14 year-old Norton, MA native Anthony O’Leary is not your typical teenager. While the charming young man might play pitcher in his local little league, and even dabbles in juggling, what really makes him remarkable is the fact that he can currently be seen holding his own on the silver screen with Academy Award winners Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner in The Company Men. The bright-eyed young star recently took time to talk to Hollywood East Connection about his experience working on his first motion picture, and what it’s like to share scenes with an Oscar winner.
HEC: When did you first become interested in being an actor?
It was about 3 or 4 years ago that I decided I wanted to be in TV commercials. I wanted to be on television. So my mom helped me get into a modeling agency, where I did some print work, and I also did a commercial that aired in New York. I also have done some theater in my town.
HEC: How did you get the role in The Company Men?
The modeling agency in Boston I have called me about the part, so I went in and auditioned. When I got called back, I had to do my scenes with John Wells, the director. The I got called back for a third audition, and I found out I got the part about 2 weeks after I went in for that. The whole process took about a month. After the second audition I felt like I had a real shot at it, but after the third, I really had no idea. When I found out I got it, I was speechless. When we got the call, my family was sitting down at the kitchen table, and they told me I got the part. All I could do was keep smiling, I really couldn’t believe it.
HEC: How did you prepare for it?
Because I didn’t have my manager until after the film, my mom and dad helped me run through lines. They weren’t that hard to memorize. I only spent about 10 days on set total. John Wells is a phenomenal director. He used perfectly understandable words to help me know how I should feel in a scene and act it out. He really is a great guy; one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.
HEC: What was it like working with such big-name stars?
When I got on set, I didn’t expect Ben Affleck to give me the time of day. I really didn’t expect him to talk to me as much as he did, but we talked a lot about sports. We talked about baseball; I guess he’s a pretty big Sox fan. He asked me if I play, and I told him I’m a pitcher, so he asked about what pitches I threw.
HEC: What was the most surprising thing you learned about working on a movie set?
I wasn’t expecting it to be as easy as it was. Everyone always says ‘don’t look at the camera’, but its really not that hard at all. I expected a lot more confusion, but John Wells made it very easy. The entire crew was so amazing, they all know exactly what they are doing and they do it so fast, its very interesting. Overall it was just a really fun, great experience.
HEC: What was your most memorable experience working on the film?
Life itself on the set, everything that was happening on the set, was so interesting. Sometimes we didn’t have to get everything done right away, and the people around the set would tell jokes to pass the time. One time I was juggling on set, someone came and started juggling too. I talked a lot to some of the medics, they gave me a lot of advice about things, like for the future, I should take clips from the movie to send on future auditions.
HEC: Would you like to work on more movies in the future?
I’m hoping to do more movies and have more opportunities in the future, because I really like it a lot. Working in movies is something I really want to get into. I’m lucky because my friends joke with me about it, say things like“hey what’s up movie star”, but no one has tried to be my friend just because I’m in the movie. I have true friends, and it feels really good to know that. Going into the movie, to see it for the first time, I was so nervous, I didn’t know how I was gonna look. Seeing myself on the big screen for the first time was weird, I didn’t think I did that well, but my parents said I did. The second time felt better, I think I got over my nerves, and was a bit more used to it.
HEC: Any final thoughts on your experience with The Company Men?
Just that John and Ben were so nice, I thought that was amazing. Really everyone on set was so nice and so supportive, from my very first day on set. I was absolutely so nervous, I had to listen to my iPod while we were driving there to the set. But as soon as I got there, John Wells and Ben Affleck talked to me, and made me feel at ease and like I belonged.