Child Actors of “How to Eat Fried Worms” Enjoy Movie-Making

by Edwin L. Carpenter – Associate Editor, The Dove Foundation

In a recent interview with The Dove Foundation, child actors Adam Hicks and Ryan Malgarini spoke of the fun they had in working on Walden Media’s and New Line Cinema’s “How to Eat Fried Worms.”

Adam, thirteen years old, played the bully Joe in the film and Ryan, age fourteen, played his friend Benjy. When we complimented them on their respective acting jobs in the film, they chimed in, “It was fun.” Of course the premise of the film, a bully challenging another kid named Billy to eat live worms is something most boys would enjoy. We are assured at film’s end that no live worms were hurt in the making of the movie!

The boys were pleased to speak about how they got involved in the film. “I went to auditions,” Adam said, “and they’re based in L.A. And I kept going back, kept going back and what do you know—I guess they liked me and boom, there you are—I’m making ‘How to Eat Fried Worms.’” Adam said he ended up going to auditions about a total of five times.

When Ryan’s turn to speak came up, he giggled a bit at first and one could tell that he and Adam were having fun and enjoying not only the attention, but each other’s company. They seemed to have an inside joke going on that only the two of them knew. “I went to L.A. for the audition and I got called back a few times. And I guess they liked me, you know!” Ryan had previously appeared alongside Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in “Freaky Friday.”

One question that not only we at The Dove Foundation, but many viewers of the film wanted to know, is what exactly were those worms made of? “They were made of all kinds of stuff,” said Adam. “They were made of pudding, jelly, like a whole dinner made of a little of everything.” “Were they tasty?” we asked. “After the fiftieth one they got kind of nasty,” Adam replied.

“They were pretty gross,” Ryan added. “Anything you could think of they made a worm out of.”

When asked about favorite scenes, Adam said, “My favorite scene was probably in Twitch’s house, where we just grabbed anything and put it in a big, big, huge bowl, and then we just stirred it up in scene after scene– just grabbing stuff. It was a real house and real food so we just grabbed what we wanted. It was fun.”

“One of my favorite scenes was probably when we’re at the park, and we’re putting all these worms together,” said Ryan, “and we’re grabbing all these reeds and we got to spinning around with Billy. Spinning around with the round-about and he gets sick, and that’s one of my favorite scenes.”

We wanted a teenager’s involvement in our Dove interview, so my son Dan asked the next three questions. “What are your friends saying about the movie Adam and Ryan?” asked Dan. “My friends all went to see it Friday,” said Adam. “They all love it.”

“My friends have known me before I was an actor,” said Ryan.  “They’re not used to me doing the whole acting thing. They all go, ‘Hey Ryan, you treat me just like a normal kid,’” something that obviously pleases Ryan.

“Hey Ryan,” said Dan, “what was it like working with Lindsay Lohan in ‘Freaky Friday?’ “She was very nice you know,” he replied. “She was really, really nice on the set. She was real fun.”

“Adam, was it fun playing the bully?” asked Dan. “Yeah, it was fun because usually in all my movies I’m usually like the sissy boy. It was fun trying to pursue a bully and trying to make it believable.”

We asked the boys about challenging scenes. Ryan, who played a bit of a bully himself, answered first. “When I was trying to be a bully,” said Ryan. “I’m not really like that! I had to picture myself as a bully. I had to picture myself as a bully from school and that was really hard for me.”

“It was hard working with everyone and trying to be in sync, trying to get a scene together,” said Adam.

We asked the boys what the highest number of takes was during the film for one scene. “One scene with Billy (Luke Benward) took 30 takes because he kept laughing and then we were all laughing!” said Adam.

When asked about working with James Rebhorn, who played the school principal, and Clint Howard, who played a cook, Adam said, “They were nice. It was fun working with them.”

We asked the boys about getting their start in acting, and Ryan said, “Well, it’s kind of in our family. I did a commercial and just kept working from there.”

“I watched ‘Home Alone’ and really enjoyed that and I wanted to start acting,” said Adam. “And so I got my first job and once you start working on a film you’re hooked!”

We closed by asking the boys what the next project is for their acting careers. “”I’m just waiting right now,” said Adam, who hopes the film will do well.

“I am going to be on a Fox series called ‘Stand Off,’ said Ryan, who added that it will begin airing September 5.

The boys were professional in answering all the questions and dealing with the spotlight. But the laughs and giggles revealed that deep inside, they’re just boys who like to have fun and to entertain.

Read Dove’s Review of “How To Eat Fried Worms”