About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Home
March 2004
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London: An Interview with Frankie Muniz

By Andrea Wade

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London: An Interview with Frankie Muniz

Frankie Muniz is developing into one young megastar. Besides being the lead in the hit show, Malcolm in the Middle, he's bringing his legion of fans to the big screen. After making a hit with the first Agent Cody Banks, Muniz is back reprising his role as the teenager who's recruited by the CIA to help them solve cases. In talking with blackfilm.com, Muniz tells us about working with Anthony Anderson and how the film is different from the James Bond films.

So you get Angie Harmon in the last one. Now it's Anthony. What's the contrast there? What's the dynamic of working with those two actors?

Frankie: Well, Anthony is a much better looking person. Naw, Angie was amazingly beautiful and amazing to work with.

I've never become so close with somebody on set as I did with Angie. (Somebody comments about her husband). I mean, I don't want to get beat up. But Anthony is just hilarious and so much fun to work with. The days that he had off, were just dull because he brought so much to the movie. We all thought that the one thing the first movie lacked was more comedy and we definitely got that with him.

What ideas of your own did you have to make this bigger than the first one?

Frankie: Well, I had a lot of ideas. As we were filming we were kind of rewriting scenes and Anthony and I would go in and try to come up with some good lines. I think every line that Anthony says in the movie wasn't scripted.

He ad-libbed everything. It's kind of hard. I'm used to being on 'Malcolm' where I'm not allowed to change anything. The script has to be exactly the same. So, getting the opportunity to do what I want is kind of weird at first, especially being in a scene with somebody who is changing it up, I had to go along with that.

Was the part designed with Anthony Anderson or someone like him in mind?

Frankie: Yes. Well, originally it was supposed to be Angie in the original script but the reason Angie didn't come back is we wanted to make it a brand new, different movie. With her it would have been the same thing with Cody and his handler. We wanted to bring in Anthony. We knew we wanted to add more comedy and we did with Anthony.

Did you learn any new fighting moves?

Frankie: Yeah. I had trained for two months before the first one, two hours a day martial arts training and the same for this one.

I did pretty much all the fighting in this movie. Every fighting scene was me in this one. Rather than those few things here and there I didn't do in the first. But I learned some new stuff I guess.

What are the parameters of the franchise? How does it want to be different from James Bond? Obviously you can't sleep with the girls like James Bond does so where do the creators draw the line?

Frankie: We wanted to make it a junior James Bond because every kid, every person looks up to James Bond and wants to be that James Bond character and I think that's the great thing about Cody Banks. Now kids have somebody their age to look up to. I want to be like Cody Banks'. So, we just wanted to go with that but we had to keep PG. We wanted to make it funny and hope people enjoy it.

What about stunts? Is there a line? We saw you on the top of the roof. Would you have liked to have seen bigger stunts?

Frankie: Well the first movie there was insane action. The whole end 30 minutes was just explosions, bam, boom jumping around.

This one we still have the action but it was also a funny movie. Stunt-wise, if we filmed it here in the U.S. I probably wouldn't have been able to do anything. But because we filmed it away I was kind of like yeah, I'll do it'. Probably shouldn't have but I'm okay. It made the movie look better.

What kind of weird Cody fan encounters have you had?

Frankie: I love that more than anything, being recognized for Cody Banks because that's a cool character. Everybody looks up to Cody Banks and everyone wants to be like him so for me to play him is really fun. Nothing really weird but there are those really weird fans who just follow you everywhere. It's scary.

How long can it go on? How many more sequels can you do?

Frankie: I don't know. Right now, I'm at a very critical point in my career where I'll make the transition from child actor to an adult actor or a respectable actor. So, I have a whole bunch of movies lined up for this summer. Most of them are smaller, independent, dramatic movies where I'll actually have to act in. In Cody Banks, for both of them, it was just fun and I just did it. For 'Malcolm', we've done 105 episodes now. I don't even think about it. So, I really need to do something different and make that transition.

How do you feel about being at that point? Is it exciting? Is it Scary?

