Kathy Bolde

Chris Mirjahangir: The following is an exclusive interview with Kathy Bolde, mother of Carson Bolde who played Sam Brody in the Godzilla 2014 film which takes us inside not only the casting process but filming and the premiere as well!

Now first question - When did Carson start acting and how old was he? What was his first role?

Kathy Bolde: Carson has an older sister who was already acting when he was born. When his sister's agent heard Carson was born she found him a job looking for a newborn so he started "acting" when he was less than a month old.

His first job was playing Baby Travis in Hallmark's Love Finds A Home. He continued to act and as he got older was able to communicate to us that he loved it. Otherwise, we would have stopped. We try to keep it fun and balance acting with other activities like church, school, sports and play dates.

Mirjahangir: How did you find out that Godzilla was casting?

Bolde: I first read the breakdown on a casting website and I remember reading the role description to my mother. Carson fit the description well, but we both laughed at the thought of Carson being in a movie alongside Godzilla. I was hoping he would be called into audition, but with so many child actors submitted for the role, even securing an audition was unlikely.

Mirjahangir: What was the casting process like?

Bolde: The casting process was very smooth. What was most difficult was the sides (the lines/scenes that Carson was to read) were very confidential. Normally for auditions children are given the sides at least a day before the audition to prepare. However, for Godzilla, the sides were not provided until he was at the audition, after I signed a confidentiality agreement. Carson was just four years old and had not auditioned for roles with very much dialogue prior to this. The skill of saying his line, waiting for another person to say her line, and then him responding was very new to him. We stood at the back of our car and I would tell Carson, "You say this line and then I am going to say my line...No, that is what I say, not you. Let's try again." I was nervous, but he confidently walked into the audition room, thinking it was more of a play date than anything else!

The casting associates asked him some questions, went over his lines, and did some improv. However, when we did not hear anything back in the next couple of weeks we figured that it was not meant to be. We were surprised and excited to hear about a month after the audition that he had a callback.

The callback was similar to the audition, but the casting director worked with Carson for about twenty minutes, which is longer than normal. The casting office had candy in their office and Carson, knowing he would likely get a piece at the end, asked in the middle of the audition, "Are we done yet?" I was on the other side of the wall thinking, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe he just asked that. This is not going well." Fortunately, I was wrong.

After the callback, the casting office contacted Carson's agent to let them know that he was their first choice and to work on getting emergency passports. At this point, the excitement started to set in. Before we knew it, Carson had booked the role of Sam in Godzilla and we were signing contracts and preparing to travel to Canada for two and half months, with a short stint in Hawaii. We were excited and very grateful to be part of Godzilla!

Mirjahangir: What was it like when you first met director Gareth Edwards and the producers?

Bolde: Carson loved Gareth and all of the producers!

Gareth was incredibly kind and patient and was very creative in finding ways to get natural reactions out of Carson. The more Carson got to know him the more comfortable he became and sometimes would get silly. So I reminded him that just like his daddy had a boss, he had a boss too and needed to be a very good listener when Gareth wanted him to do something. Carson still refers to Gareth as "the best boss ever!" A few months after filming, while Carson was at home, he told his dad, "You know how I used to want to be a doctor? Well, instead I want to be the boss of movies like Gareth!" When Gareth heard this he sent him a Warner Bros. "Director" t-shirt, along with a signed movie poster.

Carson also loved all of the producers! Sometimes producers can seem intimidating, but this group was fantastic and made Carson feel very comfortable. They were very open to getting to know Carson and very sweet to him. They were full of high fives and hugs! By the end of filming Carson thought they were all his buddies! He met Thomas Tull on two occasions and he got down on Carson's level and was full of praise and encouragement for Carson.

Gareth and every one of the producers that Carson worked with were very good to him and we appreciate them more than they probably know.

Mirjahangir: What was the first day of filming like? How long was each day?

Bolde: Carson was allowed to be on set for six and a half hours, made up of four hours of work, two hours of rest, and a half-hour meal period. Because his time was limited Carson would often be rushed onto set right before he was needed so that little time was wasted. They would have breakfast ready for him if it were an early call time so he could eat and be ready to start right away.

The first day of filming went well. He was shooting a scene that actually did not make it into the film, but involved hundreds of people, as well as a lot of dialogue between Aaron Taylor-Johnson and him. Carson was brought into the middle of all these new faces and did not really know what to expect, but he knew he had to be a good listener. He quickly met Gareth and Aaron. Gareth explained to Carson what he wanted Carson to talk to Aaron about. Carson had a microphone and others on set had earphones and could hear what he was saying. At one point, between takes, Carson looked at Aaron and innocently asked, "So...are you in this movie too?" Aaron chuckled and replied, "Yah, a little bit." It was pretty funny!

On the first day, Carson was supposed to describe what Godzilla looked like to Aaron, but Carson did not have much to reference. Apparently Gareth had an idea and ran over to Carson and shared something on his iPad with him. It was likely a video of Godzilla (which most Godzilla fans would have loved to have seen at that time), but Carson was not willing to give up the secret. When I asked him what Gareth showed him, Carson replied, "Just a little somethin'." To this day, he has not shared the secret!

Mirjahangir: What was it like working on a big movie like Godzilla?

