Moises Arias: A Break-Out Summer

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In a film featuring Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Megan Mulally, many of Kings of Summer’s biggest laughs come from a 19-year-old actor primarily known for his performance on Disney’s Hannah Montana.

Biaggio is a break-out role for Georgia native Moises Arias. He plays a loyal-but-hilariously-odd sidekick to two boys struggling to deal with oppressive family lives. Biaggio helps them build a house in the woods, faking notes from a fictitious kidnapper. The movie has been compared to Superbad, and that would make Biaggio this year’s McLovin.

“I would love that—to be the McLovin of SuperBad,” says Arias. “When I read the script—I don’t really ever laugh out loud at scripts, but I did with this one, especially with Biaggio. I’d never really read a character as funny as Biaggio. [He’s] just such a different character to everything I’ve done in the past. I wanted to do something very different and I think it paid off.”

It has, as Paste and others identified Arias’ Biaggio as one of the best performances at Sundance this year. The indie, coming-of-age comedy gets its theatrical release this week, and Arias will be back on the big screen in a couple of Blockbusters later this year—as Bonzo Madrid in Ender’s Game and doing voice work in Despicable Me 2.

Ender’s Game and [Kings of Summer] both really set me apart from what I’ve done in the past,” says Arias. “And they’re so high in contrast from each other. Biaggio is such a far-fetched character, the most far-fetched I’ve ever played. But Bonzo in Ender’s Game is a more serious, dramatic, intense character than anything I’ve played.”

Arias’ mother moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles when Moises was 10 to give him and his younger brother Mateo more opportunities in the entertainment realm. The boys began making their own shorts, even as Disney cast Moises as Rico on Hannah Montana and Mateo as Jerry on Kickin’ It. Their first homemade production was a 15-minute Star Wars spoof, filmed on the kids’ MacBook Pro. “I have to find that,” Moises says laughing. “The funny thing is that it was about a kid auditioning for the new Star Wars. It’s ironic that they’re making a new one now.”

In addition to his bigger roles outside of the Disney world and filming goofy YouTube videos with his brother, the 19-year-old actor has written and directed his first short film. “Hopefully I’ll get it out there and let people see it,” he says. “If not at festivals then I’ll put it on the web and let people see the art that I can do by myself.”

For Moises Arias, 2013 has been a coming-of-age story all its own.

Note: The Sampler track attached to this story was composed by Ryan Miller for the Kings of Summer soundtrack. Says director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, “I didn’t want the soundtrack to be filled with emotional acoustic music as the boys were expressing their freedom in the woods. … The Kings of Summer was always intended to be a mash up of old and new. I wanted to combine the classic themes and techniques found in movies of the late 70’s and 80’s with very contemporary comedy and characters rooted in the plight of the Internet generation. When I first started talking to Ryan Miller I mentioned wanting to explore the idea of creating a simplistic 8-bit esque melody similar to the works of Koji Kondo [Zelda, Donkey Kong].”

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