Despite his young age, Julian Lerner is already making an impact in the acting world. Julian stars in the new comedy feature film Yes Day opposite an all-star cast including Jennifer Garner, Edgar Ramirez and Jenna Ortega.
Directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Justin Malen, the film was released on Netflix on March 12, 2021.
In this Exclusive Interview, Julian chats about his experience working on the film, who inspired him to start acting and how he would spend his own ‘Yes Day’.
Welcome, Julian. Thank you for taking the time to do this!
Julian Lerner (JL): Thanks so much for having me, this is awesome.
It’s fair to say that everyone’s been going through a tough year with the pandemic. How have you been holding up?
JL: You know, I’ve been doing school online. Life is online. I’ve been recording a voiceover series for PBS and actually going into the studio for that, which is really really nice. I’ve been doing dance classes online, going to the skate park, my guitar lessons, singing lessons. Basically, you know, everything I can really fit in. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of opportunities to still do.
We’re going to be chatting about your new film Yes Day. First of all though, which actor would you say inspired you to become an actor?
JL: You know, I think definitely Neil Patrick Harris. I’m thinking… Hugh Jackman, because he does theatre and film, which is really cool. Yeah, Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman.
In Yes Day, you play “Nando Torres”, the son of Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez’s characters. How did you develop chemistry with your onscreen family?
JL: It was amazing to work with such great actors. Jen [Garner] is the most kind, loving person. She brings all those qualities into every situation. I strive to do that in a future opportunity. It sets a tone for the whole set. Jen is just amazing. And Edgar is so cool. He taught me a great lesson. During the party scene, I would get really stressed on a line and would always say ‘sorry’ if I messed up. He said, “Julian, it’s okay. You can slow down, take your time. Take a breath.” I was like, “Really? Even with a hundred people around?” He said, “Yeah, even with a hundred people around. That’s okay.”
That was amazing to hear from such a great, accomplished actor. He still messes up and takes a deep breath. Edgar is so cool and I know we’ll stay friends for a long time.
What quality of Nando’s most reminds you of yourself and what would you say is most different from you?
JL: I don’t even think I’m different at all! Nando is so funny, upbeat, mischievous, up for trying anything. I think I’m like that, too. With acting, if you book something, you dive right into that project. You’re always doing new stuff. I can really, really relate to Nando.
We’ve now seen how Nando and his family would do on Yes Day. How would you, Julian Lerner, spend Yes Day in real life?
JL: So, I actually just had one last weekend, with my Mom and my Dad. I got up, my Mom made me special waffles with the waffle maker. I spent a lot of time with my family. I went to the skate park with them, I taught my Mom a couple of tricks on my scooter – she was terrified. We went window shopping at the Lego Store and the Apple Store, which was so, so fun. Then yeah, we came home and had candy and popcorn for dinner, then pizza. And to finish off the night, we watched the new Zack Snyder Justice League, which was a great movie.
Jenna Ortega plays your older sister in Yes Day. That’s a very different on-screen dynamic to parents. I don’t know if you have siblings in real life, but to suddenly have ‘fake siblings’. How did you navigate your role in that fake family unit?
JL: Jenna is… we both started acting at a really young age. It was great to be on set with somebody who was close enough in age to be a friend. I learned so much from her and she’s a great role model. Everly [Carganilla, who plays “Ellie”] is so sweet and adorable, I always want to hug her all the time. When we weren’t shooting a scene, we would climb on something or climb on rocks. It was really fun.
Yes Day hit Netflix on March 12. How did you celebrate on the day?
JL: I had no school that day, I had nothing. We just celebrated all day, with confetti and all that stuff. We did so many calls with people who are in my family. It was so much fun. For the premiere, we had a piñata on the day. It was awesome, there was candy, confetti and popcorn. It was just amazing.
Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon that you can discuss?
JL: I’m actually in LA right now because I’m doing a fitting for a new TV show that I can’t talk about right now. I will have more facts soon. Also, you can go listen to From Now, it’s an Apple Podcast and on Spotify Podcasts. It’s such a great podcast, to give you the little thing of it; A lone survivor walks off this famed lost ship that goes into space and he still looks the exact same when he came off. It’s kind of crazy. He left thirty years prior and it’s insane. A really cool, sci-fi podcast.
I am the younger version… there’s two brothers, right? The two brothers are going to be sent to space. But, only one of them going’s to get picked. I’m the younger version of the boy who doesn’t get picked. My older character is remembering his memory.
I’m also recording a TV show called Alma’s Way – it’s a voiceover, I actually told you about it earlier but not in detail. But yeah, look out for those two things and the new thing that’s coming.
Where can people follow/find you on social media?
JL: Instagram, Facebook and I actually just started TikTok, so follow me on that. It’s @julianlerner.
What do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
JL: I hope that I can keep doing what I love. Making people happy out there. Bringing more joy to people with the stuff that, you know, I do and other people do.
Thanks again for chatting with us, Julian! Take care and stay safe!
JL: Alright, thank you. You too!