When I first met Mackenzie, I knew she was special. What I didn't understand was how badly she could kick my a$$. Let me explain.
I met Mackenzie Foy in October, 2010 when some of the new cast in the Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn flew into Baton Rouge for some make-up/wardrobe screen tests and to discuss our roles with director, Bill Condon. While we were there, we got an invitation from the producers for a dinner party. Imagine our surprise when we show up and see Rob, Kristen, Stephenie, Ashley, Kellan, Nikki, Jackson...
Mackenzie and I bonded immediately. She has a lot in common with my wife - child actor (not anymore, obviously, but my wife was a child actor), a Scorpio, a martial artist and an ace student. And the ability to make me feel…very juvenile. I'll explain.
It started with the hand slapping. You know that game where one person lays their hands on the other persons hands and the person whose hands are on the bottom tries to slap and the person whose hands are on the top tries to avoid getting slapped? Well of course I lost. Whether I was the slapper or the slappee. And I lost…a lot. It drove me insane. How can I lose this game to a 10 year old girl? Where is my age advantage?
So, I keep challenging her. Over and over. To the point that she would sigh every time she saw me coming for more. People are thinking I have lost my mind. We're in between takes and I am running over to Mackenzie for a rematch. And losing. So, Mackenzie started feeling bad for me and introduced a new game - the staring game.
OK - I GOT this! I'm GOOD at this one! I just need to make sure she blinks first.
I mentioned she is a Scorpio, right? Right. So, I kept losing that one too. At this point, she pities me. Now, she's trying desperately to figure out a game I COULD win. She never did figure out a game I might win.
"Mr. Guri…I made you a picture.", she says.
"No "Mr.", Mackenzie. We're co-workers", I tell her.
She thinks for a second. She has been raised to respect adults…how does she handle me?
"OK…Dr. Guri", she smiles.
I dig that little chick.
The name stuck and for the rest of filming, she called me "Dr. Guri" and made me these amazing pictures that related to our times filming BD. In particular, when she knew I was going to quit smoking, she was my biggest champion on set for that and drew me a motivational picture that is on my fridge right now. I haven't quit yet but every time I walk into my kitchen, I get inspired all over again. If you're reading this, Mackenzie, I promise I'll get there.
She did have another name reserved for Noel Fisher and I - Salt 'n' Pepa. We would often sing pop songs on set in full wardrobe with our Romanian dialects and this delighted Mackenzie…a lot. I was relieved. Up until now, I was thinking I was boring her to tears.
And the cursing. As anyone on set can tell you, the adults were very partial to a few swear words. Mackenzie was unimpressed. I jokingly told her she should incorporate a cursing jar on set and make people pay up every time they cursed in front of her. She not only did it, she cleaned up. She's Bill Gates in a 10 year old's body.
I dig that little chick.
She was so professional and mature that she made every adult there want to be a better adult. Obviously, this is a huge credit to her amazing parents, who have done an extraordinary job raising such a gifted child. Most people don't understand what a child actor goes through over and above what a typical actor deals with on set. Their grades have to be kept up or they can't work. They have school time every day and often that time is broken up by filming, making it difficult to focus on either school or acting. They are often not respected as much as adult actors, despite having twice the workload. They are surrounded by crazy entertainment industry folks instead of friends and classmates. It aint easy…but she made it look easy. She was not only a straight A student but she had everyone's respect.
Watching her with Kristen and Rob was nothing short of beautiful. She fit right in. She deserves all the success heading her way and I feel honored to have worked with her.
Now, if I could only come up with a game I could win with her...