"Remind them their talents are gifts from the Lord..."
There are plenty of young actors making waves today in Hollywood, but perhaps none so young and humble as Tucker and Hudson Meek. After his journey as a performer at AMTC, Tucker, now nine, has been blessed with several opportunities to work on commercials and films. Last December he made his television debut as the lead in The Santa Con on LifeTime Television (directed by Melissa Joan Hart). He was also featured in A Walk in the Woods which opened in theaters Sept. 2nd (where he plays the grandson of Robert Redford & Emma Thompson), as well as two faith-based films premiering this Fall. His younger brother Hudson, age seven, is following Tucker’s footsteps, and has starred in several films as well. We sat down recently with Tucker, Hudson, and their mom Lani to discuss the boys’ careers.
You have both done several movies. Have you ever gotten the chance to act together in a film?
Tucker: We have! When we were little, we shot a commercial and played brothers. That was the first job we ever booked. In The Santa Con we got to spend one day on set together. And recently, we worked on a faith-based film called Providence where we got to play brothers.
What is the most fun thing you’ve gotten to do on set?
Tucker: I really like to learn about how things work! I learned a lot about special effects when we were filming The Santa Con. In one of the construction site scenes, a wall was supposed to fall right on cue. It was really cool to watch how they made that happen. The movie also takes place during December, but, we filmed it in the Summer. Did you know you can actually have snow in July when it’s 95 degrees outside? Special effects are so great!
Hudson: I love to eat French fries. One of the scenes in 90 Minutes in Heaven takes place in a cafeteria and we got to eat McDonald’s French fries. That was my favorite scene! I also loved my movie-puppy, Lazer. It’s fun to work with animal actors on set!
Do you guys have any other hobbies besides acting that you like to do?
Tucker: I love Legos and technology. I like building robots and programming them to do complex movements, so I guess one of my hobbies is Robotics. I also like to play golf. But my all-time favorite thing to do is read.
Hudson: I have a hard time deciding which sport I like best! I like to play soccer, basketball, flag football, and I’m a red senior belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. I also love to be outside. I’m definitely an explorer!
Tucker, how much fun did you have attending SHINE?
Tucker: SHINE was really great! I loved it! I made a lot of friends that I still keep up with. It’s fun to see each other at auditions. AMTC friends are everywhere. Sometimes if we don’t see each other in a while, we will FaceTime or text each other. My favorite showcase at SHINE was Product Endorsement. I did a commercial called “The Tooth Loosener”. I loved hearing everyone laugh when I introduced my wrench. It was so much fun to sit in the audience and clap for my friends. They were all wearing something really funny that went along with their commercial. I was awarded the Overall Male Child Actor Award. AMTC is where I learned what it meant to “Make Good Bolder”. You should also know that I have not tried “The Tooth Loosener” wrench on my brother… yet!
You recently played Robert Redford’s grandson in the film A Walk in the Woods. What was it like working with an actor of that caliber?
Tucker: Mr. Redford and Ms. (Emma) Thompson were really nice. That was my first feature film. So, I learned a lot by watching them work. I feel very lucky to have also worked with Ms. Melissa Joan Hart in The Santa Con. She started as a child actor, so she knows what that’s like. She is also a mom. So, she talked to me just like she was teaching one of her sons. When we were on breaks, we played games on the iPad together and talked about kid stuff. Did you know that Ms. Melissa’s youngest son is also named Tucker? When he was on set they called him little Tucker and me, Big Tucker.
Hudson, you had a starring role in the film 90 Minutes in Heaven with Kate Bosworth and Hayden Christensen. What did you like most about being in this film?
Hudson: Mr. Hayden and Ms. Kate were so nice. 90 Minutes in Heaven was my first movie, so I didn’t know what it would be like to have a pretend family. Ms. Kate gives a lot of hugs & golden stars. She and Mr. Michael (Polish) brought us cupcakes on Valentines Day! Mr. Hayden taught me all about light sabers because I told him I am a huge fan of Star Wars. The day we wrapped, he gave me one of his action figures with a note to me on it. It’s really special to me. I am also very good friends now with my movie-sister (Elizabeth Hunter) and brother (Bobby Batson). I think when you are on set you start out as friends, but you end up being like a real family! That’s what happened with everyone in the movie.
(Directed to their mom, Lani): Mom, when did you feel called to audition Tucker for AMTC?
Lani: From a very young age Tucker was expressive, loved to pretend and enjoyed making new friends. As a toddler he started a conversation with anyone who would make eye contact with them. We had a friend who shared with us how much they learned because they attended the SHINE event. So, when Tucker asked how he could be on TV, we took him to an AMTC audition. He loved it! We had no idea how to navigate the entertainment industry. AMTC prepared our family with the knowledge and tools we needed to allow Tucker and Hudson to begin auditioning.
What are some of the trials of being a parent in this industry?
Lani: There are certainly trials, but they are not insurmountable. We believe that with every challenge, you have the chance to learn something new. Therefore, trials can truly be a blessing! I used to worry about having to teach the boys about rejection in this industry. But even rejection can have a positive outcome. We have seen that first hand. A rejection allows God to provide another opportunity for something even greater!
How has your faith in God helped you as you’ve gone through this journey with your sons?
Lani: We wholeheartedly believe that God has provided every door that has been opened for Tucker and Hudson. We rejoice because He has made the journey manageable. We recognize that His hand has been in every detail.
Any suggestions for future parents of AMTC performers?
Lani: Pray over every decision, even the ones that don’t seem like the big ones. Jeremiah 29:11 declares that God has already planned your child’s path. Trust in His plan and His timing! Encourage your child often- make sure they know you recognize their hard work! There can be a lot of pressure for children in this industry, so keep it fun. As a general rule, we go to the audition, then get an Icee (or do something fun) on the way home. We typically don’t discuss it again unless we get a call saying they booked it. Also, be sure your child knows how proud you are of them. Remind them that the talents they are using to be successful in the entertainment industry are gifts from the Lord. They are called to use them to bring glory to Him! Encourage interests (in addition to acting) that will keep your child grounded and well-rounded. Finally, take advantage of every opportunity to learn from the amazing coaches and team leaders at AMTC. Make friends and help one another; we are a family. Be kind. Network and pray for one another. Your child will rely on your help to understand the business side of the industry. Stay current and help them keep their materials up to date!