The entertainment world was shocked and upset in July 2019 when it was announced that Cameron Boyce – the popular young star on Disney Channel’s Jessie and The descendants died of an epileptic seizure during his sleep at the age of 20.
Boyce was considered one of the most gracious up-and-coming artists in the industry.
“He was just an amazing kid, and everyone misses him,” Adam Sandler said a year ago while promoting the Netflix horror comedy Hubie Halloween, the actor’s third project with Boyce after two Adults movie.
He was also an undeniable talent, ready to make a smooth transition from child star to adult performer, as the gravity and the weighty, emotionally raw performance he brings to his final role – this week’s new drama Around – make it clear as day.
Boyce plays Cal, an artistically talented senior in California who was drawn into a cycle of violence after being bullied by a group of football students. In many ways, the film – directed by William Coakley – feels like a darker, contemporary twist on John Hughes’ catalog of 80s teenage films.
“He put a lot of energy and effort into his role in this film because it was really far from what he had typically done in the past, especially the Disney stuff,” Cameron’s father Victor told Yahoo Entertainment in an interview with his recent wife, Libby. . “It was cruel, it was adult, it was hardcore. Some of it is hard to see. It’s like, ‘Wow, this is much, much deeper.’ “
“Anyone who knows Cameron knows how well he performs in it because it’s so different from him,” adds Libby, who says her son remained in character throughout the film’s production.
“He was so visibly passionate and hardworking and had such a drive,” says Nicole Elizabeth Berger, who costs in Around as Cecily, a classmate, ally and love interest of Cal. “It really resonated with me. I mean, he went method to this movie. He did not even let his parents get on set. ”
While Boyce’s death was mourned by millions of fans across the globe, it goes without saying that the tragedy hit his family the hardest.
“You know, every day is a struggle,” Victor says. “Everyone wants to pass, but of course it was something we did not expect. It was not as if he had a fatal disease that we knew he was going to die of. We were dazzled by his death. ”
From Boyce’s death, however, the need for his family came to continue and build on their son’s inspiring work as a humanitarian. At just 18, Boyce worked to bring clean water to underdeveloped countries (though The Thirst Project), and soon after he adapted to reasons to fight homelessness (United Way), raising awareness of sexual assault on college campuses (It’s On Us ) and help families with children diagnosed with sickle cell disease (Lucstrong Foundation).
“He was incredibly philanthropic,” says his mother Libby. “He would be more involved in using his voice to help young people find creative businesses that take them away from negativity and violence.”
The Cameron Boyce Foundation was launched in 2019 with an emphasis on reducing gun violence. Within a few months, the family expanded the organization to also focus on curing epilepsy.
“It’s been a couple of years now, and even though we never get over it, we’re moving forward in keeping his legacy alive and building the foundation and ensuring that his work does not disappear, and in fact it will continue to grow,” he said. Victor.
The foundation that bears the name of the deceased actor and his last film Around is inherently connected. A prevalent theme that runs throughout the drama is that the children in this story resort to violence because the adults in their lives are not involved or present enough to steer them in the right direction.
“The film depicts how troubled young people resort to violence as a way of dealing with stress and anxiety, especially those who do not have the right guidance,” says Berger. “And I think the film does a good job of showing how hard it is to get back from it once you go the wrong way. It’s hard to come back. So I hope this is a wake-up call for some people. ”
Boyces who first screened Around at the Mammoth Film Festival in February 2020, before the film’s release was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, it says it’s “bittersweet” to see their deceased son now.
“It was a tough thing,” Victor says. “I say it all the time. It’s two – sided. I love watching him animated. I love hearing his voice because I do not hear it anymore. I love watching him do what he loved to do and what he was very good at. So it’s always a joy for me, but what makes it bitter is that I can not congratulate him. I can not hug him. I can not talk to him about the experience. I can not talk to him about how it goes or what he will do next. So it will always be bittersweet. But I would rather have the movie come out and be seen and get people to appreciate him than not. ”
Around is now playing in theaters in New York and Los Angeles and premieres on video on demand on October 19th.
Watch the trailer: