Starring in her first Hollywood blockbuster, Transformers: The Last Knight has been a whirlwind for Isabela Moner. But the 15-year-old West Park native wasn’t expecting to get so much face time in trailers promoting the film, which premieres in theaters June 21 and also stars Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins. Her friends are geeking out on seeing her when they go to the movies. “I’m getting a lot of Snapchats from my friends at the theaters, just seeing my face,” she says. Some of her family members, however, are still adjusting to her star turn. “My cousin’s like ‘It’s really awkward, when I’m on a date, and my cousin shows up on screen telling me that she wants to fight me,’” Moner says. Moner chats with us about Walhberg’s attempt to catch sheep, what those Transformers are really like and her upcoming film, Soldado.
Q: What were some of your favorite behind-the-scenes moments with your co-stars?
A: My cast was the reason I was comfortable on set. They made me feel at home and as if I was no lesser. Mark [Wahlberg]’s got that dadlike personality where he feels like he needs to take care of people, but he would do the funniest things. For example, when we were in Wales shooting, there are more sheep than people and I had told one of his posse, ‘I want to pet one of these sheep.’ Later on set, Mark goes, ‘So I heard you want to pet a sheep,’ and I told him, ‘Yeah of course, but I don’t know; they’re really fast. I don’t think I can catch one.’ He’s like, ‘I use to catch wild horses on the set of Lone Survivor.’ Fast-forward and someone was like, ‘Want to see a funny video?’ It’s this video of a bunch of grown men chasing sheep and falling. Mark Wahlberg basically tried to catch a sheep for me, and he never caught a sheep. He probably didn’t mention it to me, because it wasn’t a successful sheep-hunting charade.
Q: Speaking of Wahlberg, did you bond over his friend LeBron James or the Cleveland Cavaliers?
A: I was really trying to find a connection, so I could maybe meet LeBron! One of my goals is to sing the national anthem at a Cavs game — hopefully one day. I’m a big Cavs fan. Basketball is the only sport I follow.
Q: What was it like filming the action sequences and working with a green screen?
A: The Transformers that you see in the movie, they’re just a stick and a man is holding up a cardboard cutout. When you’re looking at a face of a Transformer, it’s so big, you got to look at different points. The eyes are feet apart. It was a little scary at times too. There’s this Transformer, Hound, and I had to be on his shoulder. It was actually a crane and I was harnessed into the side of it and just sitting on it. They jerked it around because this Transformer was moving, and I was holding on. I had a lot of crazy experiences.
Q: How was it switching gears for Soldado, an upcoming film starring Josh Brolin, Catherine Keener and Benicio Del Toro about the war on drugs along the U.S.-Mexico border?
A: It’s the follow-up film of Sicario, which was an amazing movie. Soldado is coming out toward the end of the year, beginning of the year. I did not hesitate when I found out that there was a female lead role open for someone who’s bilingual. [Transformers and Soldado] were both action, but this one was more drama, more intense. [Soldado] is definitely more indie. I remember just getting down in the dirt. I had to chop my hair off. I didn’t wear any makeup for the film, which you don’t really do in the film industry — so that was cool. It’s a completely different gear. I had to really do my research. I had a few books on kidnapping and the stuff going on in Mexico with the drugs, the drug lords and the wars. I’m excited for people to see it.