Lights, camera… reflection!

SHS student reflects on his time as a child actor in ‘500 Days of Summer’


(Younger) Senior Quentin Egan having his makeup done for an upcoming scene. He says that he liked getting into character. Photo contributed by Christy Egan

At the age of 5, senior Quentin Egan and his mother, Christy Egan, went to the Bloomington Mall to do their shopping. On this particular day, there were kids walking and posing after learning about an advertisement wanting models.
Egan wanted to participate, and when the other kids were done, he began mimicking their poses. Soon after, a man from Lily’s Talent approached them and offered Egan a print ad opportunity. This proved to be the start of Egan’s journey into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After being in various print ads like an advertisement for “And In The Box,” Egan asked his agency if he could try out for roles in movies.
Although the agency was hesitant due to his age, they ended up giving him a chance. They prepared him for a trial run and he was phenomenal. The agency then began to submit him to a couple of roles.
Later on, Egan went to audition for the movie “500 Days of Summer.” He went through the necessary processes for the audition, and the director absolutely loved his personality.
Actor Joseph Gordon Levitt also came upon his audition video. While encountering his video, his mom claims that Levitt told the director Egan looked a lot like his younger self.
As a result, he landed a role in the movie, leaving him feeling ecstatic.
In the movie, Egan played a role as the younger version of the character, Tom. His role showcases the various scenes of the time Tom was younger. It provided a backstory as well as a flashback from the characters.
Upon hearing the news that Egan was casted, he and his mom flew out to Los Angeles. All their expenses were paid for by the production company, and Egan went on and filmed for eight days.
Although Christy was amazed by the fact her son got the role, she was also worried. She didn’t know what it would be like on set and she was concerned about how her son would react to a brand new environment.
“It was such a different world,” Christy said. “It’s almost like you’re in a different country and don’t know the language.”
Egan, however, was not nervous or hesitant during his time on set. His mother said he had no fear.
“It was really fun being on set…I didn’t really have work considering I was just a little kid,” Egan said. “My whole job was to just have fun on camera.”
One of the most memorable moments for Egan was when he shared a makeup trailer with Zooey Deschanel. Deschanel was getting a spray tan and Egan got the chance to talk to her. Deschanel was one of Egan’s favorite actors and this was the first time he had met someone he had admired.
After being completely starstruck, Egan and his mom were invited to walk on the red carpet and sign autographs. He felt like he was living the “Hollywood dream.”
After chasing his dreams of acting at the age of 5, Egan was finally able to succeed and live out his desire to be an actor.
“If you are passionate about something, then pour your passion into it, and you’ll succeed,” Egan said.
At the age of 10, Egan’s career was placed on hold. He was very close to getting a role in the movie “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” It was only down to a short number of kids in the U.S., and his family members were excited for him.
Then, the directors changed what they wanted for the film. They ended up choosing a different kid from the UK, and not Egan.
After this rejection, Egan did not want to continue auditioning anymore.
“The rejection was worse than the opportunity or rewards he was getting at that time,” Christy said. “ I really tried to encourage him because he has this personality where he really clicks with people.”
Since then, Egan has been a full-time student at SHS. Although he does not want to continue pursuing his early acting career, he wants to take the path of software engineering and be behind the scenes in software applications.
Egan’s grandmother, Bonnie Neukam, feels that Egan would have been an incredible actor if he kept pursuing the craft. Although she wishes he would’ve continued towards this career, she is proud of all the accomplishments Egan had acquired in the little time he spent acting.
“I think that he has a lot of ambitions and that was a great adventure for him,” Neukam said. “At such a young age, it was a little difficult, but I’m glad he had that experience.”

All photos contributed by Christy Egan