When fans really got their first real taste of Moisés Arias, he was playing the awfully annoying, yet loveable Rico on Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana.” With the help of his two most recent films, he is successfully breaking out from his child star role, adding a whole different dynamic that fans will probably love.
“The transition has been slow and tactical,” Arias told Fox News Latino. “I wanted films that gave me a different light. I am very character-driven.”
“This year has been my biggest year,” he added.
The 19-year-old New Yorker, son of Colombian parents, starred this year in “The Kings of Summer” which premiered to rave reviews and was compared to “Stand By Me” and the breakout hit “Superbad” at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Paste magazine named Arias’ portrayal of quirky sidekick Biaggio one of the “best acting performances at Sundance 2013.”
Now, the former Disney star shares the screen with Hollywood greats Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Sir Ben Kingsley in the highly anticipated “Ender’s Game,” the big-screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s novel.
“(Viewers) will be taken away by the morality,” Arias said. “We have a lot of films in our generation that focus on the special effects. The moral side – the love and hate that these kids go through – opens intellectual discussions between everyone,” he noted.
The movie envisions a future world ruled by monolithic militaristic government that trains children to fight large insect-like extraterrestrials called Formics or buggers.
“It’s filled with heart,” the teenager said. “It’s one of my favorite books.”
Arias plays Bonzo Madrid, the leader of the Salamander Army, ruling with fear and intimidation – the complete opposite of the movie’s central character Ender (Asa Butterfield).
“Bonzo is an important character in the novel,” he said. “To see me on screen … it does not describe me physically.”
Arias said playing this character was one of the biggest opportunities and one of the hardest characters he has had to bring to life.
Because they couldn’t film in space – as cool as it would be – all actors had to go to “zero gravity” training. They spent a month practicing on wires and in space camp which Moisés said it was really fascinating.
“Staying in character while hanging on wires and with the green screen was difficult,” he said. “I am so happy that it turned out as it did.”
Arias said moviegoers will be very pleased with the movie and how it turned out.
Follow Lucia I. Suarez on Twitter @luciasuarezsang