The House with a Clock in its Walls child star Owen Vaccaro on working with Cate Blanchett and more

Owen Vaccaro is a child actor known for hit movies Daddy's Home, Daddy's Home 2 and Mother's Day. Here he tells Mandy News about working with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett on his latest film The House with the Clock in its Walls, what a typical day on set is like and shares some advice to aspiring child actors.

5th November 2018
/ By James Collins

owen vaccaro child actor the house with a clock in its walls DREAMWORKS

Owen, introduce yourself and explain how you got involved in acting.
I'm Owen Vaccaro and I'm 12 years old. I got into acting because my first grade teacher told me I should. She really said that I should try theatre and so I tried it and liked it. 

What was the first step that you took from being told you should try it out to actually doing it?
When I started theatre I just joined the class but for the actual film work I branched off into, I think I started by getting an agent and then after that we just kind of did stuff.

***** Read our interview with Daddy's Home 2 child actor Trip Case *****

How did you come to work on The House with a Clock in its Walls? Did you have to audition for that and, if so, how did it go?
Yes, I did have to audition for it and it went well. I especially liked the audition process because I didn't learn that it was magical until the second time they gave me the script. I found that pretty funny but I really liked this film. It was so much fun to do.

What was it like working on a set in such a magical place?
It was insane! I remember the first day I was really scared.

What was the most exciting thing you had to do on set?
I think the most exciting thing was when I had to go on the wires and they had to pick me up. Those were the best days and the most exciting.

How did you go about becoming the character, Lewis, that you are playing for this role?
Well, I went into wardrobe and make-up of course…I think for a script you make a personality and you really got to get used to it. What I like to do is learn the lines. Of course, you have to memorise the script but not to the point where it's too memorised. That's how I get into my character.

Are you very similar to Lewis?
Not really, no, because Lewis is really shy and I used to be really shy but I'm not any more. And I've never really had to experience what Lewis experiences.

What was it like working with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett?
It was so much fun, they're both so hilarious and they also brought their kids. With Cate's kids we played Clue in the trailer - not in the movie trailer, you know the other trailer that's a hang-out space. And then with Jack’s kids we went to Six Flags theme park.

What role do your parents play in this? Are they there with you all the time?
Yes they are with me all the time. What's fun is, whenever I'm on a movie set and out of town, I don't have to not be with one parent for a long time. I'm really grateful for the fact that they switch up, so I can still see them a lot. That's how it really works.

the house with a clock in its walls child actor owen vaccaro DREAMWORKS
Child actor Owen Vaccaro with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett

You must be so busy on set, how do you catch up with school work?
My teacher at normal school will send all the work to my teacher on set and then I just do it with the teacher on set. 

Can you talk us through what a typical day on set is like for you?
It depends, there are usually late-night days or days when you get out kind of late, so I'll go for a late-night day because they're kind of fun.

So you get up however late you want and the car will pick you up at 3pm in the afternoon.

Then you go to set and you get a script and you're like “hey I haven't seen this, this is really interesting”, and you learn them. Usually the scenes aren’t that long, so they don’t take too long. If it's a long scene, they’ll give it to you the night before.

So we do the script and then we go on set and then we film it. Then we stop at Craft services and get some food. Once you've done that for four hours, you get lunch, then you go back to set. At this point it's like 10pm at night, so you're starting to get a little tired but you're still good. My mom sometimes gives me some Coca-Cola and then I'll be good for the rest of the night until about, in some cases, until about 2am.

What was your favourite scene on this movie to shoot?
There's one scene with kind of creepy robot humans and that one was really fun to film.

And did you have to do any stunts for that?
I did have to go onto wires which was really fun. There were so many people there were wearing crane suits.

What are you working on next that you're allowed to tell us about?
I just finished doing a film in Staten Island, New York, called Team Marco. I don't know when it will be coming out yet, but I just did that and it was so much fun. There were so many fun people on that set.

What type of movie is that? Is it a comedy or action, what style?
It's a comedy movie and it's for families. It's really happy with a really amazing script.

You've done so many movies for someone so young. Xo you have a favourite movie or is there something you would particularly want to work on in the future?
I think the favourite movies I've done so far are the Daddy's Home movies, or The House with a Clock on its Walls, or Team Marco. In the future I'd really like to do more films like The House With a Clock In Its Walls because it was so much fun to film.

What advice would you give the other young actors who want to be successful like yourself?
You should do it - it's so much fun! You just have to know that you're not going to get everything that you go for and you've just got to keep on going.

Sign up to for free to see child actor jobs.