Pop-Culturalist Chats with Julian Feder
Julian Feder is one of the fresh faces of Hollywood and at only thirteen he’s been touted as the next big thing. His performance as the title character in the breakout indie hit, A Boy Called Po, earned him three Young Artist Awards and showcased his ability to bring a complex character to life. Based on a true story, the film follows a gifted child with autism who tragically loses his mother. As he and his father, played by Christopher Gorham, struggled to deal with life after death, they begin to withdraw into their own worlds. Pop-Culturalist chatted with Julian about the film, his early success, and how he manages his career and life.
P-C: Can you tell us about A Boy Called Po and your character in the film?
Julian: The story is about a young boy with autism and the struggles he and his dad face after losing his mother
P-C: What drew you to this project?
Julian: I learned about the audition in an acting class and really fell in love with the story. It has such a great message about acceptance and overcoming challenges.
P-C: You play a really complex character. How did you prepare and what research did you do?
Julian: I worked a lot with John Asher, our director, when creating the character. We went to The Help Group, which is a nonprofit that serves children, adolescents, and young adults with special needs related to autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, developmental delays, and abuse and emotional challenges. I got to hang out with the kids there. We also watched a lot of documentaries.
P-C: Was it difficult to jump in and out of character while filming?
Julian: For me, I tried to stay in character whenever I was on set. It helped my performance.
P-C: At the heart of the story is Po’s relationship with his father. What was it like working with Christopher Gorham?
Julian: He was really great, very paternal since he’s a father in real life. Funny enough, I hang out with his kids a lot.
P-C: Did you draw any personal experiences or relationships in your life when you were shaping your character?
Julian: I have a few friends with autism, but I learned so much more about it through this experience. It was really educational for me.
P-C: The film’s made its way through the festival circuit and it’s been really well received. How rewarding is it for you as a young actor to receive all this recognition?
Julian: It’s a great feeling. I think more importantly, the film is building awareness for autism and bullying.
P-C: Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can chat about or tease?
Julian: Yes! I actually just wrapped I Hate Kids. Actually, John Asher directed that film too! It’s about a writer, Nick Pearson (played by Tom Everett Scott), who writes a book about hating kids. Then, he finds out he actually has a son. I show up and I’m like “Hey, I’m your son.” It’s a really funny film and Tituss Burgess stars in it, too.
Pop-Culturalist Speed Round
P-C: Guilty pleasure movie?
Julian: Most likely, Frozen. I’ve watched that movie a ridiculous amount of times.
P-C: Favorite book?
Julian: Any of the Harry Potter books.
P-C: Favorite play or a musical?
Julian: I can’t choose one! I really liked Hamilton, Cats, Mary Poppins, and Hello, Dolly!
P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Julian: I listen to the Hamilton cast recording every single day. I’ve been listening to it since it came out.
P-C: Favorite social media platform?
P-C: Hidden talent?
Julian: I’m not sure it’s a hidden talent but I’m pretty good at tennis.
Photo Credit: JSquared Photography