I first met Atticus Shaffer by accident. It was the premiere of Real Steal and I was with my son. The place was packed and he lost me in the crowd. I called his name.
“Atticus!” I shouted above the din of Hollywood chatter.
I looked down and there was Atticus, just not my Atticus. It was only slightly awkward. I then spent the next few minutes (don’t worry, my son appeared, too) talking to his father about the name we both chose for our sons and the different responses that we get from people. For example, “Did you know that name is from a movie?” ranked high with both of us.
The answer, of course, is yes, an excellent movie, but we got the name from the book. Stay in school, kids!
This time, when I met Atticus Shaffer and his family it was in the quiet comfort of a hallway in the Loews Hollywood Hotel, and when I met his mother I had to recap the original tale. Still awkward.
However, Atticus was excited to see me again. He grabbed my hand for a surprisingly firm shake and asked, “How are you, Sir?” Then we chatted for a moment before I excused myself out of their family time. I’m not one to intrude.
I walked away thinking about the horror stories one hears about Hollywood and childhood, and it was nice to chalk one up for the good guys.
It turns out that the role Atticus plays in Tim Burton’s latest horror story homage Frankenweenie isn’t quite as nice. Edgar “E.” Gore is two parts laboratory assistant and one part Peter Lorre, and skews heavily toward the weaselly and sneaky. You know the type.
I was attending Disney’s premiere of the film in Hollywood, part of an invited group of bloggers, and prior to the screening we had the opportunity to sit down with Atticus and his Frankenweenie costars, Charlie Tahan (Victor) and Robert Capron (Bob). Here is some of that conversation: