The Goonies had Lawrence “Chunk”… Black Pumpkin has Lawrence “Pork Chop” aka Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick
Black Pumpkin will be released on December 8, 2020
Grayson is known for his role as Sheldon in Chicken Girls: The Movie, FX’s TV Series Dave, American Horror Story, Black Pumpkin, Netflix’s TV Series Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, Daddy’s Home, and Documentary Now! He also wrote, directed and starred in his own short film based on Chris Farley’s SNL Matt Foley “Living in a Van Down by the River” sketch that won Grayson the best actor award at Young Artist Awards (YAA). Grayson’s past TV Series are as following: ABCs: To Tell the Truth, This isn’t Working, Adult Swim channel show: Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell, Cinemax Outcast, TV Series NC-16 on Seeka TV. Grayson can be found on the cover of Gucci Mane and Blackbear CD Single Video “do re mi” on iTunes and Amazon.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, WHO IS GRAYSON THORNE KILPATRICK IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
I was born in Huntsville, AL on April 1 (I am a constant Joke) both my mom and dad are Engineers. When I was around three, I had a traumatic experience that changed my life. I do not talk about this incident much but my parents and I lived through a home invasion. My parents are my heroes because my mom was able to convince the invaders they had the wrong house because they did. This gave her enough time to lock the door behind them and get me and my dad into a back room of our house until police arrived.
After the home invasion, my parents wanted to put me in Child Play Therapy. It was a place where a young child could go after a traumatic event; they could act out their feelings to help them cope with whatever was bothering them. I know even several months after the home invasion when I heard a doorbell, I would run and hide under a kitchen table.
A few years later mom ask me if I wanted to take an acting class and I usually replied “Nah”. She told me a few years later she told me she thought I had a talent but she did not want to push me into something she was not sure I wanted to do.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO BEGIN A CAREER AS AN ACTOR?
We lived in Alabama and the south is a great place. The Southern hospitality is the absolute best. People in the South are so very courteous and always willing to help if you need it. In 2012, my life completely changed. My dad had read in the local newspaper that Grayson Russell (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) was in town filming his new movie Space Warriors at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Grayson Russell was going to be at a local movie theater viewing the latest release in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie series with fans and would be signing autographs before the movie. So, my dad got our family and one of my friends, Mason, a ticket to go watch the movie with Grayson. Grayson Russell was great! He took the time to answer my questions and took pictures with me. At the screening, Grayson mentioned they were looking for extras to be in the movie he was filming.
I asked my mom if she could take me to see if I could be an extra. She did and I got to be an extra and fell in love with the environment. I loved watching the crew move their equipment around to do the same scene but to get the shot from different angles.
The next week, my mom enrolled me in a local acting school called Hollywood Huntsville. I took classes under Bill and Ayoka Billions and later took acting classes from Gray’s Studio out of LA. We would travel to Nashville to participate in an intensive weekend class once a month for two days and this is where I met Mr. David Gray of Gray Studio out of West Hollywood, CA.
I booked my first web series in 2013 called Unplanned Motherhood. After that, mom found me a talent agent in Nashville, Atlanta and New Orleans. It was in March 2013 I booked my very first movie called Campin’ Buddies. I got to work with legendary actors like Don Most, Tom Lester (Ep from Green Acres), Ray Stevens and Victoria Jackson. Tom Logan was the best Director for my first film experience.
I also had a great mentor actor, Danny Vinson. I still send him messages and ask him questions. We were actually in the movie Heaven Bound together and I was lucky to get to film with Torry Martin, Jamie Costa, Victoria Jackson (my second movie with the SNL legend), Michael Joiner and Nancy Stafford. When production found out it was my birthday, they had craft services bake me a cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I also got the chance to ride a horse around the set! How cool is that? Thank you, Adam Drake, director of this great movie, for giving me an opportunity to work with you!
GRAYSON THORNE KILPATRICK IS A RENOWNED NAME TODAY; HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ALL THE SUCCESS YOU HAVE ACHIEVED AT SUCH A TENDER AGE?
I am very proud of my accomplishments but by no means do I feel like I have made it. My parents are a huge influence in my life. They gave up their careers in Alabama to move to Los Angles to give me a chance. Knowing this keeps me humble. My Grandmama and my Aunt Delia reminds me how fortunate I am as well.
