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'Super 8' star: Steven Spielberg offered me some good life advice [Video]

June 6, 2011 |  2:18 pm

From Drew Barrymore to Shia LaBeouf, Steven Spielberg has a long history of mentoring child actors. He continued that practice on the set of "Super 8," the J.J. Abrams-directed sci-fi drama he produced that hits theaters Friday.

Set in the 1970s, the film centers on a group of young friends with an affinity for moviemaking who witness a train crash while shooting their own picture. All of the kids cast in the movie -- with the exception of Elle Fanning -- were novices, which means the experience of promoting the movie has been a new one for the ensemble. Spielberg and Abrams, though, have been serving as advisors throughout the process.

At the MTV Movie Awards, Joel Courtney, the film's 15-year-old lead, looked oddly formal, decked out in a suit while others around him sported leather jackets, Ed Hardy T-shirts and Converse sneakers. "I really didn't care what I wore. But J.J. wanted me to wear this," he said in a video interview (check out the full clip below, and others after the jump). "I hope I get advice from him for the rest of my life. He's such a cool guy."

Asked what counsel he'd received from Abrams and Spielberg, Courtney ticked off their words of wisdom as though it was a series of mantras. "They told me not to get a big head. Not get entitled. Stay humble. Remember who you are. Stay in school. Keep a social life so your friends can keep you, like, down to earth."

On that note, Courtney could take a page from costar Fanning, 13, who has managed to juggle a burgeoning acting career while still in junior high. "I go to a regular school, so when I'm not doing movies, I'm in class, and when I am doing movies, I have to do all the tests, all the schoolwork, everything my classmates are doing so I can keep up," she said.

Abrams was more ... general when asked how he shepherded a group of young 'uns. "I'm happy to help them however they need help," the filmmaker said vaguely.


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-- Amy Kaufman