Interview with Laura Marano and Oakes Fegley – The War with Grandpa

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I sat down with some of the cast of The War on Grandpa Laura Marano and Oakes Fegley. Check out our interview below! Full transcript below the video. 

Check out my interview with Jane Seymour and Cheech Marin


Heather Brooker:  Thanks so much, hi everyone, and welcome to a very special press conference for The War with Grandpa. I’m Heather Brooker. I’m an entertainment reporter for NBC Los Angeles, and I host the award-winning podcast Motherhood in Hollywood, and I’m so thrilled to be chatting with two of the stars of the film today, Laura Marano and Oakes Fegley. Hi guys, how are you?

So I want to let everyone know, I’m going to ask a couple of quick questions, and then we’re going to open it up to questions from our bloggers who are joining us
here today, and you can drop those questions in the chat, and I will call on you. You’ll turn your video and audio on, ask your question and then turn audio and video off and wait for the answer so let’s dive right in you guys.

Oakes, let’s start with you. What was your reaction like when you found out you were gonna be in a movie with Robert de Niro?

Oakes Fegley: Very common question it’s definitely was it was a great time. I mean it was really interesting, but when I first heard that was what was going to happen, it was just definitely obviously a bit intimidating but immediately was exciting and just something that sparked a lot of interest and a lot of passion for a new film and something new to work on, so definitely was immediately interested and intrigued, and yeah, I had that passion from the get-go.

HB: Let’s talk a little bit then about your character he’s at first like we think oh they’ve got this sweet relationship like him and his grandpa they’re just like best buddies, but then you throw down the gauntlet and really just start a massive prank war let’s talk about some of those pranks what were some of your favorites to do.

OF: Peter just wants his room back, and he will not back down until he gets what he wants, so I think what the really interesting thing about the dynamic between both Peter and his grandfather is that they’re really similar and the reason they butt heads so much is because of that and because they both don’t want to back down and obviously there’s a lot of pranks that that happen and all of them kind of just lead to more chaos, and it’s just a lot of fun and was definitely a lot of fun to film all those pranks and all those different things that were happening. 

HB: And now laura, you sort of represent your character really represents this sort of misunderstanding that happens a lot between parents and their kids, especially moms and teen girls. I have a young daughter; she’s seven years old. I’m terrified when she becomes a teenager that we’re gonna be at war and battling a little bit because she’s very strong-willed. Tell me about playing her and also playing opposite Uma Thurman. 

Laura Marano: Well, first, I just want to say, don’t be scared. It’s so funny, and my mom said the same thing. My mom and dad when they both had girls they’re like, ‘is it going to be crazy during their teen years,’ and it was not maybe they’ll say something different, but I was so nervous and intimidated about working with Uma,
especially because we really had to go head to head it had to be you know that kind of dynamic where I did not give in I was always fighting back. And one scene, in particular, we have like a little bit of a screaming match, and I was nervous about the scene, but it went super well, which was awesome. I think it’s
like you’re saying it’s a dynamic that a lot of teens, not just girls but teens in general, kind of resonate with when you are realizing you have different thoughts
and different wants than what your parents want for you, and it’s sometimes tough to have an actual conversation communicate well with your parent, but I think that’s always kind of the key.

HB: Yeah no, you’re absolutely right, absolutely right. Well I know you guys, I don’t know if you can see it, but there are lots of questions coming in from our press, our family press folks over here, so I want to get right to them, so they have an opportunity to speak with you. Tanya Michelle if you want to go ahead and click on your video and audio and you can ask your questions, so you have a question here for Oakes as Peter.

TM: I think you did an amazing job playing Peter. You guys played a lot of pranks on each other in the film, and I just wanted to know what was your favorite prank to film and why?

OF: I think my favorite prank was probably when my Peter’s grandfather takes all the screws, and you know hardware out of Peter’s things in his room, and he is just in such shock and has no idea what’s happening it’s just a really chaotic scene and was a lot of you know moving parts, but ultimately it was a really fun scene to film, so that was probably my favorite overall prank. 

HB: Awesome, okay I want to head over to Meghan Cooper. Meghan has a question for both Laura and Oakes about filming in Atlanta go-ahead.

Meghan Cooper: Hi there, I’m an Atlanta native, so I’m dying to know, I know you guys wrapped filming this for a long time ago, and it’s been a while, but I’d love to know if you fell in love with anything within the area any hot spots places that you visited.

