Joey King heads here to help boost literacy

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Joey King (“Wish I Was Here,” “Fargo,” “White House Down”) will be in the Chicago area Saturday, joining fellow cast members Zachary Gordon (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid”), Jadon Sand (“The Lego Movie”) and Mackenzie Foy (“Twilight: Breaking Dawn”) — who all voiced the key characters in the animated film “The Boxcar Children.”

The quartet of young actors and actresses will participate in a Q&A session, after a special screening of the film at Park Ridge’s historic Pickwick Theater. The screening if free, but guests are encouracted to bring a book to donate to the local literacy organization Open Books. Each book donated will admit two guests. “The Boxcar Children,” based on the classic children’s stories, already is available on demand and will be released on DVD Tuesday.

King also will likely be back in the area this fall. She is attached to star in the film “Oriole Park,” a coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of the John Wayne Gacy killings.

Q: Your most recent film was “Wish I Was Here,” which Zach Braff wrote, directed and starred in. What was it like to play his daughter in that movie?

A: It was great time getting to work with Zach again. We had worked together before on “Oz The Great and Powerful,” so it was awesome to get to work with again — especially on something like this where we got to spend so much time together in a project that was totally his, since he wrote and directed it, as well as playing the lead.

Q: You’re coming to Park Ridge for a special screening of “The Boxcar Children.” Are you looking forward to coming to our area?

A: I am! I really have never spent much time in Chicago, except briefly to promote a film or TV show. I loved doing ‘The Boxcar Children,’ because two of my best friends — Zachary Gordon and Mackenzie Foy — are in it too, and they’re coming to Chicago too! It’s an animated film, based on the books.

Q: What’s it like to be in “Fargo” the TV show?

A: I know a lot of people didn’t know what to expect, since the film is so iconic. But the show is wonderful and we have 18 Emmy nominations, so everyone is thrilled about that.

Q: What’s coming up for you?

A: I just finished a film with [director]Roland Emmerich called “Stonewall,” based on the Stonewall riots in New York that many consider the beginning of the gay rights movement. I play Jeremy Irvine’s little sister. I love my character because she’s the only accepting member in his whole family — when he comes out of the closet. It was a great role for me.

Q: You’ve been acting since you were a little kid. What has been the best advice you’ve received in the entertainment business?

A: Someone that just recently talked to me was Joseph Gordon-Leavitt . We were at an after-party for a movie premiere, and he sat down and told me to look around and realize, “This is all fun and all that, but this stuff is not real life. You have to know that and always stay grounded.”

It was such basic common sense, but I really appreciated him taking the time to care — and then to talk to me. He started as a kid actor, so he certainly knows what he’s talking about.

Q: You’ve already worked with a lot of great filmmakers. Any desire to get behind the camera yourself?

A: Absolutely. I think eventually that would be super different and challenging for me and I’d be so up for that!

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