INTERVIEW WITH DAN BYRD:
What was your reaction to seeing youd be playing a cowboy in this scene, a white rapper
Did you have any input?
They didnt even tell me. When we started shooting, none of that was in the script. Then Clifford [Werber], the producer, was like, They want to like do this thing where youre a different character every day. You come in in these crazy outfits. Im just trying to be open to whatever. You know, some of the costumes they brought to me were a little too I mean, leather chaps and I just thought, Youve got to draw the line somewhere. I dont even know, I guess you do catch on to what hes doing in the movie but it just kind of fits his sort of outlandish, eccentric character.
Are you at all like this character?
Yeah. Hes like me in the fact that his interests are different from pretty much everyone else in his school and therefore he has a hard time relating to a lot of people. But as far as personality goes, I think Im probably a little bit more laid back than he is. But you know, its fun to be able to play this character.
Whose Zorro did you base your performance on?
(Laughing) You know what? I cant honestly say that I based it on any previously performed Zorro. This was a completely different kind of Zorro.
Theres no Banderas in there anywhere?
No, theres nothing cool or sexy or mysterious about this Zorro.
Did you and Chad Michael Murray pal around on the set?
Hes a cool, fun guy. We all kind of hung out, which was so great about this. We were all young we all are still pretty young and you just felt like you were going to the set every day with a bunch of your peers and friends and people that were interesting and creative. So it was a lot of fun just to be able to be around the whole cast.
What surprised you the most about working with Hilary Duff?
Shes just incredibly down-to-earth and just a genuinely nice person. Theres really no dirt I can give you on her because theres nothing there. The persona that she gives in interviews and on television is pretty accurate to how she is in normal life. I guess it just surprised me that even though all this activity and all this attention is focused on her, shes still just a very easy person to talk to, easy to relate to, and fun to be around.
Youve been acting since you were 8 but this is probably your biggest role in a feature film. Are you ready for the attention?
Well, yeah. Im just kind of taking it one day at a time. I have no idea what all this is going to entail. Im just excited about figuring it out as I go along. This is definitely the first big part Ive had in a big studio movie. Thats all exciting and getting to do things like this [interview] is definitely nerve-wracking but kind of exciting, too.
Whats high school like for you?
I just graduated. For the past few years, since Ive been pretty much working consistently, I have been doing it on the set for the most part. But when I went to school, I didnt really have any particularly traumatic stories as far as getting beat up or picked on or being prom king. I had a group of friends who I felt comfortable with and who Id known for a long time. I still have that group of friends. It was what it was. Schools no fun nobody likes to go to school.
And youve got the TV series Clubhouse coming up. Whats the premise of that show?
Well, its about a kid who gets to be a bat boy for whats basically the equivalent of the New York Yankees. They call them the Empires in this show. The pilot involves one of the players getting caught with steroids and the Yankees didnt want to have the negative connotations that go along with that so Its basically about the clubhouse experience and what goes on off the field and on the field.
Whats your role?
Jeremy Sumpter plays the bat boythe kid from Peter Pan. I play his best friend. Theres the clubhouse and the subplots with the best friend character and the single mother and sister at home. They think if the show does alright then Mike, the character I play, will eventually become a bat boy with him, as well. Its a cool show that is kind of fresh and new and doesnt feel recycled. Its something new that people havent seen. I think its something that a lot of people maybe think they know something about but they dont really. Its a world that kind of intrigues a lot of people, especially sports fans.