Frankie: I always thought, I'd turn eighteen, I'd be a legal adult so I'd be an adult actor and just continue to do what I was doing but it's a lot more than that. I've been seeing it in the last two months. I haven't been scared but I've really been thinking about it a lot, that I really have to do something at this point right now to break the mold. Because the last five years I've been doing "Malcolm" and 'Big Fat Liar' and now the two "Cody Banks" movies and they've all been kind of the same thing; comedies geared toward a younger audience. I need to do something different.

What kind of different qualities are there between Kevin Allen and Harald Zwart?

Frankie: A lot. They're very different. When Harold was talking about a scene he'd be like I want to have a rocket ship coming flying out over here and an explosion over here!' Harold wanted to make everything just big things big. Where Kevin was more about making the movie funny and good scenes and when the reaction came just let the stunt coordinators and everyone work that stuff out. That was the biggest difference I saw.

Did Hannah show you around London at all?

Frankie: I only had one day off a week and during that one day off, I'd fly to Norway for a premiere there and Scotland the other week and I was always traveling around or working on something. So, the few days I did have where I could just like sleep in, I didn't want to go anywhere. But, I was lucky. I don't feel like I wasted any time being in London seeing stuff because we filmed at all the touristy spots so I got to see them when we were on the set. It was cool.

Were you concerned about rushing the sequel?

Frankie: Not really. We kind of had to but I was happy with how it turned out.

But, we got the word a week before the first movie got released last year that we were doing it in a month and a half. We were going to start filming so they had to write a script and I had to start training and do everything. So it was kind of rushed but I wrapped the day I started 'Malcolm'. I wrapped in London. I flew home and started 'Malcolm' the next day. It was like well, gang, if we're gonna do it we need to do it now'. I wasn't really concerned because I knew they'd make it good.

As child actor making the transition to more mature roles, have you faced a stigmatism where you are saying, hey, hey, hey I'm more than this'? Are you forced to read for parts and audition for parts?

Frankie: Up until now, I've gotten hundreds of scripts and I can just pick which one I want to do. I loved "Cody Banks" so I did that. It was what was I going to have the most fun doing? Where now, I actually really have to read the script and look into who's directing, who's also going to be in it. And, there have been two movies this summer that I had to meet with the director and explain why I should be in the movie which is weird because I'd never done that. I've never been on an audition in six years. It was weird going back into that and be like yeah, I really love the movie and I like this part' and try to really sell myself.

Can you tell us about some of these roles?

Frankie: Well, they're all kind of crazy. One of them I'm too afraid to do and I backed out last minute. Right after he finally said I'd love for you to do the movie I said Actually, I don't want to do that. I am too scared to do that.' But some are gonna be rated 'R' movies, drama, there are characters into drugs and stuff. There's this one, it's a Don Roos movie called Happy Endings where I'd be gay. It's totally different from anything I've ever done. It's weird. I need to make a jump to do a good movie but I don't know if I want to make that big of a jump because all of my fans are like 12 to 18 and they wouldn't really be able to go and see that. I've got a movie called 'Kerwin' that I'm attached to right now that I love. We might be doing it this summer. It's a very serious movie, a very serious role but everybody would leave liking my character.

Too scary like was the character a killer or something?

Frankie: No. Just weird dark comedy movie. It was with a great cast, Woody Harrelson, Danny DeVito, Jersey Films was producing, so it was good because I'd be working with great people with and that was the good thing about it but it was too much of a detriment.

Question: Who do you listen to for advice? Is it your manager? Your parents?

Frankie: Well, my managers now. I'm 18 so my mom is just my mom again. Before this, she always read the scripts and gave them to me and was very involved. But I started wanting to take over and get involved and see what goes on. And they really wanted me to do the movie. And I read the script and liked it at first and met with the director. Then I re-read it and got a weird feeling. So I went in and said I really don't want to do this.'

There's also this guy who works on 'Malcolm in the Middle'. He's a camera assistant who is an aspiring director and he's a writer and I love everything he says because everything he says is exactly how I feel. I always give him the scripts and say read this and tell me what you think about it'. And he always says exactly what I was thinking before I even say anything so I take his advice a lot.

Are there any other child actors who have made the transition you look to as role models?

Frankie: I don't really have like a role model that I look to but I think Michael J. Fox has an awesome career and Diane Lane. I just want to continue working for the next couple of years and get into that but we'll see.

