Thomas Barbusca, a 13-year-old actor, stars in the upcoming film, “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” as Leo, based off a series by renowned author James Patterson. Climbing from commercials to TV shows and movies, Thomas is one of Hollywood’s most promising young talents.
His past roles include AMC’s “Preacher,” “American Horror Story,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.” Next up, he stars as Chip Pemberton in the upcoming TV show “The Mick,” on Fox.
JH: When did your passion for acting begin? Who inspired you?
TB: After seeing my sister go on set and film a show every day a couple of years ago, that was definitely when it started. Then, I just started going on auditions and working, and that’s how that all started.
JH: What motivates you to keep a positive attitude throughout these many auditions?
TB: I just really choose to be happy and look on the bright side of life. Find a reason to smile! My mom is always saying there is always a reason to smile. I think I surround myself with pretty good people.
JH: You began your acting career doing commercials, then to TV shows and movies such as “The New Normal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Preacher” and more. What are some of your most enjoyable, memorable moments throughout this all?
TB: I love everything I’ve worked on. I was on a location in Atlanta filming [“Middle School: The Worst Days of My Life”] and it was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. All my best friends are in that. I love just traveling to different locations too.
JH: What’s it like on set of your upcoming movie, “Middle School: The Worst Days of My Life?”
TB: It’s really, really fun. It was the best. We all bonded, we all hung out on and off set. We really did everything together. We all stayed in the same hotel, so we used to go to the gym after night. We filmed at a school, so in between takes, we’d play football. It was so fun.
JH: What’s it like acting with Griffin Gluck?
TB: Griffin is the coolest kid. He’s one of my best friends in the world. We talk all the time.
JH: How do you think this film relates to kids going through middle school?
TB: Middle school was really hard growing up when you try to fit in with the popular kids and try not to deal with bullies. “Middle School: The Worst Days of My Life” takes that and makes it really creative.
JH: What’s the biggest rule you’ve ever broken in school?
TB: I’m not such a rule breaker. I follow all the rules. I try to be a good kid.
JH: What kind of pranks would you want to pull?
TB: Probably just the typical stuff, you know, just like hiding someone’s lunch, his or her books. Maybe one day, I can throw some paint on the teacher, on the last day though, just so I’m not on bad terms with him or her.
JH: This movie showcases a really strict, rule enforcing school. What is a tip for surviving such a strict school like that?
TB: Be yourself, do what you have to do and work hard and study.
JH: What are some of your upcoming projects?
TB: Well, there’s “The Mick” on Fox, it’s a new series coming in January. It’s hilarious. I play a kid named Chip Pemberton who is really entitled and has his own way of thinking but also has a really good heart. It is with Kaitlin Olson, who plays my aunt.
“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life” comes to theaters Oct. 7.