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Aug 3, 2010 12:11 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Dylan Blue, age 14, is finding his stride in the world of acting

Aug 3, 2010 12:11 PM

There are not many people who can say they’ve met Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Robert DiNiro, Kate Winslet, Kelsey Grammer and Rosie Perez.

Dylan Blue can say a bit more. The teenager from Water Mill has not only met them, he has made films, television shows or has auditioned with each of them.

At 14 years old, his acting credits include “Deck the Halls” from 20th Century Fox starring Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick and Kristen Davis. The film “Just Like the Son” featured Rosie Perez and Thomas Cavanagh. In the CBS pilot, “My Ex-Life,” Kelsey Grammer directed the cast. Each production features Mr. Blue in a principal role.

On August 17, Mr. Blue’s resumé grows longer when “Big Lake” premieres. New to Comedy Central, “Big Lake” is the first sitcom to be created for and by the popular cable channel. The executive producers are Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, and the show is slated for a summer run, with the possibility of becoming a year-round staple.

“Big Lake” tells the story of a former financial star who loses everything—including his father’s retirement fund—and then comes back to crash on the family’s couch. While trying to find a get-rich-quick scheme that could actually work, Josh (played by Chris Gethard) reconnects with his childhood friend (played by Horatio Sanz of “Saturday Night Live”) and a high school teacher (played by Chris Parnell of “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live”).

Josh also reconnects with his younger brother, Jeremy (played by Dylan Blue). The part is fun because of Jeremy’s two distinct sides, Dylan said in a recent interview. When he is with his parents, Jeremy is a middle school kid who causes no worries. On his own, Jeremy is a “Glock-packing drug dealer” who’s running an empire and avoiding his disgraced brother at all costs.

The ability to play both sides of a character was one reason Mr. Blue got the part, he said. “Most kids can do one personality or the other,” he said. “Not everyone can switch from nerdy to badass. I think I could play both really well.”

His ability to improvise and run with comedy routines probably helped cinch the deal. Coming up with jokes comes naturally to Mr. Blue, and that skill came in handy during auditions. During auditions, actors were asked to react to unscripted situations. Mr. Blue said he tends to think fast and fell naturally into slap talk that developed into something funny.

Of course, feeling at ease around celebrities probably didn’t hurt either. Working with a comedic great like Danny DeVito on a Hollywood movie set provided some preparation for working with the stand-up comedians who are now part of the “Big Lake” cast.

Doing a “table read” with Robert DeNiro, Kate Winslett, Matt Dillon and Parker Posey probably contributed to Dylan’s professional polish as well.

That said, appearing in a Comedy Central show is still a big deal, Dylan said. He was a fan of the channel before being asked to audition. “Big Lake” is the type of comedic family sitcom he would watch even if he wasn’t in the show, he said.

Another perk is being around Comedy Central stars, Mr. Blue said. For instance, Jon Stewart has stopped by to watch episode developments. Each episode was scripted, but scenes were improvised to discover what lines generate the biggest laughs: that’s part of the development formula.

Playing the part of Jeremy—a series regular—puts a smile on Dylan’s young face. Playing Jeremy is like having two parts, Dylan said, adding, “I’ve never had two characters who are complete opposites of each other.”

“Big Lake” went into rehearsal in April. Eventually, the cast worked up to making two episodes a week for a total of 10 episodes. Filming took place in Manhattan. If “Big Lake” is approved to air beyond summer, there will be as many as 90 more episodes, Dylan’s parents said.

Dylan attends Southampton Intermediate School when not acting. He lives with his parents, architect Russell Blue and his wife, Sara. If “Big Lake” takes off, the family can remain in Water Mill and juggle New York-area acting demands.

If the chance to star in a Los Angeles-based film is in the cards, the Blue family is prepared to jump coasts. Despite his young age, the steady stream of acting jobs since first appearing in an acting school’s open audition before professional agents signifies talent that’s apparent to others.

Dylan is a member of two actors’ unions, SAG and AFTRA, and has an agent. He won the 2007 Young Artist Award for the Best Young Actor in a Feature Film (10 and Younger) for his role in “Deck the Halls.”

During the last five years, he has also appeared in major commercials, done voiceovers for radio, and screen tested for a feature film. He’s also taken part in typical childhood activities. He appeared in the school play, does homework, plays tennis and baseball and goes to camp every summer. While there, he doesn’t tell the other kids he’s an actor. He relishes the down time away from the film sets, the celebrities and life of an actor.

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