Was the Stuck on You cameo a way to dip your toe in the water?

Frankie: Well they came to me about that a long time before they did it. It was one day of work in Miami. I actually worked 23 minutes.

We know you like investing your money in nice cars. How about investing in the Clippers basketball team so that they can get Iverson next year?

Frankie: That's always been a dream of mine, owning the Clippers but I need two hundred and eighty-three more million dollars. [laughter] So, if you guys want to chip in, I'll pay you back. I actually went up to the Olsen twins the other day and I was like, You know, you guys have the money. You know where I live'.

Did you know who S-Club was when you met Hannah?

Frankie: I did, actually. They had this show on Fox Family here and I always watched it when I was younger. When I went to London to do 'Malcolm' publicity way back when the show was starting there, they were everywhere. They were huge. That's all you heard on the radio. I was excited to get to meet her and work with her.

You have two animated movies coming up, The Fairy Odd Parents movie

Frankie: I'm not doing that movie anymore because my voice got too deep and I was playing a 7-year old so it didn't work out. Racing Stripes, that's a live action film like Babe. The animals talk and I play Stripes, a zebra who wants to be a race horse. I've seen it. It's a really, really good movie.

What character do you bring to the zebra?

Frankie: They didn't want me to change my voice or to be wacky. They just wanted me to be Frankie Muniz in a zebra's body. So I was just me.

Question: What would your ideal role be when you in your mid to late 20's? More action films, comedy?

Frankie: I don't find myself funny. I don't consider myself a comedic actor. I'm on a comedy show but 'Malcolm' is just always very annoyed and upset as if he were on 'The O.C.' rather than 'Malcolm in the Middle'. I enjoy doing drama. I enjoy doing comedies. I like doing action movies. I want to mix it up and do everything. I don't want to be stereotyped as one specific type of actor, do one kind of movie. That's why this summer is so hard and we are working on trying to get me out of that before I get stuck in there and nobody wants to see me in a dramatic movie.

The Olsen twins are in college. Do you think you'll go?

Frankie: Up until a few months ago, I was like I'm definitely going to college' but I can't right now. I can't put anything on hold. I need to take advantage of every day that I have to continue my career. I can't be like oh, I'll be back next summer because I'm going to school'. School will always be there. College will be there. I'm doing fine right now doing this so I'll just continue it for as long as possible and see what happens.

Do you have time to enjoy all your cars?

Frankie: Yeah. Being in L.A., working in L.A., it's so nice because you're home. You go to work and you get home and you have the cars and I have everything whereas, filming in Vancouver and London I loved but I'm still like I can't wait to get home to see my cat and play with my dog'.

Have you thought about Cody Banks 3 yet?

Frankie: Well they've talked about it if this one is a success but they would have to wait a year or two for me because I need to do something different.

Would the series continue as Cody grows up?

Frankie: I guess. I'm not too sure because they haven't written the script yet.

Any aspirations to be a producer? Some people like Alicia Silverstone and Jennifer Love Hewitt when they were at a certain age set up a label or do you want to wait for that?

Frankie: A lot of the movies I do have lined up I am kind of a producer and I also have an MTV show we're starting to film in two weeks and I'm a producer and kind of creator of that.

Tell us about that

Frankie: Can't say much about that because it's going to change a lot. I can tell you an idea. It might change because it is still in the works. The first episode we're going to have a kid who has failed his driver's license test like twenty times and I go in and surprise him at school and I have my girls'who go in and help me. We take this kid and we steal him out of school and we go to a racetrack and Jeff Gordon's there or a famous racecar racer and we're like here you go. You're gonna drive the car around the track. Just to have fun and crazy stuff like that.

The next is a kid who loves John Mayer for example or loves some musician and plays a guitar and his dream is to play onstage in front of his friends who make fun of him. We get John Mayer to come in and teach him how to play a song and he goes on stage and plays with John in front of his friends. It's going to be fun. We don't have a title for it yet but everybody's going to want to be.whatever it is. Everybody wants their story to be done. Who are your real Frankie Muniz girls?

Frankie: I have one girlfriend and she's my Frankie Muniz girl.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy