Jeremy Ray Taylor – The “It” Factor

Words + Interview By: Tyrone Davis

Newcomer, Jeremy Ray Taylor is a young actor who has already become part of some classic material, starring as Ben Hanscom in the remakes of Stephen King’s “It” and the upcoming “It: Chapter Two”. Growing up on a farm in TN, Jeremy and I discussed farm life, working on set and his Youtube channel, “Just Being Jeremy”. Also, Jeremy can be seen in the film,“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” which is now playing in theaters. Make sure you all go and see it. 

What has childhood been like for you, prior to acting in major films?
I feel like I had a pretty normal childhood living on a farm in East TN.  My brothers and I were all homeschool students so that was a little different, but normal for us. 

What are some of the pros/cons of growing up on a farm?
Growing up on a farm is a lot of hard work!  Some would call it a pro because you do learn a strong work ethic.  It is also such a beautiful place!  Lots of fun animals to play with and take care of.  Did I mention it is a lot of hard work?

Is your goat “Gilby” still around? Does he/she suffer from myotonia congenita(when goats seem to faint)?
Sadly, Gilbert has passed……We don’t have any fainting goats, but I wish!

Are you still being homeschooled? What was/is the experience like?
I am homeschooling currently and honestly, I love it!  We get all the same perks of public school kids, just not all the long days in class!  

Explain “Co-op”. 
Co-op is basically like school.  We go once a week and sit in on lectures and structured classes from some amazing teachers.  After the weekly lectures we then have online instruction/homework.  It is great!

You have some great tiles on your acting resume. How did you get started? 
Actually, about 8 years ago I was discovered in Nashville, quite by accident.  I had never considered being an actor but I loved making people laugh.  I guess you could say I was in the right place at the right time.

Considering you have a few siblings, are you the only one going down this particular path?
Currently, it is only me.  My brother Benjamin did start out on the same path, but quickly found a passion for the other side of the camera!  He is now a photographer and videographer.

What was a major obstacle for you when you landed the role of Ben Hanscom in the “It” remake?
We had only been to Hollywood one other time to shoot a pilot when I landed the role.  It was quite intimidating meeting the other kids!  Some of them I had already seen in movies.  Learning to work long hours every day was probably the toughest part, but it was always fun!

Were you familiar with the original film prior to landing the role?
I was not familiar with the original film, but my parents were.  I was only 12 when I got the role, so reading the book or watching the movie was a big NO!  Plus, I wasn’t a fan of horror movies! WAY too scary for me!

This new version of “It” is actually the first remake that I can think of that I enjoyed more than the original (when the original came out in my lifetime). You guys nailed it. What did you enjoy most during filming?
Thank you so much!  That is a huge compliment!  I think the part I most enjoyed was meeting all seven of the losers and the bullies too of course!  I know from this movie I have taken away lifelong friends.  It was a fantastic experience!!

Are there any points during the film that you were genuinely scared? 
With all the camera, lights and people around, it is hard to be genuinely scared.  However, when Skarsgard prepares for a scene, the whole atmosphere changes!  Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley in real life, as Pennywise!!  Scene prep with the bullies was also intense. Everyone is amping up and getting ready to act like they are going to kill me, so yeah, that’s a little scary!

Ben should have gotten the girl. Do you agree or disagree and why?
Ben 100% should have gotten the girl!  Thank you!  I mean, he was an amazing sweetheart, writing her cute poems, saving her from death, etc.  He’s nice, cute and relatable! She was crazy not to fall for him, but they don’t….until they grow up!!

What did you learn most from Brandon Crane and Marlon Taylor, who played Ben Hanscom and Mike Hanlon in the original “It” film? 
Those guys are amazing!  They are so funny and were so gracious to us! I did learn that they were quite the trouble makers on set!  You’ll have to ask them about that, Haha!

What can we expect in “It: Chapter Two”? 
So many things!  You can expect to see some glimpses of the kids again for sure.  But it will be 10 times scarier and the adult characters are SPOT ON!  Andy Muschietti, the director, warns everyone to bring their adult diapers.  I’m not sure I’m going to make it through the whole movie!

Tell us about the recently released, “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” and your role as Sonny Quinn”. 
I am SO excited about Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.  Sonny Quinn is a science nerd who stumbles on an RL Stine book and unknowingly brings Halloween to life.  It is a fantastic mix of comedy, spookiness and just a great movie for the whole family.

When I was a kid, I had majority of the first 27 Goosebumps books and I still read them from time to time. I’m hurt that I never got the full collection. Have you ever read any of them and also, can you put in a word with somebody and have them get me the full collection (original artwork only though)? Lol, jk. 
I will see what I can do for sure!  I did get to meet RL Stine but not sure I have much pull!  I can, however, hook you up with the new Scholastic book titled after our movie, lol! I myself have never read a Goosebumps book but my older brothers were very interested and read a lot of them growing up.  They also watched the TV show.

With the technology we have today, I’d love to see “Goosebumps” as a series or standalone films focusing on each book (not like the Nickelodeon version). Have you heard similar opinions? What do you think? 
I would much like to see that myself!  Maybe they’ll let us star in it!

Explain the process of acting when the actor you’re interacting with is a CGI character.
CGI is crazy!  Working with something that isn’t there is very strange but lots of fun! It is so weird punching something or talking to stuff that isn’t there.  You know, like gummy bears stuck to your head, Haha!

What’s up with your Youtube channel, “Just Being Jeremy”? When/Are you coming back?
Oh man!  My Youtube channel started so long ago!  It is always so fun to do!  I always just wanted to get across that we all have to be ourselves while having a little fun.  With my schedule, I have been unable to do it as much as I would like.  Maybe you’ll see a comeback really soon…..

Were you editing your own videos early on?
My brother Benjamin and sister Logan have always helped me create and edit my videos.  They have been with me from the beginning and I hope we do a lot more together!

What is your favorite and why?

A)  3 words
Squirt, Moist, Succulent. I don’t know why to be honest, probably because they really get a reaction from most people.

B)  Film based on farm life
Who doesn’t love Babe or Son in Law?!  It would be fun to make a movie about farm life.  Either funny or serious.

C)  Game (Video, Board, etc.)
That’s easy!  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

D)  Artist (Any genre)
Lin-Manuel Miranda. I have listened to Hamilton a million times.

How has working in Hollywood been for someone your age? What have you learned? 
It has been a lot of fun but sometimes intimidating.  I feel I have learned a stronger work ethic and I have learned that it is good to go back to the farm to stay grounded in who I am. 

Tell us something about yourself that most don’t know.
I have never read or seen any of the Harry Potter series.  Sorry guys…..

What’s next for Jeremy Ray Taylor?  
Only time will tell!  I look forward to meeting people at Comic-Cons coming up in Rhode Island, Argentina, and Monterrey Mexico plus of course, snagging that next role!

How can people reach you on social media? 
All my tags are @jeremyraytaylor, plus my Youtube @JustBeingJeremy.

Photo By: Benjamin Taylor for Sisu Intuition

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