Julian Lerner stars in the upcoming Netflix film “Yes Day” opposite Jennifer Garner, Edgar Ramirez and Jenna Ortega. The film releases on March 12th. “Yes Day” is a comedy based upon the children’s book of the same name. In the movie, parents attempt to make it through an entire day by only saying “yes” to their children’s requests. Julian plays ‘Nando Torres’ son to Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez and brother to Jenna Ortega.
Young Entertainment Mag: What was your favorite part about getting this role? What was the process like?
Julian Lerner: My favorite part of booking Nando was getting to meet all of the amazing people that are part of Yes Day both on and off the camera. I made lifelong friends and learned so much.
When I auditioned I first I did a self-tape, which is when an actor tapes scenes and sends in the video to casting. Then this is wild…I was on a flight from NYC to LA to do a screen test for a tv series and my manager emailed my Mom saying Miguel Arteta, the director, and the producers wanted to meet me in person. Timing was perfect! I flew in on Sunday night and was able to meet everyone on Monday.
I was doing a musical in NYC so I had to fly back in time to do the Tuesday night show. Then I found out I was going to do a chemistry read with Jennifer Garner so I got to fly back to LA on the next Monday! When I walked into the chemistry read the first thing I saw was this adorable huge golden retriever laying upside down waiting for belly rubs. Jen Garner’s dog! I was petting the dog and then Jen walked out and I thought to myself ok time to be professional! This was the final audition and we did scenes and improv. It was super fun!
YEM: How exciting is it to be a part of the Netflix movie Yes Day? Were you familiar with the children’s book before you were cast in the role of Nando?
Julian: Super exciting times a bajillion! Yes, I was familiar with the book. My Aunt read the book to my nieces all the time!
YEM: What does your character Nando think of having a “yes day”?
Julian: When Nando’s older sister, Katie, mentions Yes Day Nando’s immediate response is, “How am I just hearing about this?” Nando is all in on the idea from the very beginning!
YEM: Why is one day of saying “yes” important to Nando and his sisters, Katie and Ellie?
Julian: The Torres kids feel like their Mom stops all fun from happening, that she says no all the time. It is important for them to have fun as a family – they need some Yes!
YEM: Do you think it’s important for kids to be able to make their own decisions?
Julian: I think it is important for kids/teens to not only learn that they can make good choices but also that they can mess up and it will be ok. I love that the Torres Family Yes Day gives space for this to happen. And that it ultimately brings the family closer together.
YEM: What kind of crazy requests do the kids make?
Julian: Car wash with windows down, epic water balloon catch the flag game, roller coasters – it is a day of wild adventure!
YEM: Have you ever done a “yes day” of your own? What would/did you ask for?
Julian: We are having our first Yes Day on International Yes Day March 20th and I can’t wait! Some ideas I am throwing around are….
Ordering dinner from my favorite ramen restaurant
Green Day Concert
Sing duet with Kelly Clarkson
Movie marathon with my family
Surf in France
….some of them are probably not possible right now but dream big right?!
YEM: You worked closely with Jenna Ortega (Stuck in the Middle and The Babysitter: Killer Queen) who plays your sister Katie. What was it like working with her on set each day?
Julian: Jenna is amazing and inspiring. She gave me advice and guidance throughout the entire shoot. Jenna and I both started acting professionally at a young age. So to be able to talk with someone who is older but also close enough in age to be a friend was special. Jenna is a great role model.
YEM: What’s a favorite memory you have of being on the set of Yes Day?
Julian: While we were shooting at six Flags and the cameras were being moved around to get another shot, Jen Garner and I snuck off to ride a roller coaster that was right by where we were shooting, Jen is the best! When we got back Edgar and I thought we had more time so the two of us ran to another coaster. And just when we were getting on the ride, one of the PAs ran up to us saying they are calling for you guys on set! We had to run back to set as fast as we could!
YEM: Was there anything, in terms of acting that you were able to pick up from Jennifer Garner while on set?
Julian: Jennifer Garner is the most kind, loving person and she brings those qualities into all situations. It sets the tone for the entire set and I will strive to do the same with every future opportunity.
YEM: Is there any one skill you can share in terms of acting that you learned from being in this production?
Julian: There was moment during filming the science party where I was getting frustrated with myself because a line wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to and I kept apologizing when I made a mistake. Edgar took me by the shoulders and said, “It is ok to stop and take a breath and gather yourself even when in the middle of shooting with lots of people around. No need to apologize. Close your eyes, take a breath, and center yourself. I do it all the time.” To hear that even big-time actors need to stop and take a breath during filming was so helpful to hear and is something I will bring with me to every job.
YEM: What kind of roles do you enjoy playing? Any dream parts you’d like to play in the future?
Julian: I love playing funny and energetic characters. I also love being able to explore more serious roles which require channeling my energy in a different way. My dream role is to play a superhero in a Marvel movie!!!