Young Atlanta star continues to shine in “Daddy’s Home 2”

Owen’s character is the first to learn some big news in “Daddy’s Home 2.” Image: Paramount Pictures

Owen Vaccaro was 10 the last time we talked. He’s 11 now.

“But I’m going to be 12 really soon,” the young actor stressed during a visit to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week.

The almost-12-year-old, a sixth grader at Atlanta’s Paideia School, can claim a career victory many artists dream of: he booked a sequel, and appears in “Daddy’s Home 2,” with Linda Cardellini, Will Ferrell, Mark Walhberg, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. The Christmas-themed family comedy is in theaters now.

You can see him getting into the holiday spirit in this clip:


“I love pursuing a character,” he said. “I love pretending to be someone you’re not.”

Vaccaro plays Dylan, whose parents (Walhberg and Cardellini) are divorced, and whose dad must make peace with the stepfather (Ferrell). By the sequel, the whole family unit has mastered co-parenting, but here comes some new drama right in time for the holidays in the form of a hip gran-dude (Gibson) and a dorky gramps (Lithgow).

“Mel is so fun. I don’t know what else to say,” Vaccaro said of working with Gibson. “Mostly he would tell jokes and stuff. He would always help me with the lines.”

Here at home, Vaccaro is working on “The House with a Clock in its Walls,” starring Cate Blanchett, Jack Black and Kyle MacLachlan. We’re not supposed to tell anyone about the prank Vaccaro and director Eli Roth are contemplating pulling on set, so memo to Black: if a goat ends up in your trailer, you didn’t hear it from us.

At not quite 12, Vaccaro says he has found his calling. He wants to work in front of the camera for a while before moving behind it, into the director’s chair. Working on movies including Atlanta-filmed “Mother’s Day” have enlightened him, and he’s learned that filmmaking isn’t what you might think.

“Yeah, they say lights, action, cut,” Vaccaro said, but there’s there’re more to it. “It’s really repetitive. Wardrobe changes are pretty annoying. Sometimes I have five scenes in one day. I have to change clothes every time, then change them all back again, and do it all over again.”

Then he revealed his biggest trade secret: “On TV shows it makes it seem like directors are mean – but they’re nice!”

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