OF: I absolutely adore the aquarium, and I think I stopped in in coca-cola world as well, but I think the aquarium was my favorite thing and me and a lot of the younger actors and I, we, you know, took a nice trip to the aquarium and it’s just a really awesome place and that was probably one of my favorite places in Atlanta. If not, you know The Varsity hot dog maybe not it was awesome as well so.

LM:  Yeah it’s funny, coming from LA, it can be quite gray here, and I was so struck by how green and beautiful Atlanta was so I would go on a bunch of kind of nature walks. I guess there’s like a park, I cannot remember what it’s called, but I spent so much time there. It was this just beautiful green oasis of I think there was a waterfall somewhere. I will say I would get constantly confused because there are so many peach streets there’s like peach road, peach street, peachtree street, peachtree road, and I have a terrible sense of direction so.

HB: A lot of peach themes going on in Georgia, we totally get that. Let’s head over to Angie White. Angie has a great question about how much fun you guys are having, so Angie if you want to pop on your video, there she is.


AW: Hi everyone. Laura Oakes loved the movie. I am currently in a multi-generational household. My dad lives with us, and it’s been wonderful and thank god my kids have not fought with him, but I wanted to ask if there was any the cast seemed like they were having so much fun did you guys have any like behind the scenes offset pranks on each other?

HB: Good question.

OF: We’re not much of I think as we figured out because we’ve been asked this question actually a few times. We’re not really pranksters ourselves, but there was definitely just a lot of I think fun and just general positive energy and attitude on set, but there wasn’t really any you know mischief occurring.

LM: Yeah I will say I’m kind of regretting it now because, for a movie that is so filled with pranks, we were really a prankless set completely, but there was still a lot of fun. I spent so much time with Poppy, who was five at the time and her mom, and it was like she’s the spunkiest funniest girl ever, so I feel like we had so many stories of she would make me laugh constantly.

HB: One question that is coming up a lot, everybody’s wanting to know if there was a favorite type of prank that you did or a favorite scene that you guys had to do, so Laura, I know you weren’t directly involved with a lot of the pranks but let’s talk about your favorite scene to film.

LM: Well my favorite prank to watch when I saw the movie was the snake one. I think that was a very the incredible and dangerous prank but my favorite thing to do as an actress, and I had a bunch of the intimate scenes like that took place in the house, and I loved doing that screaming match with Uma, but I also loved even the scene with Poppy and I when we’re like shushing each other on the bed. Again she’s just like the most adorable little girl, and so we had a lot of fun when we had those things together.

HB: Awesome okay, I want to head on over to robin from mom the magnificent she has a question about you guys in your own personal relationship with your grandparents, so Robin if you want to pop on camera and fire away.

Robin: Hi guys, congrats on such a great family-friendly film my kids and I loved it, and so I want to know what’s important to you guys when it comes to family time and relationships with your own grandparents

OF: I recently you know being in quarantine it’s been difficult to you know, just think about how scary it is for older people and for my grandparents. I’m lucky enough to have all four grandparents and have good relationships with all of them, and I think it’s really made me make sure that I’m not taking those relationships for granted because you know it’s been a rough time, and being able to talk to my grandparents I was able to luckily visit my grandparents in Colorado, and it was really nice to be able to see them and to make sure that they’re doing all right, but yeah it’s definitely important for me I think family time is important especially during these times family can get quite warring or yeah it can get pretty aggressive depending on the household, and I would say just you know trying to make sure that you can avoid that and enjoy each other’s company as much as possible is always nice.

HB: That’s good advice. Laura, what about you?

LM: Yeah, all my grandparents have, unfortunately, passed away. My grandfather passed away actually right before I got this movie, which I felt like was this weird
it was like a weird moment, but with my parents and my sister and I, we really try to have moments throughout the week specifically that we just spend with each other. So we usually have these Sunday dinners a very Italian of us where during the pandemic now we’ve been doing having them outside still keeping them as safe as possible, but it’s nice to have kind of face-to-face moments and have some sort of time that’s designated just for family.

HB: There’s a couple questions coming up as well. Did you guys read the book before you started filming?

OF: I was made aware of the book after well I had heard of the book, but I had never read it until after I had read the script. Then I took a look at the book and was able to find it and read it, and I think it was really interesting to see the difference between the book and also the similarities. I know that there’s a lot of that when it comes to you know, adapting something or whatever, and I think a really interesting story is that our young executive producer, Trey was only like 11 or 12 and even younger when he read the book and introduced it to his father, and you know that’s the reason this film even was made, and our producers then moved along and actually tried to make that a reality for Trey, and that became what this is, which is really awesome.

