Actor Maxwell Simkins felt there was something special the first time he read the script for Netflix’s “The Sleepover,” which debuts on Aug. 21.
“It was really out there,” said the 13-year-old Philadelphia native.
His father, John, added, “The script and the story was something we really enjoyed and we’re grateful to have the opportunity.”
In the family adventure-comedy, Maxwell plays Kevin, the brother to Clancy (Sadie Stanley). The two discover their stay-at-home mom, Margo (Malin Akerman), is a former high-end thief in a witness protection program.
When her mom and dad (Ken Marino) are kidnapped, the siblings must team up to rescue their parents in one night. Directed by Trish Sie (“Pitch Perfect”), the fast-paced “The Sleepover” also stars Joe Manganiello as Margo’s former flame.
John says Kevin is a lot like his son.
“They’re both really outgoing and adventurous and kind,” he said. “He was able to use his own experiences and personality with Kevin.”
Maxwell, who steals the show in “The Sleepover,” isn’t so sure.
“My character is a little more over the top,” he said. “He’s like me after a Capri Sun or two.”
Maxwell has been acting since he was 6 years old, when he starred as Caleb in the Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas film “And So It Goes.” He’s inspired by the late Cameron Boyce, who died at age 20 in July 2019 due to complications from epilepsy.
“I’ve been an actor ever since I saw Cameron Boyce for the first time,” he said. “I was really bullied at times. I want to make people laugh, just as he did. That’s the goal.
“I actually met him once. I almost peed myself. It was an out-of-body experience. He was so nice. It’s so tragic.”
Maxwell not only wants to make people laugh, but he wants to entertain them. He’s been rapping for a bit.
“My mom shared the movie ‘8 Mile’ and there’s just something about they use poetry to express their thoughts,” he said about rapping.
“I just fell in love with it immediately. Ever since then I’ve been inspired by Dr. Dre and Rakim and Nas—all the original rappers. The OGs really influenced me.”
Up next for Maxwell is the Disney+ series “The Mighty Ducks,” a reboot of the 1992 movie.
“I’m from Philly, so I skated a bit back east,” he said. “They did put me in a boot camp for skating in Vancouver and we’re going to do it again.”
In the meantime, Maxwell hopes fans enjoy “The Sleepover.”
“I hope everyone learns from the movie that, through thick or thin, friends will be friends and family come first,” he said.