Arguably the king of romantic comedy, director Rob Reiner has brought a wide range of tender pairings to the screen, from a farm boy and a soon-to-be royal (The Princess Bride) to two neurotic, New York thirtysomethings (When Harry Met Sally). In Flipped (opening August 6), Reiner mines new amorous territory: The movie follows the love that blossoms between two tweens—philosophical Juli (Madeline Carroll, 14) and shy Bryce (Callan McAuliffe, 15). Based on Wendeline Van Draanen's young adult novel of the same name and set in late-1950s suburbia, the flick tracks the kids from their first meeting in second grade to the spring of their eighth-grade year. The two stars chatted with Time Out Kids about first crushes and going retro in their roles.
Flipped is about young love. Have either of you had a boyfriend or girlfriend?
CM I've had a girlfriend. Not anymore, because it's kind of hard to do long distance.
MC No. I have three brothers, and they'd torture me if I ever told them I liked a boy.
Any relationship advice for your peers?
CM I'm not very good at relationships, but my advice is to go for it.
MC Callan, does it suck for a boy to be stuck in the "friends zone"?
CM I went to an all-boys school, so there haven't been many "friend zone" situations for me yet.
The film is set in the 1950s. Do you think your relationship will resonate with kids your age?
MC I think it's pretty accurate. It's the same as today. We just have different ways of communicating now.
CM And we wear less-awesome clothes.
So you liked the film's retro outfits?
MC I liked the high-water pants—they were fun to wear, but I think if you wore them to school nowadays, you'd get beat up.
CM Yeah, you'd definitely get punched in the head.
Do you think you could have survived in the 1950s?
CM If I didn't have prior knowledge that there would be awesome technology in the future, I'd be able to survive. If I knew my XBox and TV were waiting at home, I probably couldn't.
This is Reiner's first film for your generation. Have either of you seen any of his earlier work?
MC I love Misery. It's one of my favorite movies he's done.
CM I thought Stand by Me was fantastic, and after getting this role I saw the rest [of Reiner's movies]. They're all great.
What's next for you guys?
MC I am going to start filming a movie with Gerard Butler in late July, and I'm super excited about it. I plan to stay in acting as long as I can.
CM Wait. Gerard Butler from 300?
CM Oh my god. You're so lucky. I want to film with him.
MC I'll take a picture of him and have him sign it for you. That's a little bit weird, but I'll do it for you, Callan. What's your next thing?
CM I'm currently on the set of I Am Number Four. It's an action movie, which is a huge change from Flipped.
Do you have any advice for young people trying to break into acting?
CM Madeline usually has a complicated, intelligent answer for this.
MC Acting is a tough business, but if you really want to do it, you should go full force. If not, I would stick to baseball or something.
CM It's mentally draining because you go to so many auditions. If you don't get a part, it doesn't mean you're bad at acting. It sometimes comes down to physicality. If I were a couple of inches taller, I wouldn't have gotten this role.
MC You've got to keep going. Don't get upset. That's my advice.
Flipped (PG) hits theaters Aug 6.
Great tween dating spots in the city
Unlike the characters in Flipped, NYC tweens don't always have the luxury of lawns and backyards for close encounters. Here are a few city spots where budding romantics can hang out in private while still being (discreetly) supervised.
Heart gallery Since most kids have been to the American Museum of Natural History a hundred times by the age of ten, suggest a more "adult" date to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org); it's open evenings on Fridays and Saturdays until 9pm (with live music). Set tweens free in a specific gallery and lag a good distance behind.
Head over heels At Chelsea Piers (212-336-6500, chelseapiers.com), the "lovebirds" can get to know each other's strengths while ice-skating and rock climbing. There will also be plenty of opportunities for him to act gallant in the batting cage.
Fair game Leaving the kids on their own at a real carnival could be a little scary—for you, that is. Happily, at Bowlmor's Carnival (212-255-8188, carnivalnyc.com/kids) the young couple can play games and gobble cotton candy—all while under your watchful gaze.—Lisa Marsh