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8th May 2024

Digital Editor and Interview: Pankhuri Bhutani

Editor-In-Chief: Owen James Vincent

Photography: Katharine Deveise

Artist Management: Slate PR

Magic, mystery, monsters. Imagine a land filled with a plethora of wicked and ethereal creatures beyond one's contemplation. Perusing through Roku's "The Spiderwick Chronicles", you will find just exactly that and even more. 

An outstanding offering for the fans of menacing and chilling plotlines alongside enigmatic sequences, the live-action adaptation of Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's novels will not fail to garner your attention right from the initiation of the show.

Embodying the persona of 'Jared Grace' within the project; Lyon Daniels leads the show with an unwavering force of talent within him. You might have witnessed the young star in several other offerings including that of Netflix's "We Can Be Heroes" but this fantasy project is the one that seems to be the much-needed big break for the rising talent catapulting him into a new stratosphere of success. 

Lyon's performance is backed with a beautiful amalgamation of courage, strength, introspection, camaraderie, frustration, poignancy, protectiveness for his siblings and immense love and bonding for his family. Yet the unexpected arc and transformative developments the character immerses himself into throughout each episode is truly fascinating and often jaw-dropping in nature.

But that's not all it. The series is currently at the forefront of many significant discussions; establishing its own legacy as it made its way with a record-setting opening by garnering the title of the most-watched on-demand title to ever hit and debut on the streaming platform- The Roku Channel. 

We recently had a chat with our latest cover star and the lead of Roku's "The Spiderwick Chronicles"; the sensational Lyon Daniels about his experience working on the fantastical project. 

Hi there Lyon. Thank you for joining us as our latest cover star on ReVamp! How's it going? How has this year been like for you so far? 

Hello!! Thank you for having me! It’s going great, this year has been a good one.   

I obviously have to begin our conversation by mentioning your absolutely impeccable performance in the upcoming ROKU offering "The Spiderwick Chronicles". 

First of all, huge congratulations on your role! Take me back to those initial moments of the casting process for this project. Do you remember how your audition process went?

Thank you so much!!! 

Yes, my audition process was pretty inconsistent. At first I auditioned for both of the twins, Jared and Simon. I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks, and I figured that meant I was out. Suddenly, my mom bust into my room saying they wanted me to get on a zoom call like the next day. 

So, that’s the first time I read with Noah. Again we read for both of the twins, but once they figured out who they wanted us to be, we read with each other in LA, and I think that’s when it clicked. It was a vigorous process, but in the end I’m so lucky and so grateful.

What was your reaction like when you realized that you had successfully garnered this massive opportunity to portray this iconic character?

I was actually woken up and met with the surprise of me getting the role. I thought I was dreaming. Luckily I wasn’t!! 

What were your initial impressions about your character like when you first read the script? 

Do you think by the end of filming the project, the final impressions aligned with the first ones or did your perception towards your character alter over the course of the shooting? 

As soon as I got the audition, I resonated with Jared. He is adventurous and brave, he loves to explore the unknown no matter how dangerous it might be. I love to explore and I’m always up for adventure. 

But also how interesting and beautifully dynamic his complexities make him as a character. Grappling with the mental health aspect of his character was a unique and amazing learning experience for me as an actor and as a person. 

What also drew me to the character was just how relatable he is. In the books Mallory knows what she wants to be, and Simon knows what he wants to be. They know where they fit into the family, Jared doesn’t. Jared doesn’t see himself as capable, and that’s why his evolution from troubled teen into a hero is one that I’m very excited for fans to witness. At the end of the day, he’s not flawed he’s human.

I think I had a way better grasp of my character by the end of shooting. I understood him and could sympathize with him down to a tee. I think overtime I started to lose myself in the role and I started to really understand where he’s coming from and really felt how he’s feeling. 

I mean he has to save everybody from a vile physiological serial killing ogre while he’s witnessing magic and nobody believes him. That is frustrating, especially when he starts to be made out as a monster for trying to be a hero. I think it’s simply a case of, you may be the hero of your own story, but you’ll always be the villain in someone else’s. 

Walk me through your creative process for this role. Was there ever any specific acting ritual that you preferred to immerse yourself into in order to successfully get into the mindset of the character?

