In case you have missed the buzz, the film ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ has been released today in cinemas. The star of the film is a young man called Zack Gottsagen.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is a modern Mark Twain-esque adventure. It also stars Shia LaBeouf as a small-time outlaw turned unlikely coach who joins forces with Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down’s syndrome who is on the run from the nursing home where he’s been forced to live. Zak’s dream is to become a professional wrestler. Dakota Johnson stars as Zak’s loving, but stubborn, carer.
We were lucky enough to ask Zack some questions about what life was like on set and he also gave some advice for our readers…
You are now famous all over the world – how does that make you feel?
I feel great!
Did you always dream of being an actor?
Yes, since I was 3 years old. There was a tv show called “Life Goes On” that had an actor with Down syndrome and he was my role model.
What was it like working alongside great actors like Dakota Johnson and Shia LaBeouf?
Dakota was very sweet and kind. When we weren’t filming we would go for mani/pedis together and share meals.
Shia was a lot of fun. We watched wrestling together and created rap music.
How long did all the filming take and what was the hardest part of it all?
The filming took about six weeks. It was really hot and buggy outside. Sometimes we worked all through the night. It was hard, but really fun too.
Can you tell us any behind the scenes secrets or funny things that happened?
Dakota found an injured kitten and took her to an animal hospital. When she was healed, Dakota adopted her and said she wanted to name the kitten something that would remind her of me everyday. She named the kitten “Chicken” because I ate chicken at every meal.
You’re the main part in a huge film. How does that make you feel?
Like anything is possible if you follow your dreams.
What would you say to our readers who have Down’s syndrome and want to become actors or actresses?
Study hard in school, believe in yourself, audition for anything you can and don’t listen to people who say you can’t do it. Follow your dreams and never give up.
Apart from acting, what else do you like doing?
I love dancing, bowling, swimming, basketball, watching wrestling, going to movies and shows, hanging with my friends, and being with my dogs. I also like taking classes in dance and improv, and working out in the gym.
What kind of music are you in to?
I like to rap and I like listening to NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and other groups. I love music!
Thank you so much Zack for taking the time to answer our questions (we are sure you are very busy at the moment).
You are an incredible actor and we look forward to seeing you in more roles in the future!
There are also lots of relaxed viewings across the country including: