This week the Vin Diesel horror/action thriller The Last Witch Hunter hits theaters. Also starring in this epic thrill ride is Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones), Michael Caine (Batman Begins Trilogy), and a little dude you might not be familiar with (yet) named Armani Jackson. Armani is also a standout star of another Elijah Wood project, the recent indie horror comedy Cooties. YE was fortunate enough to get some time with this busy young actor to talk about these exciting film projects, what it’s like being onset with all these crazy-talented and insanely funny adult stars, and what’s coming up in for this talented go-getter in the future!
Armani is a talented dude with a career that’s just heating up, and it’s no wonder that he’s already come so far in the business because his whole family is full of talent! His older sister Talia is also an actor, his mother Kelly is a former model, and his father is a former NBA player! It was actually his older sister Talia who got him into acting. “One time we were visiting my sister’s manger’s office, and the manager asked me to come in the room and do an audition. I was scared to do it, but my sister said she would buy me a Webkinz. Haha. So I did it, and they sent me out on my first film audition, and I got a callback with 20th Century Fox and Director McG for This Means War.”
What talent and good luck! From that serendipitous audition, Armani landed the role of “The Bubble Boy” on Grey’s Anatomy, the show’s longest running medical case character. And from there he ended up cast in Cooties and The Last Witch Hunter. Armani can’t say much about his role in The Last Witch Hunter because his character has a scene that’s “important in setting up the film and I don’t want to spoil how cool it is.” But he was able to tell us TONS about his character in Cooties and life on that very funny set! “My character Calvin is a shy nerd who studies a lot. He is also a diabetic. He is the only black child in the school. Being on set was so cool because there were lots of dead, fake bodies on the school grounds. It was pretty cool getting to see so many special effects because I love special effects and prosthetics. I often go to Halloween stores and buy fake wounds to put on my skin.”
But all the cool special effects weren’t even Armani’s favorite parts of the Cooties shoot! “One of my funniest memories is during the reshoot of the ending. We were doing a night shoot around midnight, and I was really sleepy. I started to doze off and forgot I was on a film set, so when the Cooties kids come up behind us, we were supposed to run all scared, but I ended up getting startled and running for real because I got scared and didn’t know what was going on!!!”
And of all the crazy comedians on the Cooties set, who was Armani’s favorite? “Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) would play charades with us and make us try to guess who he was. His funniest charade character was Jack as a cheerleader. Also, Rainn Wilson and I became friends on Clash of Clans and played it during our breaks. I had fun just watching them crack jokes all the time!!!”
And what about working with Elijah Wood, aka Frodo, not once but twice!!??? “It was great seeing Elijah again on the set of The Last Witch Hunter. On the set of The Last Witch Hunter, he did not know that I had a role in the movie until his driver picked him up and told him that he had just given a ride to a boy named Armani who knew him. When Elijah saw me on set, he relayed the story from his driver and said he was like ‘ARMANI?!! ARMANI JACKSON?! He’s on this movie too?!’ He was really excited to see me and gave me a big hug!”
And what about working with the ever-cool and super awesome Vin Diesel?!?! “It was an amazing honor to work with Vin Diesel and on a project this huge with amazing special effects. One of the coolest things for me was being the only actor working on set the very first day of filming. At the end of the day, Vin arrived and we worked on our scene together. I met him the day earlier, and he was so nice to me. He asked to get a photo with me when I should have been asking him to get a photo! He was always so nice to me and would go out of his way to greet me on set even when I wasn’t working. It was an amazing opportunity for me to be able to work with him, and I hope I get to again in the future.”
Besides acting, what else is this ambitious young man into? “I love gaming, Battlefield, Minecraft Server, Grand Theft Auto. I like Parkour, sword fighting, fencing, and horseback riding.” Oh, and don’t forget scary movies, just as his resume thus far would indicate. “I am dying to work on a Purge movie with James DeMonaco or anything produced by Blumhouse. I just want to be on the set to see all of the special effects. I would love to work on an action movie where I could use my fighting and parkour skills, maybe something with Director McG.”
So what’s up next for Armani? He’s just getting started!! He’s already wrapped another BIG Hollywood feature film! “I just finished filming the lead role in the film Nowhere Ever After in New York. It is a story about a biracial boy and his family that move from Brooklyn to a small white town in Washington. The film is produced by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective). My mom is played by Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men), my dad is played by Nelsan Ellis (True Blood), my young love interest is Oona Laurence (Southpaw), and the movie also stars Christine Taylor and Janeane Garafolo.”
Wow. That’s some star-studded cast! Well, with that kind of work under his belt, YE is betting that The Last Witch Hunter won’t be the last we see of Armani Jackson! This kid is going places!