Netflix’s Bird Box was one of the most successful movies in the history of the streaming platform, getting 45 million views in just seven days. I got the chance to talk with one of the smallest stars of the film, seven-year-old Julian Edwards to discuss the movie’s success, filming scenes blindfolded, and how it made him grow as an actor.
First off, congratulations on the success of Bird Box. Netflix reported it had over 45 million views in just seven days. Were you surprised by how much hype it got?
Thank you so much. Yeah! I couldn’t believe it. Yesterday my mom showed me that over 80 million accounts have now watched it; that’s a lot. I’m very excited that everyone liked the movie and I’m thankful that I got to be in this big movie.
Doing anything blindfolded can be scary, even for adults, so I can’t even imagine as a kid. What was it like doing the blindfolded scenes, especially during the final journey through the forest?
It was a bit scary doing my stunts blindfolded. In one of my scenes, I had to go down a lot of steep stairs blindfolded holding on to Sandra’s belt and it was raining that day. During my forest scenes, there were a few times I fell, but I was OK. My stunt coordinator, Malosi, would have me practice where I needed to run and walk in the forest before so I knew how it would feel. The hardest part was my boat stunt scenes where I got thrown out in the water twice. I was blindfolded and those stunts scared me a little, but Sandy was amazing and Malosi always made me feel safe. I wanted to be brave, and I wanted to do a good job. At the end, everyone cheered for me; it made me so happy. I wanted to do it over and over again cause it made me feel happy that I did a good job.
Sandra Bullock is such a great actress. What was it like working with her? From my understanding, she even provided some teaching moments for you, didn’t she?
Sandra is amazing; she’s very nice, and she’s very funny. She made it fun — even during the scary parts she’d make us laugh. She would always tell me, “When Susanna calls ‘action’ I have to become Malorie and pull and yell at you and be tough with you, but as soon as she says cut I’ll be back to Sandy, and I’ll give you a hug.” That made me feel very comfortable. Sandra would explain everything to us before each new scene, and it helped a lot.
Not only did you do a good job on-screen, but you got to learn about production off-screen. What was that experience like?
We got to visit the Braille Institute of Los Angeles, and I got to run around and play with the visually impaired kids. They were amazing. I couldn’t tell they couldn’t see, and they taught me how to feel things and to use my ears, hands, and feet instead of my eyes. It was an amazing experience.
What has the reaction been like from your family and friends about the movie and seeing you on-screen?
Everyone I know has watched it and loved it. My mom cries every time she watches it because she’s proud of me; she was more scared than me during the shoot. I’ve gotten so much love and support from my family and friends. I also got a lot of love from fans all over the world on Instagram. I’m so grateful because some of the fans even edit their own videos of my scenes and they make special photos of me. I’m very grateful for them.
Do you feel doing this movie has helped you grow as an actor? If so, how so?
Yes, I think I learned a lot. This was my first big role, and it helped me feel more comfortable in front of the camera. I learned to be Boy and not Julian on-set. That’s very important because you have to become a new character. Boy had a very different life than I do. I had to feel what he felt.
We’ve talked about the best parts of shooting the movie but what was the most challenging part?
The most challenging was running down the stairs blindfolded and my boat stunts. I’m so used to looking at where I’m going, and I couldn’t do that. Sometimes I’d get scared, and I’d try to look up and peek but Susanna would catch me and remind me to not try to look. Falling in the water blindfolded was definitely challenging. Sandra had to pull me up back in the boat, and I was wet, the boat was rocking hard and my clothes and shoes felt so heavy. But I had fun during those scenes, and I wanted to do it again once I did it the first time.
Let’s end the interview with a few fun questions. I know you are a Star Wars fan like me! Who is your favorite Star Wars character and why?
My favorite Star Wars character is Kylo Ren, I think. Even though he is on the dark side, he has some of the light side in him. He tries to resist it but he has some good in him. I also think he is really cool, and he has the best costume. I actually dressed up as him this past Halloween, and we dressed up our puppy as Chewy. It was awesome.
If you could choose to be a character in any movie, which would it be and why?
I would love to be in a Star Wars movie and play Kylo Ren’s son. I think that would be pretty amazing to have powers, and maybe I could have a special lightsaber too.
Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us. What is one thing that you nerd out about?
Hmmmm… that’s a difficult question ’cause I’m a total nerd when it comes to sports, Hot Wheels and Legos. I always challenge people to quiz me on my Lego facts. I’m usually reading about my interests, and I love learning about the history of Legos, and sports or Hot Wheels. It’s cool to learn how they all started.
Bird Box is currently streaming on Netflix. You can also follow Julian on Instagram.
Photo Credits: Don Diaz — Photographer; Makeup — Renee Loiz