November 18, 2012
Dakota Goyo ready for mature roles
By Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

Toronto actor Dakota Goyo, who's one of the voices in the animated film Rise Of The Guardians. Goyo was at the Four Seasons Friday November 16, 2012. Craig Robertson/QMI Agency

At 13, looking ahead to his first year of high school, Dakota Goyo has sensibly decided his childhood years are behind him - in the movies.

"The Guardians is my last child role," the Toronto actor says firmly of Rise Of The Guardians, the superheroes-for-little-kids animated feature based the series books that "powers-up" kiddie icons like Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy to fight evil.

This is a watershed mark for Goyo, who has been the go-to childhood version of some pretty big names. He was the young Thor in Thor. He was recently in Iceland filming Darren Aronosky's Noah (yes, based on the Biblical story), where he played the boyhood version of Russell Crowe's title character.

And, continuing the onscreen DNA thread, last year he played Hugh Jackman's son in the robot-fight sci-fi flick Real Steel.

In Rise Of The Guardians, Goyo voices, yes, a child - one named Jamie, whose lone belief in the above-named holiday heroes is all that keeps the children of the world from falling pretty to the king of nightmares, Pitch Black (voiced by Jude Law).

At his age, most boys would take a ribbing from their pals for even having to pretend that they believe in the Easter Bunny.


"I wasn't really allowed to talk about it with my friends, and I don't really like to talk about my career with them," says Goyo, who attends regular schools despite his busy Hollywood career. "But they sort of had an idea what I was doing with Rise Of The Guardians. They had no idea how badass it was though," he says with a grin.

True enough. This is the kind of movie where Santa/a.k.a. "North" (voiced by Alec Baldwin) is a more like a Russian wrestler than a jolly old elf. And he's got Yetis working in his workshop. "Plus, he's got tattoos," Goyo enthuses.

If there was a disappointing aspect the Guardians, it was the solitary experience, including zero contact with his onetime co-star Jackman (who voices the Easter Bunny). In fact, Goyo "acted" in this Hollywood movie in a booth in Toronto.

"I'd Skype with (director) Peter Ramsey. He'd be in the studio with me and I'd Skype with him, so it felt like I was there in California."

Goyo and Jackman have kept up a running email conversation, one that was truncated while Goyo was in Iceland, working for the most part in regions of the country that didn't have Internet access. Still, they communicated by proxy when Crowe showed up.

"Russell's a very nice guy. He passed me messages from Hugh from when they just worked on (the movie) Les Miserables together."

Taking direction via Skype, or working with motion-capture as he did in Real Steal is all grist for Goyo's future filmmaking intentions. The kid who's been onscreen since he was two weeks old (appearing in a commercial for Canadian Blood Services) says he plans to eventually attend film school.

"Although I think you probably learn more on a set than in a university. I'm sort of a visual learner, and I think I 'get' it better this way than I would from books."