Well I didn’t necessarily have a specific ritual, but I did prepare. I made a playlist for my character, filled with angsty rock. Shoegaze, grunge, punk. I have a lot of Nirvana, Deftones, Radiohead on there. I started to pull from performances to kind of create one basis for how I want to play my character. 

Like Donnie Darko, Good Will Hunting, Anakin Skywalker. I took a deep dive into the books and tried to integrate certain aspects, wanting to respect the original idea of Jared that Tony and Holly had in mind. 

Were you a fan of the original Spiderwick movie? Did you by any chance garner any inspirations from Freddie Highmore's performance in the 2008 live-action project or was your performance rooted solely through the script and the books? 

Yes, I grew up on the books and absolutely loved the film. I loved how fantastical yet how realistic this story was. 

I didn’t really want to pull anything from Freddie Highmore because I wanted to create my own version of the character, one that fit the vibe of this project. I pulled a lot from the books and went from there. 

What would you say has been the most memorable experience for you in terms of this production. Be it on/off-set, are there any memories that stand out for you particularly? 

Probably working with Christian Slater. I worked with him before on my last project for Netflix, We Can Be Heroes. Christian is the funniest person to work with. He loves to joke around and he brings an amazing and unique energy to the set. I love to play and improvise scenes with him because he is a legend!! 

A particularly memorable experience for me when working with Christian was when he threw chairs and cookies at me haha. I had to be really scared for a scene and to help me have a natural reaction he threw cookies and pretended to throw a chair at me. It really helped though!! 

Family is Power" is the significant mantra being projected pertaining to this show. So, I'm very curious to know, how was your experience like working with your onscreen family aka the phenomenal cast and crew affiliated with this project? 

Family is “power”. Because at the end of the day, family is always there for you and will always have your back no matter the problems you face. 

That’s the beautiful thing about the Grace family, no matter how much they fight each other and go through drama, at the end of the day they still have themselves to lean on. Mallory realizes she needs to be there for her brothers more, especially Jared; Jared realizes he might need to let go of Simon and let him come into his own.

My experience working with my on-screen family was magical!! Right from the get-go, we had natural chemistry. It was so easy to have that older sister and annoying little brother dynamic with Mychala, who plays Mallory. 

I read with Noah a lot beforehand, and we had a few solid weeks with just us in Vancouver. So we had time to mess around and create that ‘twinnergy’. And Joy is just wonderful!! She is the coolest set mom and so great to work with, our dynamic is so beautiful in the show and she is so funny too.  

How was it like meeting Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi; the authors of "The Spiderwick Chronicles" for the first time? Were you a fan of their work prior to being cast or were you introduced to the novels after you were offered the role?

Meeting Tony and Holly was amazing!!! I was nervous at first because I’m playing their character, and I really wanted to respect their original vision. I was absolutely obsessed over Tony’s creature designs!! And Holly and I discussed the overall character and arc for Jared.

I was familiar with the Spiderwick books beforehand. Tony and I were talking about the speculative look of the creatures and the focus on folklore which was really cool!! 

Having been involved in such a massive production, how's this anticipation period going for you? Are you excited/nervous for people to finally witness your performance? 

This anticipation period is very intense. I’ve been anxious and so excited to share our magic out into the world and I’m hoping the audience can relate to the characters and truly be enchanted by the fantastical world brought to screen.

It’s a bit of both – I am excited and nervous for people to see my performance. It was complex and emotionally daunting, but I tried to respect mental health and be as authentic as possible. In the end I’m proud of myself and grateful for the opportunity.

What's next for you, Lyon? Any other upcoming projects in the pipeline for this year? 

The sequel to my last project for Netflix, “We Can Be Heroes” is in development as we speak. I have no idea what’s going on with it, but it’s exciting. 

Thank you for taking out your time for this interview, Lyon! Wishing you lots of luck on the launch of the series!

Thank you so much!! It was such a pleasure chatting with you!! 

Lastly, I'd love to ask you if there's any message that you wish to convey to your supporters who might be reading this interview currently?

I want you to know that just because you don’t feel capable of something or you don’t see yourself in that light, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You can write your own destiny. You can be the hero of your own story. There is always somebody to talk to.  

P.S. Magical creatures are real!! 

Lyon Daniels can be currently witnessed embodying the persona of "Jared Grace" in Roku's record-breaking offering "THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES". 

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