LM: Totally, I am very similar to Oakes. I knew about the book but what I loved was that Trey the youngest executive producer of all time, was so inspired by this book; loved this book so much and not only that knew that he wanted Robert de Niro to play the grandfather like it literally came from Trey so obviously this book meant a lot to him, and it meant to a lot of people that he knew.

HB: All right, I want to head on over to Sarah from scoop show Sarah has a good question about advice you may have gotten on set. Sarah, if you want to pop your video on there she is hi Sarah.

Sarah: Hi, everybody. Well, obviously, the cast is insane. I mean, just iconic people really, and I’d love to know did they give you any like advice or like secrets of the trade kind of like a long-term success even though you’re both obviously super successful?

HB: That is a good question I want to know too.

LM: Yeah, well, I think it’s funny. I think what actually even made it more intimidating is that they didn’t. Like I think there was an expectation of just you guys are gonna do your part, we’re gonna do our part, which I think was also super cool to have but incredibly intimidating. It was a really surreal experience in general, and I definitely felt like I wanted to be on my a game and not necessarily like go up as a fan even though I was fangirling so hard throughout the whole shoot, so it was it felt more like we were peers and co-stars, which was bananas.

OF: Yeah, no, I would absolutely agree and say that I felt the same way. There was no real advice or anything I don’t think that’s really, for the most part, I’ve never really worked with anybody who’s you know, given me direct advice or anything like totally like it’s just more about everybody doing their part and learning from the way each other work instead of you know direct tips or advice or mementos or anything like that.

HB: I love that there’s sort of like an expectation that you guys are already pros, you know what you’re doing, you come in, you do your job, and yeah, that’s fantastic and then Sarah if you want to take your video off, turn your video off perfect. Okay, let’s head on over to Diane Sullivan.  Diane has a question about the advice you guys would give for some grandparents moving in with their grandchildren. Diane if you want to pop on your video. 

Diane: Hi, so I was just curious for all the grandpas out there what advice would you give them if they have to move in with their grandchildren.

OF: Wow, that’s a critical question. I would say, I think it’s important that you give your kids, as well as the kids, give the grandparents the respect. That there’s a mutual respect that has to happen, especially if something like what’s happening in the film is happening and somebody’s taking over somebody else’s room that could be you know could cause some trouble, but I think yeah just generally respecting both sides is important but yeah.

LM: Yeah, I think also I think just real talk talking to the grandparents being like it shouldn’t be a pride thing we’re all family. I think sometimes there is a level, especially with ed in our movie, there’s a level of pride of I don’t need to move anywhere back in with my family I don’t want to inconvenience anyone, and I think at the end of the day a beautiful thing about family is that we’re all here for each other and grandparents were parents once that were supporting completely their kids who are now the parents supporting their kids who also want to support their parents so it’s just family dynamics are all about support and balance and give and take.

HB: Okay, we have time for one last question. Patty if you want to click on your video there we go fire away.

Patty: All right, guys, the movie was great, and it was something that I feel like is going to have a lasting impact, so my question is 10 years from now, I know it feels like January was 10 years, but 10 years from now what do you want people what do you want kids who watch this movie now to remember about the message of the film?

OF: I think that there’s just generally there’s a positivity to this film, and I think that positivity is something that is always important to try to keep with people and a lot of people you know I have different ups and downs and trying to stay positive can be very difficult and especially in a time like like this is now and how negative the last couple months have been and even you could even say years it’s been rough and we are now in a time where this film hopefully can help some people get those smiles or laughter back in their lives if they’re missing that or whatever.


LM: I think hopefully something that people take 10 years from now and hopefully something that they resonate with even right now is conversation within family is the most important thing you can have. All of this really could have been avoided if Ed and Peter everyone in the family just sat down and talked about, ‘okay this is the dynamic, this is what’s happening, this is how I feel about this is how I feel about it.’ I think a lot of times in families, even with my character Mia and Uma’s character, there’s a lot of conversation that doesn’t happen, and it’s not easy to talk to your parents or your grandparents or even sometimes your siblings, but conversation is so needed in families in life and when you don’t have that open communication war can happen so let’s not have war happen that is a great way a reminder please let’s not have war happen.

HB: And a perfect way to end this time that we have with you guys Laura and Oakes thank you so much, everybody, had such great questions. I want to thank our mom press that was here with us our family press outlets.

Laura and Oakes thank you guys so much congratulations on the film the war with grandpa opens in theaters on October 9th.

The transcript has been edited for minor grammar, redundancies and to remove pause breaks like um, uh, and so. 

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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