Collin Blackford, a 16-year-old Colorado high schooler who plays for his school’s basketball team, has a not-so-hidden talent: he’s an incredible actor. Teachers and students at his school had no idea about his acting career until the recent release of Disney+’s Stargirl, a movie based on the novel by Jerry Spinelli. Collin has been acting in plays and student films for years, but he broke into the world of feature film acting with his role, Benny Burrito, on the streaming service’s gorgeous new film. He’s a sweet, down-to-Earth teenager who has a knack for sarcasm and comedic timing. He plays the role perfectly by committing to the crazy amount of food his character must consume throughout the film without complaints.
The Sarah Scoop Show enjoyed having this happy-go-lucky fella as a guest. He’s incredibly gifted, playing a variety of roles over the years, while balancing a teenage social life and rigorous AP classes. He gave us the inside scoop on his fellow Stargirl cast, the onset spit bucket that saved his life, and his plans for the future! Check it out below!
Collin has been acting in many projects since he was young. As a rising senior in high school, he already has quite the impressive acting resume.
“I started doing theater and I think I did my first school play in first grade, so I was like six, I think. I really liked it, so I went to my parents and I was like, ‘hey this is something I kinda wanna do again.’ So, I did theater for about four years with Rocky Mountain Conservatory Theater.”– Collin Blackford
He told us about the first project he did as he was shifting from local theater to student and short films.
“It was a voiceover I did. It’s a film call “Apple Seeds”. It’s a short five-minute video- it’s still on Youtube, I think- that I still watch from time to time just to see how high my voice was. That was the first thing I did and then I started with short films and students films just to get screen time.”– Collin Blackford
Student Films To Feature Films
There are pros and cons to working on any set with any crew and Collin explained some of the differences between working on student films sets and big production feature film sets. It sounds like he knows how to have fun
“They’re totally different. There are things I really like about big productions like Stargirl and things I really like about student films. The thing with student films and independents is that they’re not SAG, so there’s no laws, so you can literally- I’ve had shoots where I’ve been filming from 8 AM ’til 2 AM and your sometimes not in a very good place, but– Collin Blackford
This close-knit cast combined with the gorgeous sites of New Mexico meant that days when they weren’t filming were spent adventuring and having fun together!
“So there were a couple of people who were local there who could kind of show us around because they live there…Usually whenever we had off days or we didn’t shoot until the afternoon, we would be doing stuff. Or if we finished at night, we would be hanging out in someone’s hotel room at the plaza or we would go to downtown Albuquerque and walk around. We went to this cool place called The Grove, which is a bunch of old shipping containers that they had emptied out and they had a bunch of restaurants and stuff…It was just so much fun.”– Collin Blackford
Lord of The Rings Lover
Collin has so much respect and adoration for the franchise that though he knows who he’d love to play in a reboot, he hopes these films stay untouched forever.
“In my heart of hearts, I would just love to be Frodo, but then, I don’t think they ever should remake those because they’re timeless and they’re perfect. If they ever did it, it would be Frodo…Actually, it would probably be Sam. Sam’s the real hero of the story. It would probably be Sam, but I would never remake those movies. They’re perfect to me. I feel like it would be hurting their legacy to remake them.”– Collin Blackford
Best Of Both Worlds
Despite Collin’s already busy schedule, he is a key player for his school’s basketball team. He’s been playing the game for years and it’s one of his favorite pastimes when he’s not actively filming for a project.
“I’ve played sports my whole life. It’s something that I really like doing…I think it’s important to have that other side where it’s like, I go to high school too. I deal with all these problems that other kids deal with, I play basketball too. That also helps me, just from an acting sense, to draw from…memories and experiences. It’s something that I’ve been doing my whole life and I hope to keep doing.”– Collin Blackford
High School On And Off-Screen
Collin is both a high school student IRL and on-screen in his newest movie Stargirl. When we asked him about how the film portrayed the real life situations of a high school student, he explained that he thought the movie was quite accurate.
