Bullet Train” star Logan Lerman, who plays the doomed wayward son of a crime boss in the action comedy (in theaters now).
The Son, as he is known, dies mysteriously while being shepherded back to his father by two hitmen, Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry). The assassins pretend he’s still alive as the train speeds along – hiding his eyes behind goofy glasses and even moving his arms to foster the illusion.
“There’s was some puppetry that was fun or people are using me as a puppet,” Lerman told USA TODAY at last week’s “Bullet Train” premiere.
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Lerman, 30, says it was sometimes difficult to stay dead still during all the action involving assassins on a train, including the curiously named Ladybug (Brad Pitt).
But he advises that anyone who wants to learn how to play dead should watch 1989’s “Weekend at Bernie’s,” about two insurance company employees (Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman) who pretend that their murdered boss Bernie (Terry Kiser) is alive.
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“That’s all you’ve got to study,” Lerman says.
The stiff “Bullet Train” performance impressed Henry, who had an enthusiastic reunion with Lerman on the “Bullet Train” pink carpet.
“It’s a true testimony to an actor because playing dead is not easy – telling a story while your body is being moved and jostled all over the place,” Henry says. “A lot of our corpses in this movie did a great job.”
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Lerman, who starred as Percy Jackson in 2010’s “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” and 2013’s “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” also had some advice for the young cast of the new Percy Jackson Disney+ series.
The series follows Percy, who learns he’s a demigod and is accused of stealing Zeus’ master lightning bolt. Walker Scobell, 13, will take on Lerman’s role as the title character and Leah Sava Jeffries, 12, and Aryan Simhadri, 16, will co-star as Annabeth Chase and Grover.
“Enjoy it, appreciate it,” Lerman says of the next-generation actors in the breakout roles. “It’s stressful to be making something when you’re that age because you’re so young. I hope they can just stop every once in a while and say, ‘This is incredible to be a part of it.’ ”