Star-Kidz Holiday Q&A 2010
Alex Ben and Caleb Eckstein played the role of “Spike Lavery” on All My Children from 2007 to 2010 when the show moved to LA. The boys have also been seen on Ugly Betty and Boardwalk Empire this year.
1. I was wondering what is next for Alex, Ben, and Caleb. Are they currently working on another project?
Right now the boys aren't working on anything. They started Pre-School and are enjoying that three days a week. We're still pursuing work but right now school and family is what they've been enjoying most.
2. Do the boys miss their on-screen family from AMC? Do they keep in touch with anyone?
The boys absolutely miss EVERYONE from their AMC family. We keep in touch with Alicia, some of the crew from AMC, a few of the other families, and Jada, Sister, and Kathy who helped us everytime the boys were at the studio. The boys actually shot Boardwalk Empire which the McTigue twins also filmed.
3. How did the boys like filming "Boardwalk Empire"?
The filming of Boardwalk Empire was completed in 2 exciting but long days. The boys were put up in their own trailer for dressing, which was our first experience. It was rather small, but we were not there long at all. Once called for stand-by, we spent the majority of the time off set in a room about the size of a classroom, where we colored, watched movies, played handheld video games, and any other activities that we brought with us. The food was incredible .. we ate like kings. Each of the boys filmed the entire scene countless times throughout the 2 days. They really hung in there and did a great job! The entire staff was hospitable and the boy really enjoyed being there.
4. How did the boys like filming "Ugly Betty"?
The filming of Ugly Betty was a lot of fun! For some days they had their own trailer and others their own room. The cast & crew were a lot of fun and really great with the boys. Ben got to operate a camera and sit where the camera guy sat (I got a few photos of that) They got really comfortable with Chris and America and it showed when they filmed. During the diner scene they had to smoosh a muffin into "Betty's" face and it was funny because they were trying to be polite about it because they liked her. They even ad-libbed their own lines at the diner. Even funnier is Ben filmed and then Alex came in and filmed and neither one saw the other BUT during one part where "Nate" had to try to be rude to Betty both boys roared like a dinosaur! The crew got a kick out of that. The boys were able to keep a few keepsakes like the Green High Heeled shoe and a few other things :-)
5. What was it like to go from a recurring role on All My Children to a one-shot deal like Ugly Betty?
There are benefits and draw backs to both. The boys enjoy working and being around people and enjoy whatever comes their way. They really bonded with the cast/crew from AMC as did Michael and I and it was hard for us to say goodbye to 2.5 years of memories. The boys grew up on AMC so to speak because we spent a lot of time in NYC. It's hard now that the four boys are in school and Abby has joined our family for us to uproot and go to NJ for weeks/months on end, although if something came along and the boys were still interested in doing this we'd find a way to make it work.
6. Was it hard to get the boys to not pay attention to their surroundings while filming Boardwalk Empire?
The audition was our preparation for the actual filming because I already knew it was for the role of a deaf child. Having played "Spike" as long as they did with his hearing loss they were accustomed to pretending not to listen(and they were 3.5 yrs old and that's part of their nature :-P) The audition had them sitting with a ball of rubberbands and/or a toy and ignoring the lady. I wasn't in the room so I'm not 100% sure how it went but I guess it was good since they chose them to do the role. Caleb was the one you ultimately saw in that episode of Boardwalk Empire. And yes, I'm partially bias as their parent, but for as long of a day they had shooting those scenes and how many times they had to film it over and over at different angles they all did a great job of being patient and still staying within "character".
7. How did you feel when the boys got casted to play Spike?
I remember everything from the moment we got the casting notice to the day we got the call. It was almost surreal but felt like it was meant to happen. We were up in NJ for the boys birthday party and had plans of leaving Monday. We got a call saying that AMC liked the photo and wanted the boys to come in for an audition on Tuesday. We rearranged our schedules and took the boys in. I remember Alex was under the weather and Thorston was there and he came right over to the boys and was playing & talking to them. That Thursday we got a call saying they wanted to book us and we started Monday with a tour of the studio and filming Tuesday. As excited as we were there was a lot to consider because we lived in PA and there was a LOT of filming to take place. We were lucky enough to have parents who were so willing to accomodate us and allow us to pretty much takeover their homes hehe... We sat down with Judy and she went over the story line we were getting involved with and I remember her telling us about the car accident and blood and how it looks real, especially on TV, and some parents can't deal with it but it was neat to see how they made it work so it looked real and yes...even though we/I knew the blood and such was fake I still found myself getting emotional with some of the scenes. The day we learned it was going to LA was a sad, sad, day.
8. What was the boys last AMC tape date like?
I'm going to let Michael answer this because he was there, but I know for me not being able to be there was hard. We made a lot of good friends during our time there and it was hard to think we weren't going to be seeing them anymore. Some, like I said, we keep in contact with and it's great to see how things are going for them both in LA and NYC. (Michael) Our last day at AMC was not the official last day of shooting, but in summation, the last day of shooting at AMC was an extremely emotional day. I remember that every few minutes and every corner we turned was someone reflecting on the past and crying both happy and sad tears. Once everyone moved past the idea that AMC was moving to LA, we remembered all the good times that were shared by all over the years. I still cannot believe that we were part of this wonderful group of people for so long, yet looking back, it seemed to go by so quickly.
9. Were there any funny moments on set of AMC, Ugly Betty and/or Boardwalk Empire that stand out/can be shared?
The scene that stands out most in my mind was at AMC during the disappearance of Kendall when she was hiding in the attic. I cannot remember who at this time, but one of the boys was were talking with Erica and "mom" was mentioned and he was trying to tell them that mommy (Bonnie) was home in PA working, yet they were trying to get him to say mommy (Kendall) was in the wall. We all cracked up for the first few times of this shoot. Ugly Betty funny times were mentioned in Q4.
We'd like to thank the Eckstein family for participating in the Star-Kidz Holiday Q&A event this year!