It was Caleb’s dad’s dying wish that his son venture out to a mysterious crater before leaving the moon. That’s the premise of Disney’s Crater, a new original movie premiering Friday, May 12th, on Disney+. Caleb is assisted on his mission by a group of friends, including Marcus, played by Thomas Boyce III. At just 17, Thomas is already a multi-hyphenate as a writer, musician, comedian, and actor. I recently got to chat with this rising star about his work on Crater and his next film, Wonder London.
Alex: Congratulations on the launch of Crater. What can you tell me about the character that you play?
Thomas: Well, thank you. So Marcus is this really sensitive guy. He's very simple. He's a simple, sensitive soul. I compare him often to Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. That's kind of his contribution to the group. He's kind of like Groot. He's also the oldest in the group, and he's who they look for to kind of get a sense of if everything's okay.
Alex: Hopefully, he has a bigger vocabulary than Groot.
Thomas: Slightly bigger vocabulary, a few more lines… Yeah.
Alex: Awesome. The film is a family-friendly science fiction story. Were you a big fan of this genre? Was this something you were looking for as an actor?
Thomas: Well, sci-fi, absolutely. I grew up loving movies like Interstellar and things like that. I love space films, and totally something I was looking forward to. In fact, I remember the first time I got the email for the audition, and I thought it was a completely different movie than what it ended up being. I love the movie that it is, but I thought it was going to be like fighting aliens, and I thought it was going to be a completely different thing. I remember being so excited for that. But I love sci-fi. [It was] totally something I was looking to do.
Alex: What was the audition process like? What was the description of the project you were auditioning for that made you think there would be confrontations with aliens? How many auditions did you do to get the part?
Thomas: They kind of changed what it was because I remember I was talking to somebody else in the cast, I believe Billy [Barratt], and we were thinking it was the same thing. Like it was a ‘going to a different planet and fighting aliens’ kind of movie, but it's more of a grounded, to the beat of like Stand By Me, kind of movie about togetherness and everything. And the audition process was very lax. I actually initially auditioned for Caleb, which is Isaiah Russell-Bailey's character. They asked me to come back and read for Marcus, and I did. I sent them a tape, and then maybe a month or two months later, I had a producer callback. So it was on Zoom and there was me and like two other Marcuses. And I was reading with three other [actors]. You know Marcus and Borney in the movie are best friends, they are inseparable. And then, the next day, I get a call that I had landed it. So a very relaxed audition.
Alex: What were the sets like? A good chunk of the film takes place on the surface of the moon.
Thomas: This was all shot on a soundstage. It was shot in Baton Rouge, Celtic Studios. They shot the most recent Fantastic Four movie, a lot of the Twilight films as well.
Alex: There are a lot of visual effects in Crater. Had you worked a lot with visual effects before?
Thomas: I had never worked with visual effects before, and it was like all visual effects. All green screen. It was actually cool. What we used as the lunar surface was almost half a football field length of this gravelly material. Almost kind of like kitty litter and just mountains and mountains of that, and that's what we were standing in. Really, really interesting. But that's what that was like. We had these suits on, and our suits were so heavy, and so hot that they had to turn the temperature down to freezing-like temperatures. You could see your breath as if you were talking because we knew that we'd be burning up and that it would be so heavy. You would commonly see hair and makeup and the parents wrapping up with blankets and winter coats and everything. It was crazy.
Alex: That's awesome. Well, I'm sure the crew didn't love it, but nice that they made that temperature modification for you guys. Now, in terms of the story and the message of the film, what are you most excited for audiences to take away? When you think about your family and friends tuning in to watch this with you on Disney+, what are you excited for them to take away from the film?
Thomas: Just the importance of friends and togetherness. That's what I think are the most powerful themes in the film. Sticking with one another and kind of just realizing that our time is limited. We don't have forever to blossom in these relationships that we have with people, so really take in every moment. That's what I'd say is the most important message, and that's what I would hope audiences get.
Alex: In addition to Crater, you've also got Wonder London coming out. What can you tell me about that next film that fans can check you out in after they fall in love with you in Crater?
Thomas: It was more of a superhero film with my sister and directed and written by my parents. It was really cool being able to be very prominently on the other side and getting to see kind of what goes on behind the scenes. That was really cool.
Alex: It sounds like you come from a very creative family. In addition to acting, you’ve written a book and you make music. Are your parents where you get all this creative energy from?
Thomas: I don't think I've thought about that. You know, I definitely come from a very creative family where yes, there are a lot of musicians and a lot of creative outlets that we all like to participate in. The beauty about my family is that I was always supported in doing these creative things, so that was a blessing… You need to have very supportive parents in your life.
Alex: I'm happy for you that you've got that. Thank you for your time, and congratulations again on the launch of Crater and the upcoming release of Wonder London.
Check out Crater streaming this Friday, May 12th, exclusively on Disney+.