A Charming Little Package Of Vintage Talent!
By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist
|Landry Bender (Photo by Patrick rogers)|
Just when I think that I have met all of the most seriously talented professional child actors in Hollywood, “whamo;” I meet another one! We’re talking about eleven year-old. Landry Bender. With her latest role in the 20TH Century Fox Pictures movie, “The Sitter,” Bender plays Blithe; the baby sister wanna-be “celebutante” who was one-third of three misfit children that Noah (played by Jonah Hill) had to baby sit for a night that turned into an evening of “you-name-it---it happened!” Bender was born in Chicago but her sports caster parents moved to Phoenix when she was two, then relocated to Los Angeles. Bender is named after the late, legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. She began acting at age five doing stage plays then moved into commercials and TV roles.
At the beginning of this interview Bender greets me with a warm and charming hello. The conversation that followed was relaxed and fun because Bender’s sweet nature flowed with the moment which is something you can’t fake. Her film character Blithe was way off the chain in terms of a nine-year-old trying to act like a teen. What was bender’s first impression of Blithe when she initially read the script? She lets a giggle out and says, “My mom read it first and then she told me to read it and she let me do because of all that sad stuff. I thought of her (Blithe) as a swearing maniac who wants to be 21. She’s just crazy. She wants to go to clubs all night and party and really should be in bed reading or watching little kid shows.” How much of Blithe was on script and how much of herself did Bender put into this character? Bender explains, “I put a lot of my own self I really think because I just kind of made her my own. At first they made her into a sassy little chick. Some of it is myself a little bit. The dancing is all me, the songs I made up, so there’s just a lot of stuff I put in there.”
What was it like working with director David Gordon Green? Bender lights up, “He’s the best. We pulled a bunch of pranks on him. What were some of the things that Bender learned from Green that she can use in future work? She reflects, “He taught me a lot of improve. I just love his style. He would say now you can just do what ever you want and me and Jonah would just scream at each other. We would just go crazy.” What did the children on set learn about Jonah Hill that a lot of us don’t know? Bender is all smiles with this one saying, “He loves bulldogs. I bought a bulldog when I was in New York (where the film was shot).We brought it to the set when the maid would clean our apartment and he would say I need to get one of these. He was like obsessed with it and it was kind of creepy. He said he was going to get two of them.” Bender even named her bulldog pup Blithe after her character.
Many people have the perception that showbiz youth don’t have a normal childhood but in these times what is normal? Living in the hood and getting shot at or living in poverty around the world is not normal. So what is Bender’s opinion? “She laughs, “I go to regular school in Beverly Hills and when I’m working I take my school work with me on set with a tutor. Its normal for me just like a kid going to soccer practice everyday is normal for him to. Everyone has their life and its normal for them.” Bender will be shooting a pilot for the Disney Channel in a couple of weeks so we can really not only expect to see more of her but she may blow up into a super-star with the mighty Disney machine behind her.
© 2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication TM
(You DID Hear It From Me)!