Goshen News, Goshen, IN

State News

March 26, 2014

Indiana student hits big screen as son in 'Noah'

(Continued)

When she founded the Renaissance Academy in LaPorte with her sister Kieran McHugh, each of her kids had a school to attend instead of being home-schooled. And Vicki McHugh had the flexibility to take time off to drive her kids to an audition if needed.

By the time Leo and Lucas turned 6, their older brothers and sister were already bitten by the acting bug, performing in local theater productions and the local kids group, Yogakids.

It was Lucas who landed the family's first onscreen acting gig playing the role of Matt Damon's son in the 2009 thriller "The Informant."

Two years earlier, Leo had a small part in the 2007 Vince Vaughn comedy "Fred Claus." But all he wound up with was a paycheck.

"His part got cut from ('Fred Claus'), but we didn't know that until the movie came out," Vicki McHugh says.

Both brothers got called to audition for "Noah" in the summer of 2012.

Lucas was called back for the part of Noah's young son Shem, but the producers settled on another teen who more closely resembled actor Douglas Booth, who portrayed an older Shem. Lucas stayed on in a bit part credited as "refugee."

Leo was called back as Japheth, Noah's young son. Playing such a central character guaranteed Leo would not wind up on the cutting room floor this time.

And he gained valuable acting experience, as well as an education about the story of Noah.

"Mostly you talked to Darren (Aronofsky) about that," Leo says about going over Old Testament knowledge he needed to portray Japheth. "And he kept it very close to the biblical story, but he added in his own vision of how it should be shot."

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