Disney+’s new series, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers stars a young veteran actor from Philly, Maxwell Simkins.
The Disney+ Channel’s new series, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers with Emilio Estevez and Lauren Graham might be of interest to Philadelphians because, well, we’re a hockey town. With all the Flyers, Broad Street Bullies, Stanley Cups, and Gritty to prove it. Add one more true trophy to that list in that 14-year-old Philadelphia thespian, Maxwell Simkins is The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers youthful lead actor. Go team!
Funny thing is, this is not the first time that Simkins has tackled the challenge of acting against big name stars. Acting since the age of six, his first film role was for director Rob Reiner 2014’s And So It Goes with Oscar-winning actor Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas. With that, handling a puck and fronting a junior league hockey team for The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is a piece of cake.
Miraculously with his busy schedule, dosage MAGAZINE and I caught up to Simkins between gigs.
A.D. Amorosi: I know you started super, super young. So formal training is out of the question. How did you know you had the acting bug before you got to the big and small screen?
Maxwell Simkins: Yes, I started super young. I really got into acting because of Cameron Boyce and the cast of Jessie. I was bullied a lot at school physical and mentally, so when I’d come home I’d turn on that show and it would make me laugh and smile and would turn my day around. I told my mom and dad I wanted to be like them And my parents found an acting manager in Jersey and I booked my first audition, which was and So It Goes with Rob Reiner, Diane Keaton, and Michael Douglas.
A.D. Amorosi: You started off in quite an auspicious debut. Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes with Oscar winners Diane Keaton, with whom you have acted with in several films, and Michael Douglas. What was that first experience like and did you realize that you were starting off with such widely known names?
Maxwell Simkins: No, I actually didn’t know who anyone in the film was. Then again what 6 year old does? And to this day I can’t believe I was blessed to have gotten to work with them.
A.D. Amorosi: Looking back what do you think of your first performance?
Maxwell Simkins: I don’t like watching anything I do. I’m way too self-critical. I never think what I do is good enough. That’s the same with my music, I never listen to it because I always feel like it just wasn’t perfect.
A.D. Amorosi: The Mighty Ducks has quite a history. I was a kid when it came around the first time. What did you know about the original film, and how does that compare to Game Changers?
Maxwell Simkins: I loved the original films. I remember I watched them with my brother and with my dad. They have a lot in common. The one thing about Game Changers is it shows more character arc and tells you more in-depth about each character’s journey.
A.D. Amorosi: Since you acted in dramatic roles in the past, what does broad comedy feel like? Maxwell Simkins: I love drama but my personal favorite is comedy. Like I said, I got into acting because of Cameron Boyce. One of my dreams is to host SNL. Cameron made me laugh so hard every time I needed it. If I could make ten people’s day better with what I do then I’ve completed my goal.
A.D. Amorosi: Are you good on ice skates? What was that training like?
Maxwell Simkins: I’m pretty good now. Not to toot my own horn but they taught us very well. I never really skated before the show. But we went through a training course for a total of four weeks and we were taught by real NHL players so we had great guidance.
A.D. Amorosi: What was the most challenging part of filming Mighty Ducks: Game Changers? And what was it like filming an entire series as opposed to a film?
Maxwell Simkins: The hardest part of the show was filming on ice because the normal rails used to hold the camera don’t hold steady on the ice so they would have big dudes on skates holding it to make it move for the shot. And the biggest difference between shows and films is the relationships. Because on a film you’re there for 2 to 3 months so you all become friends. But on a series you’re there for 5 to 6 months for just one season so you become a family.
A.D. Amorosi: With Mighty Ducks and now Chicken Squad coming up next, what is it like being part of the Disney family? And did you have favorite Disney films coming up?
Maxwell Simkins: I love being part of Disney I’ve done a total of 5 projects for Disney and they are incredibly nice to my whole family and me. They send my mom gifts on Mother’s Day. They give us tickets to the parks. And they always make sure you’re happy. That says a lot about them that they really are nice people. My favorite Disney film as a kid was probably Wall-E, Toy Story, or Cars.
A.D. Amorosi: What is your motto as a young man and as a veteran actor, a rule you live by?
Maxwell Simkins: My motto is to have a champion mentality of “No matter how many times you get knocked down, you don’t judge someone by that. But by how many times they keep getting up.” To have a mentality of success and hard work is key something like Kobe Bryant had. A true Philly legend.