Bolde: The entire experience was amazing and unforgettable. Even though it was a big movie it did not feel that way on set. It was quite intimate, everyone knew Carson by name so he really felt at home while filming. Everyone was very protective of him. He spent a lot of time with the set teacher reading Curious George, playing games, and watching movies. Carson loved spending time in his trailer and was disappointed on the days when his trailer was too far from set to be able to spend much time in it.

While in Canada Carson started making movies with my cell phone and I remembering hearing him in the shower yelling, "Background…cameras…ACTION!" At the end of filming Aaron bought him a Nintendo 3DS, which Carson cannot only play games on, but also take video and direct his own films. He even started developing characters and writing cute scripts with his kindergarten writing/spelling and asking family members to be the actors.

Mirjahangir: What was the preparation like for the movie?

Bolde: There was not a lot of preparation, besides the task of packing up and living in Vancouver for two and a half months. Every night we would get a call sheet for the next day slipped under our apartment door that included a brief description of what scenes were going to be shot. Carson never had lines to memorize. Instead, he would be told about the scene and he did a lot of improv to insure that the reactions were true of a four-year-old.

Mirjahangir: Is Carson much like his character, Sam?

Bolde: Carson is a very outgoing, funny kid who loves to talk and tell stories. In some ways he is like a little man, but he has this wild imagination.

Carson is more like Sam in the beginning of the movie, when he is joking around with his parents at the kitchen table, describing the sign he made and laughing when his dad puts him to bed. These scenes were mostly of Carson being himself. Carson felt very close to Aaron and Lizzie and they were just sitting around the table like a real family would, talking while the cameras rolled. It was all very authentic.

Once Ford leaves home and Godzilla attacks, the movie takes a turn and Sam is more serious and sad because of the trauma his family is facing. The scenes where Sam is more sullen required more acting from Carson. Gareth worked with him so that his reactions would be natural and subtle so not to be forced or over the top and unreal. Carson would shoot a scene where Sam is sad and look so serious, but once he heard "Cut!" he immediately was back to himself, chatting up a storm and asking lots of questions.

Mirjahangir: Did you meet any of your co-stars ahead of time?

Bolde: Carson did meet Elizabeth Olsen while in Vancouver, before they had scenes together. It was important to Lizzie that she and Carson form a bond so that their relationship on film would feel real and genuine. They spent time at the park playing, met for meals, and even took a fun trip to the aquarium. It took about two seconds for Carson to bond with her and before we knew it Carson was running to her for a big hug when he saw her because he was so excited. She is very special to Carson.

Carson did not meet Aaron ahead of time, but once they met Carson thought he was one of the coolest guys ever! Aaron has young children so he understood Carson and was great at talking with him. Aaron would listen to Carson chat about everything and anything. He would take time to play with him, throw him in the air and even sing songs with him. Carson was very excited whenever he got to spend time with Aaron.

Although Carson and CJ Adams were never on screen together, Carson, CJ and our families became great friends! We spent a lot of time together exploring Vancouver and getting to know one another. Carson looks up to CJ and we remain friends and continue to keep in touch and spend time together.

Carson never shared the screen with Bryan Cranston, but we came to visit set one day and Bryan happened to be there. He was friendly and very funny. It just so happened that Bryan had an ice cream truck come to set that day for the cast and crew. The different ice cream selections were Godzilla themed. Needless to say, anyone who buys Carson ice cream, especially Godzilla ice cream, is all right in his book!

Mirjahangir: What did you think of the movie? Did you have a favorite part?

Bolde: Carson: "I thought the movie was AWESOME! I liked the part where the bird flew and hit my window on the bus. I thought it was sad when Sam's grandma (Sandra Brody) was trapped inside and died. I had two favorite parts. The first is when I saw Godzilla for the first time and heard him roar. That was AWESOME! My other favorite part was when the whole family found each other at the end because Sam got to see his mom again."

Mirjahangir: What was it like going to the premiere?

Bolde: Carson: "The premiere was a lot of fun! I was excited to see the movie for the first time and see all my friends from Godzilla. I didn't know I had fans so I was very surprised to see ALL of the people lined up for my autograph. They were yelling, 'Carson come over here!' Some even had a picture of me printed for me to sign and one lady had me sign her purse (laughing)-I thought that was REALLY funny! I also had lots of fun at the party after the movie."

It was one of Carson's favorite parts of the whole experience. He now says that he wants to be in another movie because he wants to go to another premiere! It was really the first time Carson understood that what he was part of was special and exciting, and BIG! When he auditioned for the film he was just four years old, but at the premiere he was almost six years old. Between the ages of four and six he had been told numerous times that he was going to be in a movie and he knew that, but he did not really understand it all...until this night. This night everything came together and finally made sense. He enjoyed every minute of it, to the point of exhaustion. He fell asleep within about ten minutes of saying goodbye.



Appearing in the 2014 Godzilla film as the lead's son: Sam Brody, Carson Bolde has been working in front of the camera for most of his life. Although with several productions under his belt, the 2014 Godzilla movie marks his first theatrical starring role.

Please note: this interview is done with Carson's mom, Kathy Bolde.

Date: 11/06/2014
Interviewer: Chris Mirjahangir


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