Jaylin Webb Was Too Afraid to Talk to Anthony Hopkins on the Set of “Armageddon Time”
In our Q&A series Last Call, we get down to the bottom of every last thing with some of our favorite celebs – from the last time they were starstruck to the last song they listened to. This week, Jaylin Webb takes our call.
Jaylin Webb joined an all-star cast for this fall’s “Armageddon Time.” His costars in the ’80s-set drama include Oscar winner Anne Hathaway, “Succession”‘s Jeremy Strong, and the legendary Anthony Hopkins. Hathaway, Webb tells POPSUGAR, was “extremely sweet,” and he loved watching Strong work in their scene together. “I saw that he was very focused and into his craft, and that really did motivate me to do the same,” the 16-year-old says. However, his first time meeting Hopkins is a different story.
“With Anthony, on the other hand, I got too scared to talk to him because I heard a lot of stuff about him being in all these crazy movies where he eats people and that just threw me off,” Webb confesses, referencing Hopkin’s iconic turn as Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs” and its two sequels. “He was right next to me, too, and my mom really wanted me to say something to him, but I got so scared and I just ran out of the theater where they were filming,” Webb admits with a laugh.
“I was so new to everything. The subways, all the buildings, all the people – it was just so amazing. And every time I wasn’t filming, I would just explore New York with my family.”
Minus his run-in with the famous cannibal, working on “Armageddon Time” was a dream come true for Webb – who plays Johnny, the best friend of the movie’s lead, Paul (Banks Repeta). In the film, Paul struggles to make it through sixth grade and while he and Johnny connect, his parents are blinded by their own racism and seek to keep the pair apart, moving Paul into a private school favored by the Trumps. The film is heavily based on writer-director James Gray’s actual adolescence and has drummed up serious Oscar buzz for the cast, including Webb.
Webb first learned about the movie after wrapping an arc on “The Wonder Years.” His mom told him about a new script, but, initially, he didn’t want to do it because he was “really exhausted.” However, Webb says he agreed to read it while his mom drove them home. “Something about the script really appealed to me and I wanted to do it,” he shares.
Two weeks after his audition, Gray called him back in for a director’s session. Webb shuffled UNO cards like his character in the movie and Gray had him write the numbers one through 100 on a piece of paper. “I thought [that] was really strange, but I guess it’s all for a reason,” Webb says (Gray never told him the reason). When he came home from school the next day, Webb’s mom told him he got the part.
Prior to filming the movie in New York, Webb had never been to the Big Apple. “I was so new to everything. The subways, all the buildings, all the people – it was just so amazing. And every time I wasn’t filming, I would just explore New York with my family,” he says. During the first week of school, Webb, Repeta, their on-set teachers, and their parents all went to the top of the Empire State Building, which he really cherished.
School started for the duo two weeks before filming, which allowed the young actors to get to know each other in a casual environment. During breaks, they’d play ping pong in the gaming room next to their classroom. Who’s the better player? “I’m not going to lie, at first, Banks was whooping my butt, but I got better as we continued to do it,” Webb reveals.
In the film, Johnny and Paul have lots of adventures together, including a day when they skip class and explore the city. Webb loved that the production designer set up a whole retro arcade where they could play vintage games. His favorite day on set, meanwhile, was when the friends decide to steal some computers from Paul’s school. “Just filming the scene was cool because we did a couple of stunts where I had to lift up Banks, and it was a lot of running, and I felt so rebellious in that moment,” he says.
“One major dream project that I want to do is just being in the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
“Armageddon Time” took Webb all around the world. While doing press this fall, he went to Los Angeles for the first time and got to come back to New York in October to see the movie play at the New York Film Festival. But the real highlight was heading to Cannes to debut the film during the festival in May – his first time in Europe.
“That was when we first walked the carpet, and that was my first ever red carpet. So just being there in that moment was amazing,” Webb says. “Every day we would go to the beach because it was right across from the hotel. Me, Banks, and James Gray’s kids, we would all go to the beach and just hang out, and talk with the French kids who lived there.”
Looking toward the future, Webb would love to do more stunts and try his hand at being an action star. “One major dream project that I want to do is just being in the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” he says. There’s no one character he has his eyes on; he’s open to them all. “I love action so much. Even just doing an adventure or action film, I would really love to do that,” Webb adds.
Keep reading to see what Webb has to say about his last day on “Armageddon Time”‘s set, the music he’s been listening to, and more.
What was the last day on the “Armageddon Time” set like?
I was really sad because we had been filming for two months, but at the same time, I was really happy because I was so proud of all the work that we’ve done. There was a lot of hugging, crying, gift giving and receiving, and a lot of TikToks, too.
Who was the last “Armageddon Time” costar you texted?
Banks. I just texted him yesterday. I saw something funny that he had posted, so I texted him about it.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
It had to be when I had the chance to talk to Idris Elba at Cannes.
What was the last song you listened to?
“Swang” by Rae Sremmurd.
What was the last album you bought or streamed?
“My Dear Melancholy” by The Weeknd.
What is the last photo in your camera roll?
A picture of me on stage at my screening for the movie in my hometown, which all my family and friends came to.
What was the last show you binge-watched?
What was the last movie you watched?
“The Color Purple.”
What was the last thing you bought online?
It’s this dust cleaner gel that I saw online, and it’s this little ball of slime that’s supposed to clean your keyboard. But I was rigged. It didn’t end up cleaning my keyboard. It ended up just being slime.
What was the last thing you did for fun?
Play with my dog, Simba.
What was the last thing you did for self-care?
Every day in the morning and night, I usually wash my face and do my whole skincare routine.
What was the last book you read?
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston in English class.
What was the last gift you received?
What was the last trip you went on?
New York for New York Film Festival.
What was the last piece of advice you received that changed your life?
Don’t let others define you.