What a thrill it was to see my son, plastered all over the front page of the local newspaper! Since the online version of the article will disappear for all but subscribers in a couple of days, I've decided to keep a copy here, on My Son, The Actor. :)
All text to come, Copyright the Sun Herald, Biloxi, MS:
Saucier teen’s sitcom, movie ready to premiere
SAUCIER — When he’s not chillin’ with friends or playing paintball in the piney woods of Saucier, Israel Broussard is hangin’ in Hollywood with actors and meeting teen hearthrobs.
The contrasting lifestyle is like a roller-coaster ride for the 15-year-old South Mississippi native. His rural neighborhood’s so quiet you can hear the birds sing and the crickets chirp. It’s no longer unusual for a limousine to pick up the budding actor for a flight that lands him in the hustle, bustle and glamour of Los Angeles.
“It’s been way cool,” said Israel.
The teen with tousled hair and boy-next-door good looks is here at home with his family now, awaiting the releases of his latest acting jobs in a television situation-comedy and a movie directed by Rob Reiner.
He has a recurring role in “Romantically Challenged,” an ABC sitcom that debuts at 8:30 p.m. on April 19. The star is Alyssa Milano from “Charmed,” a long-running television series. The movie, “Flipped,” premieres in September.
In the sitcom, Israel plays Milano’s son, Justin. Six episodes have been filmed and he’s in two of them, including the first episode.
In a visit at Israel’s home this week, he was barefooted and wore jeans and a My Chemical Romance T-shirt. He likes rock music and posting messages on Facebook and just-for-fun videos on YouTube. He says his 2-year-old brother, Keller, “always steals the show” on the videos. Israel doesn’t seem to mind.
Israel, his mom and younger brother went to Los Angeles in January to tape the pilot for the sitcom. They rented two rooms in a home owned by an actress.
It’s his first appearance in a television show and it’s filmed before a live audience. The first day on the set, he didn’t know what to expect and the crew was too busy to tell him. He was handed a page of lines and told to memorize it in 30 minutes. He did and felt good about how it turned out.
The second day, he moved about during filming and accidentally hit Milano. She flinched but stayed in character.
“I felt bad about it,” Israel said, “but she’s just amazing. I’m learning a lot by working with adults who have a lot of acting experience. One take is all you get when it’s recorded live.”
Israel said he knew he was in the right place when he drove up on the set the first day of filming. He saw a big truck with “Meathead” printed on the side. Israel recognized actor-director-producer Rob Reiner’s nickname from “All In The Family,” which debuted 15 years before Israel was born. Israel plans to be in Hollywood for the movie’s premiere.
“I love Hollywood, but after about a month of being away, I miss it here,” Israel said. “They have no trees or lakes. They have dry mountains and freeways.”
Israel likes both lifestyles but hates home schooling. It stunts his social life, he says, though he realizes it’s the only way he can pursue an acting career without uprooting his family. His mother, Angela, put aside her Mary Kay cosmetics business to be a full-time homemaker, tutor and chaperone for Israel’s business trips.
She and Keller travel with him. Their longest trip so far lasted six months. His father, Gil, a computer programmer for Hancock Bank, stays home with Aubrey, Israel’s 17-year-old sister.
Israel is one of seven siblings. Four of them are adults who’ve left home. His family shares a large mobile home across the road from Riverline Lake. Their wooded backyard is perfect for paintball.
Israel became an actor by a stroke of luck. He tagged along to community theater productions with Aubrey. At 12-years-old, Israel performed in “The Miracle Worker” in Biloxi and “To Kill A Mocking Bird” in Gulfport.
In late 2007, his sister heard about a talent agency’s visit to Biloxi. She wanted to try out for a role on the television series, “Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” Israel auditioned, too. His sister didn’t get the part, but a talent agent signed him up for possible acting jobs.
“That was the hardest night of my life,” said Israel. “I hated it for my sister.”
A commercial he made for Walmart in 2008 is still airing. He’s the guy holding a laptop computer.
“Twelve hours for two seconds on screen,” Israel said, “but it was worth it.”
He then filmed a commercial for ABC’s “Opportunity Knocks” reality game show and played the lead role in “Flyboy,” an animated/real-life short film not yet released.
In 2009, Israel spent five weeks filming “Flipped,” his first movie.
In one scene, his lines were a tongue-twister and he had to speak while walking through a crowded school hallway without bumping into others. “It took 20 takes for me to get it right,” he said. “I felt bad about taking up everybody’s time.” Months later, Rob Reiner took him aside and showed him the clip. Israel’s mother said Reiner wanted to reassure him it’s the finished product that matters.
Israel has attended two invitation-only fundraisers for celebrities. They introduced him to experienced young actors, including Kyle Massey from “That’s So Raven” and “Corey in the House.”
At two auditions, Israel was one of two actors in the final round. One was for the role of the son in CBS’s “The Good Wife.” The other was to portray actor Ashton Kutcher as a young teen. The other guy was selected both times.
But one of those directors told Israel he “glowed the room” with his audition.
“That was worth the experience,” Israel’s mother said.
“I don’t look at it as competition,” Israel said. “If they like me, they will hire me. If they don’t, another part will come along. It’s hard work when the filming starts, but I really enjoy it. I’m having fun.”
SunHerald Photographer: Amanda McCoy
SunHerald Photographer: Amanda McCoy