
Rock or rap?
Rock because rap is kind of crazy. Sometimes I don't even know what the person is saying and that kind of bothers me, so I usually pull towards rock.
Twitter or Facebook?
I have both, but my management actually runs them, so I don’t really spend much time on either one. I’m trying to finish up my finals.
Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake?
Aww, I don't know. I like them both. Probably Justin Timberlake.
Vampires, zombies, or werewolves?
Zombies because I just love zombies. I like "Zombieland." That’s a good one.
Cowboys or aliens?
I probably go to cowboys. I really like John Wayne. My mom and brother love Westerns so I watch a lot with them.
Apples or oranges?
Oranges! I love oranges!
Lady Gaga or Madonna?
Lady Gaga. I haven’t heard many of Madonna’s songs.
What kind of music do you like?
I like Top 40 like Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Jason Derulo. I like rock or light rap.