Star-Kidz

1. How did you prepare TJ for his role on Days? He is doing a great job!
Katrina: He doesn’t have a personal acting coach that goes over the scripts with him. He and I work on it together. He can read which helps him to comprehend the dialogue much better. We discuss his personal interpretation and reaction to the script and the end result is what you see on Days through his character Theo.
When he’s on set he’s flexible enough to take direction from the directors. I know that he works off of the other actors and learns a lot from them as well.
There is also an autism consultant on set from time to time to help give direction so that Theo’s behavior, interaction and non-interaction are all as accurate as possible.

2. What’s it like for TJ to play an autistic child, like is it hard for him to pull it off?
Terrell: It’s not hard, it’s just that it’s kind of sad to me because I’m not talking to my dad (Abe) and mom (Lexie) and it hurts their feelings. I know they are acting, but it’s sad.
Katrina: Honestly, and I think anyone on the set can tell you, that his mannerisms that you see on screen just comes naturally. There are times when he will be given direction on set and he’ll add his own touch to a response or reaction and the directors love that.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention that with the help of the head writer Dena Higley sharing her personal story and the support of NBC and Autism Speaks, Days of Our Lives and the Carver family is helping to raise awareness about an epidemic that affects the lives of so many of Terrell’s peers (1 out of 150) and their families. Terrell is blessed to have been chosen for this role at this time for such a worthy cause and we are truly thankful!

3. How does TJ enjoy working with Rachel (Chelsea)?
Terrell: Chelsea is fun and we make each other laugh!

4. How did TJ enjoy being able to attend an autism event recently?
Terrell: I felt great because I got to do interviews and it was my first time being at the event. I felt good watching the people read their poems too.
Katrina: He doesn’t shy away from the camera that’s for sure. As for the event, raising autism awareness has become a big part of our life mission since being sort of exposed to it through the Days storyline and character Theo, so we were honored to receive the invitation. To be amongst so many people, from different walks of life, supporting a positive cause with one goal in mind, to fight against the autism spectrum disorder was extremely motivating!

5. Is TJ currently auditioning for other projects as well?
Katrina: There are a few big projects in the pipeline. We will definitely keep you posted.

6. Is there anyone TJ wants the chance to work with on Days but has not yet gotten the chance?
Terrell: Chloe! Because she’s cute!
Katrina: I’m Speechless!

7. How was autism explained to TJ?
Katrina: Days provided us with tons of reading material from Autism Speaks as well as a DVD documentary titled Autism: The Musical.
The reading provided so much insight on the autism spectrum disorder. With it, I was able to explain to Terrell what autism really meant and how it affected children. At that time, his character Theo had shown signs of autism in the storyline for approximately three months, so it was easier for him to understand.
What really helped him relate to his character Theo was the documentary because he was able to connect the things he and I talked about with what he saw. For 93 minutes we went on a journey following the lives of five children with autism and their families. We shared in their trials, their tears, the laughter & the triumph. It was enlightening, spellbinding and emotionally overwhelming all at the same time. It changed the way we looked at autism! It’s a must see for everyone.

8. Does TJ enjoy working with other kids on set?
Katrina: Because his character Theo is autistic, he hasn’t had the chance to work with or interact with kids while on set. The only other child actor that we see regularly is Lauren Boles who plays Ciara Brady. On days that they’re on set together, Lauren’s mom and I allow them to play together when the taping schedule permits.

9. How does TJ react to seeing himself on television?
Katrina:He doesn’t really react although he tells me he’s happy to be on TV. There are times when he pays more attention to one episode over another. He usually discusses what he was thinking while taping the scenes. What I find most intriguing about this five year old is his interest in watching the taping of other scenes whenever we’re on set and waiting in the dressing room.

10. Who has been TJ’s favorite person to work with so far?
Terrell: I like Ms. Renee and Mr. James and Chelsea, she’s my girlfriend. I like EJ and Daniel too!
Katrina: He works with them the most obviously, but he enjoys working with other cast mates when given the opportunity.


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