'Ramona and Beezus': Selena Gomez and Joey King Exclusive Interview

Sona Charaipotra

Ramona and Beezus Stars Joey King and Selena Gomez
Sibling revelry: Ramona and Beezus stars Joey King and Selena Gomez.

For more than 50 years, generations of kids have been growing up enthralled by the cute and crazy antics of one Ramona Quimby, who is patently not a pest. And finally, the beloved children's book series by Beverly Cleary -- have your kids read it yet? -- is coming to theaters this weekend as Ramona and Beezus.

We caught up with the film's stars, Disney's Selena Gomez and smarty-pants newcomer Joey King, 10, who's as charming -- and energetic -- as her on-screen counterpart, to chat about sibling bonding, balancing work and school, and what they're reading.

Beverly Cleary's Ramona series is so classic. Had you read the books before you were cast in the film?

Selena: I read them all in the third grade, and I loved them. Once I got cast, Fox sent me the box set and I reread them all. I knew it was definitely a huge responsibility and I was extremely nervous because I feel like these books are such classics -- I knew it was a big deal for us to bring these characters to life.

Joey: I'm going to be honest with you, I only read one of the books before I found out I had gotten the part. After I found out that I got the part of Ramona, I read all of the books. And I loved them. 

These books have a huge legacy. Joey, no pressure, but what a major project to have as your first film.

Joey: It was a big responsibility, but I had only read one of the books. So I didn't realize -- what does the word legacy mean?

Well, it's got a long history -- generations have read the books and loved them. Like your parents, maybe, and their parents before them.

Joey: Yeah, it's awesome. I mean, it's older than me, Selena, and a lot of people. So yeah, it was a really big responsibility, but it was really fun and we had a great time. The one book that I read before I got the part was a great book, and I wanted to get the rest of the series. So I got them, and I read them.

Was it fun doing all those stunts? How did those come together?

Joey: They used a green screen or they'd rig some stuff together while we were there. But a lot of it was off-set. With the parachute, they actually did it all on a green screen, so I was standing in front of it and they were blowing this really hard wind on me and I was crawling but it seems like I'm in the air.

So, like Angelina Jolie, you can say you did all your own stunts, huh Joey?

Joey: Well, most of my own stunts. I didn't do two of them, but I did all the rest.

And you've got an action movie coming up after this, right?

Joey: Yes ma'am! The movie is called Battle: Los Angeles. And I play a civilian. No, wait, I actually play a marine! Just kidding. And the marines are after us. It's got a lot of action in it.

And then you've got a Steve Carell movie coming up, too, right? Was he funny in real life.

Joey: Yes ma'am, it's Crazy, Stupid, Love. He was really funny, I really liked working with him. Everybody on that set was really fun.

Were you familiar with Selena's work before you met?

Joey: I was familiar with her work -- but I wasn't starstruck by Selena. I don't get starstruck, even if it's Angelina Jolie. My mom always tells me, it doesn't matter who it is, they're people just like me and you. They get up in the morning and they brush their teeth just like anyone else. They have a job to do, just like you or me. It was fun on set, we all got along and got to be friends.

Ramona and BeezusSelena, were you starstruck by Joey? She seems like she's got a lot of personality and energy.

Selena: Oh my God, like every single day. We got really close, she's amazing.

You guys seemed to have a real sibling chemistry going.

Selena: I don't have any siblings, so Joey's my sister. I instantly clicked with her. She's so fun and sweet and energetic, she's so easy to get along with, it kind of just came naturally.

Joey: I have two older siblings, and now Selena's my third sibling! We get along really well, my siblings are very supportive. And so is Selena.

Do you guys have to balance work and school on set?

Joey: I'm being home-schooled through an online program, but on set they always have a tutor, so it's much easier. I don't have a favorite because all the subjects sometimes can be really fun, and sometimes they can be really not fun.

Selena: Well, what's your least favorite?  

Joey: My least favorite -- I know this sounds bad, but it's history. But I have to read this book about American history and every time I read one of the chapter titles, I feel like falling asleep, it's just so boring. I don't mind math, though, when it's easy.

Selena: I graduated this year, so I'm done with all that stuff. It's a relief. I worked really hard to finish school. I didn't want to get my GED, I wanted to graduate. It was a lot of hard work, but it was totally worth it.

So is college on the horizon for you?

Selena: Not soon, because I do have the next few years sort of planned out already. But if I did have the opportunity, I would love to go to college. I'd go to culinary school and be a chef. I'd love that.

Are you both big readers, given that you're making a film based on a book?

Joey: I do like to read. I read a lot on planes. Right now I'm reading a book called the Bald-headed Princess and it's really good. 

Selena: I'm reading Sundays at Tiffany's right now by James Patterson. It's kind of a little bit older. I wouldn't recommend it yet for Joey.

Do you feel like a movie like this will inspire more kids to read?

Selena: I really, truly hope it will. It's the craziest thing when someone comes up to you with a book and asks you to sign it. And then their mom will say that the kid saw the movie and went out and got the book. There's something so exciting about that.

Ramona and Beezus hits theaters tonight. Did you read the Ramona books as a kid?

Images via Fox and Fox

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