They look like brothers. They act like brothers. It’s easy to believe they’d take off and do something daring and perhaps a tad reckless this summer … something that would surely make their parents cringe.
In the new film, “Wild America,” they do.
The true-adventure story stars Jonathan Taylor Thomas, 15; Devon Sawa, 18; and Scott Bairstow, 27. They play the daredevil Stouffer brothers, naive filmmakers who left their family’s home in rural Arkansas to spend the summer of 1967 documenting America’s vanishing wilderness.
On a recent trip to promote the new Warner Bros. movie, the three bright and all-too-wholesome actors were wolfing down a New York pizza and giggling about inside jokes the way brothers do.
They’re competitive. They compare stories and photos from the movie, trade wisecracks and finish each other’s sentences.
Thomas, who is best known for his role as Randy on the long-running series “Home Improvement,” won hearts all over the world as the voice of young Simba in “The Lion King.”
Remarkably intelligent and precociously outspoken, Thomas has no trouble keeping pace with his older co-stars. Sawa and Bairstow, both natives of Canada, have appeared on the acclaimed miniseries, “Lonesome Dove.”
1. So, let’s start with the basics: Who are you, what do you do and how old are you?
JTT: I’m Jonathan Taylor Thomas, I play Marshall, and I’m 75 years old. Going on 16.
SB: You’ve got to get that ‘almost 16’ part in … JTT: Well, I’m just so HAPPY about it!
DS: I was happy too. It’s a big year.
SB: I can’t believe you’re actually going to be in control of an automobile.
JTT: (wounded) I’ve been driving for nine months now! Since I turned 15. In Los Angeles. I drive to work every day.
2. Do you have brothers and do they pull pranks on you like the ones in the movie?
JTT: I have an older brother, so I definitely know what that’s like … SB: I was a younger brother too, you know, and I often got pinned down and had saliva dripped into my mouth … you know, drool torture …. stuff like that.
DS: Drool torture! We didn’t have enough of that on the set.
JTT: Speak for yourself!
SB: It was nice for me, anyway, to have the tables turned and get to invoke a little of the abuse.
3. Did you do your own stunts in the movie?
DS: 99 percent, we did.
JTT: But you know, they wanted to keep us alive, since that seemed to be in everyone’s best interest. They did what was appropriate.
SB: Do you know what chiggers are? Little biting bugs. These guys got attacked by chiggers in the swamp scene. I didn’t have to get in the water. I stayed in the boat and I was chigger-free.
3-1/2: That was actually filmed in a swamp?
SB: Actually what they did was they made a set in a swimming pool, with swamp water.
DS: No, it wasn’t the swamp water, it was the swamp plants that the bugs rode in on.
JTT: And they also brought in snakes, which were carried with the plants. Two snakes. We arrived in Canada and changed our clothes and we were covered in red spots from those bugs. It was not enjoyable.
SB: Oh, and I got hit by a guy in a bear suit. In the cave, when I was holding the camera up, and he knocked it out of my hand … he hit me in the side of the temple. He had, like this 4-by-4 block that they had to walk on, like stilts. That hurt. It was like, KRRAURKHHHH.
4. If you could go on a road trip what would you do?
JTT: I’d like to travel the mountains of Nepal.
DS: I’d like, actually, to go camping in like, South America or Africa. I think that would be great. You know, somewhere where you have to live on berries and ants and stuff ….
SB: There’s a place where I just finished filming … there’s this guy who bought an island off of Thailand, with a little cabana, and I think I’d like to go there. Just hang out on the beach, with these crystal-clear waters.
5. Is there anything really daring that you’d like to do?
JTT: I’d like to climb Mount Everest. (the other two stare at him) I really would, I think that would be fun.
DS: The most daring thing I’d like to do is have sex with Madonna. (embarrassed, laughing) Uh, I mean, Uh, Dennis Rodman, Uh I mean uh …
SB: (intervening, in a big-brotherly manner) Ooooh-kay! The most daring thing I think I’d like to do is just get through this interview, oh my Gawd! No. I’m kidding!
The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, QUESTION & ANSWER - Five Questions
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.