When talent comes naturally: an interview with Jayden McGinlay
Jayden McGinlay is what they call a natural. He started very young, and that may have helped him a bit, but talent is something you either have or you don’t have. And he has it, so write down his name because you’ll see him on the big screen more and more over the next years. Acting skills aside, Jayden is also a music lover and will be releasing a song soon, so follow him for updates on that too!
By now your acting talent is undoubted. In short, it is true you are young, but you started getting nominations so early that we have to consider you as a much older actor! For example, at 8 you were the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Gold Palm Theater Award, for your first lead role in ‘Oliver Twist’ in Oliver! The musical. Do you remember how it was? The feeling of having received such an important recognition at that age?
I thought it was awesome haha. I got to wear a suit with a bow tie. I remember going there and there was the red carpet, a three course fancy dinner and all of that fun stuff, and I was just very excited. That was also only the second musical I’d ever done, so I was very humbled.
When did you realize you wanted to be an actor? Was there a particular episode that lit your way?
I can’t really remember a specific point where I was like ‘oh I want to be an actor’, because I’d always loved acting, singing and dancing since I was a toddler haha, so it was sort of a natural thing for me. Watching musical theatre and films definitely inspired me and I joined a local theatre school wen I was 6 years old, which I loved.
And then right after that I was invited to audition for full musical theatre productions, and did a couple of those before booking the role of Jeremy Potts in the professional Australian tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I think that was when I realised that this was truly my path.
We can now see you as the male lead of the young American “Cecil” in the retelling of Stephen King’s story Children of the Corn. We love horror! We saw that you also participated in the Netflix original thriller Sweet River. How do you find yourself in this type of film? Is it very difficult to get into the part or does it come naturally to you?
I didn’t find it too difficult to get into those characters at all, and I think that’s partially because the team around me on both of those projects was so awesome and collaborative especially the directors, Justin McMillan and Kurt Wimmer, so I found it quite easy to slip into the characters because we spend time exploring them and fleshing them out. Also, with Max in Sweet River, I spent about 4 hours in the makeup chair each day and having that make up on really helped me with getting into that role, haha! It’s a lot of fun to play scary or evil characters.
Horror aside, you also have a recent starring role as ‘Teddy’, in the Disney film The Curious Case of Dolphin Bay. The Disney stamp is a guarantee, you must be very happy. Where did you shoot? Did you even become “friends” with the reef?
Yes, that was such a fun film to be a part of and with the most awesome people.
We filmed all around the Gold Coast and Brisbane in Queensland. The locations were amazing and watching them on screen really made me appreciate what’s on my doorstep. Living here you definitely can take it for granted sometimes, haha. We actually filmed the “reef” scenes in an Aquarium at SeaWorld. I’d actually never snorkeled before shooting, so I got to learn how to do that with Izabela, which was fun, and I also got to come literally face to face with sharks, so that was super cool.
Is there a director or actor/actress you dream of working with? And if yes, why?
Definitely, there are many directors and actors that I want to work with. Working with Scorsese would be a dream, he’s just incredible. Taxi Driver is one of my favourite films and the atmosphere and characters that he helped create was just spectacular. Taika Waititi is another director I’d absolutely love to work with, as I’m really drawn to his style of filmmaking and he seems like a really fun guy to work with. An actor I’d love to work with in the future is Leonardo DiCaprio, I’ve always admired his work and his commitment to his characters is insane, so to work with him would be a dream and I’d learn so much from him.
You also had a lead role as “Jeremy Potts” in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s Australian tour. Any fun memories from the tour?
For sure, I still remember that experience so clearly, I had an amazing time. My favourite memory definitely was flying in the car! It was just so much fun and every night the thrill was the same. I remember all of the cast and the production team being so nice and were absolutely amazing to work with, so that stuck with me for sure.
What is your relationship with social media, especially in terms of career? And what changes do you think it brought to the actors?
Social media definitely has its place and is a great way of connecting with your audience and other people in the industry. It has opened up a whole world for actors, as it has for everyone else. I think social media can be positive or negative depending on how you use it. It!s important if you have a platform to use your voice in a positive way.
We know that you are also a piano enthusiast and that you record and produce this music. Do you have any idea of a future also as a musician or producer?
Definitely, I’ve always been passionate about music and I’ve been writing and producing a lot of music for the past couple of years. I mainly use Logic Pro for my latest music as well and vocals and piano. I’ve been working for the past year with an American producer and will be releasing a song very soon which I’m excited about, so stay tuned for that!