“I think it does, especially coming from a someone who’s in high school and sees through all of that…It’s been said a lot, but I think it’s been done very realistically in this movie of being true to yourself and that is something that I think every kid can relate to. I think everyone goes through a point in their life where they’re like, ‘hey, I’m gonna conform because that’s the cool thing to do’…And everyone kind of realizes that moment when they don’t need to. I can kind of attest that to me– Collin Blackford
Along with being a skilled actor, Collin is a scholarly student who exceeds academically. He took multiple AP classes this past school year and wants to attend college after he graduates in 2021. He explained that he’s looking for a school that will suit both his academic passions and his desire to work as an actor full-time.
“I want to get a degree because I am going to a hard school and I know that getting an education is important. I’m look at L.A. schools right now. I visited LMU and UCLA. I loved them both. I do wanna try to see if I can either graduate early or I’ve talked about maybe taking a gap year. It’s just something that I want to be able to audition at least a little bit while I’m in L.A.- while I’m in college. My whole dream has always been to try to work, live and do this as a career.”– Collin Blackford
Auditioning For Benny Burrito
Collin and his mom endure lengthy drives in order for him to audition for roles, since he lives and goes to school in Colorado. Though the drive was long and the audition was incredibly short, it was well worth the trip. It didn’t take long for the casting director to see Collin’s potential. The star even told us that after the table read, the writers were so impressed with his ability to play Benny, that they added his character to more scenes to increase his screen time.
“It was August and I got an audition in New Mexico. We drove six and a half hours down, me and my mom. I went in there and it was an audition- I didn’t have a lot of lines- where I did it once and they’re like ‘oh, that’s great. Do you think we need to see it again? No I think we’re good.’ So either they love me or they thought I was terrible and they were just nicely getting me out of there. I got in the car and I was like, ‘I don’t know how I did. We’ll see.’ Six and a half hours back- it was a two minute audition- and two weeks later we get a call offering me the part.”– Collin Blackford
With any book-to-movie adaptation, there are expectations and pressures that the cast and crew must overcome in order to please fans and do justice to the original literature. Collin explained that some positive and necessary updates were made to the story, while keeping its themes true to Spinelli’s novel. Changes always have to be made when bringing a story to life on the big screen and in this case, we are particularly glad that the addition of Benny Burrito was made to the script!
“I know that they’re always worried about differences they change from the book…The last scene at the school dance, they were originally gonna have it rain…the problem was is that it was like 30 degrees it was freezing outside…after every cut they did, we would run into the little heating rooms…I they were like, ‘we’re just worried about hypothermia for the kids’, so then…Grace’s mom had the idea. She was like, ‘why don’t we just do snow?'”– Collin Blackford
“It was also easier for me because my character wasn’t in the book, that I didn’t have to adhere to exactly what this character was like or else I’m gonna get hate or I’m not gonna hold up to what Jerry wrote in his book. Drawing from a character in a book is something that can be difficult, but I think it’s something that is really, really cool to have that source material to draw from.”– Collin Blackford
Stargirl’s Take On Friendship
Stargirl is full of important messages for audiences both young and old. It explores the all too relatable scenarios that arise for high schoolers when friends get into inevitable squabbles, while trying to navigate first relationships. It’s also about being completely and unapologetically yourself. There is something for everyone to learn from this sweet and undeniably funny film.
“I agree, when that happens to people, you do always become a little distance. The important thing is getting over that and working through the struggles and the fights that a friendship is inevitably gonna have. I think that my character does go through that. I think that Stargirl herself helps with that, the whole being true to yourself and all of that. That is something interesting that I hadn’t really thought about is that it does explore how when friendships have their inevitable fights, it’s important to just move on because life is so. Who cares about a petty fight? Just get over it. It’s not a big deal and I think that it actually does show that really well.”– Collin Blackford
Collin’s character Benny, who always seems to be hungry, has his own way of making amends with Leo after the rift.
“I remember being on set and the director was like, ‘Alright, you giving the food to him is like the nicest thing you’ve ever done in your life'”– Collin Blackford
The Sarah Scoop Show loved having Collin Blackford as a guest! He gave us the inside scoop on all things Stargirl, being a young actor, and his life outside of acting. If you haven’t seen his heartfelt and funny film yet, go watch it on Disney+ now. We can’t wait to see what’s next for you this rising star!
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Make sure to watch Collin Blackford on Disney+, and make sure to check out more episodes of The Sarah Scoop Show!