We had the pleasure of speaking to Booboo Stewart who plays Jay, the son of Jafar, in Descendants 2. Soft-spoken and incredibly charismatic, Booboo discussed with us his role, being back on set and being a role model.
Being Back On Set
It’s really nice going into the second movie with the first one doing as well as it did. But this movie stands alone. It’s its own thing. So it feels great that we’re making a second movie.
Physically, this movie was more demanding. The first movie was more of a mental challenge because, in the first “Descendants”, I didn’t know what to expect. On the first movie, it felt like, “Wow! This is really rehearsing here!” And then, in the second one, I went into it knowing we were going to be rehearsing, but it was even more challenging. So it’s very physically demanding, but the preparation was nice. You know who your character is when you’re going into it. There’s a little bit of a change because they’ve matured from the first movie. So, the mental preparation was there, but I didn’t expect the intensity of the physical challenges.
Favorite Lesson in Descendants 2
For Jay, specifically, it’s the ability to change. There’s a really nice, subtle storyline that he has with the character Lonnie. He’s the captain of the Swords & Shields fencing team and it’s in the rule book that it’s a guy sport. Lonnie shows up and pushes him to let her be on the team. As far as rules go, Jay has to decide between sticking to tradition or breaking the rules and being kicked off the team and losing his title. So he has to accept change and his decision there is a nice storyline.
On his Friendship with Cameron Boyce
Cameron and I are always just laughing, honestly. I could see him from across the street, and I would just look at him and laugh. We have an older brother, little brother relationship. I don’t have a younger brother and he doesn’t have an older brother, so I feel like we found that type of relationship with each other, which is nice.
It’s a very strong, female-driven shoot, so to have another dude to be friends with – it’s refreshing.
The Message for Boys Watching
I feel like this is touched upon the first film, but even more so in this film. Young boys are very competitive and they want to be the best. Jay, in the first film, is a typical guy. He wants to be the best. Just having an open mind is such a different, rare thing for a young boy to have. So I’d like it to not even be a question that young people should have an open mind. It just should be how it is. Jay’s opening the door for the people to follow. I want to make sure young boys come out of it with more of an open mind.
Favorite Musical Number
I have to say “Chillin’ Like a Villain.” It’s just really great. We had a great time shooting it. I say that we had a great time because it was actually a disaster in the best ways possible. It was a beautiful disaster! We were filming outside and it was not supposed to be a tsunami. Along with the wind and the rain, it was brutal, but you can’t tell when you’re watching it. I can’t help but smile watching, not just because of the song, but because of the energy that’s given to the performance.
On Being Like Jay
He’s very active physically, and I’m a very active person myself. I just got into climbing and I do martial arts. Every other day, I’m training in martial arts. I like hiking and camping.
On Being a Role Model for Multi-Cultural Kids
I love that, honestly. Not only in the movies but in life, I hope we’re heading away from a lack of diversity being the norm. In movies, you shouldn’t have to cast people of ethnicities just to be diverse. That shouldn’t even be a thought. It should just represent all the cultures you see when you walk down the street and you see an Asian person and an African-American person and a Hindi person. That’s just how it is in life, so why isn’t it like that in movies? The person working a cash register can be any ethnicity, so it shouldn’t have to be a conscious thought that we have to be diverse in movies. So, I’m really happy that stuff like “Descendants” shows that the world is diverse.
On Handling the Popularity of Descendants
I’ve been around the industry from such a young age that I feel like I know how to handle it. I know who I am, so I try not to let that affect me, and I have friends and family who can tell me when it’s gotten to my head just a little bit. They’ll say, “Reality check here!” I think it’s really important to surround yourself with people who you know are your true friends. You can have friends that know you through things that you’ve done. But we just have to engage and really know who your friends are who will bring you down to that level where you can be down-to-earth. It’s really easy for fame to go to people’s heads, and I see it happening. It’s very important to know that this is something that will not be around forever and just enjoy the time that it is here. I’m happy that I’m able to be part of it. But I know that I probably won’t get to be in “Descendants 10!”
Descendants 2 movie premieres simultaneously on 5 Networks on Friday, July 21 (8:00 P.M EDT): Disney Channel, ABC, Disney XD, Freeform and Lifetime, plus on each Network’s branded digital platform.
STAY SOCIAL WITH THE DESCENDANTS 2