My Aunt Delia and my grandmother are both very strong influences in my life as well as my parents. There were many times I got my feelings hurt when I did not get a part I had auditioned for. Mom would say to me “Grayson you are getting a call back that means people see something in you. You should be so happy for just getting these call backs because a lot of people don’t even get that.” I guess I had not thought about it in that way. It was not long before my mom was driving me all over the Southeast. One day, she drove me to Nashville then got a message I needed to be in Atlanta the next day. Therefore, instead of going home she drove me to Atlanta. I know one week she drove me to Dallas, TX for me to film, then New Orleans to film Man Down with Shia Labeouf, then I had to be in Atlanta that nigh to film the episode I got on Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell. Then I booked a short film and we had to drive to Jacksonville FL. I was tired but I loved every minute of it. After that night of shooting the short film in Florida, I had to be back in Atlanta for an audition with HBO. After that, mom said, “Grayson this is a lot! I am tired, are you tired of this?” I said no mom I love it even more.
My dad was working for NASA so he had to stay at home. It was hard on mom being away from home and I could see how tired she was driving me so much. My mom had a day job as well. Both of my parents are Engineers and at the time mom was working on her Ph.D. I remember some nights she pulled over to take a nap in the Walmart parking lot because she had been driving so much. Mom and dad both had sacrifice a lot for me so I want to say “Thank you” to them. They wanted me to be happy and go after my dream of being an actor.
WHAT DO YOU THINK SUCCESS IS EASIER TO ACHIEVE, OR IT IS NOT MEANT FOR EVERYBODY?
Oh no I think anyone can have success and I am a big believer in supporting other actors in this field. It is not an easy road but I think if you support each other, it can be easier for sure to travel it together.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE ROLE THAT YOU HAVE PLAYED AS A YOUNG ACTOR?
I loved playing Lawrence “Pork Chop” in Black Pumpkin. Ryan McGonagle the Director and writer of Black Pumpkin wanted to give reference to 80’s horror films he loved so my character in Black Pumpkin was named “Lawrence” from the Goonies so instead of “Chuck” it is “Pork Chop”
I remember the first time I met Ryan for my audition. He was nice and he hired me that day. Later on, I heard the story of when he saw my head shot for the role of Lawrence and he was like “that is him! that’s Pork Chop!”. Of course, he added “I sure hope he can act.” ;)). I hope he thinks soJ.
I did many of my own stunts and some of them were not easy but when I am on set, I want to give my 100%. I remember one day on set, I was riding this bicycle. LOL I think we did that take several times and I noticed three kids that stayed to watch the filming. When we had a break, I went over to say hi to them, I said “Thank you” to them for watching me. Ryan called me back a few minutes later to start on the next scene
Another role was in a short Unconventional Gourmet where I played a kid called “Hector”. It was a twist off the “Hansel and Gretel” tale where Hector was the Hansel in the story.
I loved being on the set of the Cinemax show Outcast. They flew in a stunt double for me. It happened to be the same stunt double that Danny Devito and Joe Pesi uses. I felt so great about that.
Another film I was in was Daddy’s Home. I did a scene with Mark Walgberg but it got cut from the film, but it was great meeting him. My original role name was “Big Kid at Half Pipe” but Mark and I would bump fists a lot during takes so my name was changed to “Fist Bump Kid”. 😉 That was my first big film. I wanted so bad to get a picture with Mark. I was nine at the time. I remember I waited for him, but his scene ran long and I didn’t get that picture. I cried for a while going home. But mom said to me “Grayson you’re nine. You’ll have so many more times to work with him.” I didn’t think of it like that.
The director of Daddy’s Home sent me a written note and a hoodie from the Daddy’s Home production. The photo of the scene Mark and I did can be seen on the IMDb Daddy’s Home page as still shot. So, mom was right. But I thought he was such a great actor, and he was so nice I can’t wait for the chance of working with him again someday. I wonder if he will remember me. In the scene, he called me “Peanut Butter” which is kind of ironic since I am allergic to peanuts!
HOW DO YOUR FRIENDS TREAT YOU AFTER YOU BECAME A CELEBRITY?
They treat me the same way now as before I did films. There is no difference, I like it that way. I can just be myself.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUGGEST TO YOUTH ABOUT BECOMING SUCCESSFUL IN ENTAIRNMENT INDUSTRY?
I would tell them to not give up; to continue to strive for that dream. Two of my favorite actors were the late Chris Farley and Robin Williams. I remember a story of Robin going to Juilliard and one of his teachers, John Houseman, told Robin he needed to go home. He would never make it as an actor. Well, Robin proved John Houseman wrong. I love that story, it gives me hope, and I hope I can give another actor hope with my story one day.
The day I found out Robin had died, I cried for hours! It was hard for a while to watch his films, but I think I was looking at it all wrong. I think his films and TV series were what he was meant to give us to inspire other actors that would come after him. My favorite role from was Robin as “Mork” from Mork and Mindy but I have all his movies as well. And I will forever honor Chris Farley as I did in my short film I wrote, starred in and directed John Foley: Motivationally Speaking. I am still “Living in a van down by the river”.